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Chemistry: An Atoms-Focused Approach (Second Edition)


Author: Thomas R. Gilbert and Rein V. Kirss

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company


Publish Date: June 1, 2017

ISBN-10: 393614050

Pages: 1256

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

Dear Student,

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. Still, you may be wondering why we chose to put peeling wallpaper on the cover of a chemistry book. Actually, the cover photo is not wallpaper but the bark of a Pacific Madrone tree, Arbutus menziesii. The illustration shows a molecular view of the cellulose that is a principal component of tree’s trunk, including its peeling bark and the heartwood beneath it.

Our cover illustrates a central message of this book: the properties of substances are directly linked to their atomic and molecular structures. In our book we start with the smallest particles of matter and assemble them into more elaborate structures: from subatomic particles to single atoms to monatomic ions and polyatomic ions, and from atoms to small molecules to bigger ones to truly gigantic polymers. By constructing this layered particulate view of matter, we hope our book helps you visualize the properties of substances and the changes they undergo during chemical reactions. With that in mind, we begin each chapter with a Particulate Review and Particulate Preview on the very first page. The goal of these tools is to prepare you for the material in the chapter. The Particulate Review assesses important prior knowledge that you need to interpret particulate images in the chapter. The Particulate Preview asks you to expand your prior knowledge and to speculate about the new concepts you will see in the chapter. It is also designed to focus your reading by asking you to look out for key terms and concepts. As you develop your ability to visualize atoms and molecules, you will find that you don’t have to resort to memorizing formulas and reactions as a strategy for surviving general chemistry. Instead, you will be able to understand why elements combine to form compounds with particular formulas and why substances react with each other the way they do.


While our primary goal is for you to be able to interpret and even predict the physical and chemical properties of substances based on their atomic and molecular structures, we would also like you to understand how chemistry is linked to other scientific disciplines. We illustrate these connections using contexts drawn from fields such as biology, medicine, environmental science, materials science, and engineering. We hope that this approach helps you better understand how scientists apply the principles of chemistry to treat and cure diseases, to make more efficient use of natural resources, and to minimize the impact of human activity on our planet and its people.

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