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Atkins' Molecules


  • Page extent: 244 pages
  • Size: 246 x 189 mm
  • Weight: 0.888 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 547/.122
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: QD461 .A83 2003
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Molecular structure
    • Molecules

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521823975 | ISBN-10: 0521823978)

Originally published in 2003, this is the second edition of a title that was called 'the most beautiful chemistry book ever written'. In it, we see the molecules responsible for the experiences of our everyday life - including fabrics, drugs, plastics, explosives, detergents, fragrances, tastes, and sex. With engaging prose Peter Atkins gives a non-technical account of an incredible range of aspects of the world around us, showing unexpected connections, and giving an insight into how this amazing world can be understood in terms of the atoms and molecules from which it is built. The second edition includes dozens of extra molecules, graphical presentation, and an even more accessible and enthralling account of the molecules themselves.

• Beautifully illustrated in full colour throughout, this new edition contains graphics and molecules not found in the previous edition • Discusses over 200 molecules from everyday life, on themes such as taste, fuels and soaps • Fully interactive accompanying website at


Preface; Introduction; 1. Simple substances; 2. Fuels, fats and soaps; 3. Synthetic and natural polymers; 4. Taste, smell, and pain; 5. Sight and colour; 6. The light and the dark; 7. Life.


'… the book is a treasure trove, and I defy anyone not to find some new and surprising fact about a subject thought familiar.' Chemistry and Industry

'We need to be reminded that matter, ordinary matter, is mysterious and magical … In Atkins' delightful book, the Cinderella of chemistry begins to look a lot like a beautiful princess.' The Boston Globe

From the first edition: 'This is undoubtedly the most beautiful chemistry book ever written …' New Scientist

'The cast list is sublimely eclectic: from corn to cannabis and from silk to civet cats; from vanilla to Viagra, and from the smell of death to the start of life … this thoroughly readable, handsomely illustrated work - less a formal textbook, more a vade-mecum of chemical diversity - should encourage many more people to fiddle with compounds. Chemists' shelves should stock it. Chemistry World

'The author's deep enthusiasm for his discipline … is unmistakably felt throughout this beautifully produced volume.' The Chemical Educator

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