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Chemical Principles 5th Edition

16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0618372065
ISBN-10: 0618372067
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Steve Zumdahl is the author of market-leading textbooks in introductory chemistry, general chemistry, honors-level chemistry, and high school chemistry. Recently retired from his long-time position as Director of Undergraduate Programs at the University of Illinois, he has received numerous awards for his contributions to chemical education. These include the National Catalyst Award in recognition of his contribution to chemical education, the University of Illinois Teaching Award, the UIUC Liberal Arts and Sciences Advising Award, and the School of Chemical Sciences Teaching Award (five times). He earned his B.S. in Chemistry from Wheaton College (IL), and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1070 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin; 5th edition (July 26, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618372067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618372065
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 8.2 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #881,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By R. Reed on July 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Why does my university use this book? The University of Washington uses this book to weed out the pre med students. Why do they choose this book? Zumdahl purposely wrote this book to be confusing. Try reading pp. 668 through 670 in the fifth edition. He wrote this to be especially confusing by not being consistent with phase signs nor giving clear statements, such as "When the phase of the right orbital is reversed and combined with the left orbital." What orbitals is he talking about? The ones on a figure, that happen to be on a different page, which is not in view when reading this page? This book is horrible and is designed for the student to fail. Thank you Zumdahl and UW for trying to ruin chemistry for your students.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jacob Simmering on November 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is the book my prof had us use for GenChem (129) my freshmen year of college. The book isn't the best I have seen and if I hadn't had a really rigorous prep in AP Chem I would have been lost in the reading. I didn't think the book was very clear with the formulae. It spent a lot of time explaining how a formula was derived, a student should have an understanding of the reasoning for the formula (or George Berkeley will yell), but this text does not give the formula and what all the variables are at once point. This makes review and looking up formulae rather labourous. The text misses a few important ideas (intensive vs. extensive properties) but spends a rather excessive amount of time on "present sources of energy" in an attempt, I presume, to relate the text to daily life. The data in the back of the book doesn't match up with a good deal of the data I have encountered elsewhere (while the difference isn't huge, it is present). Also, this may be because I came from a background where strict usage of sig figs was required, no points could be awarded if there were mistakes in the sig figs, I have noticed that the text plays rather "loose" with the sig figs. Also, it has comments like "We are keeping track of the sign value for this number in our heads." Furthermore, some of the vocab usage is off from what it should be (i.e. "All values are assumed precise to at least plus/minus 1." is noted on the list of thermodynamic data, it means the data is accurate, how close to the "true" value, and not precise, how close the tests are to one another). These are all minor problems, but proper use of vocab and sig figs are vital to the ability of a student to communcate properly and therefore I feel that the text should provide a model for the student.

Of the GenChem textbooks I have used, I vastly prefer Chemistry : The Central Science by Brown, LeMay and Bursten.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric Boyer on December 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Overall this is a pretty good textbook. Explanations are pretty good, but my chemistry textbooks from high school presented subjects in a more straight-forward and easier to understand way. Also, this textbook is only meant for people who have good knowledge of high school chemistry already.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tyler on July 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
One thing that I really like is Zumdahl's emphasis on models. He spends a good amount of time discussing their powers, limitations, and applications. He is often sure to remind the reader that we are always dealing with representations, rather than exact descriptions, when we work at the molecular level. He even goes at length to show how and when these models fail and succeed.
As far as the math goes, I think Zumdahl does as good a job as he can given the circumstances. Authors of introductory chemistry books have tough decisions to make when it comes to rigorous mathematical explanations of chemical concepts. On the one hand, authors have to contend with the fact that most students don't go into Chemistry I armed with a knowledge of calculus. On the other hand, several fundamental chemical concepts require the use of calculus if a complete treatment is desired.
Zumdahl strikes a good middle ground, showing the derivations for nearly all of his formulas, without resorting to endless lines of calculations that would be incomprehensible to students with no more than a strong algebra/trig background.
One of the weaker points of the text is the lack of graphics/illustrations. This may simply be due to the fact that this is a slight older edition (5e, 2004), but I find there to be less visual aids than in certain other introductory texts (Chang comes to mind).
Anyway, overall I find it to be a strong (albeit perhaps not excellent) text for students with a solid background in the science.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Britt on December 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had to have it for a class. It worked. Can't really say much more about it, not sure who reads this kind of stuff for pleasure. Seems to me if you are ordering it it is probably cause you don't have a choice so even if I said it was a horrible text, you still have to order it.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By H. Hagopian on June 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Not only did my chemistry class not use this book, but I cannot imagine how ANY class could use this. This book is so badly written, that it isn't even worth opening. It doesn't follow any particular order, and it frequently jumps back and forth between highly advanced topics and surprisingly dumb examples. Reading through even a single chapter of this book will lower the intelligence quotient of any sane individual. I suppose this book could serve a useful purpose, but only if that purpose was to teach the students to forget what they already knew about chemistry. I think I've made my point: do not buy this book under any circumstances.
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