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Reactions: The Private Life of Atoms

Popular Science

By: Peter Atkins(Author)

191 pages, colour illustrations

Oxford University Press

Paperback | Feb 2013 | #199743 | ISBN-13: 9780199668809
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £12.99 $17/€14 approx
Hardback | Sep 2011 | #190728 | ISBN-13: 9780199695126
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £16.99 $22/€19 approx

About this book

Through an innovative, closely integrated design of images and text, and his characteristically clear, precise, and economical exposition, Peter Atkins explains the processes involved in chemical reactions. He begins by introducing a 'tool kit' of basic reactions, such as precipitation, corrosion, and catalysis, and concludes by showing how these building blocks are brought together in more complex processes such as photosynthesis.

"The perfect antidote to science phobia."
- Booklist


A preliminary comment: water

The basic tools
1: Matter falling out (Precipitation)
2: Protons in transit (Neutralization)
3: Burning 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 (photochromism)
24: Irritating atmospheres (photochemical smog)
25: Seeing the light (vision)
26: Green chemistry

Building by design
27: Food for thought (Enzyme control)
28: Grand designs (Synthesis)

A retrospective: bringing it all together


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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 (published in its ninth edition in November 2009). His other textbooks include Inorganic Chemistry: Chemical Principles and Molecular Quantum Mechanics. 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.

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