Gary Wulfsberg, Inorganic Chemistry

Description: 

This book can be used to teach all levels of inorganic chemistry.  It is divided into two parts.  Part I covers periodicity and the reaction chemistry of ions in aqueous solutions.  The treatment in this half of the book is particularly appropriate for students with interests in the geological and biological sciences and works well at the sophomore level. Part II covers symmetry, bonding, and the more advanced topics that are best served by a molecular orbital or post-p-chem treatment.  While I really enjoy using this book in my sophomore level course, my level students do not.  They prefer a textbook that is printed in color, has lots of eye-catching graphics, and only contains “what’s going to be on the test”.  Wulfsberg has neither. However, during their second semester of inorganic chemistry at the senior level, they find the text quite helpful.  The thing that I like best about this book is the collection of data which can be used to help students look at periodic trends.  The thing that I like least is that MO theory does not play an integral role earlier in the text.  I also wish that the book felt more connected with the primary literature in inorganic chemistry.

The book contains a number of worked problems in the chapter.  At the end of the chapter, there are a large number of exercises, many of which have solutions in the back of the book.  When I teach from this book, I am happy using many of the in-book problems.  The exercises include some of the most creative problems that I’ve ever seen (see chapter 1, problems 65-66), although there are few that have direct connections to the primary literature.

University Science Books
ISBN 978-1-891389-01-6, 2000, clothbound, 978 pages
List Price US$98.00
Publisher's Discount Price US$83.30

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Comments

I've had similar experience.  I think that Wulfsberg is an EXCELLENT references/text for someone who knows at least some inorganic chemistry, but it's not the greatest textbook from a student's perspective.  He has an interesting and (to me at least) different perspective on some of the big-picture topics, and I can honestly say that I have learned quite a bit by using this book in my classes.  The reading/content is dense and students who are seeing some of these topics for the first time have real difficulty processing the information as it's presented.  Again, I would highly recommend that any inorganic chemist give this book a read, but it may not be the best choice for a front-line classroom text.

Wulfsberg is quickly becoming my "go-to" reference when I am looking for tables of information to supplement my teaching.  For example, I found a nice plot illustrating the entropies of solution for various ionic salts that came in very handy in my lecture on understanding trends in the solubilities of ionic salts and the roles of enthalpy and entropy.

I also consulted a table in Wulfsberg of thermochemical radii for complex ions such as sulfate.

So far, the index has been very useful, making it easy to find what I was looking for quickly.

When I was an undergraduate, I was taught out of Wulfsberg BY Wulfsberg (Mid. Tenn. St. Univ.). It is one of the most complete texts I have experienced. Although I will admit, from a student perspective, it is a bit dry. I don't use it for my inorganic class now (currently using Miessler and Tarr 4th ed.), but I think if Wulfsberg was to put together a new and updated version, it could give Miessler, Shriver and the lot a real run for their money!

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