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Vol. 25 No. 6
November-December 2003

Bookworm | Books and publications hot off the press.
See also www.iupac.org/publications

Introduction to Modern Inorganic Chemistry

K. M. MacKay, R. A. MacKay, and W. Henderson

Nelson Thornes, 6th edition, 2002 (ISBN 0 7487 6420 8)

reviewed by Bernard Meunier

It’s always a pleasure to have a look at a new edition of a popular (inorganic) chemistry textbook: What has been done to make it better? Has it been made more attractive? These are two key questions for teachers who are facing a new generation of students. How can one teach these young people who have been trained mainly by videos and partially by reading books? Well, if you are looking for an attractive and comprehensive book for teaching inorganic chemistry, then you will be highly interested in this the sixth edition of Introduction to Modern Inorganic Chemistry by Ken MacKay, his wife Ann, and Bill Henderson.

What is attractive about this book? First, it provides an exhaustive overview of the fundamental bases of inorganic chemistry. Second, boxes located in the margins or in the middle of pages provide enlightening facts about inorganic chemicals as they relate to everyday life: phosphates and lake water, ozone in the stratosphere, nuclear power and the problem of fission products, titanium oxide as white pigment, and more. I am convinced that these linkages between inorganic chemistry and real life are essential for attracting talented young students to the field.

Another of the book’s important features is a further reading appendix that provides a long list of other textbooks devoted to inorganic chemistry to facilitate the reader’s future choices. This list is completed by bibliographic data that have been used (or are recommended) by the authors to document each chapter of the book.

Now, if you are ready to rush out and buy this book, you should know that it has 20 chapters, three appendices, and a well-organized index. Chapters 1 to 3 are devoted to the basics of inorganic chemistry (nomenclature, atomic orbitals, covalent bonds, . . .). Chapters 4 and 5 describe polyatomic covalent molecules and solid-state chemistry. The principles of solution chemistry, mainly experimental methods and the general properties of the elements in relation to the periodic table, are reported in chapters 6, 7, and 8. Chapters 9 to 13 focus on hydrogen, the ‘s’ elements, the lanthanides, and the actinides. The following chapters (14–16) present the transition metals and their complexes. The elements of the ‘p’ block and selected topics in main group chemistry are presented in chapters 17 and 18. Chapter 19 is a short, useful presentation of electron density determination, fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, and dendrimers. The final chapter looks at the biological, medicinal, and environmental aspects of inorganic chemistry. Appendix B is a list of common polydentate ligand. Appendix C is a summary of molecular symmetry and point groups.

If you are not satisfied with this book, the authors kindly mention the Web sites of other publishers of textbooks in inorganic chemistry on page 585!.Thanks to the authors for this valuable book and good luck with the 7th edition.

Bernard Meunier <bmeunier@lcc-toulouse.fr> is from the CNRS Laboratoire de Chimie de Coordination in Toulouse, France, and is a current titular member of the IUPAC Inorganic Chemistry Division and the Division representative on the Committee on Chemistry Education.


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