The Chemical Educator, Vol. 10, No.1, Media Reviews, © 2005The Chemical Educator
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, Editors. Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK, 2004. 60 volumes, with free copy of the index of contributors (also for sale separately), Figures, tables, portraits. 60,305 pp. 19.2 ´ 25.2 cm.; hardcover and online. $13,500.00, £7500.00. ISBN 0-19-861411-X. For general information: http://www.oxforddnb.com; For inquiries about content: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Telephone: 1-800-624-0153 or +1 212 726 6476; FAX: 212-726-6448 (North and South America); Telephone: +44 (0)1865 355042 (UK and the rest of the world); FAX: +44 1865 355035; Address: Oxford DNB, Enquiries, Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon St., Oxford OX2 6DP, UK; Orders: Email: email@example.com; Telephone: 1-800-624-0153; FAX: 212-726-6448; Address: Library Sales, Oxford University Press, 2001 Evans Road, Cary, NC 27513, U.S.A. (North and South America); +44 (0)1536 454549; FAX: +44 1536 454518; Address: Oxford DNB Sales-Direct Sales Dept., Oxford University Press, Saxon Way West, Corby, Northamptonshire NN18 9ES, UK (UK and the rest of the world).
Dictionary of National Biography
The Oxford University Press is justifiably noted for publishing the ultimate in reference books. Witness the ultimate authority for writers, scholars, and etymologists—The Oxford English Dictionary, colloquially referred to as the OED . In the realm of British biography the sine qua non is the Dictionary of National Biography [2, 3], “a prize example of Victorian philanthropic endeavour,” which was the brain child of Sir George Smith (1824–1901), publisher of Victorian writers such as Charlotte Brontë, Charles Darwin, John Ruskin, William Makepeace Thackeray, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Wilkie Collins, Matthew Arnold, and Anthony Trollope, taking as his model the French Biographie Universelle . He invested £70,000 (equivalent to about £5 million at the start of the 21st century) in creating the dictionary.
In 1882 Smith and Sir Leslie Stephen (1832–1904), Virginia Woolf’s father, announced the forthcoming publication of Biographia Britannica, which, under the title of the Dictionary of National Biography, began publication in 1885 on a quarterly basis with Stephen as editor. The 27,236 articles, written by 653 contributors, dealt with 29,333 persons. It soon became a national institution—“an indispensable reference work for anyone interested in the histories and cultures of the British Isles.” In 1891 Sir Sidney Lee (1859–1926) succeeded Stephen as editor, and the final volume appeared in 1901.
In 1908 Reginald John Smith (1857–1916), Smith’s son-in-law, instigated the rearrangement of the dictionary’s 63 volumes and three-volume supplement into 22 volumes . In 1917 the Smith family granted the DNB copyright to Oxford University, which passed it to Oxford University Press. The OUP continued to publish the dictionary’s supplements, which chronicled notable figures who died during each decade, and it published nine further supplements under eight editors, adding a total of 5551 new articles on 5570 persons who had died up to December 31, 1990.
Producing the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
However, by the late 20th century it became obvious that a massive program of revision was necessary to update the dictionary by incorporating the best modern scholarship and cutting-edge references. In 1992 the necessary funds were secured, and work began under Founding Editor, (H.) Colin (G.) Matthew, Fellow at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford and of the British Academy. When Matthew died suddenly of a heart attack on October 29, 1999, he was succeeded by Brian Harrison, Tutorial Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and Professor of Modern British History, Oxford, who retired on September 30, 2004 and was succeeded in turn by Lawrence Goldman, tutorial fellow in modern history at St. Peter’s College, Oxford.
The Oxford DNB, touted as “the largest co-operative research project ever undertaken in the humanities,”was undertaken by the University of Oxford, funded by the British Academy and Oxford University Press, and governed by a supervisory committee of representatives of the British Academy, the University of Oxford, Oxford University Press, and the Royal Society. The OUP and the British Academy do not expect a commercial return on their £22 million ($42 million) investment in creating the dictionary; they supported it because of its scholarly and national importance.
Created to the most rigorous academic and editorial standards, the staff consisted of 30 in-house research scholars, 12 external consultant editors, and an international network of 373 associate editors who suggested new subjects and reviewed the completed work of expert contributors. Over a 12-year period the Oxford team coordinated the work of 9,804 academic and nonacademic contributors from around the world (UK, Ireland, and 49 other countries) to extend and replace the original Victorian Dictionary of National Biography and create a vitally important biographical reference source for the 21st century.
Research and writing for what was then called the New DNB began in the autumn of 1993. On May 20, 1999 the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry held a meeting prompted by the completion of revisions and additions to the chemists’ entries in the Oxford DNB .
For the purpose of scholarly assessment, commissioning the subjects was assigned to one of 12 areas, each with its own Consultant Editor: (1) Pre-1500 (all subjects); (2) Art and Architecture (1500–2000); (3) Literature (1500–1779); (4) Literature (1780–2000); (5) Business & the World of Labor (1500–2000); (6) Science (1500–2000) (Pietro Corsi, Consultant Editor; William H. Brock, Associate Editor for chemistry); (7) Medicine (1500-2000); (8) Sixteenth Century; (9) Seventeenth Century; (10) Eighteenth Century; (11) Nineteenth Century; and (12) Twentieth Century. The areas are partly thematic and partly chronological; if a subject did not fit into a thematic area he or she was assigned to the appropriate chronological area. All entries in the completed dictionary are arranged in a single alphabetical sequence.
Publication of the Oxford DNB
The Oxford DNB was published simultaneously in print and online versions on September 23, 2004. The online edition, which is easily searched and explored through powerful technology, also includes the complete text of the original DNB. According to The Times (London), the publication of the Oxford DNB was “the great publishing event of 2004.” It was marked by a series of launch events beginning at the National Portrait Gallery in London (September 29) and Oxford (September 30) and continuing with panel discussions and lectures in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Canterbury, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Newcastle, and Norwich. In the United States panel discussions were led by Lawrence Goldman at the North American Conference on British Studies, followed by the North American launch of the dictionary at the American Philosophical Society (Philadelphia, PA, October 30) and the American Historical Association (Seattle, WA, January 2005).
The mammoth Oxford DNB can best be described in superlatives and statistics. Among the largest single works ever printed in English, the set weighs about 280 lb. (about 127 kilograms), occupies 12 feet (3.6 meters) of shelf space, includes 55 million words of text and an additional 7 million words of bibliographical and other references, and features biographies of “people who were noteworthy in the history of the British Isles and their overseas connections” over a span of some 2,400 years, including subjects who died up to December 31, 2000.
The entries are arranged alphabetically from Richard Ithamar Aaron (1901–1987), philosopher, to William Henry van Nassau van Zuylestein, fourth earl of Rochford (1717–1781), diplomatist and politician, and ranging in time from the Greek explorer Pytheas (fl. 4th century B.C.E.), author of the first known account of Britain, to Sir Isaac Hai (Jack) Jacob (1908-2000), barrister and jurist, who died on December 26, 2000. Biographies are provided for numerous influential figures from recent history such a Princess Diana, Alec Guinness, Stanley Kubrick, Pamela Harriman, and Linda McCartney.
The entries comprise 50,113 substantive, authoritative, and readable articles in a single alphabetical sequence, of which 49,705 concern individuals, and 408 deal with the lives of several persons in a single entry under the name of a family or group; 5217 persons appear in subsidiary notices forming part of another article for a total of 54,922 persons. The set incorporates in rewritten or revised form all 38,607 biographies contained in the original DNB and its supplements.
All of the original biographies have been rewritten or revised, and both the name of the original author and reviser are given. Of the 16,315 persons appearing for the first time, more than 8,000 lived and died before 1900. The set includes extended coverage of the regions of the British Isles, former colonies, the Commonwealth, and of Britons abroad.
Accompanying about one in five articles is an image of the person, usually a portrait as a photograph, painting, or drawing, but sometimes an effigy, sculpture, medal, coin, or other iconographic material. The 10,057 likenesses, “the largest collection of national portraiture ever published,” were selected by the National Portrait Gallery, from its own collections or about 1500 other sources worldwide. All biographies provide a text list of likenesses in major collections, where available.
The longest articles have more than 30,000 words, while the shortest has fewer than 30. The average text is 1087 words. Almost 29,000 articles provide information on archival deposits or references and information on likenesses. Nearly 27,000 contain data on the wealth of the subject at death. About 200,000 words of captions and a further 130,000 words in cross-reference entries are included.
Of the 38,607 persons whose lives appeared in the DNB and its supplements 36,589 have their own entry in the Oxford DNB, while 2018 appear as subsidiary notices forming part of another article. To the 22,879 newly written articles on DNB subjects 13,520 new articles whose main subject was not included in the DNB have been added. This results in a total of 36,399 newly written articles in the Oxford DNB—almost three-quarters of the new dictionary and about the number of articles in the entire DNB, including its supplements.
The number of women who either merit articles in their own right or appear as co-subjects in articles on groups, families, or other individuals has risen from 1758 in the DNB to 5627 in the Oxford DNB. Women comprise almost a quarter of the newly included lives, and their proportion reaches a peak in the 20th century, in which they account for 18 percent of all lives and 28 percent of new entrants. As we shall see, the proportion of women among the chemist entries is considerably less than that in the dictionary as a whole.
The fields of endeavor include virtually all walks of life—science and technology, royalty, politics, business and design, rock and pop music, philosophy, etc. Among the professional lives represented, we may cite in alphabetical order, assassins, builders, cannibals, diplomats, engineers, football stars, gardeners, hairdressers, ichthyologists, judges, knights, librarians, midwives, nuns, orators, philanthropists, queens, regicides, shopkeepers, teachers, U.S. presidents, Vikings, writers, xylophonists, yachtsmen, and zoologists.
Not all biographees are British-born, but some, like George Frederick Handel and Sigmund Freud used their time in Britain to influence society. The geographical range of the Oxford DNB has been interpreted broadly to include many historical figures from other countries who have influenced British culture and many Britons who have played a part in the history of other nations, thus providing an international context. For example, more than 700 colonial Americans who were subjects of the British crown before 1776 are included as well as American founding fathers such as George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin. Brief details are given on one or more co-subjects, usually a subject’s spouse or a blood relative who merits mention but not coverage in a separate article, for example, Sir Humphry’s wife, Lady Jane Davy (1780–1855).
An index of contributors (480 pp) to accompany the print edition of the Oxford DNB and listing all contributors, together with details of the articles that they wrote or revised, is provided free with each set purchased. It is also for sale as a separate volume ($95; £60; ISBN 0-19-861413-6).
The Oxford DNB online is available by annual subscription (personal subscriptions $295 or £195 per year). For concurrent and unlimited user license options for institutions and to register for a free trial or subscription contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The online version was extremely easy to navigate and surprisingly fast even for my antediluvian computer. Search options include person’s name, sex, life dates, places, dates, life events, religious affiliation, image, and text search.
In the online version the biographies can be browsed and accessed under the following 24 “areas of renown” each of which is divided into a number of subtopics and subsubtopics: Agriculture and food; Armed forces and intelligence services; Art; Building and heavy engineering; Business and finance; Education and learning; Film and broadcasting; Law and crime; Literature, journalism, and publishing; Manufacture and industry; Medicine; Music; Politics, government, and diplomacy; Religion and belief; Royalty, rulers, and aristocracy; Scholarship and research; Science; Social Welfare and reform; Sports, games, and pastimes; Technology; Theatre and live entertainment; Trade and retailing; Transport and communication; and Travel and exploration.
The Science and Chemistry Entries
The “areas of renown” search tools divides science, in turn, into 18 areas: science (general); natural philosophers; mathematics; physics; astronomy; chemistry; earth science; marine science; atmospheric science; ecology; biology; human biology; zoology; plant science; patronage; administration; writing and scholarship; and education. The set includes entries on 3252 persons (The exact number seems to vary slightly when the mouse is clicked at different times.) whose main occupation was classified as scientists arranged alphabetically from Charles Abbot (1761–1817), botanist and entomologist, to Thomas Young (1773–1829), physician and natural philosopher. Of course, some persons who pursued scientific careers can be found in the dictionary under other headings.
Chemistry is divided into four areas: alchemists; chemists (by specialism); chemists (by function); and industrial and manufacturing chemists. The entries on the 514 chemists, 115 of which are accompanied by portraits (designated with asterisks below), are arranged alphabetically from Sir Frederick Augustus Abel, first baronet (1827–1902), chemist and explosives expert, to Sidney Young (1857–1937), chemist. Of these, 108 held titles either hereditary or by virtue of achievement. The earliest chemist included is John Dastin (fl. ca. 1288–ca. 1334), alchemist, and the last deceased chemist is Brian Duncan Shaw (1898–1999), chemist and army officer, who died at age 101.
Only 15 are women: Mary Anne Atwood [née South]* (1817–1910), interpreter of alchemy; Lucy Everest Boole (1862–1904), pharmaceutical chemist, found in Mary Boole [née Everest] (1832–1916), scholar and educationist; Muriel Catherine Canning Chapman[née Holmes] (1894–1988), found in David Leonard Chapman (1869–1958), physical chemist; Rosalind Elsie Franklin* (1920–1958), crystallographer; Ida Freund* (1863–1914), chemist; Elizabeth Fulhame [known as Mrs. Fulhame] (fl. 1780–1794), chemist; Mildred May Gostling (1873–1962), chemist, found in William Hobson Mills (1873–1959), organic chemist; Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin* (1910–1994), chemist and crystallographer; (Edith) Hilda Ingold (1898–1988), found in Sir Christopher Kelk Ingold (1893–1970), chemist; May Sybil Leslie [married name Burr] (1887–1937), chemist; Dame Kathleen Lonsdale [née Yardley]* (1903–1971), crystallographer and pacifist; Gertrude Maud Robinson [née Walsh], Lady Robinson (1886–1954), found in Sir Robert Robinson (1886–1975), chemist; Constance Fligg Tipper [née Elam]* (1894–1995), metallurgist and crystallographer; Annie Purcell Walker, Lady Walker (1871–1950), found in Sir James Walker (1863–1935), chemist; and Martha Annie Whiteley* (1866–1956), chemist.
Both Chapman and Ingold studied chemistry but are included primarily because they were chemists’ wives, as is sometimes the case with women who do not merit separate entries. The reverse case, where a man is included by virtue by his relationship to a woman, is unusual; Ezekiel Foxcroft (1929–1674), mathematician and alchemist, is found under the entry for his mother Elizabeth Foxcroft [née Whichcote] (1600–1679), theosophist.
Nobel laureates include Sir Derek Harold Richard Barton* (1918–1998), Sir (William) Lawrence Bragg* (1890–1971), Sir Arthur Harden (1865–1940), Sir (Walter) Norman Haworth* (1883–1950), Sir Cyril Norman Hinshelwood* (1897–1967), Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin* (1910–1994), Ronald George Wreyford Norrish (1897–1978), Sir William Ramsay* (1852–1916), Sir Robert Robinson* (1886–1975), Frederick Soddy* (1877–1956), Baron Alexander Robertus Todd* (1907–1997), and Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson* (1921–1996).
Both the giants of British chemistry such as Henry Edward Armstrong,* Joseph Black,* Sir William Crookes,* John Dalton,* James Dewar,* Sir Humphry Davy,* Sir Edward Frankland,* Thomas Graham,* Sir William Henry Perkin,* William Prout, Sir Henry Enfield Roscoe,* and Alexander William Williamson* are included as well as numerous less well known representatives. Among the latter I was pleased to learn details about John William Draper (1811–1882), first president (1876) of the American Chemical Society; Joseph William Mellor (1869–1938), whose 16-volume Comprehensive Treatise on Inorganic and Theoretical Chemistry (Longmans, Green & Co.: New York, 1922–1937) in my high school library was my primary reference source to “the central science;” and James Riddick Partington* (1886–1965), whose 4-volume but never completed A History of Chemistry (St. Martin’s Press: New York, 1961–1970) served the same purpose for my later studies in the history of chemistry.
Several “chemical” families are included such as the Davys, Delavals, Godfreys, Monds, and Perkins. A fairly large number of chemists were not born in Britain but emigrated from other countries such as Bermuda, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, and Italy. Among the most prominent chemists born in Germany were (Johann) Peter Griess (1829–1888), August William von Hofmann (1818-1892), Ludwig Mond (1839-1909), and Carl Schorlemmer* (1834–1892). Many chemists also pursued additional scientific or science-related professions, but a number were active as an antiquary, clergyman, grammarian, mountaineer, museum director, politician, psychic investigator, spy, or theologian.
The number of chemists in the Oxford DNB is actually much greater, since a number of chemists do not appear among the 514 produced by the “areas of renown” search tool. Although crystallographers and metallurgists are included under chemists, biochemists such as Sir Edward Penley Abraham (1913–1999), Kenneth Bailey (1909–1963), Ernest Hubert Francis Baldwin (1909-1969), and Dorothy May Needham [née Moyle] (1896–1987) appear online among the 3252 scientists but not among the 514 chemists.
A number of scientists whom we view either as chemists or as practitioners of chemistry-related activities are not listed under chemists but are classified as scientists. These include Francis William Aston,* physicist; Henry Cavendish,* natural philosopher; Michael Faraday, natural philosopher; Jane Haldimand Marcet,* writer on science and political economy; Henry Gwyn Jeffreys Moseley, physicist; Sir Isaac Newton,* mathematician and philosopher; and Joseph Priestley,* theologian and natural philosopher.
Work has already begun on new material, which will appear at regular intervals starting with 2005 and continuing indefinitely, including new entries (both on persons who have died since December 31, 2000 and on new subjects who died before then), revisions of existing articles (notably where new information or perspectives have emerged), and further features and reference material. The editorial team welcomes feedback and suggestions.
The Oxford DNB is the chief biographical reference work for the United Kingdom, broadly defined. It is comprehensive both in its selection of subjects for inclusion and in its treatment of them. It offers an all-round treatment of a subject and differs from a specialist biographical dictionary, which selects and describes its subjects by a particularized criterion. As such, it is intended for general readers and students as well as academics. It maintains the standard proclaimed by Leslie Stephen in his announcement of the original DNB in 1882,
A biography written with a single eye to giving all the information presumably desirable by an intelligent reader may not only be useful, but intensely interesting, and even a model of literary art .
Although too expensive for most individual subscribers, libraries will certainly wish to purchase the Oxford DNB in print or online versions .
References and Notes
1. Murray, Jr., J. A. H. et al., Eds. A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles, Founded Mainly on the Materials Collected by the Philological Society; 10 vols. in 13; The Clarendon Press: Oxford, UK, 1988–1928; Simpson, J. A.; Weiner, E. S. C., Eds. The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed; 20 vols.; Oxford University Press: Oxford/New York, 1989.
2. Stephen, L.; Lee, S., Eds. Dictionary of National Biography; 66 vols; Smith, Elder & Co.: London, 1885–1901.
3. Faber, R.; Harrison, B. The Dictionary of National Biography: A Publishing History. In Lives in Print: Biography and the Book Trade from the Middle Ages to the 21st Century; Myers, R.; Harris, M.; Mandelbrote, G., Eds.; British Library: London; Oak Knoll Press: New Castle, DE, 2002; pp 171–192.
4. Desplaces, E. E., Ed. Biographie universelle, ancienne et moderne…: Nouvelle éd., publiée sous la direction de M. Michaud, rev., cor., et considéra blement augm. d’articles omis ou nouveaux; ouvrage rédigé par une société de gens de lettres et de savants…; 45 volumes; Madame C. Desplaces: Paris, 1854–1865.
5. Stephen, L.; Lee, S., Eds. Dictionary of National Biography; 22 vols; Smith, Elder & Co.: London, 1908–1909.
6. Hudson, J. Report of Meeting: “New Chemical Biography.” Ambix 1999, 46, 104–105.
7. Stephen, L., as quoted by Colin Matthew in New Dictionary of National Biography: Notes for Contributors; Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK, 1994; p 1.
8. Those interested in the Oxford DNB may also wish to consult Lightman, B., Ed. Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century British Scientists, 4 vols.; University of Chicago Press: Chicago, IL; Thoemmes Continuum: Bristol, England, 2004. For a review see Kauffman, G. B. Chem. Educator 2005, 10 (1), 58–59; DOI 10.133/s008970500873a.
George B. Kauffman
California State University, Fresno, email@example.com
Encyclopedic Dictionary of Genetics, Genomics, and Proteomics, 2nd edition. George P. Rédei. Wiley-Liss: Hoboken, NJ, 2003. Figures, tables. xi + 1379 pp, hardcover, 22.4 ´ 28.5 cm. $185.00. ISBN 0-471-26821-6.
Rapid advances in the field of genetics present every student and researcher with the daunting challenge of remaining current and conversant with the many new terms, concepts, and essential jargon. In 1992 about 7,000 articles related only to chromosomes were scattered among 627 journals, and since then the field has expanded even more rapidly. In 1993 Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner wrote, “Genetics will disappear as a separate science because, in the 21st century, everything in biology will become gene-based, and every biologist will be a geneticist” (p viii).
In stark contrast to dictionaries or encyclopedias, which are usually the product of a team of contributors under the direction of one or more editors, the comprehensive reference source under review here is the work of a single author and a true labor of love. George P. Rédei, Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri, Columbia, has been a professor at the Max-Planck-Institut, Köln, a Fulbright Lecturer, and a foreign member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He has taught introductory genetics, the history of genetics, genetic engineering, analytical genetics, and genetic control of physiological responses. His extensive research includes seminal work on the genetic system of the plant Arabidopsis.
In an email of January 8, 2004, Rédei disclosed his motivation in writing his encyclopedic dictionary:
I wrote this book with no financial or other interest in mind. I thought that while I can entertain myself in retirement, I may also provide some service to others. I am very pleased if the latter expectation is realized. Following and keeping up with the ever-expanding literature is becoming increasingly difficult. Although several of the databases and MEDLINE are very helpful, their huge volume may be quite intimidating to students, teachers, and even to research workers, including me. I feel fortunate that the university libraries provide me access to many important journals, and I can reach most of what I want without leaving home and wasting time with driving and parking. I really enjoy what I do, despite my age. I keep updating the material, and I hope that I will live long enough to have it converted into an electronic version so access to it and searching would become easier.
According to Rédei, “The primary goal of this encyclopedic dictionary is the facilitation of communication and understanding across the wide range of biology that is now called genetics” (p viii). It is the second edition of the author’s critically acclaimed (References to and excerpts from selected reviews of the first edition are given on p ix and on his Web site: http://www.missouri.edu/~redeig.) Genetics Manual: Current Theory, Concepts and Terms; (World Science Publishing Co.: River Edge, NJ, 1998; 1152 pp). Unlike multiauthor works, this extensively expanded, revised, and updated dictionary, replete with the latest terminology, concepts, theories, applications, and technology, is virtually free of the redundancy commonly associated with such works. It is compact in size but not in depth of information. More than a dictionary or glossary, the book not only defines or mentions concepts but explains them. Despite the conciseness and brevity of the entries, they are made clear even to beginners.
This gold mine of valuable clinical information contains almost 25,000 entries (compared to the 18,000 in the first edition) alphabetically arranged from 2,5-A oligonucleotide to zymotype and ranging in length from a few words to several pages. The dictionary presents the classical foundations as well as the latest developments, often lacking in textbooks or monographs A vast array of terms (with their etymology) and concepts dealing with biochemistry; cell, molecular, and developmental biology; genomics; hereditary diseases; immunology; molecular evolution; and proteomics are included. The most essential features of a concept are usually presented at the beginning of an entry before more detailed information is provided. A large number of Internet addresses under the heading of databases and after some entries are provided.
Compared to the 650 illustrations in the first edition, more than 1,500 illustrations, photographs, figures, diagrams, graphs, and tables, including 11 in full color at the center of the book, which are adaptable for classroom use, are included, as are many chemical and mathematical formulas as well as worked examples and explanations in plain, intelligible language. Numerous cross-references link the short entries to comprehensive reviews of the topics, which facilitates the networking of ideas into a most encyclopedic, up-to-date text.
A new feature is the close to 7,000 mostly current references to journals, which may help the reader to locate additional key and classic articles. The General References (35 double-column pages) lists about 2,000 books (compared to 900 in the first edition), some as recent as 2003, classified according to 33 topics from Aging to Viruses. Historical vignettes and pertinent quotations—with citation of the reference sources—are included at the end of some sections. Statistical concepts are simplified, and legal and ethical implications of biology are discussed Although Rédei’s approach is scientific and advanced, his style is personal and simple enough to be comprehensible to beginners.
In Rédei’s words,
The vision of genetics today is not less than the complete understanding of how cells and organisms are built, how they function metabolically and developmentally, and how they have evolved. This requires the integration of previously separate disciplines based on diverse concepts and tongues. Whatever your specialization or interest, I hope you will find this single volume helpful and affordable (p vii).
In my opinion, Rédei has eminently succeeded in attaining his goal. His book can also be used as a supplement for biology courses and is helpful in preparing manuscripts, research proposals, and course syllabi Modestly priced, considering its scope and contents, this attractive and user-friendly first desk reference source for students, professionals, and nonprofessionals will be invaluable to scientists, clinicians, nurses, lawyers, teachers, lecturers, administrators, physicians, environmentalists, and citizens interested in understanding the most important terms used in genetics. I recommend it as a useful addition to personal, public, industrial, or academic libraries.
George B. Kauffman
California State University, Fresno, firstname.lastname@example.org
Infrared Spectroscopy: Fundamentals and Applications.ByBarbara H. Stuart. John Wiley & Sons: Chichester, U.K., June 2004. 242 pp. Hardback, £75.00; paperback, £32.50.ISBN 0-470-85428-6 (paperback), 0-470-85427-8, hardback.
In principle there is much to admire in a book of this sort. It attempts to give a usable introduction to infrared spectroscopy in a paperback format of about 225 pages. A lot of specialist books on infrared spectroscopy start off with an account of quantum mechanics and group theory that can put students off for life. In many cases comprehensibility is sacrificed for rigor. This book wisely does not attempt a detailed analysis but gives enough for the student to understand, at least in nonmathematical terms, the origins of the phenomena without being overwhelmed. It then goes on to consider experimental methods followed by a chapter on spectral analysis.
The remainder of the book considers applications to organic molecules, inorganic molecules, polymers, biological systems, and industrial and environmental applications. As such, the areas covered are reasonably comprehensive and are consistent with what one might expect from a work in an analytical techniques series; however, the claim of the title that the book covers fundamentals and applications is perhaps a little ambitious, as the coverage of fundamentals is relatively slight, although suitable for the purpose.
The problem really arises in the quality of the coverage. The chapter on experimental methods has a number of errors and the whole section could have been done with rather less emphasis on transmission methods and more on the other methods. Whilst, of necessity, the Fourier transformation process is mentioned, it is dealt with in less than half a page. The appropriate equations are given but the explanation of what they do is practically nonexistent. I am not convinced that a student reading that page would be much the wiser afterwards.
A similar problem occurs with Kramers–Kronig relationship. This is mentioned in passing with respect to the correction of specular reflectance spectra but is not explained, nor is a reference to it given; however, this is less serious than the actual errors that occur. The schematic of attenuated total reflectance is misleading: it implies that reflectance takes place inside the low refractive index medium. It does not. It takes place at the interface, but energy exchange can take place across the interface. The explanation of photoacoustic spectroscopy is poor. Photoacoustic spectroscopy is not a reflectance technique as stated, it is an absorption technique nor, as the account implies, is the effective sampling depth necessarily limited by the penetration depth of the radiation. In general the whole section on sampling techniques could have done with rather less emphasis on transmission methods and more on the other methods.
The somewhat casual approach is continued in the chapter on spectral analysis. A question about changes in intensity on hydrogen bonding is answered in the back of the book by reference to the change in dipole moment; the term transition dipole is not used. Neither dipole nort transition dipole appear in the index, however, and the answer confuses polar with dipolar. Similarly, an account of the use of ATR to avoid strong solvent absorptions seems to suggest that ATR somehow reduces the relative intensity of the solvent bands, not the absolute intensity. A similar, rather confusing explanation of smoothing is given; it is said to be the “convolution of a spectrum and a vector whose points are determined by the degree of smoothing applied.” This really does not get us very far and is not very helpful as smoothing is generally by a function, not a collection of points. One wonders how well informed a student would feel after reading this and how well they would understand the process of smoothing.
Things get better in the applications sections and this is where one feels that the author is more at home. There are some minor quibbles here but in the main the areas are well covered and would be valuable to a student.
I wish I could recommend this book wholeheartedly, the format and price range make it suitable for students, but the quality of the introductory chapters make it hard to do so.
School of Chemical Sciences and Pharmacy,
University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
The Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century British Scientists, 4 volumes. Bernard Lightman, General Editor. University of Chicago Press: Chicago, IL; copublished with Thoemmes Continuum: London, 2004. xxxix + 2255 pp, hardcover, 16.0 ´ 24.1 cm. $1200.00, £750.00. ISBN 0-226-48116-6.
During the 19th century, no clear boundary existed between persons who were considered to be part of the scientific community and those who were viewed as outsiders, a dichotomy that arose in conformity with today’s standards. During this time the categories of “professional scientist,” “amateur,” and “science popularizer” were being debated and constructed. Consequently, scholars specializing in this period have recently explored the significant roles of neglected amateurs, women, and members of the working class and have expanded their definition of the terms “science” and “scientist.”
All these considerations are taken into account in Bernard Lightman’s dictionary, dedicated to the late Susan E. Abrams, Executive Editor of the University of Chicago Press. It examines how the theories and practices of scientists were shaped by Victorian beliefs about religion, gender, imperialism, and politics, which results in a rich panorama of the development of science during the 19th century. It deals not only with persons working in the traditional “hard” sciences but also considers those working in the human sciences such as anthropology, medicine, psychology, and sociology. Furthermore, it includes areas often overlooked by historians of science like government policy, instrument-making, scientific illustration, as well as the important roles of neglected “amateurs” like women and members of the working class. Inclusion of persons who worked in nontraditional areas and consideration of the social and cultural context in which they lived results in a much richer and broader picture of 19th-century science than has hitherto been commonly presented in dictionaries and encyclopedias.
Lightman is Professor of Humanities at York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada’s Science and Society Program and since 2004 editor of Isis: An International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences, the journal of the History of Science Society. The author of the Origins of Agnosticism, and editor or coeditor of numerous books, including Victorian Faith in Crisis and Victorian Science in Context, he received his B.A. (Honors)(1973) and M.A. (1974) in history from York University and Ph.D. in the history of ideas from Brandeis University (1979). His fields of interest include European intellectual history, 19th-century British history, and the history of modern science, and he has taught at the University of Toronto, Queens University, and the University of Oregon.
The dictionary’s eight consulting editors (6 from the UK and 2 from the U.S.A.) are senior colleagues in the field who helped conceptualize the work and advised Lightman on whom to approach to fill the role of supervisory editors. The 24 supervisory editors recruited contributors and ensured that no important persons in their subject areas were omitted. These editors (with their numbers in parentheses) were assigned to 17 areas: Alternative Sciences (includes mesmerism, phrenology, and spiritualism) (1); Associate Labourers (includes individuals who were part of a correspondence network, missionaries, artisan botanists, assistants, calculators, collectors, technicians, instrument makers, missionaries, and those in the Admiralty who worked on surveys and published navigation manuals) (1); Astronomy (2); Botany (3); Chemistry (2): William H. Brock and Alan J. Rocke; Evolution (includes zoologists, botanists, and scientists whose work was influenced by evolutionary theory) (1); Geography (includes scientific explorers, cartographers, and naval personnel) (1); Geology (2); Human Sciences (includes anthropology, sociology, and psychology) (1); Illustration (1); Mathematics (1); Medicine (1); Natural History (2); Natural Philosophy (1); Physics (1); Science Popularizers (includes science journalists, editors, and publishers) (1); and Zoology (2).
The dictionary contains signed entries on 1259 scientists, cross-referenced (with names of related subjects in small capital letters), indexed, and arranged alphabetically from Edwin Abbott Abbott (1838–1926), mathematics, to Rosina Maria Zornlin (1795–1859), popularizer. The chemists include 154 from Frederick Augustus Abel (1827–1902) to Sydney Young (1857–1937).
Each entry is written in an easily accessible style that avoids unnecessary scholarly terminology, and it contains a name, dates of birth and death where known, biography, and a critical assessment of the subject’s scientific doctrines, ideas, and contributions in historical context. In cases where the subject published his or her works, a bibliography is included, which may contain as many as three sections—published writings by the subject, other relevant works by the subject and related contemporary works, and secondary source material. Entries range in length from about 600 words to about 4000 words, and references as late as 2003 are included.
The articles were written by an international team of 356 contributors from 14 countries (185 from the United Kingdom; 109 from the United States; 24 from Canada; 10 each from Australia and Ireland; 5 from Germany; 3 from Denmark; 2 each from Israel, the Netherlands, and South Africa; and 1 each from Jamaica, New Zealand, South Korea, and Spain). Some of the addresses of authors from the United States do not include the states, and in one case the name of the state is incorrect (Detroit is in Michigan not Illinois) (p xxxiv).
Pagination is consecutive throughout all four volumes. The user-friendly index is extremely detailed (23 double-column pages) and lists all the pages on which the name of the particular figure occurs, not just the pages of the entry for that person.
The Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century British Scientists is a companion volume to The Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century British Philosophers , for which Lightman served as a supervisory editor. The entries in the Dictionary of Scientific Biography  are still useful but do not reflect current scholarship. The Victorian Dictionary of National Biography [3, 4] has recently been revised and updated ; however, none of these existing works focuses exclusively on 19th-century British scientists, as does the dictionary under review here. It belongs on the shelves of academic, industrial, and governmental libraries and the personal libraries of historians of science and interested scientists.
References and Notes
1. Mander, W. J.; Sell, A. P. F., Eds. The Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century British Philosophers; 2 vols.; University of Chicago Press: Chicago, IL; copublished with Thoemmes Continuum: London, 2002.
2. Gillispie, C. C. Ed. Dictionary of Scientific Biography; 16 vols.; Charles Scribner’s Sons: New York, 1970–1980; Holmes, F. L., Ed. Dictionary of Scientific Biography; Vols. 18 and 19; Charles Scribner’s Sons: New York, 1990.
3. Stephen, L.; Lee, S., Eds. Dictionary of National Biography; 66 vols; Smith, Elder & Co.: London, 1885–1901.
4. Stephen, L.; Lee, S., Eds. Dictionary of National Biography; 22 vols; Smith, Elder & Co.: London, 1908–1909.
5. Matthew, H. C. G.; Harrison, B., Eds. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; 60 vols.; also available online; Oxford University Press: Oxford, England, 2004. For a review see Kauffman, G. B. Chem. Educator 2005, 10(1), 50–53; DOI 10.1333/s00897050870a.
George B. Kauffman
California State University, Fresno, email@example.com
Comprehensive Coordination Chemistry II: From Biology to Nanotechnology. Jon A. McCleverty and Thomas J. Meyer, Editors-in-Chief. Elsevier Pergamon: Oxford, UK; San Diego, CA, USA, 2004. 10 volumes, Figures, tables. ccxviii + 8,419 pp, hardcover, 19.2 ´ 27.7 cm. $5,975.00 (worldwide except Europe and Japan), £4,182.50, Euro 6274 (Europe and Japan). ISBN 0-08-043748-6. For general information: http://www.elsevier.com. Ordering addresses: USA/Canada: Elsevier, Customer Service Department, 11830 Westline Industrial Drive, St. Louis, MO 63146, USA; Europe, Middle East, & Africa: Elsevier, Customer Service Department, Linacre House, Jordan Hill, Oxford OX2 8DP, UK. It may also be purchased with a credit card from the Elsevier Science & Technology Bookstore: http://books.elsevier.com/elsevier/ ?isbn=0080437486. The online version is available online via ScienceDirect and includes access to the 7,800 pages of the original Comprehensive Coordination Chemistry (1987) as well as links to all cited literature. For further details on subscription and free trials visit http://www.info. sciencedirect.com/reference_works.
Coordination compounds are of great theoretical importance, especially in elucidating our knowledge of chemical bonding. However, they are of immense practical utility as well. Coordinating agents are used in metal-ion sequestration or removal, solvent extraction, dyeing, leather tanning, electroplating, catalysis, water softening, and other industrial processes too numerous to mention here. In fact, new applications for them are discovered almost daily.
Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) is a coordination compound of cobalt, the hemoglobin of our blood is a coordination compound of iron, the hemocyanin of invertebrate animal blood is a coordination compound of copper, and the chlorophyll of green plants, upon which all life on earth ultimately depends, is a coordination compound of magnesium. Thus coordination compounds are of tremendous and crucial significance in biochemistry. Many biologically active compounds are complexes, and even the simpler types of complexes have served as model compounds in investigating bodily processes. In fact, the new field of bioinorganic chemistry is concerned largely with coordination compounds.
All of these aspects of coordination chemistry are considered in great detail in the immense and imposing set of ten handsomely bound volumes that comprise Comprehensive Coordination Chemistry II (CCC-II), a sequel toElsevier’s critically acclaimed seven-volumeComprehensive Coordination Chemistry (CCC-I) , a companion series to Pergamon’s Comprehensive Organometallic Chemistry [2, 3], which shared as Editor the late 1973 Nobel chemistry laureate Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson (1921-1996). CCC-II maintains the consistently high standards of Pergamon’s “Comprehensive” major reference series. Like CCC-I, it is intended to provide a contemporary overview and to serve as both a convenient first source of information and a stimulus for further advances in the field. The editors have adopted the same general approach as the earlier set and have surveyed developments in coordination chemistry since 1982 in an authoritative and critical manner, taking into account significant new trends in biology, materials science, and other areas.
During the early 1980s the new area of supramolecular chemistry, which is of interest to coordination chemists, emerged. Because Comprehensive Supramolecular Chemistry  appeared in 1996, coverage of this area in CCC-II is limited to developments since 1990. Also, the growth in bioinorganic and materials chemistries, both of which involve coordination chemistry, since 1980 has been remarkable, and this is reflected in the highlighting of important developments and fundamental advances in these areas in CCC-II.
The set’s length and scope reflect the increasingly explosive growth of coordination chemistry. The first systematic survey of the field was made by its founder, Alfred Werner, who devoted the major portion—a mere 152 pages out of 189—of the first edition of his major opus, Neurere Anschauungen , to what were then called “molecular compounds” (Molekülverbindingen) and which he called “Verbindungen höherer Ordnung” (compounds of higher order). For decades coordination chemistry languished in the doldrums, along with its parent, inorganic chemistry, especially in the United States, until its resurgence, the so-called “renaissance of inorganic chemistry,” an appellation coined by the late Sir Ronald S. Nyholm (1917–1971) , made coordination chemistry one of the most active and exciting areas of chemical research.
In view of the rapidity with which the field has grown in the past two decades, it was impossible to give a totally comprehensive review. According to the Editors-in-Chief,
Our intention was to provide the readers of the series with the most reliable and informative background information on particular areas of coordination chemistry based on key primary and secondary references. In doing so we recognize that those readers will be researchers in all levels including students, non-experts from other areas of science, and industrial chemists. Our hope is that CCC-II will provide a clear overview, at a state-of-the-art level, of those areas that the Editors-in-Chief and the Volume Editors believe to be especially important and/or of high relevance to future developments (p xv).
The Editors-in-Chief have retained the definition of coordination chemistry proposed by the Editors of CCC-I:
the synthesis and properties of the products of association of Brønsted bases with a Lewis acid…[with] the arbitrary limitation…that any coordination compound in which the number of metal-carbon bonds is at least half the coordination number of the metal is deemed to be “organometallic” and nominally outside the scope of coverage. This includes hn-hydrocarbon ligands but exceptions have been made for complexes containing CO, CNR, NO, and related p-acid ligands (p xv).
Jon A. McCleverty, Emeritus Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, University of Bristol, UK, who was an Executive Editor of CCC-I, and Thomas J. Meyer, Associate Director for Strategic Research, Los Alamos National Laboratory, edited CCC-II with the assistance of an eight-member International Advisory Board (three members from the United States and one each from Australia, France, Germany, India, and Japan). The chapters were written by 320 internationally recognized researchers from 25 countries (121 from the United States; 54 from the United Kingdom; 18 from France; 17 each from Canada and Japan; 15 from Australia; 13 each from Germany and Switzerland; 12 from Italy; 8 from Spain; 6 from Russia; 3 each from Austria, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Poland; 2 each from Argentina, China, South Korea, and Sweden; and one each from Belgium, Denmark, India, Mexico, Portugal, and Romania). Considering the large number of authors involved, some of whose native languages are not English, as well as the scope of their contributions, the set is remarkably free of errors.
For comparison purposes CCC-I was written by 137 contributors (including Henry Taube and Jean-Marie Lehn, 1983 and 1987 Nobel laureates, respectively) from 21 countries, consisted of 7,800 pages, 116 chapters, and references as late as 1987. CCC-II contains 8,417 pages, 211 chapters, and references as recent as 2003. Both sets are massive and imposing. The pages of both have essentially the same dimensions, but the entire set of CCC-II weighs 49 lb. (22.2 kg) and occupies 18 inches (46 cm.) of shelf space, while CCC-I weighs 31 lb. (14.1 kg.) and occupies 15.5 inches (39.4 cm.) of shelf space. Unlike CCC-I, CCC-II has different editors responsible for individual volumes and features a greater emphasis on coordination chemistry in medicine and industry. Two standard methods of surveying coordination chemistry are according to either the metals or the coordinated groups (ligands). CCC-II, like its predecessor, merges both these approaches and, in addition, prefaces them with introductory conceptual material.
The highly readable chapters, several of which are of book length, range in length from two pages (Chapter 2.53, “GAMESS and MACMOLPLT,” with seven references) to 308 pages (Chapter 6.3, “Nickel,” with 2579 references). For CCC-I the chapters ranged from two pages (Chapter 8.1, “Electrochemistry and Coordination Chemistry,” with eight references) to 347 pages (Chapter 50, “Nickel,” with 3231 references). The set contains innumerable figures, tables, formulas, equations, reaction schemes, and 72 color plates.
Each separately paginated volume contains a periodic table (inside front cover), contents with page numbers for that particular volume, contents of all volumes (without page numbers) (5 pp), preface (2 pp), introduction to that particular volume by the Volume Editor (except for Volume 10), contributors list to that particular volume (a complete contributors list for all volumes—14 pages—in Volume 10 only), and a subject index for that volume (Instead, Volume 10 contains a cumulative subject index). Every volume also contains “Coordination Chemistry: The Past, Present, and Possible Future”—“some thoughts gleaned by the Editors-in-Chief from conversations with the International Advisory Board”—lists of successes and current “hot topics” along with some predictions (2 pp).
The contents of CCC-II can be summarized as follows:
Volumes 1 and 2 complement Volume 2, “Ligands,” of CCC-I, with emphasis on major developments since 1980 and since the publication of CCC-I in 1987, as is the case for all the other chapters in CCC-II.
· Volume 1: Fundamentals: Ligands, Complexes, Synthesis, Purification, and Structure; A. B. P. Lever, Volume Editor (xxiv + 837 pp; 46 chapters)
Section I: Ligands (24 chapters)—survey of the syntheses, characterization, and properties of many of the more commonly employed ligands
Section II: Synthesis, Purification, and Characterization of Coordination Compounds (4 chapters)—includes a detailed survey of aqua metal ions, the use of solvents, chromatographic methods, and crystal growth techniques
Section III: Reactions of Coordinated Ligands (6 chapters)—deals with the chemistry of molecules such as oxygen, nitric and nitrous oxides, carbon dioxide, oximes, and nitriles
Section IV: Stereochemistry, Structure, and Crystal Engineering (3 chapters)—involves lone pair effects, outer sphere interactions, and hydrogen bonding
Section V: New Synthetic Methods (9 chapters)—deals with a wide variety of newer methodologies from biphasic synthesis to sol-gel to genetic engineering
· Volume 2: Fundamentals: Physical Methods, Theoretical Analysis, and Case Studies; A. B. P. Lever, Volume Editor (xxv + 831 pp; 66 chapters)
Section I: Physical Methods (34 chapters)—details the enormous breadth of modern physical methods
Section II: Theoretical Models, Computational Methods, and Simulation (17 chapters)—illustrates the wealth of information that can be extracted from a range of computational methods from semi-empirical to ab initio and from ligand field theory to metal exchange coupling to topology
Section III: Software (7 chapters)—a brief glimpse of some of the currently available packages
Section IV: Case Studies (8 chapters)—how the many physical and theoretical techniques presented earlier in the volume can be use to solve specific problems
Volumes 3 to 6 describe the coordination chemistry of the metallic elements and correspond to Volume 3, “Main Group and Early Transition Elements,” Volume 4, “Middle Transition Elements,” and Volume 5, “Late Transition Elements,” in CCC-I. The information has been selected to provide a nearly comprehensive coverage of new discoveries, new interpretations of experiment and theory, and applications where relevant. The style of reporting is the same as that in CCC-I. The discussion of element properties of bioinorganic and industrial relevance is intentionally limited since these issues are addressed separately in subsequent volumes and are extensively cross-referenced. The “element” chapters contain numerous cross-references to Volume 9, “Applications of Coordination Chemistry.”
· Volume 3: Coordination Chemistry of the s, p, and f Metals; G. F. R. Parkin, Volume Editor (xx + 629 pp; 7 chapters)—trends in the chemistry of 1s and 2s metals such as increased use of sterically bulky ligands, importance of non-ionic interactions, “spectator” role of s-block ions, and application of computational methods; Sc, Y, and lanthanides; actinide elements, including separation and nuclear technology; Al and Ga; In and Tl; As, Sb, and Bi, including their role in the environment, biology, and medicine; Ge, Sn, and Pb
· Volume 4: Transition Metal Groups 3-6; A. G. Wedd, Volume Editor (xx + 866 pp; 12 chapters)—Sc and Y; Ti; Zr and Hf; V; Nb aand Ta; Cr, Mo, W; includes mononuclear, polynuclear, and cluster compounds; metallofullerenes
· Volume 5: Transition Metal Groups 7 and 8; E. C. Constable and J. R. Dilworth, Volume Editors (xx + 876 pp; 6 chapters)—Mn, Re, Fe (including biomimetic aspects); Ru, Os (both low and high oxidation states); because a review of Tc was not available when CCC-I was published, its chemistry from the earliest discoveries to present-day applications is included.
· Volume 6: Transition Metal Groups 9-12; D. E. Fenton, Volume Editor (xx + 1321 pp; 9 chapters; the longest volume)—Co, Ir, Ni, Pd, Pt, Cu, Ag, Au, Zn, Cd, Hg; because of factors beyond the Editors’ control, the proposed chapter on Rh was unavailable in time for publication but should be made available online in the future.
· Volume 7: From the Molecular to the Nanoscale: Synthesis, Structure, and Properties; M. Fujita, A. Powell, and C. A. Creutz, Volume Editors (xxvi + 845 pp; 13 chapters)—electron transfer, photochemical and photophysical, optical, and magnetic characteristics of coordination-complex-based super- and supramolecules, clusters, and nano-particles, species ranging from “traditional” monomeric complexes to ligand-stabilized multimetallic assemblies, metal or semiconductor nanoparticles, dendrimers, other polymer-based assemblies, and mesogenic materials; a selection of lead-in references to review articles is provided.
· Volume 8: Bio-Coordination Chemistry; L. Que, Jr. and W. B. Tolman, Volume Editors (xxi + 840 pp; 29 chapters)—coordination chemistry of metal ions involved in biological processes; relevant biochemical issues are discussed, but the focus is primarily on structure, function, and properties of the metal centers in biomolecules; also synthetic models and/or functional mimics are included, but the majority of complexes prepared as potential models are discussed in Volumes 2 to 6. Experimental results are emphasized, but supporting theoretical material is included.
· Volume 9: Applications of Coordination Chemistry; M. D. Ward, Volume Editor (xxi + 1108 pp; 23 chapters)—actual and potential applications of metal coordination compounds in catalysis, medicine, technology of dyes and optical materials, solar energy, hydrometallurgical extraction, and MOCVD (metal oxide chemical vapor deposition) precursors for new electronic materials
· Volume 10: Cumulative Subject Index (266 triple-column pp; the shortest volume). This is one aspect in which CCC-I is superior to CCC-II; in the former, Volume 7, “Indexes” (642 pp), contains a 71-page index of review articles and specialized texts (1707 reference citations) and a cumulative formula index (387 double-column pages) of empirical and constitutional formulas, in addition to a cumulative subject index (180 double-column pages).
In my opinion, McCleverty and Meyer have admirably succeeded in fulfilling their goal:
We, the Editors-in-Chief, hope that the readers of this second work in the Comprehensive Coordination Chemistry series will find it as useful and informative as the first. It is our hope that the field of coordination chemistry and those who use and advance it will be major beneficiaries of our efforts and those of our authors (p xiv).
Comprehensive Coordination Chemistry II provides far more cutting-edge data than any other books on the subject and is the first place to consult before undertaking research in the field. Its informative, critical assessments and suggestions of gaps in existing knowledge make it the primary reference source for chemists from academic, industrial, or governmental laboratories as well as students and other persons interested in coordination chemistry. I heartily recommend it, with its excellent balance between synthetic chemistry, structure and bonding data, chemical reactions, and mechanistic studies, as essential reading for persons seeking a detailed, accurate, authoritative overview of the entire field or of any of the numerous topics with which it deals. As the most detailed account of present-day coordination chemistry available today, its print and updated online versions should serve as a definitive reference source for many years to come.
References and Notes
1. Wilkinson, G.; Gillard, R. D.; McCleverty, J. A., Eds. Comprehensive Coordination Chemistry: The Synthesis, Reactions, Properties & Applications of Coordination Compounds; 7 volumes; Pergamon Press: Oxford, UK; Elmsford, NY, 1987. For a review see Kauffman, G. B. Ind. Chemist May 1988, 9 (5), 57–58.
2. Wilkinson, G.; Stone, F. G. A.; Abel, E. W., Eds. Comprehensive Organometallic Chemistry: The Synthesis, Reactions, and Structures of Organometallic Compounds; 9 volumes; Pergamon Press: Oxford, UK; Elmsford, NY, 1982.
3. Abel, E. W; Stone, F. G. A.; Wilkinson, G., Eds. Comprehensive Organometallic Chemistry: A Review of the Literature 1982-1995; Pergamon Press: Oxford, UK; Elmsford, NY, 1995.
4. Atwood, J. L.; Davies, J. E. D.; MacNicol, D. D.; Vögtle, F., Eds.Comprehensive Supramolecular Chemistry;11volumes; Pergamon Press: Oxford, UK; Elmsford, NY, 1996.
5. Werner, A. Neuere Anschauungen auf dem Gebiete der anorganischen Chemie; F. Vieweg und Sohn: Braunschweig, Germany, 1905.
6. R.S. Nyholm, The Renaissance of Inorganic Chemistry. J. Chem. Educ. 1957, 34, 166–169.
George B. Kauffman
California State University, Fresno,
Handbook of Chemoinformatics: From Data to Knowledge. Johann Gasteiger, Editor. Wiley-VCH: Weinheim, Germany, 2003. 4 volumes, cci + 1870 pp. hardcover, 17.4 ´ 24.5 cm. $910.00. ISBN 3-527-30680-3
According to G. W. A. Milne, Editor in Chief of the Journal of Chemical Information and Computer Sciences, who wrote the Foreword to this Handbook,
At the birth of chemoinformatics the midwife was the computer, and the subsequent growth of chemoinformatics has to some extent paralleled that of computers….The information computers process is important in chemistry, but the community has had difficulty devising a title to cover this. In 1960 the Journal of Chemical Documentation saw its debut, but this stilted title was replaced in 1975 by a more precise and unwieldy one, the Journal of Chemical Information and Computer Sciences. In the late 1960s, chemometrics came into use and was popular for a number of years, but this name is no longer used very commonly, perhaps because it is too restrictive. In this new century chemists, noting the success of the newly coined bioinformatics , are trying out the chemistry equivalent. This, because of the troublesome “i” in “chemistry” is either chemiinformatics, chemoinformatics, or cheminformatics. Like all its predecessors it is a broad umbrella, under which all manner of activities find shelter. These activities, which are well covered in this book, are diverse, ranging from computer manipulation of chemical structures, data, and databases to calculation, statistical analysis, and estimation of numerical values of chemical properties (Vol. 1, p xlvii).
On June 4–15, 1973 a NATO Advanced Study Institute meeting, “Computer Representation and Manipulation of Chemical Information,” was held at Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands, the first time that persons who worked on storing compounds in databases, analyzed data by pattern recognition methods, modeled three-dimensional structures on cathode ray tubes, designed organic syntheses on the computer, or automatically analyzed mass spectra met to discuss their accomplishments.
Chemoinformatics deals with the application of computer-assisted methods to such chemical problems as information storage and retrieval; prediction of physical, chemical, or biological properties of compounds; spectra simulation; structure elucidation; reaction modeling; synthesis planning; and drug design.
One of the pioneers of the field is Johann (“Johnny”) Gasteiger, since 1994 Professor of Chemistry at the Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, where he co-founded the “Computer-Chemie-Centrum”. He studied chemistry at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) and Universität Zürich, and received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the Universität München in 1971. One of the founders of chemoinformatics in Germany, he is the author of more than 250 articles in this field. A past Chairman (1994–1996) of the Chemie-Information-Computer Division of the Deutsche Chemische Gesellschaft, he is currently Vice-Chairman of the Computational Chemistry Working Party of the Federation of European Chemical Societies. He is a recipient of the Deutsche Chemische Gesellschaft’s Gmelin-Beilstein Medal (1991) and the American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Information’s Herman Skolnik Award (1997).
In November 2001 Gasteiger held a symposium, “Chemoinformatics—Coming of Age,” at the Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg to pay tribute to the field to which he had devoted more than a quarter-century of work . The presentations inspired him to bring this field to a larger audience and to write a book about this discipline . Originally he intended to add sections to the book describing certain topics to be written by prominent authorities, but realizing that to do this would go far beyond the scope of a textbook, he decided to collect the topics into a separate handbook, which evolved into a four-volume set. His task was facilitated because many of the writers had contributed to a previous work that he had edited .
The Handbook of Chemoinformatics, the first comprehensive reference book devoted to this relatively new, exciting, and increasingly important field,is an international undertaking. The 93 eminent contributors hail from academic and industrial laboratories in 12 countries—Germany and the United States (32 each), the UK (12), Sweden (5), Switzerland (4), Italy (2), and Austria, Canada, France, Poland, Portugal, and Slovenia (one each). It is a masterpiece of organization, being divided into 11 chapters (each with a summarizing introduction) that are subdivided into numbered sections, subsections, and sub-subsections. It is replete with hundreds of figures (some in full color), mathematical equations, and chemical formulas and equations. The first volume contains a foreword, preface, and list of contributors and their addresses. Each volume contains an extremely detailed 42-page table of contents for the entire work, which is almost as detailed as the 22-double-column page index contained in Volume 4. Each of its 73 in-depth essays (most of which contain portraits and biographical sketches, some as long as an entire page) of the authors (seven of them being women), begins with an introduction and concludes with a section on conclusions or future trends and an up-to-date bibliography of references that includes books, articles (most with full titles), and web sites; some are as recent as 2003.
A list of the chapters, articles, and their lengths shows the wide range of topics dealt with in the handbook:
Volume 1 (lx + pp 1–490)
Chapter I “Introduction”
I.1. “The Scope of Chemoinformatics” (3 pp, the shortest contribution)
I.2. “A History of Chemoinformatics” (15 pp)
Chapter II “Representation of Chemical Compounds”
II.1 “Representation of Molecular Structures—Overview” (25 pp )
II.2 “Chemical Nomenclature and Structure Representation: Algorithmic Generation and Conversion” (29 pp)
II.3 “SMILES—A Language for Molecules and Reactions” (23 pp)
II.4 “Graph Theory in Chemistry” (36 pp)
II.5 “Processing Constitutional Information”
5.1 “Canonical Numbering and Constitutional Symmetry” (22 pp)
5.2 “Ring Perception” (17 pp)
5.3 “Topological Structure Generators” (17 pp)
5.4 “Combinatorics of Organic Molecular Structures” (11 pp)
II.6 “Representation and Manipulation of Stereochemistry” (25 pp)
II.7 “Representation of 3D Structures”
7.1 “3D Structure Generation” (32 pp)
7.2 “Conformational Analysis and Searching” (40 pp)
II.8 “Molecular Shape Analysis” (18 pp)
II.9 “Computer Visualization of Molecular Tools—Tools for Man-Machine Communication in Molecular Science” (24 pp)
Chapter III “Representation of Chemical Reactions”
III.1 “Reaction Classification and Knowledge Acquisition” (41 pp)
Chapter IV “The Data”
IV.1 “Data Types” (18 pp)
2.1 “Quality Control and Data Analysis” (12 pp)
2.2 “Experimental Design” (22 pp)
IV.3 “Standard Exchange Formats for Spectral Data” (20 pp)
IV.4 “XML and Its Application in Chemistry” (25 pp)
Volume 2. (xlvii + pp 493–915)
Chapter V “Databases/Data Sources”
V.1 “Overview of Databases/Data Sources” (11 pp)
V.2 “Bibliographic Databases” (16 pp)
V.3 “Databases of Chemical Structures” (33 pp)
V.4 “The CAS Information System: Applying Scientific Knowledge and Technology for Better Information” (52 pp, the longest contribution)
V.5 “The Beilstein Database” (21 pp)
V.6 “Databases in Inorganic Chemistry” (15 pp)
V.7 “The Cambridge Structural Database (CSD) of Small Molecule Crystal Structures” (23 pp)
V.8 “Databases of Chemical Reactions” (33 pp)
V.9 “Spectroscopic Databases” (22 pp)
V.10 “Databases on Environmental Information” (21 pp)
V.11 “Patent Databases” (13 pp)
V.12 “Databases in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology” (38 pp)
V.13 “Chemistry on the Internet” (50 pp)
V.14 “Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS)” (21 pp)
Chapter VI “Searching Chemical Structures”
VI.1 “Two-dimensional Structure and Substructure Searching” (17 pp)
VI.2 “Current State of the Art of Markush Topological Search Systems” (19 pp)
VI.3 “Similarity Searching in Chemical Structure Databases” (12 pp)
Volume 3 (xlvii + pp 917–1406)
ChapterVII “Calculation of Physical and Chemical Data”
VII.1 “Molecular Mechanics” (27 pp)
VII.2 “Quantum Mechanics” (29 pp)
Chapter VIII “Descriptors for Chemical Compounds”
VIII.1 “Topological Indices” (23 pp)
VIII.2 “Descriptors from Molecular Geometry” (30 pp)
VIII.3 “A Hierarchy of Structure Representations” (28 pp)
VIII.4 “Representation of Molecular Chirality” (17 pp)
Chapter IX “Methods for Data Analysis”
IX.1 “Inductive Learning Methods”
1.1 “Machine Learning Techniques in Chemistry” (16 pp)
1.2 “Multivariate Data Analysis in Chemistry” (36 pp)
1.3 “Partial Least Squares (PLS) in Chemoinformatics” (33 pp)
1.4 “Neural Networks” (49 pp)
1.5 “Fuzzy Set Theory and Fuzzy Logic and Its Application to Molecular Recognition” (23 pp)
1.6 “Evolutionary Algorithms and their Applications in Chemistry” (42 pp)
IX.2 “Expert Systems” (14 pp)
Chapter X “Applications”
X.1 “Prediction of Physical and Chemical Properties”
1.1 Octanol/Water Partition Coefficients” (14 pp)
1.2 “Quantitative Structure-Property Relationships” (12 pp)
1.3 “Web-Based Calculation of Molecular Properties” (13 pp)
X.2 “Structure-Spectra Correlations”
2.1 “Correlations between Chemical Structure and Infrared Spectra” (19 pp)
2.2 “Correlations between Chemical Structures and NMR Data” (10 pp)
2.3 “Computer-Assisted Structure Elucidation” (29 pp)
Volume 4 (xlvii + pp 1407–1870)
X.3 “Chemical Reactions and Synthesis Design”
3.1 “Analysis of Reaction Information” (21 pp)
3.2 “Computer-Assisted Synthesis Design (CASD)” (29 pp)
3.3 “Computer-Assisted Synthesis Design by WODCA (CASD)” (51 pp)
X.4 “Drug Design”
4.1 “Chemoinformatics and the Quest for Leads in Drug Discovery” (24 pp)
4.2 “QSAR in Drug Design” (23 pp)
4.3 “Comparative Molecular Field Analysis (CoMFA)” (20 pp)
4.4 “3-D- and nD-QSAR Methods” (29 pp)
4.5 “High-Throughput Chemistry” (36 pp)
4.6 “Molecular Diversity” (47 pp)
4.7 “Pharmacophore and Drug Discovery” (25 pp)
4.8 “De-Novo Design Systems” (20 pp)
4.9 “The Docking Problem” (37 pp)
4.10 “From Structural Genomics to Drug Design: Knowledge Discovery in Crystallographic Databases to Assist Lead Discovery and Optimization” (20 pp)
5.1 “Prediction of Protein Structure Through Evolution” (23 pp)
5.2 “Sequence and Genome Bioinformatics” (33 pp)
Chapter XI “Future Directions” (3 pp)
In the book’s last chapter Gasteiger predicts,
Foremost we hope—and believe—that chemoinformatics will become of increasing importance in the teaching of chemistry. The instruments and methods that are used in chemistry will continue to swamp us with data and we have to manage these data to increase our chemical knowledge….We will have to see further in the graphical user interfaces of software systems and the retrieval systems of databases in order to make software and databases acceptable to the chemical community at large. Software and databases should speak the language a chemist is used to, with hand-drawn chemical structures and reaction equations, or even understand the spoken word—and only provide the desired information selectively, not buried in a pile of unnecessary output (p 1845–1847).
According to Milne,
Papers describing new approaches or ideas about chemical data represent a challenge to journal editors, reviewers, and—not least—the readership. All three groups must form judgments and make decisions concerning such papers and they must do so with little context to guide them. The power of a compilation such as this Handbook of Chemoinformatics is that it provides this context. Papers published in journals may be technically correct but without significant merit. Value judgment is greatly facilitated when they are placed in a carefully edited compilation of current ideas and trends (Vol. 1, p xlvii).
I agree with this assessment, and I recommend the Handbook of Chemoinformatics, an up-to-date, comprehensive reference source, both to newcomers as well as to advanced practitioners of the field, and to academic, industrial, and technical libraries.
References and Notes
1. For information on bioinformatics see Jason Wong’s review of Arthur M. Lesk’s Introduction to Bioinformatics in Chem. Educator 2004, 9, 138–139; DOI 10.1333/s00897040777a.
2. For symposium presentations see http://www2.chemie.uni-erlangen.de/presentations/symposium/index.html (accessed Jan 2005).
3. Gasteiger, J.; Engel, T., Ed. Chemoinformatics—A Textbook; Wiley-VCH: Weinheim, Germany, 2003. This text contains cross-references to the Handbook.
4. Schleyer, P. von R.; Allinger, N. L.; Clark, T.; Gasteiger, J.; Kollman, P. A.; Schaefer III, H. F.; Schreiner, P. R., Eds. Encyclopedia of Computational Chemistry; John Wiley & Sons: Chichester, England, 1998.
George B. Kauffman
California State University, Fresno, firstname.lastname@example.org
Exploring the World of Plastics. Version 1.0. William J. Vining and Richard S. Stein, Project Directors, Chemistry Higher Education Workgroup, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. National Plastics Center and Museum: 210 Lancaster St., Route 117, P.O. Box 639, Leominster, MA 01453, 1999. Phone: (978) 537-9529; email: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.plasticsmuseum.com. $10.00 plus $3.00 shipping and handling. To order log onto http://www. plasticsmuseum.com/a-cdorder.html
Incorporated in 1982, the National Plastics Center and Museum is a nonprofit institution dedicated to preserving the past, addressing the present, and promoting the future of plastics through public education and awareness by conducting hands-on science programming for schools, organizations, and the plastics community. The center’s CD-ROM disk, Exploring the World of Plastics, is an interactive system that includes information about the history, background, synthesis, properties, processing, and application of plastics as well as about the museum (located in Leominster, MA, considered to be the birthplace of the plastics industry).
The program includes 50 brief movies and is replete with structural formulae. It contains the following main sections:
· Common Plastics
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene, Teflon)
Ring Opening Polymerization
Perspex (Polymethyl Methacrylate)
· Can be used on both PC and Mac systems
· Power PC running System 7.5 or better or Pentium 100 or higher running Windows 95 or better
· QuickTime 3.0 or better, which is included on the disk
· 8 mb RAM in addition to System requirements
· Monitor and system capable of showing thousands of colors or 16 bit high color or better at 640x480
· 4´ Speed CD-ROM drive or faster
This inexpensive piece of software should find wide use as a teaching tool. The language, descriptions, and explanations are written at a level readily comprehensible to the average high school student. This fact is especially important because many books and other resources are written at a level beyond the average student’s level of understanding. By use of a video projector many of the excellent video clips can easily be shown in a lecture to help students understand many of the concepts presented on the disk. For example, the “Synthesis” subsection in the “Polymers” section clearly differentiates the various types of polymerization. The animated clip on intermolecular forces vividly demonstrates the differences between the solid, liquid, and gaseous states.
George B. Kauffman and Brian Fischer
California State University, Fresno,
Chemically Speaking: A Dictionary of Quotations. Selected and Arranged by Carl C. Gaither and Alma E. Cavazos-Gaither; Illustrated by Andrew Slocombe. Institute of Physics: Bristol, England; Philadelphia, PA, 2002. 26 cartoons. xix + 583 pp, paperback, 15.5 ´ 23.3 cm. $29.99, £21.99. ISBN 0-7503-0682-3.
Those of us who collect scientifically oriented quotations and aphorisms and regularly use them in our lectures or articles should be indebted to the Institute of Physics Publishing, which has contributed a number of volumes to the somewhat neglected genre of collections of quotations. IOP has published a critically acclaimed anthology by the eminent crystallographer Alan L. Mackay, Scientific Quotations: The Harvest of a Quiet Eye (foreword by 1960 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine Sir Peter Medawar, 1977; 2nd edition, 1991; for a review see Kauffman, G. B. Isis 1978, 69, 273–274). It also published a series of eight inexpensive paperback anthologies by Carl C. Gaither and Alma E. Cavazos-Gaither, of which I have reviewed Scientifically Speaking: A Dictionary of Quotations (2000; for a review see Kauffman, G. B. Chem. Educator 2002, 7, 387; DOI 10.1333/s00897020631a).
The volume under review here is of particular interest to chemists, for as the compilers point out:
It has, for the first time, brought together in one easily accessible form the best expressed thoughts that are especially illuminating and pertinent to the discipline of chemistry (p xvi).
Most of the more than 1400 quotations, which range from wise and profound to witty, humorous or downright frivolous, are provocative and offer food for thought. The more than 800 speakers or writers cited, both ancient and modern, include both chemists and scientists, but many are nonscientists from a wide variety of professions. The quotes appear in 201 alphabetically arranged sections, “Abstraction” to “X-Rays,” ranging in length from a single quotation (“Affinity”) to 28 pages with 141 quotations (“Chemistry”), and alphabetically arranged by authors within the sections. The section, “Element,” contains 19 subsections from “Aluminum” to “Zinc.” The authority for each quote includes the fullest possible information that the editors could find, and whenever they could not locate the original source they indicate where they found the quotation. Occasionally, when they had only the quote but not the source, they have listed the source as unknown so that the quote would not be lost. Quotations include both familiar and unfamiliar items so that readers will find their favorites along with those entirely new to them.
An alphabetical bibliography provides readers seeking further details about the quotations or authors. A crucial factor in the usefulness of a reference work is the index. This book contains two extensive indexes, which facilitate the retrieval of material. One is an alphabetical “Subject by Author Index “(59 double-column pages), which lists authors under sections devoted to subjects and allows the reader to locate all quotations pertaining to a given subject. A brief extract of each quotation is given in this index. An alphabetical “Author by Subject Index” (26 double-column pages) lists authors, along with a key word about the quotation. In short, the user of the collection can identify the author and the source of a quotation, check its precise wording, discover what an individual has written or said about a given subject, and find quotations by other persons about the same subject.
As is common with a collection of this sort there are a number of errors, mostly “typos” or misspellings of proper names. I’m glad to report that the commonest misspellings (“Humphrey for “Humphry” (Davy), “Marcelin” for “Marcellin” (Berthelot), and “Kauffmann” for “Kauffman” (George B.) are absent, although “Marcellin” is rendered “Mercelin” on p 550. Errors include “Bosewell” for “Boswell” (p xviii); “Micheel” for “Michael” (Sendivogius, pp 16, 437, 554, and 578); “Grossland” for “Crosland” (Maurice, pp 17, 58, 157, 193, 201, 202, 292, 371, and 473); “Hillerbrand” for “Hillebrand” (William F., pp 21, 474, 569, and 501); “Herman” for “Hermann” (Boerhaave, pp 101, 373, 412, 462, 511, 545, and 560); “Raleigh” for “Rayleigh” (Lord, pp 174 and 489); “Gustauv” for “Gustave” (Flaubert, p 177, 288, 505, and 534); “Plagerism” for “Plagiarism” (pp 333 and 540); “Boltzman” for “Boltzmann” (Ludwig, p 462); “Edward” for “Eduard” (Farber, p 470); “de cervantes” for “de Cervantes” (p 506); “its” for “it’s” (p 511); “Patison” for “Pattison” (M. M. Pattison Muir, p 514); and “Hoffman” for “Hoffmann” (Roald, p 555). Also, in the “Author by Subject Index” Lafcadio Hearn appears in two separate spots (pp 568 and 569).
Diacritical marks are lacking in “Honore” for “Honoré” (p 461); ‘Jose” for “José” (Ortega y Gasset, pp 483, 546, and 575); “Rene” for “René” (Descartes, p 553); and “Eugene” for “Eugène” (Guye, Charles Eugène, p 572). Also, some names are incomplete, lacking first names which could readily be found: Mersenne (pp 14 and 574); Gay-Lussac (pp 17, 58, 193, 201, 218, 292, 371, and 567); Sully-Prudhomme (pp 95 and 510); and “Duchesne” (p 180).
The compilers state that “Chemically Speaking is also an aid for the individual who loves to quote—and to quote correctly,” and they state, “We have attempted to verify each and every one of the quotations in this book to insure [sic] that they are correct,” but they admit,
Although there are doubtless errors in the quotations and in the citations, and there is certainly much omission, we have sought to ease the reader’s need to undertake long searches of the literature in chemistry, physics, mathematics, literature, and philosophy (p xvi).
They ask readers to send them any corrections by quoting William Kitchener (misspelled as “Kitchiner”),
That this book has its fault, no one can doubt,
Although the Author could not find them out.
The faults you find, good Reader, please to mend,
Your comments to the Author kindly send (p xvi).
In view of the fact that the compilers have consulted a fantastic number of widely scattered sources (literally hundreds of secondary sources such as books and articles are listed in the 36-page bibliography) and that this collection is the only one to date specifically devoted to chemistry, I am inclined to endorse it with the caveat that before citing a particular quotation in print, the writer should check the original citation to ensure accuracy
As an author and editor, I find it incredible how Gaither and Cavazos-Gaither can compile such high quality anthologies at such a regular and rapid pace. I am pleased to recommend their work to general readers with an interest in science as well as to scientists, students, educators, speakers, scholars, and writers who have a need for a handy source of quotations.
George B. Kauffman
California State University, Fresno, firstname.lastname@example.org
Memory Effects. Poems by Roald Hoffmann. Calhoun Press, Columbia College Chicago: Chicago, IL, 1999. 79 pp, paperback, 15.3 ´ 22.3 cm., paperback. $9.00. ISBN 0-932026-43-5. Order from http://amazon.com, http://bn.com/, or Prof. Roald Hoffmann, Dept. of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University, Baker Laboratory, Ithaca, NY 14853-1301; email: email@example.com
Despite C. P. Snow’s lament about the abysmal lack of communication between humanists and scientists , others, including me , have maintained that the wellsprings of creativity for both groups are the same. Therefore it should not be surprising that poets have written on science, for example, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , August Strindberg , and Cyrano de Bergerac , while scientists have written poetry, for example, physicists J. Robert Oppenheimer and Alan Lightman, immunologist Miroslav Holub, anthropologist Loren Eisley, and chemists Joseph F Bunnett , Primo Levi , and Roald Hoffmann (Figure 1) . As any scientist who has tried to write poetry can testify, the task is far from easy .
Roald, who with the late Kenichi Fukui shared the 1981 Nobel chemistry prize “for their theories, developed independently, concerning the course of chemical reactions,” is now the Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters (formerly the John A. Newman Professor of Physical Science) at Cornell University, where he joined a poetry group and began writing poetry in 1977. However, it was not until 1984 that he started to publish his work. Like Joseph Conrad, whose native language was Polish but who won fame as a novelist writing in English, Roald, named in honor of Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen, was born in Poland (July 18, 1937 in Zlochów, now Zolochiv in Ukraine). His parents, Hilel and Clara Safran were Jewish, and in June 1941, a month before Roald’s fourth birthday German troops entered his home town, and a few months later the family was deported to Lackie, a labor camp. In January 1943 his father had his wife and son smuggled out of the camp, and mother and son remained hidden in a schoolhouse attic for the remainder of the war. In June the father made plans to escape, but the plan was discovered, and he was executed, as were most of Roald’s relatives. After being liberated by the Red Army in June 1944 Roald and his mother moved to Przemysl and then to Krakow. His mother remarried; Paul Hoffmann, who died two months before the announcement of Roald’s Nobel prize, was a kind and gentle stepfather, and Roald adopted his name. We relate these sad events because they figure prominently in Roald’s poetry in this and his other books.
Together with his mother and stepfather, Roald emigrated to the United States on February 22, 1949 (Washington’s birthday) and settled in New York City. Although he confesses that he wanted to be an art history major , he majored in chemistry. He received a B.A. degree from Columbia University (1958), and M.A. (1960) and Ph.D. (1962) degrees from Harvard University. While a student at Columbia, he was introduced to poetry by renowned writer, poet, critic, and teacher Mark Van Doren and was also influenced by Pulitzer prize-winning poet Wallace Stevens.
In addition to his numerous technical scientific articles, Roald has written a number of works intended for nonscientists, including a critically acclaimed television series , several books [12–14], a play , and books of poetry [16, 17], all of which we have read and reviewed. In 2002 he became the impresario of “Entertaining Science,” a monthly series of cabaret programs on the marriage of science and art at the Cornelia Street Café in New York’s Greenwich Village—a response to what he sees as “an unhealthy modern perception that science and the humanities exist in mutually exclusive intellectual realms” .
Roald’s third collection of poetry, Memory Effects, dedicated to his father, Hilel Safran (1911–1943), consists of 48 poems, 19 of which have appeared previously in 16 magazines and many of which he wrote in the inspirational setting of the Djerassi Foundation in the Santa Cruz Mountains. As in his earlier collections, these poems are marked by striking metaphors and intense images, many drawn from scientific ideas and concepts, for example, “in steady state there’s never much CO2 in air” (p 15); “I think the chaparral grows at night starkly violating the laws of photosynthesis” (p 64); and “I have held dinosaur eggs, and made myself osmium–osmium bonds stronger than in pure metal” (p 69).
Characteristics of Roald’s writing are his keen observation, his childhood reminiscences, the links that he draws between his internal world and the external world of nature, and the manner in which science easily and naturally enters his poetic universe.For example, in “Cheiron at Woodside”he describes a walk in the woods, but while examining oak bark he descends to the molecular level and introduces us to some chemistry:
From the large cells in root tip
or leaf, in deeper, to grana, the stained
engines of photosynthesis, chloroplasts,
alike in redwood and oak, hidden convolutions
of cell membranes holding enzymes ganged
to push on electrons, chlorophyll’s magnesium,
intricate cycles of sulfur, citrate, ATP (p 40).
including the structure of DNA:
But then I remembered the coded capsule
of the nucleus, those tightly paired
purines and pyrimidines (p 41).
Looking back on his life, Roald makes connections between how, why, and when events happened to him, their meaning, and how they affected him. He repeatedly attempts to make sense of his life, his religion, his philosophy, and he tries to differentiate what has worked for him from what has not.
The volume is divided into five unnamed sections consisting of 9, 9, 13, 6, and 11 selections, respectively. The first and most prominent section deals with unresolved, haunting memories of Roald’s childhood survival during the Holocaust and the impact that they still have on his present state of mind. He recalls events of more than a half-century ago in the camps so vividly that they seem to be occurring now. In “June 1943” he speaks of his father’s death at the hands of a Ukrainian policeman and addresses his father directly:
Others had come back long after
the war was over, so I was sure
you had not died, father (p 12).
In “Survival Techniques” Roald contrasts the methods taught to Israelis to survive in the desert with the advice given to his mother that he overheard as a child:
you shouldn’t let the boy
sleep in a room full
they’ll lean over a child,
suck air from its throat (p 14).
In “Looking into the Cave” (pp 16–17) he describes the underground bunker where 27 people lived for 15 months, and in “Speaking for the Dead: in memory of Primo Levi” (p 18) he asks—and answers: “Who shall speak for the dead?” In “Games in the Attic, 1943” (pp 20–21), written near San Francisco in 1989, he describes for his mother the route from Uniow to San Francisco, while in “My Haunt” (p 23) he sees his own and his children’s eyes in a photograph of his father.
Not only do chemical and scientific images occur in poems dealing with events from Roald’s everyday life, but entire poems deal with scientific or academic themes. In “The Sea in Radzin” (pp 25–27), which is prefaced by Numbers 15, 38, the verses describing tekhelet (the Biblical blue dye, and the wool dyed with it, from a secretion of a Mediterrean snail), he returns to the chemical-religious theme that he and Shira Leibowitz Schmidt pursued in the play “The Flag That Came Out of the Blue” in their book, Old Wine, New Flasks [13, pp 159–211]. In “The Sixteen Sulfurs of Erämetsä” (p 29) he poetically describes the Finnish chemist’s attempts to prepare t-sulfur, which was obtained only three times in 5000 crystallizations. In “Specula” (pp 30-35), the 10-part, 6-page poem that is the longest in the collection, he speculates on chirality and mirror images and asks the question, “Why is there one more right hand than left?” (p 34). Some poems take a scientific fact as a starting point; “Giving In” (p 37) begins with: “At 1.4 million atmospheres xenon, a gas, goes metallic.” “Ponder Fire” (p 45) considers phlogiston, “The Scientific Method” (p 48) applies philosopher Karl Popper’s falsifiability criterion to everyday life, and “The 1986 Nobel Prize in Physics” (pp 46–47) deals with Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer’s scanning tunneling microscope.
But many of Roald’s verses speak to a wider audience. His paean to Hitchcock, “Catalysis” (pp 38–39), written while he was in the midst of filming his PBS chemistry series , begins with: “Hitchcock sure knew how to frame a shot,” and ends with: “We sure could’ve used Hitchcock in our series.” In “Rewrit” (p 42–43) Roald rewrites Genesis and reconciles God’s creation with evolution. Many poems exhibit his love for and interest in nature, for example, “Here’s What the Wind Can Do” (p 49), “Here’s What Thistles Can Do” (p 50), “How It Grows” (p 56), “Where There’s a Will There’s a Way” (p 60), “Who Uses Whom” (p 61), “Lava” (p 64), and “Brahma of the Fog” (p 65). Some poems derive from Roald’s frequent travels, for example, the Öresund, Hüstegafjärden, Lidingö, and other Scandinavian places (He spent 1959 at Per-Olov Löwdin’s summer school in Sweden).
Poetry, with its reliance on connotation as much as denotation, is able to pack a tremendous amount of information, into a limited space. As a prime example, Roald’s poem, “Fritz Haber” (pp 76–77), in a mere 303 words, encapsulates Haber’s entire life, career, and times. As one who has written articles and reviews about the 1918 Nobel Chemistry laureate, GBK was amazed at the plethora of topics either explicitly or implicitly dealt with here: nitrogen fixation, catalysis, ammonia production, industrial scale-up, fertilizers, explosives, Chile saltpeter (NaNO3) and guano as sources of nitrates, the British naval blockade of Germany, World War I, reaction mechanisms, activated complex, transition state, directorship of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, Geheimrat Haber, chemical warfare to break the stalemate in the trenches, chlorine attack at Ypres, first wife’s depression and suicide, alchemy, unsuccessful extraction of gold from seawater to pay Germany’s war reparations, Germany’s postwar hyper-inflation, the rise of Hitler and Nazi anti-Semitism, Protestant convert Haber now regarded as a Jew, self-imposed exile, and death at Basel, “the city of wily Paracelsus” (A mere enumeration with no pretense of poetry has required 100 words!). However, a knowledge of science is required to comprehend and appreciate this and others of Roald’s “scientific” poems fully.
According to Roald,
I have no problem doing (or trying to do) both science and poetry. Both emerge from my attempt to understand the universe around me, from my own personal affection for communicating, teaching what I’ve learned, and from my infatuation with language—the English language, as well as other languages that geopolitical accidents have thrust into my head .
We agree that Roald has eminently succeeded in realizing his self-imposed roles of scientist, poet, communicator, and teacher, and we are pleased to recommend this slim volume to aficionados of his verse as well as to a wider audience not yet familiar with his unique and balanced blend of science and humanity.
References and Notes
1. Snow, C. P. The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution; Cambridge University Press: New York, 1962.
2. Kauffman, G. B. Reflections on Chemistry and Its Teaching on the Occasion of the Alfred Werner Centennial. J. Chem. Educ. 1966, 43, 677–679; Kauffman, G. B. Science and the Scientist—A Personal Interpretation. Fresno State College Alumni Journal 1967 (March), 7–9; Kauffman, G. B. Review of Amato, I. Super Vision: A New View of Nature; Harry N. Abrams, Inc.: New York, 2003. Chem. Educator 2004, 9, 411–414; DOI 10.1333/s00897040854a.
3. Krätz, O. Goethe und die Naturwissenschaften; Georg Callwey: Munich, Germany, 1992. For a review see Kauffman, G. B. Ambix 1993, 40, 109–110.
4. Kauffman, G. B. Chemical Bonds: August Strindberg's Chemical and Alchemical StudiesJ. Chem. Educ. 1983, 60, 584–590.
5. Nierenberg, W. A. Cyrano, Physicist. Proc. Am. Phil. Soc. 1986, 130, 354–361.
6. Bunnett, J. F.; Kearley, Jr., F. J. Comparative Mobility of Halogens in Reactions of Dihalobenzenes with Potasssium Amide in Ammonia. J. Org. Chem. 1971, 36, 184. This scientific article is written in free verse.
7. Angier, C. The Double Bond: Primo Levi, A Biography; Farrar, Straus and Giroux: New York, 2002. For a review see Kauffman, G. B. Chem. Educator 2004, 9, 57–60; DOI 10.1333/s00897030764a.
8. Roald Hoffmann—Biography. In The Nobel Foundation, Nobel Lectures including Presentation Speeches and Laureates’ Biographies: Chemistry 1981–1990; World Scientific Publishing: Singapore; River Edge, NJ/London/Hong Kong, 1992; pp 29–33; http://nobelprize.org/chemistry/laureates/1981/hoffmann-bio.html; Ruthen, R. Profile: Modest Maverick: Hoffmann’s world of chemistry, poetry, and pedagogy. Scientific American July 1990, 32–33, 35; Burdett, J. K. Roald Hoffmann 1937–. In Nobel Laureates in Chemistry 1901–1992; James, L. K., Ed. American Chemical Society and the Chemical Heritage Foundation: Washington, DC, 1993; pp 648–653; Browne, M. W.Chemist Seeks Beauty in the Structure of Molecules and in Poetry. New York Times, July 6, 1993, pp C1, C10; Hargittai, I. Interview: Fukui and Hoffmann: Two Conversations; Chem. Intelligencer 1995 (April), 1 (2), 14–25; Kauffman, G. B. Roald Hoffmann. In Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists; Olson, R., Smith, R., Eds.; Marshall Cavendish Corp., New York, 1998; Vol. 3, pp 635–637.
9. One of us (GBK) confesses to auditing a course in poetry writing during a sabbatical leave in 1979.
10. Hoffmann, R. The World of Chemistry; Intellimation: Santa Barbara, CA, 1989. For a review of this television course and set of videocassettes see Kauffman, G. B J. Chem. Educ. 1990, 67, A54–A55; J. Coll. Sci. Teaching 1991 (March/April), 20, 306–307.
11. Hoffmann, R.; Torrence, V. Chemistry Imagined: Reflections on Science; Smithsonian Institution Press: Washington, DC, 1993. For a review see Kauffman, G. B.; Kauffman, L. M. J. Chem. Educ. 1995, 72, A18.
12. Hoffmann, R. The Same and Not the Same; Columbia University Press: New York, NY, 1995. For a review see Kauffman, G. B.; Kauffman, L. M. J. Chem. Educ. 1996, 73, A47.
13. Hoffmann, R.; Schmidt, S. L. Old Wine, New Flasks: Reflections on Science and Jewish Tradition; H. Freeman & Co.: New York, 1997. For a review see Kauffman, G. B.; Kauffman, L. M. J. Chem. Educ. 1998, 75, 1097–1098.
14. Djerassi, C.; Hoffmann, R. Oxygen: A play in 2 acts; Wiley-VCH: Weinheim, Germany; New York, 2001. For a review see Kauffman, G. B.; Kauffman, L. M. Chem. Educator 2003, 8, 164–168; DOI 10.1333/s00897030680a.
15. Hoffmann, R. The Metamict State; University of Central Florida Press: Orlando, FL, 1987. For a review see Kauffman, G. B. J. Chem. Educ. 1989, 66, A47.
16. Hoffmann, R. Gaps and Verges; University of Central Florida Press: Orlando, FL, 1990. For a review see Kauffman, G. B.; Kauffman, L. M. Poets in the Laboratory. Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. Engl. 1990, 20, 1488–1489.
17. Mullin, R. The Science Scene in Greenwich Village: Now in its second year, Roald Hoffmann’s cabaret act packs a basement on Cornelia Street. Chem. Eng. News 2003 (May 26), 81 (21), 32–33.
18. Hoffmann, R. How I Work as Poet and Scientist. The Scientist, March 21, 1988, p 10.
George B. Kauffman and Laurie M. Kauffman
California State University, Fresno, firstname.lastname@example.org
Handbook of Nuclear Chemistry. Attila Vértes, Sándor Nagy, and Zoltán Klencsár, Editors. Kluwer Academic Publications: Dordrecht/Boston/London, 2004. 5 volumes, Figures, tables. lviii + 2444 pp, hardcover 16.7 ´ 24.6 cm. $1575.00, £1000.00, E1600.00. ISBN 1-4020-1305-1.
According to 1994 Nobel Chemistry laureate George A. Olah,
Generating energy by burning non-renewable fossil fuels including oil, gas and coal is feasible only for the relatively short future and even so, faces serious environmental problems. The advent of the atomic age opened up a wonderful new possibility, but also created dangers and concerns of safety. I feel that it is tragic that the latter considerations practically brought further development of atomic energy to a standstill at least in most of the Western world. Whether we like it or not we have in the long run no alternative but to rely increasingly on clean atomic energy, but we must solve safety problems including those of disposal and storage of radioactive waste-products. Pointing out difficulties and hazards as well as regulating them (within reason) is necessary. Finding solutions to overcome them, however, is essential .
Olah’s sentiments are echoed by the late Edward Teller, who wrote the foreword to the Handbook of Nuclear Chemistry, but who died (on September 9, 2003) before it was published:
There can be no question that nuclear energy will become more important in the future in spite of the fact that there is general opposition toward the use of this form of energy….Oil and gas are becoming more expensive and no great reserves appear to be available. Coal supplies are likely to last longer but I expect it to become more expensive even within this century. The other sources, like hydroelectricity, solar energy and geothermal energy will be in many cases important, but they will remain local and limited. I firmly expect that the source that will become of lasting and general importance for the world is nuclear energy (Vol. 1, p vii).
The 20th century has been called the “Nuclear Age,” and during that time 53 Nobel prizes were awarded to theoreticians and experimenters who were nuclear scientists. Despite anti-nuclear sentiment engendered by such unfortunate accidents as those at Three Mile Island in the United States in 1979 and Chernobyl in the U.S.S.R. in 1986, many countries, such as France, continue to use nuclear reactors as sources of energy, and nuclear science will be of increasing importance in the 21st century. Therefore the publication of the Handbook of Nuclear Chemistry, which authoritatively surveys all of the chemical aspects of the dynamic field of nuclear science,is most welcome. Chapter 1 of its first volume, “History of Nuclear and Radiochemistry” (pp 1–41), written by Gerhart Friedlander and Günter Herrmann, provides a bird’s eye view of the entire field.
The three editors are all affiliated with the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest (Professors Vértes and Nagy authored one and three chapters, respectively), and many of the contributors are Hungarian. The international team of 77 authors consists of world-renowned nuclear chemists, radiopharmaceutical chemists, and physicists from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Volume 1 contains a foreword and preface, and each volume includes a list of contributors for that particular volume, their affiliations, and their postal and email addresses. Each volume has separate editors, separate pagination, a separate ISBN number, and a detailed table of contents, which includes authors’ names, sections, subsections, and sub-subsections, for that volume. (There is no cumulative index for the entire handbook.) Each volume except Volume 4 contains one or more appendixes, conceived and edited by Gábor L. Molnár, and Volume 4 includes its own preface and an obituary of Gerhard Stöcklin, a pioneer in radiopharmaceutical chemistry, who died unexpectedly on March 15, 2003 and to whom the volume is dedicated.
The handbook contains hundreds of tables, figures, and mathematical and nuclear equations. Most of its 48 chapters begin with an introduction and end with a section on conclusions or future trends. The extensive selection of references (books, articles, and internet sites), some as recent as 2003, provides access to further reading in the field. Many important concepts and terms appear in boldface type. The international system of units (SI) is used consistently throughout the handbook.
A list of the chapters and their lengths shows the wide range of topics discussed in the handbook:
Volume 1, “Basics of Nuclear Science,” Volume Editor, R. G. Lovas (xiii + 560 pp), ISBN 1-4020-1313-2
Chapter 1, “History of Nuclear and Radiochemistry” (41 pp)
Chapter 2, “Basic Properties of the Atomic Nucleus” (93 pp, the longest chapter in the volume and in the handbook)
Chapter 3, “Nuclear Reactions” (53 pp)
Chapter 4, “Nuclear Fission” (65 pp)
Chapter 5, “Kinetics of Radioactive Decay” (33 pp)
Chapter 6, “Interaction of Radiation with Matter” (34 pp)
Chapter 7, “Statistical Aspects of Nuclear Measurements” (66 pp)
Chapter 8, “The Standard Model of Elementary Particles” (19 pp, the shortest chapter in the volume)
Appendixes, “Reference Data” (139 pp)
Volume 2, “Elements and Isotopes: Formation, Transformation, Distribution” (ix + 527 pp), ISBN 1-4020-1314-0
Chapter 1, “The Origin of the Chemical Elements” (48 pp)
Chapter 2, “Natural Radioactive Decay Chains” (23 pp)
Chapter 3, “Radioelements” (12 pp, the shortest chapter in the volume)
Chapter 4, “Isotope Effects” (32 pp)
Chapter 5, “Isotopic Paleoclimatology” (38 pp)
Chapter 6, “Radioactive Dating Methods” (63 pp)
Chapter 7, “Production and Chemistry of Transuranium Elements” (64 pp)
Chapter 8, “Production and Identification of Transactinide Elements” (39 pp)
Chapter 9, “Chemistry of Transactinides” (73 pp, the longest chapter in the volume)
Chapter 10, “Superheavy Elements” (20 pp)
Appendix, “Table of the Nuclides” (102 pp)
Volume 3, “Chemical Applications of Nuclear Reactions and Radiations” (x + 553 pp), ISBN 1-4020-1315-9
Chapter 1, “Radiation Chemistry” (55 pp)
Chapter 2, “Hot Atom Chemistry” (51 pp)
Chapter 3, “Mössbauer Spectroscopy” (79 pp, the longest chapter in the volume)
Chapter 4, “Mössbauer Excitation by Synchroton Radiation” (12 pp, the shortest chapter in the volume and in the handbook)
Chapter 5, “Positron Annihilation Spectroscopies” (27 pp)
Chapter 6, “Exotic Atoms and Muonium” (31 pp)
Chapter 7, “Neutron Scattering Methods in Chemistry” (41 pp)
Chapter 8, “Activation Analysis” (60 pp)
Chapter 9, “Applications of Neutron Generators” (24 pp)
Chapter 10, “Chemical Applications of Accelerators” (55 pp)
Chapter 11, “Tracer Technique” (32 pp)
Appendixes, “Reference Data” (67 pp)
Volume 4, “Radiochemistry and Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry in Life Sciences,” Volume Editor, Frank Rösch (xvi + 398 pp), ISBN 1-4020-1316-7
Chapter 1, “Reactor-Produced Medical Radionuclides” (46 pp)
Chapter 2, “Cyclotron Production of Medical Radionuclides” (33 pp)
Chapter 3, “Radionuclide Generators” (38 pp)
Chapter 4, “11C: Labeling Chemistry and Labeled Compounds” (47 pp, the longest chapter in the volume)
Chapter 5, “18F: Labeling Chemistry and Labeled Compounds” (43 pp)
Chapter 6, “99mTc: Labeling Chemistry and Labeled Compounds” (46 pp)
Chapter 7, “Radioiodination Chemistry and Radioiodinated Compounds” (22 pp, the shortest chapter in the volume)
Chapter 8, “Radiometals (non-Tc, non-Re) and Bifunctional Labeling Chemistry” (36 pp)
Chapter 9, “Radionuclide Therapy” (34 pp)
Chapter 10, “Dosimetry and Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation” (39 pp)
Volume 5, “Instrumentation, Separation Techniques, Environmental Issues,” (x + 406 pp), ISBN 1-4020-1317-5
Chapter 1, “Radiation Detection” (31 pp)
Chapter 2, “Dosimetry Methods” (39 pp)
Chapter 3, “Particle Accelerators” (53 pp)
Chapter 4, “Technical Application of Nuclear Fission” (50 pp)
Chapter 5, “Isotope Separation” (36 pp)
Chapter 6, “Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange in Radiochemistry” (14 pp, the shortest chapter in the volume)
Chapter 7, “Radiochemical Separations by Thermochromatography” (33 pp)
Chapter 8, “Environmental Radiation Protection” (60 pp, the longest chapter in the volume)
Chapter 9, “Radioactive Waste Management” (41 pp)
Appendix, “Reference Data” (34 pp)
Like many other Kluwer reference works, the Handbook of Nuclear Chemistry is available online. (For a complete list of available titles and a free 30-day trial of the electronic version of these works visit: http://reference.kluweronline.com. Existing customers of the print version are eligible for a significantly reduced price for the online companion. Subscribing universities and other institutions and their faculty, staff, and students have access from any desktop to browse, search, and receive the content that they require, in the medium that they choose, wherever and whenever they wish.
The Handbook of Nuclear Chemistry is an invaluable, comprehensive, and cutting-edge reference for nuclear scientists, chemists, biologists, physicists, physicians practicing nuclear medicine, chemical educators, graduate students, and anyone involved in the chemical and radiopharmaceutical aspects of nuclear science. It also belongs in academic, industrial, and technical libraries.
References and Notes
1. Olah, G. A. Oil and Hydrocarbons in the 21st Century. In Chemical Research 2000 and Beyond; Barkan, P., Ed.; American Chemical Society & Oxford University Press: Washington, DC/New York, 1998; p 40.
George B. Kauffman
California State University, Fresno, email@example.com