Friday, 22 August 2014

Useful Books for Undergraduate Chemistry Students

I love books, like really love books. If you're starting University and studying the physical sciences, I've devised a list of books that may be useful in your first year of University. Every Uni has their own list of recommended reading but obviously not all lists will contain the same books, so I've taken some books that my department recommended and some I discovered myself, that have been really helpful/interesting, so I hope this is of some use if you want to get some books together before starting your course. :-)

  • This book is awesome. It may say that it's for A level Chemistry, but it's full of exercises and calculations that cover all aspects of Chemistry. It's really good for revising your maths skills and working through problems. It also has example problems at the beginning of each chapter so you know how to calculate the answers yourself and it's just really useful if you want to revise answering calculation questions. You can buy it here: Calculations for A-level Chemistry

  • Another Maths book specifically for those undergraduate students studying the chemical sciences without having done A level maths. Again, example problems are given and it covers everything you will cover in your first year maths catch-up lectures. Covers lots of different topics such as differentiation, integration and matrices. You can buy it here: Maths for Chemistry

  • Oxford Chemistry Primers are really helpful. They are small books each focussing on a specific topic in Chemistry and will contain some information that may not be given to you in lectures. They're really good for outside reading, are concise and informative and on the whole, easy to understand. I didn't buy before starting my first year and I really wish I had because generally, the University library will only have a few copies of each and they are really good! I've recently invested in a few to begin my second year and plan on taking them on holiday with me to begin some pre-Uni reading. Just search for Oxford Chemistry Primers on Amazon and there are tonnes of them. Some are more expensive than others and I'm unsure why, but I think I got mine for about a penny each. You can't go wrong. 

  • Who says all educational books have to be text books? If you're studying a subject like chemistry, one topic you will cover in your first year will be the structure of atoms and quantum mechanics. It's difficult to get your head around at first because it's like nothing you've ever encountered before and it always reminds me of the famous quote: "If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics." This is where Brian Greene comes in. 'The Fabric of the Cosmos' is a brilliant book. It really helped me understand quantum mechanics, probability and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. It's also really good if you're interested in concepts such as time and space etc. Amazon have it here: Fabric of the Cosmos 

There are so many useful books out there to aid you in your university course and don't be afraid to try those that aren't textbooks; sometimes they're more helpful as they have a more personal approach and examples you can relate to. :-)

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