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Organic chemistry is the chemistry of compounds of carbon. The ability of carbon to link together to form long chain molecules and ring compounds as well as bonding with many other elements has led to a vast array of organic compounds. These compounds are central to life, forming the basis for organic molecules such as nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. In this Very Short Introduction Graham Patrick covers the whole range of organic compounds and their roles. Beginning with the structures and properties of the basic groups of organic compounds, he goes on to consider organic compounds in the areas of pharmaceuticals, polymers, food and drink, petrochemicals, and nanotechnology. He looks at how new materials, in particular the single layer form of carbon called graphene, are opening up exciting new possibilities for applications, and discusses the particular challenges of working with carbon compounds, many of which are colourless. Patrick also discusses techniques used in the field. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.