Peter Atkins


Born
The United Kingdom

Peter Atkins is a fellow of Lincoln College, University of Oxford and the author of about 70 books for students and a general audience. His texts are market leaders around the globe. A frequent lecturer in the United States and throughout the world, he has held visiting professorships in France, Israel, Japan, China, and New Zealand. He was the founding chairman of the Committee on Chemistry Education of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and was a member of IUPAC’s Physical and Biophysical Chemistry Division.

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Average rating: 3.93 · 4,747 ratings · 365 reviews · 163 distinct worksSimilar authors
Physical Chemistry

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4.02 avg rating — 794 ratings — published 1978 — 51 editions
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The Laws of Thermodynamics:...

3.94 avg rating — 844 ratings — published 1990 — 16 editions
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The Periodic Kingdom: A Jou...

3.58 avg rating — 379 ratings — published 1995 — 19 editions
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Galileo's Finger: The Ten G...

3.78 avg rating — 315 ratings — published 2003 — 19 editions
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On Being: A Scientist's Exp...

3.53 avg rating — 152 ratings — published 2011 — 7 editions
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Shriver & Atkins' Inorganic...

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4.03 avg rating — 107 ratings — published 2009 — 5 editions
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What Is Chemistry?

3.85 avg rating — 110 ratings — published 2013 — 6 editions
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Reactions: The Private Life...

3.74 avg rating — 85 ratings — published 2011 — 5 editions
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Chemistry: A Very Short Int...

3.81 avg rating — 79 ratings — published 2014 — 4 editions
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Elements of Physical Chemistry

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3.98 avg rating — 90 ratings — published 1992 — 26 editions
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“Someone with a fresh mind, one not conditioned by upbringing and environment, would doubtless look at science and the powerful reductionism that it inspires as overwhelmingly the better mode of understanding the world, and would doubtless scorn religion as sentimental wishful thinking. Would not that same uncluttered mind also see the attempts to reconcile science and religion by disparaging the reduction of the complex to the simple as attempts guided by muddle-headed sentiment and intellectually dishonest emotion?

...Religion closes off the central questions of existence by attempting to dissuade us from further enquiry by asserting that we cannot ever hope to comprehend. We are, religion asserts, simply too puny. Through fear of being shown to be vacuous, religion denies the awesome power of human comprehension. It seeks to thwart, by encouraging awe in things unseen, the disclosure of the emptiness of faith. Religion, in contrast to science, deploys the repugnant view that the world is too big for our understanding. Science, in contrast to religion, opens up the great questions of being to rational discussion, to discussion with the prospect of resolution and elucidation. Science, above all, respects the power of the human intellect. Science is the apotheosis of the intellect and the consummation of the Renaissance. Science respects more deeply the potential of humanity than religion ever can.”
P.W. Atkins

“I regard teaching religion as purveying lies.”
P.W. Atkins

“[Religious belief is] outmoded and ridiculous. [Belief in gods was a] worn out but once useful crutch in mankind's journey towards truth. We consider the time has come for that crutch to be abandoned.

It is a vacuous answer... To say that 'God made the world' is simply a more or less sophisticated way of saying that we don't understand how the universe originated. A god, in so far as it is anything, is an admission of ignorance.

Religion utterly failed to provide an explanation of the biosphere other than that 'God made it all'. Then Darwin thundered over the horizon and in a few decades of observation and thought . . . arrived at an answer.

I regard teaching religion as purveying lies. I came here today to de-corrupt you all.”
P.W. Atkins

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