Trevor Critchley reviews this handy little paperback

The chemistry companion
Anthony Fischer-Cripps
Boca Raton, US: CRC Press 2011 | Pp195 | 18.99 (HB) | ISBN9781439830888
Reviewed by Trevor Critchley

Cover of The chemistry companion

Source: CRC Press

This book would be suitable for a student embarking on a degree course in chemistry or associated discipline, or a keen and numerate A-level student who wants to go a bit further. I remember being intimidated by weighty physical chemistry textbooks when I went to university. This handy little paperback would certainly have helped me to find my feet.

It is an accessible but solid guide to the fundamental principles of physical chemistry, along with some rather lighter pages of information about organic functional groups and introductory biochemistry. You would probably be disappointed if you wanted any in-depth physical organic chemistry: there are no mechanisms here.

The blurb states that this book ‘emphasises the physics underlying chemistry’, and I’d say that it does that job very well. It also states that it assumes little prior knowledge, though some experience of post-16 physics would definitely help. If you’re happy to find the Schrödinger equation on page five, then you should be okay.

Each key topic is condensed into a single page, which makes finding information straightforward and summarises the salient points succinctly. So whether as a reliable starting point before you read on elsewhere, a bridge to further study, or as a revision guide, this pocket sized book should fit the bill. Overall this stylish and snappy book will entertain and enlighten you, and its convenient size means it can do so while you’re on the go.

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