Modern chemistry is essentially pictorial. Most of our success in
explaining how chemical reactions take place has come from a knowledge
of the structures of molecules in three dimensions, and the arrangements
of electrons in molecules. Although the calculations of modern theoretical
chemistry can be complicated, they are based firmly on models of
molecules and reactions. The chemist combines information from many
sources, and uses his imagination to "see" molecules that
are below the resolving power of the finest microscope.
A one-line chemical equation can conjure up images of moving and
colliding molecules in the mind of the experienced chemist, but
to a beginner it can conceal as much as it reveals. An introductory
chemistry textbook should illustrate in clear detail exactly what
these shorthand equations really symbolize. At the beginning level,
the guiding principle should be, "When in doubt, draw it out."
An ideal combination of authors would be a chemist who understands
the art of graphic presentation, and an illustrator who understands
chemistry. This is the combination we have tried to put together
in this book.