Publisher description for Reactions : the private life of atoms / by Peter Atkins.
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Illustrated with remarkable new full-color images--one or more on every page--and written by one of the world's leading authorities on the subject, Reactions offers a compact, pain-free tour of the inner workings of chemistry.
Reactions begins with the chemical formula almost everyone knows--the formula for water, H2O--a molecule with an "almost laughably simple chemical composition." But Peter Atkins shows that water is also rather miraculous--it is the only substance whose solid form is less dense than its liquid (hence ice floats in water)--and incredibly central to many chemical reactions, as it is an excellent solvent, being able to dissolve gases and many solids. Moreover, Atkins tells us that water is actually chemically aggressive, and can react with and destroy the compounds dissolved in it, and he also shows us what happens at the molecular level when water turns to ice--and when it melts.
Moving beyond water, Atkins slowly builds up a toolkit of basic chemical processes, including precipitation (perhaps the simplest of all chemical reactions), combustion, reduction, corrosion, electrolysis, and catalysis. He then shows how these fundamental tools can be brought together in more complex processes such as photosynthesis, radical polymerization, vision, enzyme control, and synthesis.
Peter Atkins is a world-renowned chemist who has taught at Oxford for decades and has an established track record as a popular science writer. In this crystal-clear, attractively illustrated, and insightful volume, Atkins treats the reader to a fantastic introductory tour--in just a few hundred colorful and lively pages.
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