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Author: Subject: Need help, looking for good chemistry books...
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[*] posted on 27-6-2017 at 18:37
Need help, looking for good chemistry books...


Ok so I was hoping some of you could help me get a list of really good chemistry books together. Everything I know about organic chemistry I taught myself and I am trying to get a better understanding of it all.

I would like to start at the very basics and work my way up to advanced organic chemistry. I am going to have a lot of time on my hands to read and study for the next few months and I would like to do just that. If anyone could please help me get a list going of books that are easy to understand and that will help me get a solid foundation on theory and as well as lab technique.

I would like to start off maybe with just basic chemistry and work on up to organic Chem like I have mentioned before. Work book style books would be nice too. If you know of any other really good books related to chemistry like fictional books or anything it would be appreciated as well. Thanks.
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[*] posted on 28-6-2017 at 00:04


In my opinion:

Organic chemistry:McMurry/Clayden - both are awesome
Anorganic chemistry: Housecroft - kinda hard to understand but many usefull informations.
Greenwood - I heard that it's awesome, I have not read yet
Remy - older book, I prefer Housecroft.
Physical chemistry: Atkins/Moore - both are very good for specific purposes. Personally, I like Atkins
little bit more.

Just note that I'm not expert and this is how I feel about the books.
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[*] posted on 28-6-2017 at 00:10


To be honest, once you stop using schoolbooks and move to something more advanced there isn't a real structure anymore. This 'advanced chemistry' above school level just doesn't really exist like you know that from the basics. Taking organic chemistry, for example, You start from simple Alkanes and develop the whole series via unsaturated bonds, rings to oxidation until you end up with carboxylic acids and amides which are useful for biochemistry and this is where the topics change in school or you continue with polymer chemistry. Everything you really do there is to talk about basics, redox-chemistry, acid-base chemistry, simple organic nomenclature, perhaps even some aromatic compounds. And then you end up with a good explanation on the backgrounds.

If you want to continue then where would you start? I had a whole lecture so one semester on the chemistry of Carbonyls only! And another one to learn about aromatic compounds. We even had a whole semester on inorganic phosphorus chemistry, only. You fastly approach quite many directions and all of them may fill huge books.

Therefore I suggest to go with the first and second-semester university approach and learn about all of that in a brief summary so you know it exists and you know how to apply it but perhaps not fully understand all the backgrounds of it. This bigger, generalized knowledge on chemistry is far more useful except you are really interested in one topic and want to do research on it one day perhaps.

That's why I cannot really suggest you a book, they are all mostly like encyclopedias, you don't just read them through (well there are some organic chemistry books where this works) but still you will never really be able to cover these topics in a useful order without mentioning stuff you haven't heard yet. That's pretty much the problem with many books.

We discussed that once when we had the lecture on organometallic chemistry. To explain that you need radical chemistry but radical chemistry is the first thing you learn in organic chemistry although you hardly ever need it outside of organometallics or metal catalysis anymore. So it would be far more useful to start off from carbonyl chemistry. What I want to say is that there is no real way how to start here.

What I'd suggest is that you read through different introduction courses of universities and take their approach. Like you google for inorganic and organic and physical chemistry lectures. There are universities that don't lock their scripts and upload them.
And often the professor tends to pick the most important parts from all books to give a good and brief summary.




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[*] posted on 28-6-2017 at 08:39


The Sciencemadness library has a lot of good books. Pretty much anything by Vogel is good, but he takes a semi-encyclopedic approach that makes his books a lot more interesting and useful if you are looking for information on specific topics.

Zubrick's Organic Chem Lab Survival Manual is pretty basic but is good if you have limited experience in an organic lab.

For a lot of organic chemistry, flashcards are pretty much the standard way to get the information into your head, where it can be promptly forgotten after exams. Undergraduate texts (and really, books in general) on the topic will cover a lot of reactions that you will never see and will leave out a lot of the most interesting ones. I'm not sure what the solution is except to read a lot of books and journal articles.

I'd actually like to learn more about physical chemistry, computational chemistry, first principals behind orbital theory, etc. and really understand how to predict reactions, solubilities, catalysis, and so forth. It's one thing to know how to write down an electron configuration diagram, for example, and completely something else to understand why the phenomena described by one actually occur and why things like sp hybridization happen.




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[*] posted on 28-6-2017 at 09:04


@fluorescence no need to overwhelm the guy... he's just looking for textbook recommendations.

I second the recommendation of McMurry Organic- I got a copy of an older edition used for $5 and it has served me well. If you want to learn about analytical chemistry, Skoog et al is what I have currently for my quantitative analysis class, and I like it a lot. I decided to buy it rather than just rent it like I do with most of my class textbooks because I could see it being useful in the future.




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[*] posted on 29-6-2017 at 07:27


I don't think books will help here, they probably confuse people more than really help them. Good first semester files usually start from the very scratch. At least at our university, you could have started without knowing anything about chemistry at all. But then they explain stuff in a way that automatically directs you to a more advanced topic.

As JJay correctly mentioned there are some terms especially in organic chemistry that you really need to know, perhaps not understand but need to know. I was bored as well when they came up with it in the first semester but in the end, it will be important if you want to understand the rest.

Perhaps it might be a good idea to start a list somewhere that can be expanded or edited by anyone how your school/college/university or self-teaching started and then we improve the order of theoretical background to make it understandable even more. And people can just look for these terms in books then and learn about it.

As my polymer chemistry prof once said when we were unable to describe him the Darzens reaction but knew about Oxymercurations, 'every good day starts with one or two oxymercurations. Thank god you learn the important stuff here'. And I guess this is entirely true. There may be interesting things you can mention quite early but sometimes they just don't belong into these chapters and a very dynamic list of topics might improve misplacements like these.






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[*] posted on 3-7-2017 at 15:09


That's it!?.... C'mon there's got to be some more books out there that are great for learning...
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[*] posted on 4-7-2017 at 10:58


I've been reading the edition of Systematic Organic Chemistry found in the Sciencemadness library. It is like a standard entry level organic text except instead of discussing electrons and orbitals, it details an experiment. There really ought to be a book that discusses both... I know there is a newer edition that has a more modern selection of reactions, and I read part of it, but it apparently has the same strengths and weaknesses.



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[*] posted on 4-7-2017 at 11:09


What helped me enormously is buying old books from the 1930s, but also from the 1950s-1960s period. Those books are much more descriptive than modern chemistry books. Many individual chemical compounds are treated in detail and just reading those books and soaking in all the properties of individual compounds is a pleasure. I went to an antiquariat in the city where I live and I spent a couple of tens of euros on such books (many of them are cheap). The books I have are from Vanino, Ostwald, older texts from before second world war.

Also have a look at the library of sciencemadness. There is a lot of interesting stuff in that library, mostly also older texts. I really recommend browsing that.

The only disadvantage of those older books is that there is less systematic theory behind them. Things were still under development at the time of writing and even concepts like pH, redox potential and other basic things are in their infancy 80 years ago. So, any good high school book on chemistry may be a valuable companion text to the older ones. I personally find newer books somewhat boring though, but even in chemistry you sometimes have to do some hard work in order to get real understanding.




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[*] posted on 4-7-2017 at 13:55


Sounds like you want something from the Dummies series or something similar such as Chemistry for the Utterly Confused, or the Schaum's Outlines series. A little farther along, Sykes' Guidebook to Mechanism or Carey and Sundberg. Or just Carey.



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[*] posted on 4-7-2017 at 15:05


Not a book but try the royal society for chemistry, alot of good info and helped me alot. i searched ebay and got loads of books really cheap
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