Let's start with a chemical cocktail

Analytical Chemistry. First edition
February 25, 2005

This is a general analytical chemistry textbook principally designed for students on undergraduate chemistry and masters programmes. It covers most of the main components of modern analysis in four sections: the scope of analytical chemistry (nature of analytical measurements and statistics), key principles (gravimetric, volumetric and colorimetric), key analytical techniques (instrumental techniques) and analytical chemistry in practice (radio-analytical, bio-analytical, environmental and laboratory practice).

Each chapter is accompanied by a summary and exercises. The reader can download copies of the book's illustrations and answers to some of the questions from a companion website.

While apparently written in response to difficulties in finding information in mammoth analytical chemistry textbooks, at more than 450 pages this text is not much shorter than its main competition and in many respects it contains much of the same material. In general the coverage is sound, but there are places where the information is out of balance and does not conform with current analytical terminology or practice. Some aspects are overdone, such as the inclusion of numerous chemistries for the modification of silicas, while at other times an inexperienced reader will stall due to insufficient prior knowledge (such as at the book's first reference to 4/2He).

Analytical chemistry has in general been well provided with textbooks, many of which have matured through the years; the competition is now well established and has a committed user base. However, there should always be a place for fresh new texts that make a positive contribution and that fulfil a niche. This book could become such a text, but I am afraid that for now I find it to be a little too raw, in need of debugging and at times rather frustrating.

Alan G. Howard is senior lecturer in analytical and environmental chemistry, Southampton University.

Analytical Chemistry. First edition

Author - Seamus P. J. Higson
Publisher - Oxford University Press
Pages - 453
Price - £24.99
ISBN - 0 19 850289 3

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