28 Mar 2008

Miessler and Tarr: Inorganic Chemistry, 3rd. Ed


Submitted by Nancy Scott Burke Williams, Scripps College, Pitzer College, Claremont McKenna College

Miessler and Tarr is an inorganic textbook which is is best suited to an upper-division one-semester inorganic course, though there is more material than can be covered in a single semester, so some choice of topics is necessary.  It is very well suited for a course oriented around structure, bonding, and reaction chemistry of transition metal compounds, but is very limited in its treatment of solids, main-group, descriptive chemistry, and bioinorganic.  Pchem would be helpful but is not necessary.  In particular, the treatment of MO theory is very in-depth.  The quality of end-of chapter problems is generally good.  The book is fairly readable, giving it an advantage over some of the more "reference work" style textbooks, but as a result, is a less useful text to have on your bookshelf five years hence.  Pearson Higher Ed. suggests a retail price of $144.20.  

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I have used this book for many years for my sophomore level pre-Pchem inorganic chemistry course.  I find that I can easily pick reading assignments that avoid the more complex topics and yet provide a strong foundation for what I teach.  The MO chapter in particular, offers a very readable pictorial approach so that students can learn from MO diagrams without having to learn all of the group theory necessary to generate them on their own.  The lack of in-depth coverage on solid state chemistry is problematic, but I supplement with readings from "Teaching General Chemistry: A Materials Science Companion" available from Oxford University Press (I have several copies of this text on reserve for students to read.).  I have tried other texts periodically, but I always seem to return to this one.

I feel like I have used nearly every inorganic text out there, and this is the one I've settled on for the last few years for our one-semester pre-P Chem inorganic course.

I really like the way the authors treat atomic structure (especially orbitals) and, like Maggie, the qualitative approach to MO theory works well for me. I introduce character tables, but skip the section on molecular vibrations in order to jump straight into molecular orbitals.

I also skip the chapter on electronic spectra of coordination compounds. 

I supplement the solid state chapter with an exercise that uses the ICE solid state model kits. I have posted the activity to VIPEr. It's called "Solid-State Model Building Exercise."

Joanne Stewart

I have found this text to be the one I have chosen for my lone one-semester inorganic course.  I tend to skip alot of the same material in the text.  Seems to work best for what I can do in a 2-credit course with students who may or may not have taken PChem

Here is an alternative use for this textbook.


One of the commenters, Rissa at 1:27 pm on Jan 11 says, "Having studied inorganic chemistry, I can tell you with authority that this is the only good use for that book."

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