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Organic Chemistry by Smith is a superb text for the introduction to the subject as it is taught today. I just finished using it in an OC class, having taken my first one some fifty years ago, using Morrison and Boyd. Clearly the subject matter and teaching technique has changed. Smith is a clear example of the current method of taking “bites” of Organic, hopefully chewable ones, and then detailing in each bit what elements can be used to develop the entire body of knowledge. Smith has a superb answer book which accompanies the text.

Smith progresses as do most of the other authors. I am familiar with Wade Organic Chemistry (7th Edition) and Klein Organic Chemistry as comparable texts. Wade has been used at MIT and Klein is new but his shorter books have been invaluable. Smith starts as do the others with a review of structures, acids and bases, and reactions.

As a weakness she presents the movement of electrons, namely movement of bonds and pairs, but it seems to be spread out and is not as unified as it could be. Klein on the other hand does a superb job at that.

She moves through alkanes, alcohols, alkenes, alkynes and then ringed structures and summarized incrementally the uses, naming, creation and reactions of each. Her presentation of SN, E and A reactions is standard as compared to other texts.

She presents a wealth of examples and the problems are extensive and work through the details extensively.

What I find different from fifty years ago is that reactions ate part of each chapter rather than the heart of each chapter, OC is cooking, it is not mathematics, there are no fundamental principles from which you can derive the results, just recipes, recipes which can be logically sown together into a fabric.

Thus for example if you have an ether and you end up with alkyl halides you just memorize the answer. Smith tries to provide the logic but the ultimate goal of seeing the forest for the trees is missing. She fails to show how this builds with alkyl halides, alcohols, ethers, ketones, esters going from one to another. The synthesis problem is somehow always an afterthought although the problem book does build on it. It would have been nice to see a build of key reactions going from one class to another and reactions where we add bonds, move OH elements and the like. Namely the tool kit we had half a century ago is missing at the expense of now watching details which albeit important, fail in my opinion to reveal the nature of Organic.

I am not a chemist and never wanted to be one. But it was of some importance from my perspective to regain a fluency in the subject. Smith is an excellent vehicle to do that. Having had Quantum Mechanics, Statistical Thermo, and written extensively in random process theory I also found the attempts to describe the Phys Chem elements as light but given the audience it is the best one can do.

Let me give two examples from the middle of the text. Chapter 12 deals with oxidation-reduction reactions. This is classic OC, just remember the recipe. The chapter is just a collection of cook book facts with the window dressing of explaining them by moving electrons. Unless you know the answer there is no way ever to derive it. This is not math. However Chapter 14 is NMR. Having spent a few decades dealing with MRI and understanding it from several perspectives, give the spin quantum issues, this is one of the best technique explanations of NMR I have ever seen. It explains the technique, not the theory, but it explains it to the level of giving the chemist a tool to work with. This chapter alone is worth the price of the book.

The answer book is superb. It goes thru thousands of well structured and worked out questions all leading to a better understanding.

Overall Smith has done a brilliant job of explaining the current state of Organic for a new learner. In addition I found barely a few minor errors which is amazing for such a complex effort. This text is definitely worth using.
About the book organic chemistry janice gorzynski smith pdf
Serious Science with an Approach Built for Today’s Students
Smith’s Organic Chemistry continues to breathe new life into the organic chemistry world. This new third edition retains its popular delivery of organic chemistry content in a student-friendly format. Janice Smith draws on her extensive teaching background to deliver organic chemistry in a way in which students learn: with limited use of text paragraphs, and through concisely written bulleted lists and highly detailed, well-labeled “teaching” illustrations. Don’t make your text decision without seeing Organic Chemistry, 3rd edition by Janice Gorzynski Smith!

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