First Year Chemistry - What textbooks do you recommend ?

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Ari Ben Canaan
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#1
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#1
I'll be embarking on an undergraduate course in Chemistry in a few months.

I'll be travelling soon and it would be cheaper to buy any textbooks I would need for such a course abroad.

Hence, I was hoping that you could suggest some textbooks I could buy and use.

If it helps I have offers from Imperial and UCL.
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danhirons
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#2
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physical chemistry - probably atkins physical chemistry - general basis for all physical chemistry you'll need throughout your course

inorganic chemistry - shriver and atkins - for the oxford course at least, incredibly useful

organic chemistry - the best all round one is probably clayden's book, but i find it pretty useless and it seems to almost have too much in if that's possible. For a basic mechanistic background for first year i liked peter sykes book

i think steiner's chemistry maths book was the one i liked if your course is pretty mathsy.
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marshal4
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#3
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#3
Physical: as said, the only book you'll need is Atkins (8/9th version, 9 is very similar to 8 if you're looking for a cheaper option)

Inorganic: My uni (Sheffield) recommended Housecroft and Sharpe, but in 4 years, i've used it twice. Its rubbish compared to Shriver and Atkins, but even then, I didn't find that particularly useful. Imho, its better to just buy/use the inorganic chemistry Oxford Primers in the relevent subjects as you progress through the course.

Organic: Clayden (2nd addition has just come out) is by far the most reliable and useful textbook there is for organic chemistry. The newer addition has improved on the first additions flaws, so is well worth buying.
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Ari Ben Canaan
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#4
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#4
Thank you. I'll keep those in mind.

I'd like to emphasise that money is not an issue... Just list the names and I'll have a look at them
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a.partridge
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#5
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#5
all those books listed are standard at my uni too for first year and are reasonably useful. Quite pretty too.
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illusionz
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#6
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#6
I don't actually own any textbooks as I'm rather lucky that the college libraries here have everything you'll need, but I've used a few from time to time (mainly CGWW for Organic as that's what I do most of now)

Another vote for Clayden, Greeves, Warren (and if 1st ed) and Wothers for organic. Excellent book which covers pretty much all 1st-4th year undergrad organic chemistry.

The only other textbooks I've used have been for maths and quantum mechanics/symmetry (group theory - Cotton's book Chemical Applications of Group theory was very useful), but I got the feeling from other people that the cambridge (and oxford) courses do a lot more theoretical stuff than other universities so don't know if they'd actually be that useful to you.

As for what the lecturers have recommended:

Physical: Atkins
Spectroscopy: Banwell - Fundamentals of Molecular Spectroscopy, Atkins - Molecular Quantum Mechanics (not as good but also covers the quantum stuff you might do)
Inorganic: Greenwood and Earnshaw - Chemistry of the Elements, Shriver and Atkins - Inorganic Chemistry and also Cotton - Advanced Inorganic Chemistry.
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EierVonSatan
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I've tended to advise people not to buy books until they get to university as you get a better feel for what you need and what you don't.
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danhirons
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#8
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(Original post by EierVonSatan)
I've tended to advise people not to buy books until they get to university as you get a better feel for what you need and what you don't.
/ enjoy your freedom from them whilst it lasts?
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EierVonSatan
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(Original post by danhirons)
/ enjoy your freedom from them whilst it lasts?
Hah, exactly :yes:
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cpchem
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#10
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First truism of undergraduate chemistry - there is no single good inorganic textbook.
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Bradshaw
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#11
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#11
I agree with the sentiment above to avoid buying any textbooks until you are actually sure you'll need them. Firstly, the textbooks are not cheap at all, and you may find that they are easy to get in the department or other libraries. Secondly, certainly during my degree I barely looked at a textbook until 3rd year. Obviously this depends on how comprehensive your lecture notes are, and how much extra study you want to do, but you may find the use you get out of textbooks (certainly those aimed at 1st / 2nd year) rather minimal.
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username913907
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#12
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You'll never get a complete guide for inorganic, and frankly Atkins Inorganic is pretty useless. Atkins physical chem is a lot better by comparison, but you tend to use textbooks less for physical.

For 1st year definitely go with Clayden, Worthers ....., great book for 1st year, may become but simple for 2nd and 3rd year. I'm certainly finding this.
The Organic encyclopedia would be March's Advanced organic chem. Very dry but everything is there, if you can find it!

For inorganic, Huheey inorganic chemistry is amazing, at least for 1st year. At my college we got given Atkins Inorganic and Physical free (as he used to tutor here), and many times for inorganic Huheey was far more useful.

Chemistry of the elements by Greenwood is a book you may find useful, but don't buy it!!!! Whopping great textbook covering every element. Doesn't deal with chemistry in the way you'll be taught. Inorganic will be taught as a series of trends, this book just states LOTS of facts
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Aramiss18
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#13
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#13
Good link for the the Clayden book people are talking about.

http://content.yudu.com/Library/A1pa...tm?referrerUrl

EDIT: Argh crap- used to be free access.
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illusionz
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#14
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#14
(Original post by JMaydom)
For 1st year definitely go with Clayden, Worthers ....., great book for 1st year, may become but simple for 2nd and 3rd year. I'm certainly finding this.
Interesting. It's covered pretty much everything I've done this year that I've wanted to look up. Have been told it covers most of 4th year too.
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username913907
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(Original post by illusionz)
Interesting. It's covered pretty much everything I've done this year that I've wanted to look up. Have been told it covers most of 4th year too.
I'm finding it a bit basic for my tutorials. It gives a good overview into virtually every subject, which is what you need for 1st year. By second year, the detail is much higher, so no book can ever hope to cover anything and not collapse under it's own weight!
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EierVonSatan
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#16
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#16
I still use Claydon, as it's a good general text but it's not an all encompassing text on undergraduate organic chemistry :nah: It's huge as it is :p:
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Bradshaw
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#17
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(Original post by JMaydom)
I'm finding it a bit basic for my tutorials. It gives a good overview into virtually every subject, which is what you need for 1st year. By second year, the detail is much higher, so no book can ever hope to cover anything and not collapse under it's own weight!
Two reasons for the discrepancy I expect.

1) In Oxford you don't do other sciences and so the level of detail will be much higher than it is by 2nd year in Cambridge.
2) The Cambridge organic courses are written with the CGWW book in mind, so it will naturally cover the topics presented.
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marshal4
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#18
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(Original post by cpchem)
First truism of undergraduate chemistry - there is no single good inorganic textbook.
So true, so damn true.


For generally every Organic course at uni bar level 1, Clayden won't cover 100% of it (its organometallic/asymmetric segments were non-existant in the 1st edition). But its a reference to go from, it has a very broad selection of organic chemistry and is useful for all 4 years of a MChem course. I know alot of PhD students and industrial chemists who still use it for reference.


If you want the real truth in all of this, the internet is better than most books you'll ever read
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username913907
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(Original post by Bradshaw)
Two reasons for the discrepancy I expect.

1) In Oxford you don't do other sciences and so the level of detail will be much higher than it is by 2nd year in Cambridge.
2) The Cambridge organic courses are written with the CGWW book in mind, so it will naturally cover the topics presented.
How'd you guess!
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chiligrinder
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#20
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#20
Chemistry In Action by Michael Freemantle



It is a good consolidation of the A level materials, however goes into more depth in many of the areas covered. It is a good balance of inorganic and organic topics. The only neglected area is NMR and some spectroscopy related topics; however I guarantee you won't be disappointed. Very well presented and very well worded and set out. From molecular orbital theory to Enthalpy to Functional Groups; it will have you covered.

To clarify; I am not a Chemistry undergrad, nor someone who intends to be; I just enjoy reading about Chemistry and found the particular book extremely useful for my studies.
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