The Chemical Educator, Vol. 8, No.6, Media Reviews, © 2003 The Chemical Educator


Media Review

Peptides and Proteins; Series: Tutorial Chemistry Texts. By Shawn Doonan. Royal Society of Chemistry: London, 2002. 186 pp, softcover. 9.68 ´ 7.44 in. $19.95, £14.95. ISBN 0-85404-692-5.

This book is one of a series of tutorial texts aimed at the first or second-year undergraduate, concentrating on the basic principles of the subject. Each book contains worked examples and supplementary questions to allow the student to assess their level of understanding.

This volume has been aimed at both chemists and biochemists and assumes only a basic knowledge of organic chemistry. The first chapter introduces the reader to the properties and naming conventions of amino acids, peptides, and proteins. Chapter 2 moves on to look at the synthesis of peptides. Solution and solid phase syntheses are introduced, along with a section on protecting-group chemistry. The problems of purification and characterisation of the products and the possibility of racemisation during synthesis are discussed, and the chapter concludes with an example synthesis of apamin.

The third chapter looks at the problem of purification of proteins. The techniques are introduced one by one in a clear manner, leading up to an example purification carried out in the author’s laboratory. This final example gives a good demonstration of how the techniques described are used in real-world situations. Chapter 4 deals systematically with the methods of determining the amino acid sequence of proteins, including enzymatic methods and mass spectrometry.

Chapter 5 looks at the three-dimensional structure of proteins and then moves on to use specific examples to discuss the relationship between protein structure and function. Sadly, this chapter is let down by the poor quality of the figures accompanying the text, which are seriously pixelated in places. The final chapter looks at the use of computers in protein chemistry. Each of the major areas in which computers are used is introduced, and a number of worked examples and problems are included which can be carried out using public domain software and databases. At first sight this may seem an unusual addition to the text, but it provides a useful introduction to the increasing use of computers in this area. Simple advice, such as using a fixed-width font such as Courier New when comparing amino acid sequences, can often be invaluable.

One minor irritation when reading the book is that in places the colored text appears to be printed slightly higher on the page than the other text, which can be distracting.

Due to the breadth of the subject matter that Peptides and Proteins covers, the depth of the information is not as great as it might have been; however, the author is obviously aware of this and has given a list of references and suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter. A more detailed introduction for the chemist to extend Chapter 2, which is not included in the author’s list, is J. Jones’ Amino Acid and Peptide Synthesis, published by Oxford University Press. Overall, I consider this to be a very useful introduction to this area for first-year undergraduates and a valuable addition to any library.

Charles Baker-Glenn

University of Oxford,

S1430-4171(03)06746-7, 10.1333/s00897030746a

100 Years Werner Heisenberg: Works and Impact. Edited by D. Papenfuss, D. Lüst, and W. P. Schleich. Wiley-VCH: Weinheim, Germany, 2002. Illustrations. ix + 299 pp;, 17.4 ´ 24.5 cm.;, hardbound. $120.00, £70.00. ISBN 3-527-40392-2.

Heisenberg’s life and reputation have experienced a renaissance and reappraisal of late. His uncertainty principle has transcended the limits of science to become a familiar, if not well understood, concept in everyday life. For example, in one of Sidney Harris’ science cartoons one character asks another, “What’s come over Heisenberg? He seems to be certain about everything these days” [1].

The uncertainty extends to Heisenberg’s scientific and political role in Hitler’s Third Reich during World War II. He was in charge of Germany’s uranium project [2], and yet Germany failed to produce a nuclear bomb or even a working nuclear reactor. His widow, Elisabeth, in an apologia for his failure to emigrate from Germany as many of his fellow scientists had done [3], maintains that he deliberately slowed down the work for reasons of morality, but the recordings from Farm Hill, where Heisenberg and fellow German scientists were confined after the conflict, seems to contradict her interpretation [4]. Malcolm C. MacPherson [5] adopts a more skeptical attitude. In view of the many ambiguities in Heisenberg’s life David C. Cassidy titled his biography Uncertainty [6].

One of the uncertainties in Heisenberg’s actions was his celebrated but mysterious 1941 visit to Nazi-occupied Denmark with his mentor and friend Niels Bohr, following which their relationship cooled abruptly. The substance of their meeting was never revealed, but Michael Frayn, in his critically acclaimed 2000 Tony-winning play Copenhagen [7, 8], presents three alternative scenarios that result in dissimilar consequences [9–14].

The undisputed leader in the new field of quantum physics, Werner Karl Heisenberg, the younger son of a Greek philology professor in Würzburg, was born on December 5, 1901, began piano lessons at an early age, and by 13 was playing difficult concert pieces. Abandoning pure mathematics for theoretical physics, at age 20 he received his doctorate under Arnold Sommerfeld at the Universität München.

Heisenberg considerably weakened traditional notions of causality by proposing at age 25 his famous uncertainty principle (Conjugate variables—such as position and momentum or energy and time—of a subatomic particle cannot be simultaneously measured accurately, and the product of the uncertainties is equal to or greater than h/2p, where h is Planck’s constant).  That same year he joined the faculty of the Universität Leipzig as Germany’s youngest full professor. At age 32 he was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics “for the creation of quantum mechanics, the application of which has led, among other things, to the discovery of allotropic forms of hydrogen.”

After Germany’s defeat in World War II Heisenberg devoted much time to science organization and science policy in addition to his scientific pursuits. He was convinced that he was the most qualified person to encourage German science to regain its pre-war world-class position. In 1952 he became president of the reestablished Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, an organization intended to bring foreign postdoctorate fellows to the Bundesrepublik Deutschland to perform research and simultaneously reestablish their countries’ contacts with German science. It also supported Humboldt Research Awards to internationally recognized scientists. Because he himself had been a foreign postdoc with Bohr in Denmark, he realized the value of research abroad. He cherished his Humboldt Foundation presidency above all his numerous positions, and it was the last office that he resigned—in 1975—during his final illness (He died on February 1, 1976, although his death date is incorrectly given as February 11 on page 1). Since 1953, the foundation has created an international network of more than 22,000 scientists in some 130 countries maintaining personal, academic, cultural, and political contacts with Germany.

Because of Heisenberg’s close ties to the Humboldt Stiftung, this foundation organized its 18th symposium, titled “100 Years Werner Heisenberg—Works Works and Impact,” held on September 26–30, 2001 at Bamberg, Germany. The meeting, attended by some hundred members of the worldwide Humboldt Network from 27 countries, emphasized his numerous major contributions to physics and simultaneously dealt with the latest developments in quantum physics. After a talk for a popular audience by Anton Zeilinger, Professor of Physics at the Universität Wien, the meeting featured five plenary talks placing Heisenberg in historical perspective and three parallel sessions devoted to “Elementary Particles Theory” (13 talks), “Quantum Physics” (14 talks), and “Quantum Field Theory and Gravitation” (11 talks). A highlight of the conference was a reading of Frayn’s play, Copenhagen, by the original London cast, followed by lively and lengthy discussions between author, actors, and audience.

The volume under review, edited by Dietrich Papenfuss of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, Berlin, Dieter Lüst of the Humboldt-Universität, Berlin, and Wolfgang P. Schleich of the Universität Ulm, contains 43 selected papers by 61 contributors from 20 countries (Australia, Canada, China, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, and Venezuela) with most of the contributors from the United States and Germany In addition to institutional addresses email addresses are also included for most authors.

Except for those marked with asterisks in the list of contents below, the talks in this volume will be of interest primarily to physicists.

Plenary Talks

·  “Heisenberg and the Framework of Science Policy”*

·  “Werner Heisenberg: An Overview of His Life and Work”*

·  “Observability, Anschaulichkeit and Abstraction: A Journey into Werner Heisenberg’s Science and Philosophy”

·  “100 Years Werner Heisenberg—Works and Impact” (2 pages, the shortest paper)*

·  “Heisenberg–Einstein Context Principle and the Dynamic Core-context of Discovery in Physics” (22 pages, the longest paper)

Elementary Particles Theory

·  “On the Large Nc Expansion in Quantum Chromodynamics”

·  “Baryon Asymmetry, Dark Matter and the Hidden Sector”

·  “Time Asymmetric Quantum Theory and the Z-boson Mass and Width”

·  “The Heisenberg Matrix Formulation of Quantum Field Theory”

·  “Nonlocal Structure of Higher Spin Fields”

·  “Fundamental Contacts at High Energy”

·  “Quark Number Susceptibilities from Lattice QCD”

·  “Elementary Particles on a Dedicated Parallel Computer”

·  Why Extra Gauge Bosons Should Exist and How to Hunt Them”

·  “States of Strongly Interacting Matter”

·  “From Heisenberg to Supersymmetry”

·  “The Baryon Density Through the (Cosmological) Ages”

·  “Noncommutativity of Lepton Mass Matrices: Flavor Mixing and CP Violation”

Quantum Physics

·  “Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Relations and Quantum Optics”

·  “Rubidium Condensate for Quantum Optics Studies”

·  “Interference of Spontaneously Emitted Photons”

·  “Quantum Fictitious Forces”

·  ‘Quantum Teleportation”

·  “Heisenberg’s Introduction of the ‘Collapse of the Wavepacket’”

·  “The Hamiltonian Mass and Asymptotically Anti-de Sitter Space-times”

·  “The Bohr-Heisenberg Correspondence Principle Viewed from Phase Space”

·  “The Classical Atom: Stabilization of Electronic Trojan Wavepackets”

·  “Heisenberg’s Equations in Laser Theory. A Historical Overview”

·  “Quantum Mechanics from a Heisenberg-type Equality”

·  “Entanglers: Beam Splitters and Thermal Fields”

·  “Enhancing Otto-mobile Efficiency via Addition of a Quantum Carnot Cycle”

·  “Atom Optics—from de Broglie Waves to Heisenberg Ferromagnets”

Quantum Field Theory and Gravitation (11 papers)

·  “On Tachyon Condensation in String Theory: Worldsheet Computations”

·  “Duality in the Low Dimensional Field Theory”

·  “Monopoles in Space-time Noncommutative Born-Infeld Theory”

·  “Canonical Quantization, Twistors and Relativistic Wave Equations” (abstract only)

·  “Geometry of Non-supersymmetric Strings”

·  “Observing Quanta on a Cosmic Scale”

·  “Supersymmetric Configurations in Gauged Supergravity”

·  “Anomalies and Schwinger Terms in NCG Field Theory Models”

·  “On Gravitational Interaction of Fermions”

·  “New Einstein-Hilbert Type Action for Unity of Nature”

·  “The Heisenberg Algebra and Spin”

Most talks include abstracts, numerous mathematical equations (but no chemical equations), figures, and references. All the talks have been reprinted elsewhere [15]. The book does not include name or subject indices.

References and Notes

1.       Harris, S. Einstein Atomized: More Science Cartoons; Copernicus, Springer-Verlag: New York, 1996, unpaginated.

2.       Bethe, H. A. The German Uranium Project. Physics Today 2000, 53, 34–36.

3.       Heisenberg, E. Inner Exile: Recollections of a Life with Werner Heisenberg; trans. by Cappellari, S. and Morris, C.; Birkhäuser: Boston, MA, 1984.

4.       Bernstein, J. Hitler’s Uranium Club, The Secret Recordings of Farm Hill; Copernicus Books, Springer-Verlag: New York, 2001.

5.       MacPherson, M. C. Time Bomb: Fermi, Heisenberg, and the Race for the Atomic Bomb; Dutton: New York, 1986.

6.       Cassidy, D. C. Uncertainty: The Life and Science of Werner Heisenberg; W. H. Freeman & Co.: New York, 1991.

7.       Frayn, M. Copenhagen; Anchor Books: New York, 2000.

8.       Frayn, M. Post-postscript. frayn.htm (accessed Nov 2003).

9.       Lustig, H.; Shepherd-Bard, K. Science as Theater. Am. Scientist 2002, 90, 550–555.

10.     Brantley, B. Copenhagen: A fiery power in the behavior of particles and humans. The New York Times, April 12, 2000, E-1.

11.     Pais, A.; Frayn, M. What happened in Copenhagen? A physicist’s view and the playwright’s response. Hudson Review 2000, 53, 2.

12.     Powers, T. The unanswered question. New York Rev. of Books, May 25, 2000.

13.     Rose, P. L. Frayn’s “Copenhagen” plays well at history’s expense. Chron. Higher Educ. 2000 (May 5), B4–6.

14.     Ruddick, N. The search for a quantum ethics: Michael Frayn’s “Copenhagen” and other recent British science plays. J. of  the Fantastic in the Arts 2001, 11, 415–429.

15.     Fortschr. Phys. 2002, 50 (5–7), 430–728; (accessed Nov 2003).

George B. Kauffman

California State University, Fresno,

S1430-4171(03)06745-8, 10.1333/s00897030745a

Food Colloids, Biopolymers and Materials. Edited by E. Dickinson and T. Van Vliet. Royal Society of Chemistry (London) Special Publications: London, 2002. 420 pp, hardcover. $119.50. ISBN: 0-85404-871-5.

This book is a compilation of sound scientific papers presented in the conference held at Wageningen, Center for Food Sciences, Wageningen, The Netherlands on April 14–17, 2002.

Overall the scope of this book is:

·  late developments in the field of food colloids and, in particular, late studies on the adsorption of proteins and surfactants to the gas–liquid and liquid–liquid interfaces and on the forces involved in the interactions between surface active molecules at these interfaces that result in particular types of food microstructures such as gels;

(b)    recent advances in the measurement of the adsorption of molecules at interfaces by novel techniques, such as infrared reflection adsorption spectroscopy (IRRAS) and atomic force microscopy (AFM);

(c)   review of the state of the art, including a historical review of advances in the field of food colloids in the last twenty years and an overview of future research trends in relation to late developments in nanoscience.

I describe below some examples of the works presented with the aim of illustrating the diversity of the studies and their content.

Alting et al. describe a study of the physical and chemical interactions involved in the method for cold gelation. This method is used to produce protein-based gels and as a potential alternative to the use of thickening ingredients in the formulation of food gels. Alting et al. present a very interesting study of the molecular forces that play a vital role in the aggregation and subsequent gelation of the whey proteins. The basis of this study and the methodology, that is, the blocking of reactive groups taking part in the interaction between molecules, could be applied to many other research areas.

In another study Gohtani et al. describe the formation of acid induced sodium caseinate emulsion gels and the effect of surfactants on their rheological properties. Also Keenan et al. describe the effect of calcium phosphate in the gelation of milk by high pressure. Some papers describe the use of new analytical techniques, for example, Martin et al.present a study of the use of infrared reflection absorption spectrometry (IRRS) for the measurement of the adsorption of proteins to the air–water interface. Donald presents a study on the use on environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) for the study of deformation and failure of different food products. This paper illustrates the relationship between processing and the final food structure and the need for this type of multi-disciplinary research approach to produce improved and innovative food structures.

Finally, the book contains two very interesting review papers. One gives a very interesting historical view on advances in the food colloids area during the last twenty years and addresses future research trends and highlights future challenges. The other one is a review of research advances in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology and its relation to the present and future research in the food colloids area.

Most of the studies presented here could find an application in food formulation and the development of new food products; therefore, this book can be of interest to academics working in the field of colloids, surface science, and food science but also to those industrialists working in the fields of product development and formulation. In addition, some interesting studies can be found with relevance to the separation of proteins, which can be of interest to those working in processing and in particular separation and purification of bioproducts.

Paula Jauregi

The University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading,

S1430-4171(03)06747-6, 10.1333/s00897030747a