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Any recommendations on books to read about chemistry to fill knowledge gaps?

Anyone have good recommendations on books that are not textbooks that might be good reading materials for someone who has taken chemistry courses?

Does this exist? If it doesn't it really should. There is seriously something wrong with chemistry curriculum in the US when 3 years into my undergraduate degree... I still feel like chemistry is unattainable and almost magical.

11 Replies
New Contributor

Re: Any recommendations on books to read about chemistry to fill knowledge gaps?

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean. Do not be put off by the title. He uses the periodic table to tell about the people who discovery the elements along with introducing some of their chemistry.

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New Contributor

Re: Any recommendations on books to read about chemistry to fill knowledge gaps?

The Nature of the Chemical Bond by Linus Pauling.
It's a great text, that covers a wide range of chemistry. It's not going to necessarily show you mechanisms but it will teach you the theories of a wide range of chemistry disciplines. ( organic, physical, inorganic/crystallography).
I love it, I hope you will to.
Enjoy!

Contributor II

Re: Any recommendations on books to read about chemistry to fill knowledge gaps?

A.C., it would help to know more about your aims and background. Are you a Chemistry major? What is missing for you? General excitement because you've learned a lot of facts but only unclear purpose? Or do you feel your classes didn't go into sufficient detail about certain subjects?

There are vast numbers of choices from which to learn more, and it will help to step back a moment to reflect on what you need.

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Contributor II

Re: Any recommendations on books to read about chemistry to fill knowledge gaps?

By the way, I think many of us here agree that chemistry is "almost magical, even if it is "attainable". It's part of the thrill!

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New Contributor III

Re: Any recommendations on books to read about chemistry to fill knowledge gaps?

My book African American Women Chemists by Jeannette Brown Oxford U Press.  It is available as a nook or kindle or book from Oxford or Amazon.  If you are going to the ACS meeting in San Francisco stop by the Oxford U Press booth, they have a lot of books about chemistry that are not textbooks.  If you buy the book from them on Tuesday morning of the meeting, I will be around to autograph it.

My book is about the lives of African American women who became chemists and include information about their research and reference for further research.

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New Contributor

Re: Any recommendations on books to read about chemistry to fill knowledge gaps?

Schrodinger's "what is life"

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New Contributor

Re: Any recommendations on books to read about chemistry to fill knowledge gaps?

I hope we get some more responses to this question - I, too, would love some recommendations for good gap-fillers.

If anyone could in particular include some that are available in digital editions (Google Play, Kindle, etc) that would be really helpful (Pauling's book, for example, doesn't appear to be available in any digital format legally). I like to educate myself at my day job and on lunch breaks, and carrying around a giant hardcover isn't feasible.

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New Contributor

Re: Any recommendations on books to read about chemistry to fill knowledge gaps?

The key for me is to look at some history of chemistry books.  This can give you some idea of what people have done and get you to think about how the information that we use today was developed.  I would also look for work on the lives of Newton, Boyle, and Priestley (especially Newton) because they put chemistry into perspective.

Can't help the request by the one replier for electronic books - I can appreciated the desire for something simple that one can read on a tablet but not sure how much has been but into digital form.  What you might do is a version of what someone suggested many years ago - when reading a book on a trip (in reference to an airplane trip, take only what you need - this person was suggested taking chapters out of the book instead of the whole book.  I don't approve of the idea of tearing up a book but one could always scan the pages that you wanted to read and have them available to read via one's tablet.)

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New Contributor

Re: Any recommendations on books to read about chemistry to fill knowledge gaps?

Hello, take a look at the Royal Society of Chemistry's popular science titles on our Gift Ideas page. During the summer many of these titles will be available via Amazon Kindle and the iBookstore

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