Michael Clugston & Rosalind Flemming
Oxford University Press, £45.00
A broad and simple summary, of the breadth of chemistry covered up to GCSE level, reminds students of what they learned before starting their A level course. Newland’s octaves and Mendeleev’s periodic law are recapped and the book progresses to atoms, with an introduction to scanning tunnelling microscopes featuring images of platinum and nickel surfaces.
Each chapter starts from the basics to help build on a student’s earlier learning. Calculations are illustrated with everyday examples and applications of this knowledge. Chapters finish with practical exam questions and diagrams of subject matter covered, such as the chemistry of an airbag in a car. Other examples of objects and everyday applications include the percentage of recycled steel used in the construction of the ArcelorMittal Orbit in Stratford for the London Olympics in 2012. Another notable and topical example is the use of polypropene to make Australian banknotes. I particularly liked the example of vanadium chemistry (with suitable photographs) to explain oxidation states.
The book finishes with a number of chapters on biochemistry including carbohydrates, proteins and nucleic acids, making this a useful introductory textbook for students wanting to learn basic biochemistry.
Dr Amanda Hardy AMSB