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Chemistry, The Central Science

  1. May 21, 2007 #1
    Chemistry, The Central Science by Brown, LeMay, and Bursten.
    (6th printing, 6th edition)

    I have never studied Chemistry so I decided to get this book out of the county library. I am up to page 20 and I must say that it has been pretty dismal up to now. Here is a paragraph from the Preface to the Instructor labeled: Philosophy.

    Throughout the evolution of this text, certain goals have guided our writing efforts. The first is that a text should endeavor to show students the usefulness of chemistry in their major areas of study as well as in the world around them.

    When I was in college, the texts didn't even have this kind of motivational pep talk, let alone that it should be the first goal. In my opinion the first goal should be to teach. The first chapter, the part that I read, is probably intended to be more motivational than instructive, but there are more than a few places where the text could be clearer. I'm afraid that the beginner will be confused and worse yet won't even realize it.

    Perhaps the book will get better in the next chapters. If I had to judge it solely on the first 20 pages, I would say, skip this book and get another. Unfortunately, this is the only book available to me and so I can't compare it to the others.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 23, 2007 #2
    I'm up to page 70. The book is full of slight errors and complicated explanations of simple ideas. But on page 69 is a beaut.

    These substitutions are problematic for two reasons. Although it is not a big deal, the equation doesn't read well in English. We could easily fix that by having the arrow mean "and produces". However there is a much worse problem on the next page where we have:

    So this equation means carbon dioxide reacts with water? We need a better substitution scheme. I propose the following:

    We read the + sign to mean "and" (see, chemistry is nowhere near as difficult as the authors make out. The use of + to mean "and" is common in informal notes that we write to each other) and the arrow as "react to produce".
     
  4. Jun 6, 2007 #3
    Not to be argumentative, but is that really a big deal? I'm sure the book could be full of other useless explanations, but that really doesn't seem like the worst of the worst to me.
     
  5. Aug 18, 2007 #4
    it's a good textbook, but i wanted to learn from more than one text so i also purchased Chemistry by Silberberg and found his book to be the best.

    Brown's book is definitely a keeper, but it's not nearly as good as silberberg.
     
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