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Building Inclusive STEM Collections: Books by BIPOC Authors (October 2022): Chemistry

By Hilary Dorsch Wong, Katherine A. Hicks, and David Kornreich


A number of books discussed here are compilations of original work in a particular area of chemistry that are important resources for an expert in the field. Some of these were sponsored or published originally by the American Chemical Society (ACS). In Green Technologies for the Environment, editors Sherine Obare and Rafael Luque collect papers for publication by the ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry in its numbered “ACS Symposium” series. Various topics are featured, e.g., solvent systems, advances in materials, and chemical reactions. Likewise, Modern Applications in Membrane Science and Technology is edited by Isabel Escobar and Bart Van der Bruggen for the same division of ACS. This book covers separation and carbon dioxide capture, as well as membranes for liquid separations. Both books are intended for expert readers but could be used as companion texts for upper-level chemistry courses. Other ACS books focus on environmental chemistry, including Sustainable Water for the Future, also edited by Isabel Escobar with Andrea Schäfer. Part 1 presents an overview of the global water situation authored by Escobar; later parts discuss water recycling technologies and concentrate on disposal options. Again, this work is written by experts for experts, but useful for upper-level courses. Books from other publishers also target expert audiences, such as Nanotechnology for Environmental Decontamination, edited by Manoj Ram, Silvana Andreescu, and Hanming Ding. Topics include how wastewater can be decontaminated using nanomaterials and the role of nanotechnology for decontamination of chemical warfare agents. This book is technical, but like others included here, would provide great access points to relevant subfields.

Some titles we discovered are published as parts of well-known numbered series. One example is Radical SAM Enzymes, edited by Vahe Bandarian. Turning from environmental chemistry to biochemistry, this book addresses how complex enzymes perform their chemistries. Most chapters are coauthored by leading scientists and focus on an individual enzyme. Bandarian offers a survey of recent work, suitable for an upper-level bioinorganic or enzymology course. A different type of work, targeting undergraduates especially, is Leyte Winfield’s Interactive Guide to Organic Chemistry, a guide to first-semester organic chemistry presented in the form of a workbook. The text covers topics often discussed in a first-semester course, including electronic structure, bonding, and aromaticity. Each chapter begins with a topic summary and presents worked-out problems as examples throughout. Additional problems encourage students to apply concepts through scaffolded questions. Winfield also highlights student misconceptions and explains why a particular answer is or is not correct, making this a great companion to a course textbook.