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Why Chemical Reactions Happen

James Keeler and Peter Wothers

27 March 2003

ISBN: 9780199249732

256 pages

In Stock

Price: £32.99



By tackling the most central ideas in chemistry, Why Chemical Reactions Happen provides the reader with all the tools and concepts needed to think like a chemist. The text takes a unified approach to the subject, avoiding the traditional divisions of physical, inorganic and organic chemistry and so helps the reader to develop a real overview of chemical processes.

  • Unique unified approach helps the reader to see the connections between different ideas and concepts across the traditional divisions of chemistry
  • Mathematical content is kept to a minimum, making the book suitable for readers from all backgrounds
  • Informal written style with the emphasis on understanding through models and real examples keeps the text accessible and relevant
  • Builds on and reinforces students' prior knowledge by expanding on many ideas and examples first encountered at school or college
  • All the figures from the book will be available to download free from the Online Resource Centre
  • Numerous illustrations, many custom drawn, support the explanations given in the text

About the Author(s)

James Keeler, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, University of Cambridge and Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge, and Peter Wothers, Teaching Fellow in Chemistry, University of Cambridge and Fellow of St. Catharine's College, Cambridge

Table of Contents

    1:What this book is about and who should read it
    2:What makes a reaction go?
    3:Ionic interactions
    4:Electrons in atoms
    5:Electrons in simple molecules
    6:Electrons in larger molecules
    9:Rates of reaction
    10:Bonding in extended systems - conjugation
    11:Substitution and elimination reactions
    12:The effects of the solvent
    13:Leaving groups
    14:Competing reactions


"I feel that Peter and James have done a tremendous job of explaining chemical reactions using perspectives that are not used in traditional text books. They explain reactions in terms of bonding theories and orbitals rather than solely using kinetics and equilibrium. The author's use of visual representations throughout the book increases the comprehension of the material covered in the text. I look forward to using this textbook in my organic chemistry courses. Physical Sciences Educational Reviews 2004."

"'Why Chemical Reactions Happen is one of nature's secrets....This insightful book reveals in clear and impressive style what motivates molecules to metamorphose into something new. It supplies all the essentials for understanding entrophy and how to choreograph molecular transformations to its music' Times Higher Education Supplement, February 2004."