The Chemical Educator, Vol. 10, No.5, Media Reviews, © 2005 The Chemical Educator


Media Review

The Nobel Population 1901–1950: A Census of the Nominations and Nominees for the Prizes in Physics and Chemistry. Uppsala Studies in the History of Science, 30. Elisabeth Crawford, Compiler. Universal Academy Press: CPO Box 235, Tokyo, Japan 100-8691, 2002. Payment may be made by postal GIRO account (00160-8-177553), international postal money order, or credit card; email:; FAX: +81-3-3813-5932. Tables. 420 pp; with CD-ROM; 14.4 ´ 22.2 cm. Paperback JPYen 4800; $40.00; ISBN 4-946443-7-3.

Anyone who has done research on the Nobel Prizes has encountered and made use of the work [1–10] of sociologist and historian of science Elisabeth Crawford, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) at Paris and at the Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg as well as a Visiting Scholar at the Centrum för Vetenskapshistoria, Svenska Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien in Stockholm. Long before the spate of books commemorating the centenary of the prizes [11–15], she, along with a few other sociologists of science [16], was investigating the “stories behind the stories” of how the prizes were awarded.

The statutes of the Nobel Foundation ( and the special regulations of Svenska Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien established the procedures for the nominations, evaluations, deliberations, and final decisions concerning the prizes. Only certain categories of persons were invited to submit names for consideration. These nominations, which had to reach the Nobel committees of the academy, one for physics and one for chemistry, each composed of five members, before February 1 of the year for which the prize was to be awarded, were evaluated, and the committees’ recommendations were forwarded to the academy’s sections on physics and chemistry, each composed of at least ten members. After each section had made its recommendation, usually an endorsement of the committee’s choice, the entire academy reached final decisions, which were not subject to appeal, at a plenary session usually held in November. More recently, some of these dates have been changed to permit earlier selection and announcement of the prizes, but the original procedures remain essentially unchanged. 

According to the statutes the nominations, evaluations, deliberations, and final decisions were kept secret, and the votes taken at the academy’s plenary session were not recorded. However, an amendment to the statutes passed in 1974 relaxed some of these provisions and, for purposes of historical research, allowed access to the materials that had formed the basis for the evaluations and decisions concerning the prize if they were 50 years old or older ( The first qualified scholar to make extensive use of these archival materials was Elisabeth Crawford, who wrote books on the early years of the science prizes [3] and the nationalities of the nominees and winners [5]. In Crawford’s words,

The opening of the Nobel and other archives for research is of great value to historians of science and others, for it allows insight into how the choice of prize winners has been influenced not only by science but also by politics and culture, and provides the opportunity and challenge to reflect on the values underlying yesterday’s and today’s scientific world [7].

One of the most frequently consulted of my books by Crawford has been her 1987 book The Nobel Population 1901–1937, compiled with John L. Heilbron and Rebecca Ullrich [4],which has become a standard reference source for the historical study of the Nobel prizes in the physical sciences and which includes data on the losers, which the public in general never hears about, as well as the well publicized winners in the Nobel sweepstakes. Unfortunately, this book has gone out of print. In the Spring of 2001 I received an email message from Crawford announcing that she was preparing a revised and updated version of this book [17]. Because she lacked biographical data on a dozen Nobel candidates, she asked for help and offered a free copy of the forthcoming book to anyone providing information for three or more of these candidates.

The new edition has been published by the Universal Academy Press (UAP), an international firm specializing in the publication of English scientific research texts, scientific documents, symposium proceedings, and journals and periodicals for the global scientific community. In the course of preparing my review of this edition, I was surprised and saddened to learn that Crawford had died in 2004 at the age of 67 in Switzerland [18].

The updated edition lists the 4357 nominations received for the physics and chemistry prizes for the years 1901–1950 by both nominee and nominator. For each year, on the left hand pages the census lists the nominees alphabetically, along with their nationalities and nominators, while on the right hand pages it lists the nominators alphabetically with their nationalities, the statutory provisions under which each nominator made a recommendation, and the number of recommendations made (physics, pp 19–193; chemistry, pp 195–343).

An introduction (pp 3–18) is divided into two sections. The first, “Nobel Procedures” (pp 3–10), explains the rules governing the awarding of the prizes in physics and chemistry during the period covered and includes tables listing the laureates by year for physics (pp 6–7) and chemistry (pp 7–8) and listing the members of the committees for physics and chemistry (pp 9–10). The second section, “Census Procedures” (pp 11–18), discusses how the census entries were prepared from the archival documents. A detailed (76 double-column-page) index (pp 345–420) lists alphabetically the nominees and nominators, together with birth dates, roles, and years from “Abbe, Ernst b. 1840, nominee in physics, 1904, 1905” to “Zwicker, Cornelis, b. 1900, nominator in physics, 1937.”

The book is accompanied by an interactive, searchable, and user-friendly CD-ROM with 56 items that provides all the material contained in the book as well as data on the institutional affiliations and places of residence of the members of the population. Laureates are designated with gold coins. The disk also allows readers to organize and arrange the information in different ways, such as by nominees, nominators, country of origin, year, or science.

This revised edition of The Nobel Population and its accompanying CD-ROM provides valuable and unique material for historians and sociologists of science and technology during the first half of the 20th century. Its extensive data on more than a thousand individuals who were either nominees or nominators for the physics and chemistry prizes (often these two were the same) will allow biographers and historians of scientific institutions to learn what role if any their subjects played in the awarding of these Nobel prizes. The book will also be indispensable for those, like me, who wish to study the Nobel process itself.


1.       Crawford, E. T.; Biderman, A. D. Compilers. Social Scientists and International Affairs: A Case for a Sociology of Social Science; John Wiley & Sons: New York, NY, 1968.

2.       Crawford, E.; Perry, N., Eds. Demands for Social Knowledge: The Role of Research Organisations; SAGE Publications: London, England; Beverly Hills, CA, 1976.

3.       Crawford, E. T. The Beginnings of the Nobel Institution: The Science Prizes, 1901–1915; Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, England; New York, NY; Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme: Paris, France, 1984.

4.       Crawford, E.; Heilbron, J. L.; Ullrich, R. The Nobel Population 1901–1937: A Census of Nominees and Nominators for the Prizes in Physics and Chemistry; Office for the History of Science and Technology: University of California, Berkeley: Berkeley, CA; Office for History of Science, Uppsala University: Uppsala, Sweden, 1987 (paperback).

5.       Crawford, E. Nationalism and Internationalism in Science, 1880–1939: Four Studies of the Nobel Population; Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, England; New York, NY, 1992.

6.       Crawford, E. Arrhenius: From Ionic Theory to the Greenhouse Effect; History Publications/USA, a Division of Watson Publishing International: Canton, MA, 1996. For a review see Kauffman, G. B. Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. Engl. 1997, 36, 1550–1551.

7.       Crawford, E. Nobel: Always the Winners, Never the Losers. Science 1998, 282, 1256–1257; full/282/5392/1256 (accessed Sept 2005).

8.       Crawford, E. Nobel Population 1901–1950: Anatomy of a Scientific Elite. Physics World November, 2001; /articles/world/14/11/7 (accessed Sept 2005).

9.       Crawford, E., Ed. Historical Studies in the Nobel Archives: The Prizes in Science and Medicine; Universal Academy Press: Tokyo, Japan, 2002.

10.     Crawford, E.; Svansson, A., Eds. Mellan Neptun och Mammon: Otto Peterssons brev till Gustav Ekman; Tre Böker Förlag: Göteborg, Sweden, 2003 (in Swedish).

11.     Feldman, B. The Nobel Prizes: A History of Genius, Controversy; and Prestige; Arcade Publishing: New York, NY, 2000.

12.     Larsson, U., Ed. Cultures of Creativity: The Centennial Exhibition of the Nobel Prize; History Publications/USA, a Division of Watson Publishing International: Canton, MA, 2001. For a review see Susnis, M. Chem. Heritage Winter, 2001/2002, 19 (4), 34.

13.     Friedman, R. M. The Politics of Excellence: Behind the Nobel Prize in Science; Times Books, Henry Holt and Company: New York, NY, 2001. For a review see Kauffman, G. B. Chem. Educator 2002, 7, 395–400; DOI 10.1333/s00897020643a.

14.     Levinovitz, A. W.; Ringertz, N., Eds. The Nobel Prize: The First 100 Years; Imperial College Press: London; World Scientific Publishing Co.: River Edge, NJ; Singapore; London, England, 2001. For a review see Kauffman, G. B. Chem. Educator 2003, 8, 89–90; DOI 10.1333/s00897030662a.

15.     Hargittai, I. The Road to Stockholm: Nobel Prizes, Science, and Scientists; Oxford University Press: Oxford, England; New York, NY, 2000. For a review see Kauffman, G. B.; Kauffman, L. M. Chem. Educator 2003, 8, 233–236; DOI 10.1333/s00897030696a.

16.     Zuckerman, H. Scientific Elite: Nobel Laureates in the United States; 2nd ed.; Transaction Publishers: New Brunswick, NJ, 1996.

17.     Email from (Prez-de-Fort, Switzerland) to, forwarded to, May 7, 2001.

18.     Matti, G. Elisabeth Crawford in memoriam. Centrum för Vetenskapshistoria; 040501crawford.htm (accessed Sept 2005).

George B. Kauffman

California State University, Fresno,

S1430-4171(05)05958-1, 10.1333/s00897050958a

…ly Speaking: A Dictionary of Quotations. A series selected and arranged by Carl C. Gaither and Alma E. Cavazos-Gaither; Illustrated by Andrew Slocombe. Institute of Physics: Bristol, England; Philadelphia, PA. paperback, 15.5 ´ 23.3 cm. Each volume, $29.99, £21.99.

Statistically Speaking: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1996. 25 cartoons. xii + 420 pp. ISBN 0-7503-0401-4.

Physically Speaking: A Dictionary of Quotations on Physics and Astronomy. 1997. 21 cartoons. xii + 492 pp. ISBN 0-7503-0470-7.

Mathematically Speaking: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1998. 24 cartoons. xiii + 484 pp. ISBN 0-7503-0503-7.

Medically Speaking: A Dictionary of Quotations on Dentistry, Medicine and Nursing. 1999. 24 cartoons. xv + 481 pp. ISBN 0-7503-0635-1.

Practically Speaking: A Dictionary of Quotations on Engineering, Technology and Architecture. 1999. 27 cartoons. xv + 367 pp. ISBN 0-7503-0594-0.

Naturally Speaking: A Dictionary of Quotations on Biology, Botany, Nature and Zoology. 2001. 24 cartoons. xxiv + 596 pp. ISBN 0-7503-0681-5.

Those of us who collect scientifically and technologically oriented quotations, bons mots, 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 published a critically acclaimed anthology by crystallographer Alan L. Mackay, Scientific Quotations: The Harvest of a Quiet Eye (1977; 2nd edition, 1991; for a review see Kauffman, G. B. Isis 1978, 69, 273–274). It also published a series of excellent, inexpensive paperback anthologies by the husband-wife team of Carl C. Gaither and Alma E. Cavazos-Gaither, two 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) and Chemically Speaking: A Dictionary of Quotations (2002; for a review see Kauffman, G. B. Chem. Educator 2005, 10, 63–64; DOI 10.1333/s008970577a).

The series was designed to be entertaining as well as informative. The quotations have been selected to give the reader a feel for the depth and breadth of the fields represented as well as the visions and styles of past and present writers and speakers. Each volume contains hundreds of selections ranging in length from single sentences to paragraphs. Although Gaither and Cavazos-Gaither have compiled a volume devoted entirely to chemistry, these volumes also include quotes by chemists.

Most of the quotations are provocative and offer food for thought. They appear in numerous alphabetically arranged sections, which, in turn, are alphabetically arranged according to authors within the sections. 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 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. Errors are extremely few and limited mostly to proper names.

Unlike other collections of quotations, each volume contains an alphabetical bibliography providing readers seeking further details about the quotations or authors. Another essential factor in the usefulness of a reference work is the index. Each volume contains not one but two extensive indexes, which facilitate the retrieval of material. One is an alphabetical “Subject by Author Index,” 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” lists authors, some with birth and death dates, along with a key word about the quotation.

As an author and editor, I find it utterly amazing how Gaither and Cavazos-Gaither have been able to produce such high quality anthologies at such a regular and rapid pace. I most enthusiastically recommend their series to general readers with an interest in science and science-related subjects as well as to scientists, students, educators, scholars, and speakers who have a need for an accurate, handy source of quotations available at an extremely reasonable price.

George B. Kauffman

California State University, Fresno,

S1430-4171(05)05959-0, 10.1333/s00897050959a

Teaching Inquiry-Based Chemistry: Creating Student-Led Scientific Communities. J. A. Gallagher-Bolos and D. W. Smithenry. Heinemann:Portsmouth, NH, 2004, 122 pp. paperback. $17.00. ISBN 0-325-00671-7.

The authors of this easy-to-ready book remind us that lecture is the least effective method of teaching and demonstrate numerous ways to more effective teaching and improved student learning. The book is primarily designed for high school teachers, but is equally useful for college instructors who want to enrich their teaching styles. The foreword by Susan and Steven Zumdahl includes a brief explanation of “constructivist” learning, peer teaching, and problems that must be overcome to make students active learners.

In the “Introduction,” the authors describe their dissatisfaction with traditional classroom settings and students’ lack of enthusiasm for learning. The authors searched for ways to better involve students in their own learning, and they gradually developed curricula that stimulate students to become active learners. The book’s remaining chapters are organized as teaching stories that illustrate how students can be motivated to take more responsibility and a more active role in their learning of science.

Chapters 1 and 2 tell the story of the “Soap Project” from its beginning as a tentative concept through its ultimate development into a three-week, end-of-the-year project. The project requires the class to play the role of a company planning to produce soap. They form management, engineering, research, accounting, marketing, quality control, safety, etc. teams to work on various aspects of the project. Students must prepare resumes and apply for a position on their preferred teams. Each team has specific duties, but all teams work together towards the common goal of producing two pounds of packaged soap. The research team works on the recipe via small-scale experimentation and tries to determine lard-hydroxide ratios, reaction temperatures, color and scent additions, etc. The engineering team is responsible for the scaling operation, including stoichiometry, development of safe laboratory apparatus and molds, the writing of safety standards, etc. The authors’ descriptions of team jobs and grading criteria are detailed enough for any instructor to use as a model.

Chapter 3 further reviews the soap project by answering questions a chemistry teacher might ask before embarking on a similar project. These hypothetical questions include: What benefit is there to teaching this way as opposed to using a traditional approach in the science classroom? How do you include all the content when you give the students so much time to discover? How do you grade a class project?

Chapter 4 tells how the authors set the stage for active learning via community building, classroom climate setting, trust and cooperation building, journal writing, and addressing laboratory safety concerns. The chapter includes several examples of student journal pages. It also demonstrates how Ms. Gallagher uses teacher role-playing to achieve objectives. Laboratory safety is especially well handled in this chapter. Ms Gallagher uses actual student-teacher dialogues to reveal how she creates an atmosphere of safety consciousness in the classroom. She makes laboratory safety not just the responsibility of the teacher, but of every student in the laboratory. The final section shows how to promote student cooperation and encourage students to constructively work together during the school year to be truly successful in their year-end class project.

Chapter 5 uses student-teacher dialogues and teacher journal entries from several class project examples to demonstrate how the authors handle day-to-day project activities and assessments.

In summary, this book conveys the authors’ sense of enthusiasm as classroom teachers and an understanding of how they succeeded in changing their students from passive to active learners. It is highly recommended for new high school as well as college science teachers and for experienced teachers who are tired of having students passively listen to their lectures.

Peter Jeschofnig

Colorado Mountain College,

S1430-4171(05)05963-9, 10.1333/s00897050963a

Drug Discovery Handbook. Shayne Cox Gad, Editor. Wiley-Interscience: Hoboken, NJ, 2005. Tables, figures, charts. xix + 1471 pp. 16.7 ´ 24.2 cm.; hardcover. $160.00; ISBN 0-471-21384-5.

Shayne Cox Gad, the editor of the Drug Discovery Handbook, is the Principal of Gad Consulting Services of Cary, NC, a toxicology and regulatory consulting firm that he founded in 1994. It has served the needs of more than 280 client firms around the world in the fields of pharmaceutical development and regulation, drug development, biotechnology, medical device development and registration, litigation support and expert witness services, experimental design, clinical and biostatistics report writing, statistical analysis and risk assessment, dietary supplement evaluation and review, biocompatibility, clinical data management, occupational toxicology, and training. The holder of a B.S. degree in chemistry and biology from Whittier College (1970) and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Texas, Austin (1977), Gad has worked in supervisory positions at Shell Research (1979–80), Allied Corporation (1980–86), G. D. Searle (1986–91), Becton Dickinson (1991–93), and Synergen (1993–94). With more than 28 years of experience as a toxicologist, statistical consultant, manager, and consultant on research and development in the chemical, consumer product, contract testing, biotechnology, medical device, and pharmaceutical industries, he is the author or editor of 29 books, 48 chapters, and more than 250 articles and abstracts.

The field of pharmaceutical research has grown to include a variety of major disciplines within its scope, such as drug chemistry, endocrinology, metabolic studies, oncology, and automated screening techniques. The discovery, development, and registration of a drug is an extremely complex and expensive operation. For every 9,000 to 10,000 compounds synthesized or isolated as potential drugs, on an average, only one will actually reach the commercial market. Because each successive step in the process is more expensive than the preceding one, it is necessary to identify as early as possible those compounds that are not likely to go the entire distance, thus allowing efforts to be concentrated on those that have the greatest probability of reaching the market.

Compounds are eliminated from this process primarily because of their toxicity or lack of tolerance, lack of efficacy, and lack of bioavailability of the active moiety in humans. Early identification of poor or noncompetitive compounds in each of these categories forms the basis for the use of screening in pharmaceutical discovery and development. Screens are carried out to maximize the characteristics of sensitivity, specificity, positive accuracy, negative accuracy, capacity, and reproducibility.

Gad’s handbook attempts “to survey the different approaches to discovering potential new therapeutic moieties. Such moieties are the backbone of both the pharmaceutical industry and the prime axis for the advancement of medical science” (p xix).The volume presents a wide variety of approaches to the discovery and identification of potential new drugs.The approaches to identifying active or promising structures fall into four large categories: (1) therapeutic area approach: diseases seeking drugs; (2) mechanism approach: drugs seeking diseases; (3) medicinal chemistry approach; and (4) technique-based approaches such as genomics, combinatorial chemistry, and proteomics.

This international venture involved 88 contributors from academic, pharmaceutical, and governmental laboratories in nine countries—the United States (67); Denmark (8); Finland (3); Belgium, China, Germany, and Italy (two each); and Iceland and the United Kingdom (one each). The book consists of an Introduction (by Gad) and 29 chapters (most with introductions and conclusions) that are divided into numbered sections. The book is unique in that it seeks to cover specific possible approaches to drug discovery as broadly as possible while not doing so in a superficial manner. The chapters deal with all the major approaches to the problem of identifying potential drugs, including problems that are encountered, solutions to these problems, and the limitations of the various methods and techniques, written by leading experts from each of these approaches.

The handbook includes hundreds of figures, tables, diagrams, graphs, images of experiments and equipment, chemical and mathematical equations, structural formulas, reaction and mechanism schemes, crystal structures, and MRIs. A 19-double-column-page index facilitates location of material. The thousands of references include books and articles as recent as 2004. Although the figures in the handbook are in black and white, selected figures from the book are available in full color at

A list of the sections and chapters shows the wide range of topics dealt with in this handbook:

Introduction, “Drug Discovery in the 21st Century”

Chapter 1, “Natural Products”

Chapter 2, “Cancer Cell Proteomics Using Molecular Aptamers”

Chapter 3, “Molecular Similarity Methods and QSAR Models as Tools for Virtual Screening”

Chapter 4, “Systems Biology: Applications in Drug Discovery”

Chapter 5, “High–Throughput Flow Cytometry”

Chapter 6, “Combining NMR Spectral Information with Associated Structural Features to Form Computationally Nonintensive, Rugged, and Objective Models of Biological Activity”

Chapter 7, “Using Microsoft ExcelÒ as a Laboratory Data Management Tool”

Chapter 8, “Age of Regulation”

Chapter 9, “Simultaneous Screening of Multiple Cell Lines Using the CellCard System”

Chapter 10, “Protein X-ray Crystallography in Drug Discovery”

Chapter 11, “Biological and Chemistry Assays Available During Drug Discovery and Developability Assessment”

Chapter 12, “Strategy and Methods in Monitoring and Targeting Protein-Protein Interactions”

Chapter 13, “High-Throughput Screening: Evolution of Technology and Methods”

Chapter 14, “Metal-Enhanced Fluorescence: Application to High-Throughput Screening and Drug Discovery”

Chapter 15, “Methods for the Design and Analysis of Replicate-Experiment Studies to Establish Assay Reproducibility and the Equivalence of Two Potency Assays”

Chapter 16, “Coupled Luminescent Methods in Drug Discovery: 3-Min Assays for Cytotoxicity and Phosphatase Activity”

Chapter 17, “Design and Pharmaceutical Applications of Prodrugs”

Chapter 18, “GABA and Glutamate Receptor Ligands and Their Therapeutic Potential in CNS Disorders”

Chapter 19, “Cardiac Sarcolemmal ATP-Sensitive Potassium Channel Antagonists: Novel Ischemia-Selective Antiarrhythmic Agents”

Chapter 20, “Factors Influencing the Efficiency of Mediator-Specific Anti-Inflammatory, Glucocorticoid, and Anticoagulant Therapies for Sepsis”

Chapter 21, “Combinatorial Chemistry in the Drug Discovery Process”

Chapter 22, “Herbal Medicines and Animal Models of Gastrointestinal Diseases”

Chapter 23, “Endocrine and Metabolic Agents”  

Chapter 24, “Respiratory Viruses”

Chapter 25, “Strategies in the Design of Antiviral Drugs”

Chapter 26, “Protein Kinase Inhibitors in Drug Discovery”

Chapter 27, “RNA-Based Therapies”

Chapter 28, “Novel Imaging Agents for Molecular MR Imaging of Cancer”

Chapter 29, “Targets and Approaches for Cancer Drug Discovery”

I am pleased to recommend Gad’s Drug Discovery Handbook as an authoritative, comprehensive, and state-of-the-art reference source, which brings together in one volume a compendium of methods and techniques that need to be considered in developing new drugs. Its thorough coverage and practical, scientifically valid problem-solving approach should make it an indispensable aid to anyone involved in the complex task of developing new drugs.

George B. Kauffman

California State University, Fresno,

S1430-4171(05)05960-1, 10.1333/s00897050960a

Seymour/Carraher’s Polymer Chemistry; 6th Edition, Revised and Expanded. Charles E. Carraher, Jr. Marcel Dekker, Inc.: New York, NY; Basel, Switzerland, 2003. Figures, tables. xxxvii + 913 pp, 18.7 ´ 26.0 cm. Hardcover, $85.00; ISBN 0-8247-0806-7.

Polymer chemistry is an interdisciplinary science, drawing on organic, inorganic, physical, and analytical chemistry as well as biochemistry and making occasional incursions into physics, engineering, and even business economics. According to the late polymer chemist Carl Shipp (“Speed”) Marvel, “Polymer chemistry has become such an important part of chemical technology, and polymers have come to play such a role in everyday living, that no chemist can consider himself adequately trained in his science without some introduction to this field.” Indeed, most chemists and chemical engineers are concerned with some aspect of polymer science and technology. A 1985 U.S. Department of Labor study reported that almost 60% of the chemical industry work force was involved with synthetic polymers, and the Divisions of Polymer Chemistry; Polymer Materials; Rubber; and Cellulose, Paper, & Textile Chemistry are some of the American Chemical Society's largest in terms of membership. Because of these facts, my colleague and frequent coauthor, the late Distinguished Professor of Polymer Science at the University of Southern Mississippi, Raymond B. Seymour (1912–1991), often referred to our time as “the polymer age.”

Ray has had a great influence on my career, and each of my articles in a continuing series on ACS Presidents that is currently appearing in The Hexagon of Alpha Chi Sigma bears my acknowledgment of his suggestion that I write such a series. About a quarter–century ago he began a collaboration with another of the world’s leading polymer chemists, Charles E. Carraher, Jr., now Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Florida Atlantic University at Boca Raton and Associate Director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies, Palm Beach Gardens, on a book that first appeared in 1981 and rapidly became a standard polymer chemistry text. Published by Marcel Dekker as a volume in Joe J. Lagowski’s “Undergraduate Chemistry” series, it appeared in three editions under the title of Polymer Chemistry: An Introduction (Volume 8, 1981; Volume 11, 1988; and Volume 12, 1992) and, following Ray’s death, with Carraher’s authorship alone under the title of Seymour/Carraher’s Polymer Chemistry (Volume 13, 1996; Volume 14, 2000; and Volume 16, 2003).

The first three editions received the imprimatur of Herman F. Mark (1895–1992), the grand old man of American polymer chemistry, who wrote the foreword, while the foreword to this sixth revised and expanded edition was written by Otto Vogl, Herman F. Mark Professor Emeritus of Polymer Science and Engineering at the University of Massachussetts, Amherst, who states, “Testimony to the high acceptance of this book is that early demand required reprinting and updating of each of the previous editions” (p v).

Seymour/Carraher’s Polymer Chemistry complies with the American Chemical Society Committee on Professional Training’s advanced course definition, building on the foundations laid down in general, organic, physical, and inorganic chemistry as well as analytical instrumentation, and it includes all the major and optional topics recommended in the syllabus adopted by the ACS’s Joint Polymer Education Committee (The syllabus is reproduced in Appendix D, pp 837–839, and the Polymer Core Course Committees are discussed in Appendix E, pp 841–842). The important core topic areas are integrated and interweaved in the text and are interrelated with information focused on polymer topics, which should assist students to integrate their chemical knowledge and should illustrate the connection between theoretical and applied chemical information.

Industrial practices and testing procedures and results are integrated with the theoretical treatment of the various topics, which should help students to bridge the gap between industrial practices and the classroom. Each chapter is essentially self-contained and is written so that it can be read out of order. All the chapters include a summary, glossary, exercises or questions (with solutions to all of these on pp 763–779), and bibliography of books and articles (some as recent as 2002). Only Chapter 18 does not include a summary and exercises. Furthermore, not all the chapters need to be dealt with in a course for the student to acquire an adequate appreciation for polymer science. Many of the chapters begin with theory, followed by applications so some readers may choose to read the descriptive chapters dealing with polymer types before reading the chapters on analysis and properties.

Intended as a textbook for an advanced undergraduate or introductory graduate course, Carraher’s book is user-friendly. It can be used as the text for the first course in a series taken by a student or as the sole text for a student in the study of polymers. Because the theory and application of polymers continues to expand at an increasing rate, the sixth edition reflects this growth by emphasizing the pictorialization, reinforcement, integration, and interweaving of the basic concepts. Chapter 1 has been shortened to permit more time for student orientation. The succeeding chapters should not require more than a week’s study each. Whenever possible and necessary, difficult concepts are distributed and reinforced over several chapters.

Theory and application are integrated so as to reinforce each other for the various important and critical types of substances such as synthetic, biological, organometallic, and inorganic polymers. The idea that the basic concepts that apply to one group of polymers also apply to all the other types is continually emphasized. The updating of analytical, physical, and spectral characterization techniques has been continued, and the coverage of theory and results arising from atomic force microscopy and scanning probe microscopy (pp 143–146) has been expanded. Industrially important polymers have been included in special sections, while the section on soluble stereoregulating catalysis (pp 268–271) has been expanded. The previous emphasis on naturally occurring polymers and the interplay between natural and synthetic polymers have continued, along with discussions of supercooling, replication, and compacting.

Several miscellaneous cutting-edge topics have been drawn together in the final chapter (pp 687–762), which includes sections on such topics as conductive polymers, smart materials, proteomics, the human genome, optical fibers, material selection charts, carbon nanotubes, and liquid crystals. The emphasis on nanotechnology and nanomaterials has been continued with added or expanded sections on zeolites, nanotubes, nanocomposites, molecular wires, dendrites, and self-assembly. The chapter on polymer technology and processing (No. 17, pp 627–686) has been rewritten and expanded, and the listing of web sites has been updated. The 15-page section on polymer nomenclature (pp xi–xxv) that precedes the chapters has been enlarged, and a new appendix (L, pp 883–889) on the stereogeometry of polymers has been added. Additional aids and appendixes for the student are included, such as how to study, more than 1500 trade names, about 400 citations to appropriate articles in the Journal of Chemical Education and Polymer News, web sites dealing with polymer topics, and more than a hundred structures of common polymers (pp 845–868).

This book is replete with many numbered and unnumbered structural formulas, chemical and mathematical equations, and reaction schemes, as well as numerous figures and tables. In addition to the appendixes mentioned above, the 13 appendixes include ones on symbols, polymer products with trade names and manufacturers (pp 791–819), sources of laboratory exercises, polymer models, structures of common polymers, mathematical values and units, comments on health, comments on ISO 9000 and 14000, electronic education—web sites, and variability of measurements. A detailed index (21 double-column pages) facilitates location of material. A number of misspellings and typographical errors are present, for example, “protomics” for “proteomics” (p viii), “Staudiner” for “Staudinger” (p 17), and “Widsrtand” for “Widstrand” (p 828; also the page number of this reference is incorrect), and the book would benefit from more careful proofreading and editing.

The wide scope of the topics included can be glimpsed from the titles of the chapters:

Chapter 1, “Introduction to Polymer Science”

Chapter 2, “Polymer Structure (Morphology)”

Chapter 3, “Molecular Weight of Polymers”

Chapter 4, “Testing and Spectrometric Characterization of Polymers”

Chapter 5, “Rheology and Physical Tests”

Chapter 6, “Step-Reaction Polymerization or Polycondensation Reactions”

Chapter 7, “Ionic Chain-Reaction and Complex Coordinative Polymerization (Addition Polymerization)”

Chapter 8, “Free Radical Chain Polymerization (Addition Polymerization)”

Chapter 9, “Copolymerization”

Chapter 10, “Naturally Occurring Polymers”

Chapter 11, “Inorganic-Organic Polymers”

Chapter 12, “Inorganic Polymers”

Chapter 13, “Fillers and Reinforcements for Polymers”

Chapter 14, “Plasticizers, Stabilizers, Flame Retardants, and Other Additives”

Chapter 15, “Reactions of Polymers”

Chapter 16, “Synthesis of Reactants and Intermediates for Polymers”

Chapter 17, “Polymer Technology”

Chapter 18, “Special Topics”

I am pleased to recommend this book not only to students and instructors of polymer science courses but also to practicing polymer chemists, chemists in general, materials scientists, engineers, physicians, biochemists, physicists, biologists, environmental scientists, and geologists, and anyone interested in the structure, properties, and applications of plastics, fibers, elastomers, coatings, adhesives, biopolymers, and other macromolecules. For a fairly recent alternative text I can also recommend Malcolm P. Stevens’ Polymer Chemistry: An Introduction, Third Edition (for a review, which lists the topics dealt with, see Kauffman, G. B., Chem. Educator 2000, 5, 97–98; DOI 10.1333/ s00897000375a).

George B. Kauffman

California State University, Fresno,

S1430-4171(05)05961-0, 10.1333/s00897050961a

Drug Discovery: A History. Walter Sneader. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.: Chichester, England, 2005. xi + 468 pp. 17.0 ´ 24.2 cm.; hardcover. $150.00; £85.00; €127.50; ISBN 0-471-89979-8; paperback. $65.00; £34.95; €52.50; ISBN 0-471-21384-5.

Walter Sneader, Senior Lecturer and Head of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK and author of four books [1–3] and numerous articles on drug discovery, is one of the world’s leading authorities on the history of drugs, having been trained in both pharmacy and medicinal chemistry. He possesses an unusual ability for writing an absorbing narrative [4].

Sneader’s book’s dedication reads:

The quest for the elixir of life by the mediæval alchemists may not have resulted in success, but the last one hundred years have witnessed the introduction of a number of drugs that have literally saved countless millions of lives. Society at large is indebted to the men and women in the laboratories and clinics of the pharmaceutical industry, research institutes, hospitals and universities whose commitment to science has brought about what in an earlier era would simply have been called miracles. This book is dedicated to these men and women (p v).

The process of discovery of medicinal drugs has evolved over millennia, from the use of herbs by Neanderthal man to the cutting-edge techniques of biotechnology and high throughput screening employed by today’s medicinal chemists. Sneader reviews this panorama of drug discovery from its earliest inceptions to the latest therapeutic substances used in the 21st century. His eminently readable text considers the origins, development, and history of medicines that have generated intense interest in the media and that have a great social and economic impact on our society. In a wide-ranging historical, social, and cultural context, it provides detailed treatment of pre-20th-century drugs, the enormous advances made during the 20th century, and the latest developments in research on drugs. In its coverage from the faltering attempts of the ancients through the present quest of scientists to develop safe and effective medicines, the book enables the reader to understand “both why efficacious drugs were not developed until the twentieth century and why progress has been so rapid over the last fifty years” (p ix). Sneader considers combinatorial chemistry among other modern techniques that have speeded up drug development by orders of magnitude.

Sneader’s text, which consistently uses British spelling, is divided into three parts. The first, “Legacy of the Past,” surveys medicinal compounds in society, ranging from the earliest use of herbs through the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome and concludes with an overview of the development of life-saving organic compounds in the 20th century. He examines the contributions of the alchemists, whose unsuccessful attempts to transmute base metals into gold provided the techniques that permitted purified metallic compounds to be introduced into medicine as exemplified by Paracelsus and the iatrochemists. He also summarizes how the influence of the Enlightenment was impeded by the unsubstantiated medical systems that were popular from the 17th to 19th centuries, and he concludes with an account of 20th century development of organic compounds containing various metals such as Paul Ehrlich’s salvarsan (606).

The second part, “Drugs from Naturally Occurring Prototypes,” examines the natural world—the commonest source of drugs. Separate chapters are devoted to vegetable, animal, and microbial sources and to the medicinal substances prepared from them. The problem of relying on natural products as a source of drug prototypes is explored. Modern drug discovery has arisen from a series of thematic developments that began with the isolation of pure alkaloids such as morphine, codeine, and papaverine from opium and glycosides such as salicin and digitoxin from plants during the early 19th century, and a century later pure hormones from mammalian sources took place in a parallel development. Sneader emphasizes such thematic developments throughout the book but particularly in this second part.

The third part, “Synthetic Drugs,” deals with compounds synthesized in the laboratory that have served as drug prototypes, the role of serendipity (the discovery of unsought substances) in providing these synthetic prototypes (including the most celebrated serendipitous discovery—that of penicillin by Alexander Fleming), and a review of compounds derived from them.

In his “Concluding Remarks” Sneader drives home the caveat that “when any foreign substance is introduced into the body there will always be a risk of some unanticipated reaction occurring that existing safety tests cannot detect,” and he warns that in our excessively litigious society “the level of sophistication of current pre-launch chronic safety testing and post-marketing surveillance of patients now means that every new product faces the risk of being withdrawn shortly before or after its launch” (p 446).

Sneader shares with the reader his knowledge of the details of the persons making discoveries, and he presents many vignettes and sketches that are not well known. As cases in point, we may cite how the use of coal gas in illuminating homes in England beginning in 1794 led to the discovery of phenol (carbolic acid), which Joseph Lister, professor of surgery at the University of Glasgow, employed as a disinfectant (pp 356–357) or how the Nazis suppressed the fact that aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), usually credited to Felix Hoffmann, was actually developed by a Jewish chemist, Arthur Eichengrün (pp 359–360), a secret that Sneader has disclosed elsewhere [5].

A list of the parts and chapters reveals the extensive scope of the topics dealt with in Sneader’s history:

Chapter 1, “Introduction” (7 pp)

Part 1 “Legacy of the Past” (80 pp, the shortest part)

Chapter 2, “The Prehistoric Period” (4 pp)

Chapter 3, “Pre-Hellenic Civilisations” (6 pp)

Chapter 4, “Greece and Rome” (6 pp)

Chapter 5, “The Arab World” (8 pp)

Chapter 6, “Herbals” (9 pp)

Chapter 7, “Chemical Medicines” (33 pp)

Chapter 8, “Systematic Medicine” (14 pp)

Part 2 “Drugs from Naturally Occurring Prototypes” (267 pp, the longest part)

Section I “Phytochemicals” (63 pp, the shortest section)

Chapter 9, “Alkaloids” (18 pp)

Chapter 10, “Non-Alkaloidal Plant Products” (9 pp)

Chapter 11, “Plant Product Analogues and Compounds Derived from Them” (36 pp)

Section II “Biochemicals” (136 pp, the longest section)

Chapter 12, “The Origins of Hormone Therapy” (4 pp)

Chapter 13, “Neurohomones” (9 pp)

Chapter 14, “Peptide Hormones” (9 pp)

Chapter 15, “Sex Hormones” (6 pp)

Chapter 16, “Adrenal Cortex Hormones” (6 pp)

Chapter 17, “Prostaglandins” (3 pp)

Chapter 18, “Hormone Analogues” (38 pp, the longest chapter)

Chapter 19, “Vitamins” (22 pp)

Chapter 20, “Antimetabolites” (21 pp)

Chapter 21, “Blood and Biological Products” (18 pp)

Section III “Drugs from Micro-organisms” (68 pp)

Chapter 22, “Antibiotics” (32 pp)

Chapter 23, “Antibiotic Analogues” (22 pp) 

Chapter 24, “Pharmacodynamic Agents from Micro-organisms” (8 pp)

Chapter 25, “Analogues of Pharmacodynamic Agents from Fungi” (6 pp)

Part III “Synthetic Drugs” (91 pp)

Chapter 26, “The First Synthetic Drugs and Their Analogues” (20 pp)

Chapter 27, “Drugs Originating from the Screening of Dyes” (28 pp)

Chapter 28, “Drugs Originating from the Screening of Organic Chemicals” (29 pp)

Chapter 29, “Drugs Discovered through Serendipitous Observations Involving Humans” (6 pp)

Chapter 30, “Drugs Discovered through Serendipity in the Laboratory” (8 pp)

Chapter 31, “Concluding Remarks” (2 pp, the shortest chapter)

Although the book contains hundreds of references to articles and books, it has been intended for the general reader. Sneader assumes no expertise in chemistry, but he includes hundreds of structural formulas for those familiar with the subject. He presents these structures in such a way that even persons with little experience in chemistry can see how prototypes and the compounds obtained from them were manipulated to provide novel drugs with desired therapeutic properties. Errors are few and readily detected. “HC≡CH” (acetylene) for “ethylene” (2HC=CH2) (p 83) is an exception that proves the rule.

Drug Discovery: A History will be of great value to medicinal chemists and organic chemists, pharmacologists, physicians, researchers, and everyone interested in the development of therapeutic drugs. It forms a perfect complement and supplement to Shayne Cox Gad’s Drug Discovery Handbook, which I’ve reviewed in this issue of The Chemical Educator [6]. The index, which consists of 21 four-column pages in extremely small print, is much more detailed than in most books.

References and Notes

1.       Sneader, W. Drug Discovery: The Evolution of Modern Medicines; A Wiley Medical Publication, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.: Chichester, England, 1985.

2.       Sneader, W. Drug Development: From Laboratory to Clinic; A Wiley Medical Publication, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.: Chichester, England, 1986.

3.       Sneader, W. Drug Prototypes and Their Exploitation; John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.: Chichester, England, 1996. More than 240 drug prototypes, from which more than 1,200 medicinal compounds have been derived, are described

4.       Sneader maintains a web site ( (accessed Sept 2005) that “aims to create a wider interest in the history of medicinal drugs by providing links to articles and other material.” Among the links are sources of historical information, sources of drug information, further reading for “Drug Discovery: A History” (the book under review here), online texts, company histories, biographies, images, specialized internet search, forthcoming conferences, and about

5.       Sneader, W. The Discovery of Aspirin: A Reappraisal. Br. Med. J. 2000, 321, 1591–1594; annconf99press3.pdf (accessed Sept 2005).

6.       Gad, S. C., Ed. Drug Discovery Handbook; Wiley-Interscience: Hoboken, NJ, 2005. For a review see Kauffman, G. B. Chem. Educator 2005, 10, 409–410; DOI 10.1333/s0089705960a.

George B. Kauffman

California State University, Fresno,

S1430-4171(05)05962-X, 10.1333/s00897050962a