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Illustrated with remarkable new full-color images--indeed, one or more on every page--and written by one of the world's leading authorities on the subject,Reactionsoffers a compact, pain-free tour of the inner workings of chemistry. Reactionsbegins with the chemical formula almost everyone knows--the formula for water, H2O--a molecule with an "almost laughably simple chemical composition." But Atkins shows that water is also rather miraculous--it is the only substance whose solid form is less dense than its liquid (hence ice floats in water)--and incredibly central to many chemical reactions, as it is an excellent solvent, being able to dissolve gases and many solids. Moreover, Atkins tells us that water is actually chemically aggressive, and can react with and destroy the compounds dissolved in it, and he shows us what happens at the molecular level when water turns to ice--and when it melts. Moving beyond water, Atkins slowly builds up a toolkit of basic chemical processes, including precipitation (perhaps the simplest of all chemical reactions), combustion, reduction, corrosion, electrolysis, and catalysis. He then shows how these fundamental tools can be brought together in more complex processes such as photosynthesis, radical polymerization, vision, enzyme control, and synthesis. Peter Atkins is the world-renowned author of numerous best-selling chemistry textbooks for students. In this crystal-clear, attractively illustrated, and insightful volume, he provides a fantastic introductory tour--in just a few hundred colorful and lively pages - for anyone with a passing or serious interest in chemistry.
Peter Atkins is Fellow of Lincoln College, University of Oxford. He is the author of almost 60 books, which include the world-renowned textbook Physical Chemistry, now in its ninth edition. He has also written a number of books for a general readership, including Galileo's Finger: The Ten Great Ideas of Science, The Periodic Kingdom, Molecules, and The Laws of Thermodynamics: A Very Short Introduction. He has been a visiting professor in France, Israel, New Zealand, and China, and continues to lecture widely throughout the world.
Table of Contents
A preliminary comment: water
The basic tools
1. Matter falling out (Precipitation)
2. Protons in transit (Neutralization)
3. Buring in air (Combustion)
4. Back to basics (Reduction)
5. Electrons in transit (Redox)
6. Forcing change electrically (Electrolysis)
7. Electricity from chemistry (Electrochemistry)
8. The death of metal (Corrosion)
9. Civil partnerships (Lewis acid-base reactions)
10. Changing partners (Complex substitution)
11. Marriage broking (Catalysis)
12. Divorce and reconciliation (Radical recombination)
Assembling the workshop
13. Stringing along (Radical polymerization)
14. Snapping together (Condensation polymerization)
15. Sniffing out nuclei (Nucleophilic substitution)
16. Sniffing out electrons (Electrophilic substitution)
17. Proton accelerators (Acid catalysis)
18. Basic instincts (Base catalysis)
19. adding up (Addition)
20. Taking away (Elimination)
21. Carbon footprints (The Wittig reaction)
22. Networking opportunities (The Friedel-Crafts reaction)
23. Dark matter (Photocromism)
24. Irritating atmospheres (Photochemical smog)
25. Seeing the light (Vision)
26. Green chemistry
Building for design
27. Food for thought (Enzyme control)
28. Grand designs (Synthesis)
A retrospective: bringing it all together