Article by: Perry Romanowski

Recently I picked up a few chemistry books. It’s very interesting to go back and read about basic chemistry because I haven’t done that since college. As a cosmetic chemist, you spend more time learning about raw materials than you do about basic chemistry. But I went into chemistry because I loved the subject and can better appreciate it now. After thoroughly enjoying my reading of The Joy of Chemistry, I was eager to read Chemistry Connections – The Chemical Basis of Everyday Phenomena.

Chemistry Connections overview

The basic goal of Chemistry Connections is to introduce the general public to the wide variety of places that chemistry touches their lives. It’s written in a question and answer format and covers such diverse topics as lava lamps, baby shampoo, bullet proof vests, contact lenses, carbonated drinks, blue jeans, and much much more. The great part is that there were many topics which I had never studied. These aren’t the kinds of things that you would have learned in college as they are really specialized. When getting a chemistry degree you learn general stuff and there isn’t much time for specialization.

The book has about 100 questions (with answers) and is organized by typical chemistry topics like atoms, solids, liquids, gases, acids/bases, thermodynamics, organic chemistry, and polymers. This is similar to the organization of the Joy of Chemistry book. It makes sense.

Each question is answered in general terms and then with more specific chemistry. It makes sense and the entries are interesting. Also, they provide a listing of where you might learn more with Internet links. Very handy. This may make the electronic version of the book superior. Of course, I like to have actual books for some reason.

The one negative thing I should say about this book is that while the authors say they wrote it for the general public, I’m a little skeptical. There is some complicated stuff and if I didn’t have a background in chemistry it would have been a much more difficult read. It was already a bit of a heady read quite frankly. No doubt I will have to go back and review some of the answers in the future.

Final ruling

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I learned a lot of things about different aspects of chemistry and realized that I was already familiar with topics I hadn’t realized. Guess my college general courses did prepare me to pick things up via osmosis.

You can get a copy of Chemistry Connections – The Chemical Basis of Everyday Phenomena here.  And if you purchase through this link you help support Chemists Corner.  Thanks!

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