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General Chemistry [Paperback]

Linus Pauling
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 1988 0486656225 978-0486656229 3
"An excellent text, highly recommended." — Choice
When it was first published, this first-year chemistry text revolutionized the teaching of chemistry by presenting it in terms of unifying principles instead of as a body of unrelated facts. Those principles included modern theories of atomic and molecular structure, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and thermodynamics. In addition, Dr. Pauling attempted to correlate the theories with descriptive chemistry, the observed properties of substances, to introduce the student to the multitude of chemical substances and their properties.
In this extensively revised and updated third edition, the Nobel Prize–winning author maintains an excellent balance between theoretical and descriptive material, although the amount of descriptive chemistry has been decreased somewhat, and the presentation of the subject, especially in relation to the nonmetals, has been revised in such a way as to permit greater correlation with the electronic structure of atoms, especially electronegativity.
The principles of quantum mechanics are discussed on the basis of the de Broglie wavelength of the electron. The quantized energy levels of a particle in a box are derived by means of a simple assumption about the relation of the de Broglie waves to the walls of the box. No attempt is made to solve the Schrödinger wave equation for other systems, but the wave functions of hydrogen-like electrons are presented  and discussed in some detail, and the quantum states for other systems are also covered. Statistical mechanics is introduced before thermodynamics, and the discussion of thermodynamics is based on it. This arrangement reflects the author's belief that beginning students can understand statistical mechanics better than chemical thermodynamics.
Aimed at first-year college students who plan to major in chemistry or closely related fields, the book is written in a logical, clear, and understandable style. In addition, many excellent figures are included, along with numerous problems and 75 pages of appendices covering such topics as symmetry of molecules and crystals, hybrid bond orbitals, and magnetic properties of substances.

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About the Author

Linus Pauling: Two-Time Nobel Laureate
In 1985 Dover reprinted Introduction to Quantum Mechanics with Applications to Chemistry, a well-known older book by Linus Pauling and E. Bright Wilson. This book had been first published fifty years earlier and remarkably still found readers in 1985, and still does today, twenty-five years further on.

The first edition of Pauling's General Chemistry was a short book of less than 250 pages published in 1944, during World War II. Three years later, it had more than doubled in size to almost 600 pages, and the 1953 edition was over 700 pages. Fifteen years later, for the 1970 edition, it reached its final size and configuration at almost 1,000 pages ― and that is the edition which Dover reprinted in 1988. Dr. Pauling's one request at that time was that we keep the price affordable for students.

Linus Pauling is of course the only Dover author to win two Nobel prizes, for Chemistry in 1954 and for Peace in 1962; he is the only winner in history of two unshared Nobel Prizes.

In the Author's Own Words:
"Satisfaction of one's curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life."

"Do unto others 20% better than you would expect them to do unto you, to correct for subjective error."

"The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas, and throw the bad ones away."

"Facts are the air of scientists. Without them you can never fly." — Linus Pauling

Critical Acclaim for General Chemistry:
"An excellent text, highly recommended." — Choice

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The classic text is still great May 20 2004
This is my 800th published review on Amazon so I thought I'd try to do something a little special. I review a lot of non-fiction and science books in various areas, and when I saw Pauling's classic text recently, I knew it fit the bill.
This is the unabridged Dover 1988 republication of the original 3rd edition published by W.H. Freeman and Co. in 1970 (the 1st ed. was 1947, if I remember right). At 972 pages, 26 long chapters, 16 appendices, and 283 figures and illustrations, it's a monster of a book even for a chemistry text.
When the text first appeared, it marked a major landmark and innovation in the teaching of chemistry in the extent to which Pauling was able to present the entire subject of chemistry in terms of its underlying unifying principles rather than as a collection of unrelated chemical facts. Pauling closely ties in the observable phenomena of chemistry with the most powerful theories, which he says include modern atomic and molecular theories, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and thermodynamics.
Not the least of its virtues is that it is, despite the high-level treatment, surprisingly easy and enjoyable to read. The occasional mathematical treatments aren't easy for the beginner, certainly, but overall the book is quite approachable in terms of the style.
Pauling presents statistical mechanics first since he believes it's easier to grasp for the beginning student than chemical thermodynamics. Although there is some advanced math and calculus, as I said, most of that is located in the many appendices.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful for High School! Oct. 15 2002
P>Obviously, I'm not an expert in every science, and my degree is in Physics, so I need to spend a lot of extra time researching and making sure my facts are correct. Although this is a college level book, I find it very helpful in making concepts clear. I am not into plagiarizing, but before I can write anything of my own, it needs to be absolutely clear in my own head.
This book is excellent at giving me that clarity. Besides his lucid explanations, there is his arrangement of topics. He puts topics together that belong together. Looking over what I had written before buying this book, I've realized that he has roughly the same ideas that I do on organization!
I also appreciate his clear, simple line drawings, and I think the stereoscopic drawings are just plain COOL! I even "borrowed" one just so my students could see it.
Complaints: Naturally, this is a college book, so it isn't ideal for my needs. Also, I have noticed a few items that are out of date. Of course, at the high school level, I don't often teach these things. Also, for a college book, it seems odd to me to hide the mathematics in the appendix. Even at the high school level, there is more math.
Overall, although this would be a poor choice as a primary source, it is excellent as a resource used in combination with other resources. It is also good for simply reading!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Undergraduate Text ever! Dec 16 2001
When Linus Pauling was teaching undergraduates at Caltech, he found that none of the existing undergrad texts would serve his purpose.So he decided to write his own.This was in the 1940's.The result, 'General Chemistry', even after more than 50 years, is the best introduction to Chemistry at the University level that I know of.I discovered this book in my sophomore year, and after that I couldn't put it down.If you can really read this book thoroughly, you can probably say that you have an excellent grasp of most or almost all of the fundamental principles of Chemistry.Pauling's style of explaining the essentials without compromising on information is unparalleled.The small, simple calculations that he illustrates in each chapter are enlightening.In addition, the book is lavishly illustrated with beautiful figures by Roger Hayward.Pauling has a special knack of bringing out the flavour of seemingly boring topics like Thermochemistry and Ionic Equilibrium.If you have to have one book for setting your Chemical knowledge on the right path, trust me and buy this one.You will get enlightened by it forever.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Despite its age, still a truly fine book. Oct. 3 1999
By A Customer
Even though this is NOT the most up to date and technically correct text out there, it is still the best introduction to general chemistry I've seen which is why I rated it 5 stars (I refuse to dock it points for being old, unlike other reviews of other books I've seen). I found a copy at a garage sale, best four bucks I've spent in a while. The format of this book is superb, basing thermodynamics on his discussion of statistical mechanics and QM-he found it makes learning much more smooth, and I happen to agree. If someone would get permission to update this book and not much more, perfect general chem text for a college sequence. For those who'd like more physical and mathematical detail, the appendices are chock full of derivations, integrations and connections to make your heart swoon. Excellent book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasure Reading Oct. 13 2000
Linus Pauling's treatise on general chemistry is exciting and interesting. The book presents very basic but in-depth discussion of chemical phenomena such as thermodynamics and molecular structure. It is clear, reader-friendly, and easy to read. It is not meant to be just a textbook but a fun book for evening reading. No mathematical background is assumed. I recommend this book for undergraduate students as well as everyone who is interested in reading science but curbed by all the mathematical manipulations.
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