Water and Life The Unique Properties of H20

BOOKS
CHEMISTRY

1.
Ruth M. Lynden-Bell, Simon Con
Water and Life: The Unique Properties of H20

Reflecting a rich technical and interdisciplinary exchange of ideas, Water and Life: The Unique Properties of H20 focuses on the properties of water and its interaction with life. The book develops a variety of approaches that help to illuminate ways in which to address deeper questions with respect to the nature of the universe and our place within it.

Grouped in five broad parts, this collection examines the arguments of Lawrence J. Henderson and other scholars on the “fitness” of water for life as part of the physical and chemical properties of nature considered as a foundational environment within which life has emerged and evolved. Leading authorities delve into a range of themes and questions that span key areas of ongoing debate and uncertainty. They draw from the fields of chemistry, biology, biochemistry, planetary and earth sciences, physics, astronomy, and their subspecialties. Several chapters also deal with humanistic disciplines, such as the history of science and theology, to provide additional perspectives.

Bringing together highly esteemed researchers from multidisciplinary fields, this volume addresses fundamental questions relating to the possible role of water in the origin of life in the cosmos. It supports readers in their own explorations of the origin and meaning of life and the role of water in maintaining life.

Review

“In the present volume, you will find a much deeper probing, often with the powerful tools of quantum mechanics, of the subtle and sometimes unexpected features of the water molecule in its various states. … You will find here a group of counterfactual studies, where the chemists have picked up the challenge of the cosmologists to imagine other universes where certain physical constants are different. (Of particular interest is the strength of the hydrogen bond, with its implications not only for the physical behavior of water, but for the zipping or unzipping of the nucleic acid links in the strands of genetic DNA.) Toward the end of the book, a more philosophical approach to these pursuits is taken, searching for possible implications to the ‘big questions’ and asking whether anything from the biochemical laboratories hints at an answer about the purposefulness of the universe. Perhaps not unexpectedly, the answers are ambiguous, and the search goes on.”
-From the Foreword by Owen Gingerich, professor emeritus of astronomy and the history of science, Harvard University, and senior astronomer emeritus, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

2.
David Klein
Student Study Guide and Solutions Manual for Organic Chemistry

Students often say, “I studied 40 hours for this exam and I still didn’t do well. Where did I go wrong?” Most instructors hear this complaint every year. In many cases, it is true that the student invested countless hours, only to produce abysmal results. Often, inefficient study habits are to blame. The important question is: why do so many students have difficulty preparing themselves for organic chemistry exams? There are certainly several factors at play here, but perhaps the most dominant factor is a fundamental disconnect between what students learn and the tasks expected of them. To address the disconnect in organic chemistry instruction, David Klein has developed a textbook that utilizes a skills-based approach to instruction. The textbook includes all of the concepts typically covered in an organic chemistry textbook, but special emphasis is placed on skills development to support these concepts. This emphasis upon skills development will provide students with a greater opportunity to develop proficiency in the key skills necessary to succeed in organic chemistry. As an example, resonance structures are used repeatedly throughout the course, and students must become masters of resonance structures early in the course. Therefore, a significant portion of chapter 1 is devoted to drawing resonance structures. Two chapters (6 and 12) are devoted almost entirely to skill development. Chapter 6 emphasizes skills that are necessary for drawing mechanisms, while chapter 12 prepares the student for proposing syntheses. In addition, each chapter contains numerous Skillbuilders, each of which is designed to foster a specific skill. Each skillbuildercontains three parts: 1. Learn the Skill : a solved problem that demonstrates a particular skill; 2. Practice the Skill: numerous problems (similar to the solved problem) that give the students an opportunity to practice and master the skill; 3. Apply the Skill: one or two more-challenging problems in which the student must apply the skill in a slightly different environment. These problems include conceptual, cumulative, and applied problems that encourage students to think out of the box. Sometimes problems that foreshadow concepts introduced in later chapters are also included. All SkillBuilders are visually summarized at the end of each chapter (Skillbuilder review), followed by a list of suggested in-chapter and end-of-chapter practice problems. David Klein is a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University where he teaches Organic and General Chemistry. He is a dynamic and creative teacher and uses analogy to help students grasp difficult topics. Klein’s unique informal voice and manner of presentation help students truly master key topics in this course. He is also the author of Organic Chemistry as a Second Language and General Chemistry as a Second Language , which have both been highly successful.

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