Linus Pauling's "General Chemistry" Book- Is it Up to Date?

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In summary, some people think that Pauling's book is outdated, while others think that it is the best general chemistry book.
  • #1
bennington
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I was in Barnes and Noble and few weeks ago searching through the science section, and I found a small book by Linus Pauling called General Chemistry. Alhtough it does not look like a normal textbook, it is supposed to contain all of the information that an undergrad needs to understand chemistry. I would like to purchase this to understand more about chemical processes, but I am concerned about the date that this was published. Do any of you own the book, and if you do, is it up to date? Thanks.
 
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  • #2
This is only my opinion, so listen to others also.

I read Pauling's chemical bond book after taking general chemistry and organic chemistry. I loved it but probably could not have understood it before taking those courses.

My wife took general chemistry with Pauling's textbook (in the 60s) and absolutely hated the book. She found it incomprehensible; there simply was not enough explanation. I don't know if later editions added any more explanations.
 
  • #3
The thing is that I saw a lot of positive reviews of it on Amazon, so I am now really uncertain. How about a book I found through PF - General Chemistry: Principles and Modern Applications by Ralph H. Petrucci, William S. Harwood, and Geoffrey Herring?
 
  • #4
Sorry, I don't know any of the modern chemistry texts.
 
  • #5
TVP45 said:
Sorry, I don't know any of the modern chemistry texts.

still, thanks for helping me.
 
  • #6
bennington said:
I was in Barnes and Noble and few weeks ago searching through the science section, and I found a small book by Linus Pauling called General Chemistry. Alhtough it does not look like a normal textbook, it is supposed to contain all of the information that an undergrad needs to understand chemistry. I would like to purchase this to understand more about chemical processes, but I am concerned about the date that this was published. Do any of you own the book, and if you do, is it up to date? Thanks.

I bought his book on Quantum Mechanics about a year ago. It was quite old also. I find it interesting that B&N would stock such a book. Usually you have to go to used bookstores for such items.
 
  • #7
Linus Pauling's book is excellent. It is the best gen chem book I know, but I think it is better after having had some education in the ideas of chemistry already.

Brown et al's Chemistry: The Central Science is a great modern General Chemistry text. However, I think Munowitz's Principles of Chemistry is best. This is also new, but it isn't formatted in the same style as most texts. Munowitz explicitly states the things most gen. chem. books only say implicitly, which I would think would make it a great book to start with.

General Chemistry hasn't changed a ton since Pauling's book came out. The biggest deficit is probably in quantum chemistry. Nanotechnology and new allotropes of carbon (nanotubes, fullerenes) have come about since the book was published too. I guess having an intro to quantum chemistry before a pchem class is pretty important, so I would say Pauling's book is not completely sufficient. But I still think that anyone interested in chemistry should read Pauling's book at some point.
 
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  • #8
Someone once said "Read the masters, not their pupils". This is sometimes true. Not always. I remember Fermi's book on thermodynamics as totally uninspired and no different from other ornery books on the subject. Though maybe these copied it. Dirac's books look like they could only be read by someone who doesn't need to.

But there are some examples on the other side. That give you the insight, the underlying spirit, motivation and even simplicity of things.

Read the reviews at Amazon. It sounds like it should not be the only Chemistry book you ever read, unless you only ever read one, but that it will help you a lot to read the others you need. At starting $6.50 used and $13 new and could sell on you are not risking that much.
 

Related to Linus Pauling's "General Chemistry" Book- Is it Up to Date?

1. Is "General Chemistry" by Linus Pauling still relevant in today's scientific field?

Yes, "General Chemistry" is still considered a fundamental textbook in the study of chemistry. While it was first published in 1947, the concepts and principles presented in the book are still applicable and widely used in modern chemistry.

2. Has "General Chemistry" by Linus Pauling been updated since its initial publication?

Yes, the book has been updated and revised numerous times since its first publication. The most recent edition, published in 1970, includes updates on new discoveries and advancements in the field of chemistry.

3. Can "General Chemistry" by Linus Pauling be used as a standalone textbook for introductory chemistry courses?

Yes, the book is commonly used as a standalone textbook for introductory chemistry courses. It covers all the essential topics and provides a comprehensive understanding of the subject.

4. Are there any major differences between "General Chemistry" by Linus Pauling and other modern chemistry textbooks?

While there may be some differences in the presentation and organization of information, the core concepts and principles in "General Chemistry" are consistent with other modern chemistry textbooks. However, newer editions of the book may include updates on recent discoveries and advancements in the field.

5. Is "General Chemistry" by Linus Pauling suitable for self-study?

Yes, the book is suitable for self-study. It is written in a clear and concise manner, making it easy for readers to understand and apply the concepts. However, it is recommended to consult with a chemistry professor or tutor for further clarification and understanding of complex topics.

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