Top positive review
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An engaging and well organized new text for general chemistry
on January 23, 2007
This is a new textbook for general chemistry. Yes, there a quite a number of general chemistry texts and they all cover roughly the same general material. They differ more in how they organize the material, illustrate it, and their method of helping the student develop a solid understanding and command of this basic material. The student not only needs to learn the basic facts of chemistry, she needs to learn how to think about it so when she looks at the world, she can see and understand the issues as they relate to this vital science.
Dr. Tro begins this book by explaining how the text was developed and provides instructions for the student on how to make the most of the book. I liked this a great deal. He starts the book by providing what he thinks is the most important scientific idea in all of human knowledge: "the properties of matter are determined by the properties of molecules and atoms". From there he builds all the principles taught in general chemistry. He also define chemistry as: "the science that seeks to understand the behavior of matter by studying the behavior of atoms and molecules".
Each chapter is organized in a similar fashion and a great deal of emphasis is placed on making the illustrations demonstrate a principle - a process - rather than an isolated picture. Tro also has interesting articles of chemistry in various fields in different chapters and he often introduces ideas with practical issues that will likely matter to the student.
For review, at the end of each chapter he goes over the key concepts taught, the key equations and relationships discussed, and the key skills that the student is expected to have learned. He provides exercises to test one's mastery of the material that the student can answer for himself. The problems are organized by chapter topic. Those listed with blue numbers have answers provided in the back of the book. There are also cumulative problems that build on skills learned previously, challenge problems, and conceptual problems that go a bit further than the minimum requirements of chapter mastery.
Besides Appendix III with selected answers, there are others with key equations, useful data, and a glossary. And there is a good index, as well.
I think it is a handsome and very useful text for teaching and learning general chemistry. A general reader could benefit from studying from it because it is clear and engaging enough that one can work through what is being taught.