Interesting/ entertaining chemistry-related books?

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4lic
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I'm hoping to do Chemistry at uni (currently in Year 12) and was wondering if anyone knew any interesting and entertaining chemistry books that I could read? It seems that all the science-y books are all about physics! :/

I like books that are written with a sense of humour so please don't recommend any textbooks! I've read 'Bad Science' by Ben Goldacre as an example of the kind of thing I'm looking for

PS: Sorry if this is the wrong forum for this question- this is my first TSR thread!
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Dynamo123
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(Original post by 4lic)
I'm hoping to do Chemistry at uni (currently in Year 12) and was wondering if anyone knew any interesting and entertaining chemistry books that I could read? It seems that all the science-y books are all about physics! :/

I like books that are written with a sense of humour so please don't recommend any textbooks! I've read 'Bad Science' by Ben Goldacre as an example of the kind of thing I'm looking for

PS: Sorry if this is the wrong forum for this question- this is my first TSR thread!
Hiya! Chemistry is great as long as its fun. Although I do not study Chemistry at uni, I do have to study Biochemistry, and it is my favorite subject. There is a logic in chemistry you can't find in biology.
There are those For dummies books, which explain all the basic processes, but in a fun way, so that you don't get bored.
Then the best thing for chemistry is probably chemguide.co.uk The guy there doesn't mind explaining everything in the best way possible. Plus, he's added links to concepts in every page, so that you can skip what you're reading, get the concept and return back.

For Biochemistry (since I'm studying this, I know more about it than organic or physical chemistry. Sorry ) there's Harper's. It's not that funny, but it is full of interesting stuff. Like why the phrase "as mad as a hatter" had a chemical basis.

P.S. If you do find any interesting books on physical or esp. quantum chemistry, can you tell me as well?
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4lic
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(Original post by Dynamo123)
Hiya! Chemistry is great as long as its fun. Although I do not study Chemistry at uni, I do have to study Biochemistry, and it is my favorite subject. There is a logic in chemistry you can't find in biology.
There are those For dummies books, which explain all the basic processes, but in a fun way, so that you don't get bored.
Then the best thing for chemistry is probably chemguide.co.uk The guy there doesn't mind explaining everything in the best way possible. Plus, he's added links to concepts in every page, so that you can skip what you're reading, get the concept and return back.

For Biochemistry (since I'm studying this, I know more about it than organic or physical chemistry. Sorry ) there's Harper's. It's not that funny, but it is full of interesting stuff. Like why the phrase "as mad as a hatter" had a chemical basis.

P.S. If you do find any interesting books on physical or esp. quantum chemistry, can you tell me as well?

Thanks for replying! I completely agree about the logic thing- in chemistry there is a right answer, I love biology too but find the concepts too subjective- it's never just right or wrong!

My teacher introduced me to Chemguide and also Khanacademy which is good for short little explanation videos I was really looking for something to read outside of school just for entertainment really!
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08rdiss
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Hi i'm a year 12 student hoping to study chemistry at Uni too
I recently got a book called 'why reactions happen' which is pretty good! Also the oxford primers books are really good! There are loads of them on all sorts of chemistry related topics and they're not too complicated but still interesting! Hope this helps!
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SerLorasTyrell
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The alchemist


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KombatWombat
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Why Chemical Reactions Happen isn't the most exhilarating of books, but it is a really nice 'intro' to uni level chemistry, although its much more academic than Bad Science.

Oxford chemistry primers tend to be good, although I'd stick to 'foundations of…' or 'introduction to…' books if I were you. There's the odd one that has quite an interesting title but is actually just some oxford professor copying their lecture notes from a 2nd/3rd year lecture course… Introduction to Quantum theory and Atomic Structure by Cox, and atomic spectra by Softley, were both interesting and reasonably approachable, IMO.

One thing to say though is definitely take notes! You probably won't get much out of it otherwise.
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Dynamo123
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(Original post by SerLorasTyrell)
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How is that even remotely related to Chemistry, and especially university level chemistry?
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charco
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"Trick or Treatment" - Simon Singh
"The Periodic Table" - Primo Levi
"The Drunkard's Walk" - Leonard Mlodinow
"Struck by Lightning" - Jeffrey Rosenthal
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4lic
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(Original post by 08rdiss)
Hi i'm a year 12 student hoping to study chemistry at Uni too
I recently got a book called 'why reactions happen' which is pretty good! Also the oxford primers books are really good! There are loads of them on all sorts of chemistry related topics and they're not too complicated but still interesting! Hope this helps!
Thank you! Which unis are you thinking of going to out of curiosity?
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4lic
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(Original post by KombatWombat)
Why Chemical Reactions Happen isn't the most exhilarating of books, but it is a really nice 'intro' to uni level chemistry, although its much more academic than Bad Science.

Oxford chemistry primers tend to be good, although I'd stick to 'foundations of…' or 'introduction to…' books if I were you. There's the odd one that has quite an interesting title but is actually just some oxford professor copying their lecture notes from a 2nd/3rd year lecture course… Introduction to Quantum theory and Atomic Structure by Cox, and atomic spectra by Softley, were both interesting and reasonably approachable, IMO.

One thing to say though is definitely take notes! You probably won't get much out of it otherwise.
Awesome And thanks for the advice!
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4lic
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(Original post by charco)
"Trick or Treatment" - Simon Singh
"The Periodic Table" - Primo Levi
"The Drunkard's Walk" - Leonard Mlodinow
"Struck by Lightning" - Jeffrey Rosenthal
Thank you for the reply Your first two recommendations sound perfect!
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ChemistryBud
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Periodic Tales, The Curious Lives of the Elements by Hugh Aldersey-Williams
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KombatWombat
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(Original post by 4lic)
Awesome And thanks for the advice!
No worries. I know I suggested mostly 'textbook' style books, but honestly one of the best ways of preparing is by reading and learning about stuff you genuinely find interesting on its own merit!
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(Original post by SerLorasTyrell)
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:rofl:
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SerLorasTyrell
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(Original post by Dynamo123)
How is that even remotely related to Chemistry, and especially university level chemistry?
Have you even read it or are you just being ignorant?


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Dynamo123
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(Original post by SerLorasTyrell)
Have you even read it or are you just being ignorant?


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I have read it. And tbh, I think it was a pile of rubbish. And unless you got it messed up (I am talking about Coelho's book, btw, dunno if you are talking about anything else), it does not have even an inkling of stuff related to Chemistry.
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if you want some general maths/science stuff, feel free to pm me and ill give you a link to my google drive
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ChemistryBud
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(Original post by Dynamo123)
I have read it. And tbh, I think it was a pile of rubbish. And unless you got it messed up (I am talking about Coelho's book, btw, dunno if you are talking about anything else), it does not have even an inkling of stuff related to Chemistry.
I agree that Coelho's book doesn't provide many useful insights into chemistry. I wouldn't say its total rubbish though, I quite enjoyed it- each to their own.
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Dynamo123
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(Original post by ChemistryBud)
I agree that Coelho's book doesn't provide many useful insights into chemistry. I wouldn't say its total rubbish though, I quite enjoyed it- each to their own.
Yup, initially I enjoyed it as well, but then, I turned to better things.
There are so many interesting books pertaining to actual, practical science that I don't think these kind of books can be even tagged as scientific. They are good, but it is horrifying to see the no. of people who are turning their backs on actual science and resorting to pseudoscience. Sagan would have died of shock. :O
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4lic
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(Original post by ChemistryBud)
Periodic Tales, The Curious Lives of the Elements by Hugh Aldersey-Williams
Thank you Sounds perfect!
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