Inorganic chemistry


Textbook of inorganic chemistry
R Gopalan
CRC press
2012 | 960pp | £82 (HB)
ISBN 9781466518148
Reviewed by Paul Duckmanton

A new undergraduate textbook in such a wide-ranging discipline as inorganic chemistry is always a big undertaking. In this book it is made all the more ambitious through a reliance on only black and white illustrations in a field where colour is so often indicative of the chemistry involved. This lack of colour is not detrimental to the content, although personally I found the quality of some pictures, particularly in the chapters covering transition metal complexation, could be improved. This is especially acute given this topic’s reliance on an understanding of geometry.

The depth of coverage of topics seems variable in comparison to other inorganic chemistry textbooks. This may be due in large part to the stated target audience for this title: students studying on chemistry BSc courses at universities in India. The content of the book focuses primarily on periodic trends and solution chemistry, covering these to a suitable depth for undergraduate study. At times, however, the terminology used can seem outdated and is no longer commonly encountered in chemistry teaching in the UK, with little explanation of why such terms are used (or not).

Sadly, there are also relatively standard topics in UK undergraduate chemistry that do not get as thorough a treatment, most notably symmetry, spectroscopy and solid state chemistry. Given the growing international importance both industrially and academically of solid state materials chemistry, I find this latter omission unfortunate. On the other hand, other areas not traditionally covered in UK textbooks are a welcome addition. These include qualitative and quantitative analytical techniques and the applicability of inorganic chemistry to both industrial and environmental processes, which helps to contextualise much of the material in the book.

Given the strength of the competition in textbooks on the subject tailored to UK undergraduate study, Textbook of inorganic chemistry may struggle in that region. More internationally, I am sure this textbook will be more useful, and I look forward to reviewing future editions.

Purchase Textbook of inorganic chemistry from Amazon.co.uk.


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