Reference Books Every Chemist Should Own

Recommendations for Your Personal Library

There are some reference books I reach for again and again. If your personal library doesn't include these books, maybe it's time to add them.

CRC Handbook

The CRC Handbook is one of the first reference guides any science student meets. For many, it holds a permanent spot in their bookcases and on their desks. I have a copy from 1983 that has followed me everywhere. The CRC Handbook is also available online through a subscription service.

Merck Index

Merck Press

The Merck Index is considered to be the best place to go for comprehensive information on biological chemicals and drugs. It would be difficult to find a laboratory without a copy nearby.

Lange's Handbook

Like the Merck Index, Lange's Handbook is a standard reference for chemists. This handbook contains the properties of many organic and inorganic compounds.

Scientific American Desk Reference

If you are looking for a clear, easy to read description of a scientific term or topic, Scientific American is the place to go. This is a great general information tool for both professionals and students.

McGraw Hill's Dictionary of Chemistry

Not sure what that particular term means? As Mom used to say, "Grab a dictionary". Not sure about the difference between an alkene and alkyne? Grab a chemistry dictionary.