Why Chemical Reactions Happen

Why Chemical Reactions Happen


By (author) James Keeler, By (author) Peter Wothers

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 149mm x 214mm x 19mm | 358g
  • Publication date: 30 June 2003
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199249733
  • ISBN 13: 9780199249732
  • Illustrations note: numerous line figures
  • Sales rank: 98,462

Product description

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, aiming to help the reader develop a real overview of chemical processes, by avoiding the traditional divisions of physical, inorganic and organic chemistry. To understand how chemical reactions happen we need to know about the bonding in molecules, how molecules interact, what determines whether an interaction is favourable or not, and what the outcome will be. Answering these questions requires an understanding of topics from quantum mechanics, through thermodynamics, to "curly arrows". In this book all of these topics are presented in a coherent and coordinated fashion, showing how each leads to a deeper understanding of chemical reactions.

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Author information

Peter Wothers studied Chemistry at Cambridge, graduating in 1991 before undertaking a PhD under Professor A.J.Kirby on stereoelectronic effects and conformational analysis in organic chemistry. In 1996 he was appointed to the newly established post of 'Teaching Fellow' in the Department of Chemistry. He lectures to the undergraduates and also runs the physical chemistry practical courses. He is involved in teaching chemistry to all age groups from giving demonstration lectures to the general public and school children to running courses for teachers designed to update their subject knowledge. In 2002 he was awarded a Pilkington Teaching Prize from the University. During his time at Cambridge, Peter has remained at St Catharine's College where, amongst other things, he is the Director of Studies in Chemistry.

Review quote

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.

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 ; 7. Reactions ; 8. Equilibrium ; 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