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Chemistry for the Biosciences

The Essential Concepts

Third Edition

Jonathan Crowe and Tony Bradshaw

January 2014

ISBN: 9780199662883

768 pages

In Stock

Price: £33.99

The ideal text for students learning about the molecular basis of biology.



Chemistry for the Biosciences introduces the essential concepts of chemistry central to understanding biological systems. With an emphasis on straightforward explanations, it features biological examples illustrating how integral chemistry is to the biosciences, and includes learning features to help students master the essentials.

  • Focuses on the key chemical concepts which students of the biosciences need to understand, making the scope of the book directly relevant to the target audience.
  • A conversational style and everyday analogies are used throughout, to help students relate unfamiliar concepts to situations and experiences that they are familiar with, and hence boost confidence in learning and understanding the subject.
  • Opportunities for problem-solving, both in the book and online, encourage the reader to master key concepts and develop important numerical and data-handling skills.
  • The assumption of limited prior knowledge makes it an ideal 'leveller', suitable for students with a range of backgrounds.
  • Rich pedagogy makes learning as effective as possible: cross references encourage readers to make connections between different aspects of a broad subject; key points reinforce the messages that readers should grasp having read the text; marginal comments and footnotes provide extra clarifications; checklists of key concepts act as a useful revision tool; boxes throughout provide a deeper exploration of biological examples.
  • Maths support is provided via the Maths Tool feature, going into detail about mathematical skills and concepts used in the text to enable students to supplement their mathematical knowledge.

New to this edition

  • New Chemical Toolkits explore some of the key skills and tools essential to understanding chemistry, and complement the existing Maths Tools.
  • A new chapter, Metals in Biology, reviews the importance of metal ions in biological systems, to complement the coverage of organic compounds in other chapters.
  • Enhanced and extended coverage of chemical reactions, including increased coverage of redox reactions and electrode potentials, and more emphasis on the carbonyl group and nucleophilic attack, and the reactions of carbonyl -containing compounds.
  • Earlier introduction of ionization energy.
  • Increased coverage of hydrogen bonding, resonance theory and enthalpy changes.
  • Coverage of the mole and concentration is brought forward to chapter 5, giving students earlier exposure to these central concepts.
  • Coverage of the structure of biological molecules now integrated into Chapter 10, Biological Macromolecules.
  • Coverage of chemical reactions is brought forward to chapters 12 and 13, putting this topic back at the heart of the book.
  • Coverage of electronegativity is brought earlier in chapter 3 as a lead into ionic and covalent bonding.
  • The overview of hydrocarbons has been reorganized to make the discussion more comparative, and to highlight common features.
  • New problem-solving questions, available via the book's ORC, help students to develop their data-handling skills.
  • A greater number of self-check questions provide students with more opportunities for active learning while reading each chapter.
  • Video screencasts online walk readers through a selection of examples and calculations to help them master key numerical and data-handling skills.

About the Author(s)

Jonathan Crowe, Oxford, UK, and Tony Bradshaw, Principal Lecturer, York St John University

Jonathan Crowe is a science publisher and science writer based in Oxford, UK. A biochemist by background, Jonathan has extensive experience of making science accessible to a broad audience both through his science writing and science editing. As well as writing Chemistry for the Biosciences, he is also Deputy Editor of the digital science publication, Guru Magazine.

Tony Bradshaw is Project Manager for Biomedical Science at York St John University and lectures in chemistry, biochemistry and the molecular biology of cancer at Oxford Brookes University. Prior to this he has worked at the University of Warwick, researching as a member of the Interferon Group, and at the Shell Toxicology Research Laboratory in Sittingbourne, working on mechanisms of chemical carcinogenesis. In recent years he has developed a new and very popular degree course in Biomedical Sciences at Oxford Brookes.

Table of Contents

    1: Introduction: why biologists need chemistry
    2: Atoms: the foundations of life
    3: Compounds and chemical bonding: bringing atoms together
    4: Molecular interactions: holding it all together
    5: Moles, concentrations, and dilutions: making sense of chemical numbers
    6: Organic compounds 1: hydrocarbons as the framework of life
    7: Organic compounds 2: adding function to the framework of life
    8: Molecular shape and structure: life in three dimensions
    13: Isomerism: generating chemical variety
    10: Biological macromolecules: providing life's infrastructure
    11: Metals in biology: life beyond carbon
    12: Chemical reactions 1: bringing molecules to life
    13: Chemical reactions 2: reaction mechanisms driving the chemistry of life
    14: Energy: what makes reactions go?
    15: Equilibria: how far do reactions go?
    16: Kinetics: what affects the speed of a reaction?
    17: Acids, bases, and buffer solutions: life in an aqueous environment
    18: Chemical analysis: characterizing chemical compounds


Review from previous edition 'This book is the best of its kind on the market; Crowe and Bradshaw is superbly written, makes great use of analogy, and maintains good biological focus.' - James McEvoy, Lecturer in Biological Chemistry, Royal Holloway, University of London

'Excellent in coverage and depth, with a clear and engaging structure.' - Paul Hagan, Teaching Fellow, University of Ulster

Additional Resources

Chemistry for the Biosciences 3/e is supported by an extensive Online Resource Centre, featuring:

For registered adopters:
-Figures from the book in electronic format, ready to download;
- A test bank of questions, with feedback linked to the text.

For students:
- Multiple-choice questions to aid exam preparation and revision;
- Full solutions to self-check questions;
- Data analysis and numerical practice worksheets;
- Mini-tutorials that walk students through a range of key concepts introduced in the book.

We have collected together all of the mini tutorials accompanying this book as YouTube playlist. Click here to watch >