Ok, this prelude thing is much longer than my original plan. Just read it anyway. You have nothing better to do, right?
July 27, 2022
Hi there! This is Paul. Paul McCord to be exact. I am the sole author of this entire Chembook website and all of its content. I thought I might point out my goals and intentions in writing this ebook/website. (you can click on my name in the header for my bio)
First and foremost, this book was (initially) written for non-science majors here at the University of Texas at Austin. That means this is really an intro type book to allow non-science majors to dip their toe into the subject of chemistry. It is written keeping this in mind. I'll admit that some topics discussed are rather skimpy on content and others are a bit much. As much as I'd like to hit that Goldilocks sweet spot (just right), it is really difficult. So yes, a bit hit and miss on depth of coverage... but it still works for me.
Another goal was to have enough content here to teach two entire courses (two semesters of chemistry) AND not make students buy an expensive hardcopy textbook. I don't charge for this book/site to my students - or anybody else who stumbles across it on a google search (those numbers are in fact increasing). So yes, this is a cheap textbook - as in FREE. I worked my ass off in the summer and fall of 2019 to provide enough content to have two pretty decent classes. It ain't great, but it worked.
You might have noticed this already... I don't really care if the presentation and wording "aren't professional". There are 100's of "professional" texts out there that you can use and bore the sh!t out of your students. Getting students to read the f-ing textbook is a real challenge. We (UT chemistry) used to have a really in-depth chemistry text years ago and we teachers loved it. However, we quickly learned that our students hated it. Too wordy, too high and mighty, too preachy, and the result was that it got the tldr treatment. Sad but true.
So here it is. Yes, I try to be funny, clever, topical, and ironic where I can. Anything goes - it is my f-ing book and I'll write what I want. I have no agenda to purposely "offend" anyone reading it and if you find offence, I guess I'm sorry? Offence is rather subjective anyway. Some take offence at how I short changed a topic (atomic theory, I'm looking at you). Others take offence at my amateurish writing style and grammer. Ok, I get it you don't like it. I had a student in the spring of 2022 happily send me typo and grammer fixes. I think I fixed about 50 of them over the semester. So good news, I will fix typos and grammer when alerted. I have no copy editors or proofers other than students and they usually don't care. I'll remind you once again, it's FREE and I got paid nothing for it. And another GREAT thing about writing your own book and website? I can edit immediately and add/change/fix things immediately. This book is a dynamic website and I am often rewording things and adding things. Yes, all the graphics are mine as well. So I often see the need for more graphics and will do so when I get the time.
I do sincerely care about the content and the subject of chemistry. I purposely write in first person and in a somewhat casual/conversational tone. This is supposed to be a laid back text and not feel like a stodgy textbook. I'm intimidating enough without being the "grumpy professor" (although I can pull that off pretty well too). Look at that picture up there... that guy is kinda scary looking. You can't really tell what a big doofus I am from that picture - maybe you'll pick up on that in the reading. None-the-less... what IS important is the science, the chemistry. That is what I'm trying to get across to the reader.
Here's a bit of interesting trivia about this site... this site with all its informal writing style, casual language, sarcasm, bad language, and general silliness has now overtaken our actual majors chemistry site (gchem.cm.utexas.edu) on page views and clicks according to google analytics. That site was written far more formally and with stricter guidelines and is 7 years older to boot. The fact is that people out there seem to like what I'm doing here. So I will continue doing what I do.
Because I AM still teaching science majors, I'm planning on putting some more in-depth coverage into this site. Plus we are currently reassessing our non-science major courses and I find myself needing to expand my organic chemistry coverage and then have a definite separation of general chemistry and organic chemistry. That is a work in progress. It could lead to new chapters and/or rearranging of what I currently have. If there is too much change, I will call it 2nd Edition and then have two websites: first and second editions. So I don't plan on removing any material at this time.
I welcome all thoughtful comments from my readers. Whether pointing out errors or praising a little content here and there - it's all good for me to see. So dig in and reacquaint yourself with chemistry. It's truly a great subject and everybody can always have better chemistry in their lives!
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