4 Jan 2017

Inorganic Chemistry for Geochemistry and Environmental Sciences Fundamentals and Applications by George W. Luther III


Submitted by Rachel Narehood Austin, Barnard College, Columbia University

This is a great new textbook by George Luther III from the University of Delaware.  The textbook represents the results of a course he has taught for graduate students in chemical oceanography, geochemistry and related disciplines.  It is clear that the point of the book is to provide students with the core material from inorganic chemistry that they will  need to explain inorganic processes in the environment.  However the material is presented in such a clear, logical fashion and builds so directly on fundamental principles of physical inorganic chemistry that the book is actually applicable to a much broader audience.  It provides a very welcome presentation of frontier orbital theory as a guide to predicting and explaining much inorganic chemical reactivity.  There are numerous very  helpful charts and tables and diagrams.  I found myself using the book for a table of effective nuclear charges when I was teaching general chemistry last semester.  The examples are much more interesting that the typical textbook examples and would be easy to embellish and structure a course around.  There is also a helpful companion website that provides powerpoint slides, student exercises and answers.  The book covers some topics not typically seen in inorganic textbooks like the acidity of solids but the presentation of this information makes sense in light of the coherent framework of the text.  We so often tell our students "structure dictates function".  This text really make good on that promise.  My only complaint is that I wish the title were something more generic so that I could use it for a second semester of introductory-esque material that we teach after students have taken a single semester of intro chem and two semesters of organic chemistry.  So much of what is covered in this textbook is precisely what a second semester sophomore chemistry major should know before proceeding on in the major.  But the title makes the book hard to sell to chemistry majors and that is regrettable. 

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I'm tempted to try to use it for my junior level chemistry major course regardless! I'll let you know if students revolt.

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