The Chemical Educator, Vol. 12, No.2, Media Reviews, © 2007 The Chemical Educator

Media Reviews

The Periodic Table: Into the 21st Century. Dennis H. Rouvray and R. Bruce King, Editors. Research Studies Press, Ltd.: 16 Coach House Cloisters, 10 Hitchin Street, Baldock, Hertfordshire SG7 6AE, England (email:; Internet:; Institute of Physics Publishing: Suite 929, The Public Ledger Building, 150 South Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106, U.S.A.; Dirack House, Temple Back, Bristol BS1 6BE, England (, 2004. xx + 396 pp, hardcover. 15.2 ´ 23.5 cm. $68.00. Ordering Information: North America: AIDC, 50 Winter Sport Lane, P.O. Box 20, Williston, VT05495-0020, U.S.A.; email,; UK and the rest of the world: Marston Book Services, Ltd., P.O. Box 269, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 4YN, England; email, ISBN 0-86380-292-3.

With some modification to accommodate the noble gases, lanthanides, and actinides and with Henry Gwyn Jeffreys Moseley’s atomic numbers in place of atomic weights, the periodic law of Dmitrii Ivanovich Mendeleev (1834–1907) is universally recognized as one of the most significant and fruitful principles of chemistry. As even students in introductory chemistry courses know, Mendeleev not only left spaces for undiscovered elements in his system and table, but in an unprecedented feat of scientific chutzpah he predicted the properties of unknown elements. His predictions were fulfilled when these elements—gallium, At. No. 21 (1875); scandium, At. No. 31 (1879); and germanium, At. No. 32 (1886)—were discovered.

Paul Strathern called Mendeleev’s discovery “the culmination of a two-and-a-half-thousand-year epic: a wayward parable of human aspiration.” In his opinion,

With the Periodic Table chemistry came of age. Like the axioms of geometry, Newtonian physics and Darwinian biology, chemistry now had a central idea upon which an entire new range of science could be built. Mendeleyev had classified the building blocks of the universe [1].

In the words of Rudy M. Baum, “The Periodic Table is Nature’s Rosetta Stone” [2]. However, such extravagant, but eminently merited, praise came not only from chemists. According to the late Harlow Shapley—an American astronomer, not a chemist—the periodic table

is probably the most compact and meaningful compilation of knowledge that man has yet devised. The periodic table does for matter what the geological age table does for cosmic time. Its history is the story of man’s great conquests in the microcosmos [3].

In keeping with its central role in chemistry, the periodic table has been the subject of numerous articles and books [4–7]. However, it has seldom been a theme for international conferences. Outside of the U.S.S.R. or Russia, the only such meeting held in the past was one held in Vatican City on the occasion of the centenary of the table in 1969. On July 14-20, 2003 a conference titled, “The Periodic Table: Into the 21st Century,” organized by chemistry professors Dennis H. Rouvray and R. Bruce King of the University of Georgia,who worked incredibly hard at obtaining funds and procuring a publisher, was held at the Kananaskis Guest Ranch, near Banff in the Canadian Province of Alberta. The conference was supported financially by the family of the late mathematical chemist and polymath Harry Wiener (1924–1998), who had provided funds for an earlier international conference, “The Role of Topology in Chemistry,” held at the University of Georgia on March 21–24, 2001 [8].

The second international conference brought together for the first time many of the most prominent current authorities on the periodic table. More than a dozen countries were represented by the participants. The presentations by 13 of the invited lecturers, including the two conference organizers, were expanded into the chapters of the book that is the subject of this review. These contributors hailed from the United States (seven) and one each from six other countries (Canada, France, Japan, Russia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom).

The topics present an excellent overview of current research efforts on the periodic table and deal with the early history and development of the table, its theoretical foundations, pedagogical aspects, its future, and even nonelemental tables. The text is richly illustrated. In addition to the more than 150 figures, the editors have done us proud by including eight beautiful color plates of various periodic tables, three U.S.S.R. and Bulgarian postage stamps honoring Mendeleev, and a group photograph of 25 of the conference participants between Chapters 6 and 7. The ElemenTree, a three-dimensional version of the table designed by Fernando Dufour, appears as Plate 3 and adorns the book’s cover [9].

In Chapter 1, “Fact and Fable in the Story of the Table” (18 figures, 6 tables, 111 references, 39 pp), coeditor Dennis H. Rouvray presents an excellent panoramic history of the elements from the views of ancient civilizations to Mendeleev’s periodic table of 1871. In Chapter 2, “The Short Happy Life of Mendeleev’s Periodic Law” (3 figures, 141 references, 50 pp, the longest chapter), Michael D. Gordin uses an idiosyncratic turn of phrase to discuss the law and its discoverer. He refers to the law in “one of its incarnations as the polychromatic icon” (p 41) and claims that “just a decade after its coronation…his final attempt to salvage [it]…ended [it] atop the dustbin of history” (p 41). According to Gordin, Mendeleev regarded himself as “a successor to Newton” (p 66) and published the 4th edition of his textbook Osnovy Khimii (Principles of Chemistry) in 1886 “largely to finance his divorce” (p 66). In short, Gordin argues that after his table of 1871 Mendeleev “promptly abandoned any further research on his system” (p 41). Gordin also incorrectly refers to indium as a rare earth (p 57).

In Chapter 3, “Discovery of the Periodic Law: Mendeleev and Other Researchers on Element Classification in the 1860s” (4 figures, 2 tables, 114 references, 32 pp), Masanori Kaji gives a lucid and eminently readable account of the periodic table and law developed during the 1860s. He then describes the dramatic effect that the discovery had on Mendeleev’s Osnovy Khimii (As a result of his discovery the structure of Volume 2 [1871] is markedly different from that of Volume 1 [1868]).

In Chapter 4, “Patterns in the Periodic Table—Old and New” (17 figures, 24 references, 20 pp), Michael J. Laing reviews classifications from Döbereiner’s triads of 1817 through Lothar Meyer’s table based on atomic volumes and Mendeleev’s classic table to the latest versions, including the pattern of one space down and two spaces to the right known as the Knight’s Move [10]. He concludes, “There is no perfect arrangement, but all must follow the Periodic Law and the system of periodically recurring properties” (p 140).

In Chapter 5, “The Best Representation for the Periodic System: The Role of the n + l Rule and of the Concept of an Element as a Basic Substance” (7 figures, 1 table, 46 references, 18 pp, the shortest chapter), and in Chapter 12, “The Periodic Table and Quantum Physics” (4 figures, 140 figures, 40 pp), Eric R. Scerri and Valentin N. Ostrovsky, respectively, discuss at length the role of quantum physics and the relative merits of arranging the elements on the basis of quantum number (n + l) rather than on the usual basis of atomic number (Z). In a simplistic sense we chemists must decide which is the more “correct” position in the table for helium—above beryllium or above neon.

In Chapter 6, “The Richness of Periodic Patterns” (9 figures, 19 tables, 20 references, 27 pp), Geoffrey W. Rayner-Canham first considers the group and period patterns among the elements and then similarities among the elements that go beyond these usual patterns (for example, isoelectronic series in covalent compounds, “combo” elements, (N) group and (N + 10) group similarities, diagonal relationships, early actinoids as pseudo-transition metals, lanthanoid relationships, and psudo-elements), and he urges chemists to seek consciously new examples of these trends. He stresses that each element is a unique individual, and he emphasizes that “Beyond all the potential patterns, it is that uniqueness that makes chemistry the most fascinating of the sciences” (p 186).

In Chapter 7, “The Metallurgist’s Periodic Table and the Zintl-Klemm Concept” (7 figures, 2 tables, 64 references, 18 pp), coeditor R. Bruce King presents the lesser known Metallurgist’s Periodic Table of H. E. N. Stone (1979) together with the Zintl–Klemm concept based on clusters, intermetallics, and related molecules. This table is split into vertical divides. The composite divide together with the concept of metametals is reminiscent of the metals that are linked by the Knight’s Move [10].

In Chapter 8, “The Lanthanide Elements: Not just Footnotes to the Periodic Table” (27 figures, 10 schemes, 31 references, 28 pp), Helen C. Aspinall reviews the chemistry of the lanthanides, including natural sources, periodic trends, effect of ionic radius, and structures of their compounds and complexes. She points out,

Periodic trends in the properties of the lanthanide elements have allowed a systematic chemistry to be developed, initially within a rather limited framework. However, new chemistry is now being discovered (particularly organometallic and catalytic chemistry) which challenges earlier ideas (p 233).

In Chapter 9, “The Heavy Elements” (19 figures, 1 table, 16 references, 27 pp), Paul J. Karol briefly reviews the history of the discovery of the elements, the understanding of their structure and production restrictions, and of their spontaneous decay. He considers the “superactinides” through element 111 and superheavy islands of stability beyond these. In Chapter 10, “Relativity and the Periodic Table” (17 figures, 7 tables, 114 references, 34 pp), Krishnan Balasubramanian begins with a number of questions such as

Why is gold yellow in color while silver is not, and why is mercury liquid at room temperature while cadmium and zinc are not? Why do the sixth row main group elements, namely Tl-Rn behave very differently from their other lighter counterparts in the Periodic Table?…What kinds of periodic trends do molecules containing superheavy transactinide elements exhibit? Do all the elements of the actinide series really behave like actinides? (p 263).

He devotes his chapter to elucidating these intriguing questions and to establishing the connection between Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity and the periodic table of the elements.

In Chapter 11, “Classifying Chemical Elements and Particles: From the Atomic to the Subatomic World” (numerous unnumbered figures, 1 table, 54 references, 33 pp), Maurice R. Kibler deals with the possibility of classifying not only the chemical elements but also the subatomic and subnuclear particles. He gives a symmetry SO(4,2)xSU(2) table of elements in which helium (At. No. 2) is located above beryllium (At. No. 4), lanthanum (At. No. 57) follows cadmium (At. No. 48), and yttrium (At. No. 39) follows krypton (At. No. 36). He then describes how the subatomic “world gets complicated (1962)” (p 317) with bosons, gluons, and leptons and then “gets simpler (1964)” (p 319) when Murray Gell-Mann introduced quarks with fractional charges, colors, charm, and strangeness.

Finally, in Chapter 13, “The Periodic Table Set as a Unifying Concept in Going from Benzenoid Hydrocarbons to Fullerene Carbons” (7 figures, 4 table, 43 references, 26 pp), Jerry R. Dias describes a periodic table of benzenoid hydrocarbons, which he constructed as an aid to systematizing information about these organic pollutants in the environment.

This volume, especially in the earlier, more historical, chapters, demonstrates how widely and variously the concept of the periodic table has been developed. The periodic law, system, and table have been a cornerstone of chemistry for almost 138 years, but reploughing the field with the aid of this collection of new ideas and new slants on old ideas is well worthwhile. As might be expected of a multiauthor anthology, there is some repetition of information, but usually with different approaches. Cross-references and an index would have added to the utility of the volume. We recommend this book to chemists, physicists, mathematicians, historians and philosophers of science, and chemical educators, all of whom are certain to find material suitable for research or teaching.

References and Notes

1.        Strathern, P. Mendeleyev’s Dream: The Quest for the Elements; Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Books: London, 2000; Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Press: New York, 2000; p 292. For a review see Kauffman, G. B. Chem. Educator 2003, 8, 87–89; DOI 10.1333/s00897030661a.

2.        Baum, R. M. Celebrating the Periodic Table. Chem. Eng. News September 8, 2003, 81 (36), 28–29.

3.        Shapley, H. Of Stars and Men: The Human Response to an Expanding Universe; Beacon Press: Boston, MA, 1958; pp 38–39.

4.        Venable, F. P. The Development of the Periodic Law; Chemical Publishing Co.: Easton, PA, 1896.

5.        van Spronsen, J. W. The Periodic System of Chemical Elements: A History of the First Hundred Years; Elsevier: Amsterdam, 1969. For a review see Kauffman, G. B. Isis  1971, 62, 264–266.

6.        Mazurs, E. G. Types of Graphic Representation of the Periodic System of Chemical Elements; E. Mazurs: La Grange, IL, 1957. This 158-page paperback was privately printed by the author.

7.        Mazurs, E. G. Graphic Representations of the Periodic System During One Hundred Years; University of Alabama Press: University, AL, 1974 includes about 700 tables, classified into various types. For reviews see Kauffman, G. B. J. Chem. Educ. 1975, 52, A436; Kauffman, G. B. Persistent pursuit of the periodic system. Isis 1976, 67, 109–111; and Sanderson, R. T. J. Chem. Educ. 1975, 52, A436.

8.        A book containing fourteen chapters, most of which had been delivered as plenary lectures resulted from this conference (Rouvray, D. H.; King, R. B. Topology in Chemistry: Discrete Mathematics of Molecules; Albion/Horwood Publishing, Ltd., 2002).

9.        "ElemenTree: A 3-D Periodic Table" (Dufour Scientific Reg.: Verdun, Québec, Canada, 1998). For a review see Kauffman, G. B. Chem. Educator 1999, 4, 121–122; DOI 10.1333/s000897990308a.

10.     Laing, M. The Knight’s Move in the Periodic Table. Educ. Chem. 1999, 36, 160-161.

George B. Kauffman

California State University, Fresno,

Michael Laing

University of Natal, Republic of South Africa, Durban, 4001,

S1430-4171(07)22014-9, 10.1333/s00897072014a


Discovery of the Elements: A Search for the Fundamental Principles of the Universe, Second Edition. James L. Marshall. Pearson Custom Publishing, 75 Arlington St., Suite 300: Boston, MA 02116, 2002. ix + 137 pp, paperbound. 21.5 ´ 27.7 cm. Special Offer: For the remainder of 2007 this book ($30.00) and A Walking Tour of the Elements, CD-ROM ($5.00) + $5.00 shipping ($10.00 for international shipping) can be ordered from JMC Services, 120 Cobblestone Row, Denton. TX 76207 or Dr. James L. Marshall, Box 305070, University of North Texas, Denton, TX 76203-5070 ( or jmarshall@jennymarshall .com). ISBN 0-536-67797-2.

The story of Jim and Jenny Marshall should warm the cockles of every romantic’s heart. It should provide an example par excellence of how much a dedicated couple can accomplish in a tour de force that combines history and chemistry.

For the past 28 years University of North Texas, Denton chemistry professor James L. Marshall has collected samples of nearly all the chemical elements from hydrogen (At. No. 1) to uranium (At. No. 92) that can be handled without special precautions and a variety of mineral samples representing these elements, as well as numerous objects made from each element that have commercial applications [1]. In 1998 he married Virginia (“Jenny”) Lumpkin,a public school computer science teacher, who retired in May, 2003 after 27 years teaching in Denton. Jenny suggested that they spend their honeymoon in the summer of 1999visiting European sites involved in chemical history [2].

Since then, the Marshalls have spent their summers visiting the places where various elements were discovered and collecting hundreds of mineral samples from the original sites along with photographs, original documents, and fascinating anecdotes. Since Fall, 2000 Alpha Chi Sigma members and other readers of The Hexagon have been able to consult the results of their unique project, which they christened “Rediscovery of the Elements” [3, 4] ( It was from this series of articles that I first learned of the Global Positioning System (GPS), the latitude/longitude coordinates, which the Marshalls used to pinpoint the exact locations of historical sites.

The Marshalls’ element and mineral collection attracted the attention of neurologist Oliver Sacks, author of Uncle Tungsten [5], who visited them in 2000 and was enthralled with it [6]. Since 1996 Jim has been involved with the American Chemical Society’s Tour Speaker Service and has lectured to ACS sections throughout the southern and midwestern United States on the history of the elements with a portable display of his collection [7, 8]. He has also spoken regularly to high schools and community groups.

In their travels the Marshalls have corrected longstanding errors concerning the discovery of the elements. For example, they demonstrated how a chemist’s carelessness meant that vanadium was discovered twice (It was misidentified as chromium in Paris) [2]. In a visit to the library archives in Halle, Germany they independently confirmed Sacks’ surmise that Ernest Rutherford, not Friedrich Ernst Dorn, should be credited with the discovery of radon (At. No. 86) [9].

During the evolution of his ACS Tour series, Jim Marshall realized that each presentation paralleled a chapter in a standard chemistry text. Furthermore, the sheer volume of material presented, its applicability to modern chemical presentations, and the difficulty of copious note-taking by the audience made it clear to him that an accompanying manual was needed. The book under review—with the following contents, was the result:

• Chapter 1. The Ancients (prehistoric–500 A.D.) (2 pp). The classical metals are discovered, and Aristotle originates the concept of "element" —fire, water, earth, and air.

• Chapter 2. The Alchemists (500–1700) (6 pp). In their search for the philosopher's stone, the alchemists create a repertoire of chemicals and chemical reactions, including phosphorus, nitric acid, etc.

• Chapter 3. The Miners (1500–1800) (10 pp). The growing sophistication of mining techniques, smelting, and assaying results in the discovery of new metals such as nickel and cobalt as well as an entire metallurgical technology.

• Chapter 4. Lavoisier and Phlogiston (17501800) (10 pp). By reacting hydrogen and oxygen to form water, Lavoisier proves that water is a compound and not an Aristotelian element.

• Chapter 5. Halogens from Salts (1740–1890) (6 pp). The nature of salts are discerned, not as one of Paracelsus' elements, but instead as a compound of a metal and a nonmetal; nonmetals are isolated in elemental form.

• Chapter 6. Humphry Davy and the Voltaic Pile (1800–1855) (6 pp). Electrochemistry enables scientists to extract reactive metals such as sodium and potassium in metallic form.

• Chapter 7. Using Davy’s Metals (1800–1890) (6 pp). With reactive metals, further elements such as silicon and zirconium are prepared.

• Chapter 8. Platinum and the Noble Metals (1740–1850) (6 pp). An unusual series of inert metals is discovered; the use of platinum for crucibles is developed.

• Chapter 9. Mendeleev’s Periodic Table (1870–1890) (10 pp). By considering the organization of the known elements for a textbook, Mendeleev and Meyer find that the atomic weights, valences, atomic volumes, and other properties fall into a pattern that appears to reflect the inner nature of chemistry.

• Chapter 10. The Bunsen Burner Shows Its Colors (1860–1863) (4 pp). Spectroscopy is discovered and is used to analyze and detect new elements such as cesium, rubidium, indium, and thallium.

• Chapter 11. The Rare Earths (1800–1910) (8 pp). A strange group of elements is uncovered, which possess similar properties and which can be separated from one another only with extreme difficulty.

• Chapter 12. The Inert Gases (1894–1898) (6 pp). The discovery of an entirely new family of inert gases—argon, helium, neon, krypton, and xenon—surprises chemists but can be comfortably fit into the adaptive Periodic Table.

• Chapter 13. Radioactive Elements (1890–1920) (10 pp). Becquerel's discovery of radioactivity starts the scramble to isolate and understand new elements such as radium and polonium.

• Chapter 14. Moseley and Atomic Numbers (1910–1925) (6 pp). The periodic table power is increased as Moseley elucidates the concept of atomic number; suddenly one can precisely predict which elements remain to be discovered; Bohr allows the scientist to describe the structure of the atom on the basis of the periodic table.

• Chapter 15. The Artificial Elements (1935–present) (10 pp). The few remaining gaps in the periodic table are filled with artificially produced technetium and promethium; the transuranium elements neptunium, plutonium, etc. are synthesized, creating an open-ended possibility for continuing discoveries.

A 2-page Introduction explores the concept of an element from the Aristotelian four elements (earth, air, fire, and water), through the sulfur and mercury principles of the alchemists, to Antoine Laurent Lavoisier’s list of 31 elements in his Traité Élémentaire de Chimie of 1789. Each chapter typically features several pages of introductory discussion, followed by a consideration of the individual elements. For each element the atomic number and weight, date of discovery, melting and boiling point, specific gravity and a brief account (usually, two paragraphs) is given. A short epilogue summarizes man’s search to answer the riddle of the universe.

The text is illuminated with 89 figures of portraits, processes, apparatus, crystals, structural formulas, periodic and other tables, radioactive decay series, X-ray data, and other pertinent objects. Because history involves real people, the persons involved in the story are prominently featured, but biographical details are relegated to 178 Biographical Sketches (16 pp), from Philip Hauge Abelson to William Hyde Wollaston, to which readers can refer, at the end of the book. An Index of Elements (2 pp) and an Index of Scientists (3 pp) appear at the beginning of the book, and Abundances of Elements in the Earth’s Crust and Ocean, and in Meteorites (2 pp) and Atomic and Mass Numbers (1 pp) complete the volume. The latest periodic table, through element 114, appears on p 133. A “standard” periodic table and an “iconic” periodic table (to help students with a “hook” for elements and their applications) through element 103 (lawrencium) appear on the inside and outside back covers, respectively.

Each chapter could be associated with a current topic with modern explanations and amplification, but Marshall decided that this would go beyond the scope of the book. Instead he included such additional facts in an accompanying CD-ROM, “A Walking Tour of the Elements” [10], that will be reviewed separately.

I am pleased to recommend this short, inexpensive, eminently readable, engrossing volume to students, chemical educators, and anyone interested in the “central science.” It makes an ideal gift for a young budding scientist. I wish that it and the accompanying CD-ROM were available when I was a teenager.

References and Notes

1.        Ritter, S. K. Rediscovering the Elements. Decades-long effort to collect the elements and chart their discovery nears completion. Chem. Eng. News August 23, 2004, 82 (34), 28–29.

2.        Witze, A. In their element. At first it was just an unusual, geekey hobby. But by combining their twin passions of chemistry and history, Jim and Jenny Marshall are now running an acclaimed project in science education. Nature 2005, 436, 1082–1083.

3.        Dobson, G. R. Rediscovery of the Elements: Discovering “Rediscovery”: A brief conversation with James L. Marshall. The Hexagon Fall, 2000, 91 (3), 42.

4.        Marshall, J. L.; Marshall, V. R. Rediscovery of the Elements: Tellurium and Faţa Băii (Fascebanya), Romania. The Hexagon Fall, 2000, 91 (3), 43–45. The first article in a continuing series.

5.        Sacks, O. Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood; Alfred A. Knopf: New York, NY, 2001. Sacks’ love affair with the elements plays a prominent role in this bestseller. For a review see Kauffman, G. B. Chem. Educator 2004, 9(6), 406-410; DOI 10.1333/s00897040852a.

6.        Marshall, J. L. Oliver Sacks in Mendeleev’s Garden. J. Chem. Educ. 2003, 80, 879.

7.        Marshall, J. L. The Living Periodic Table—the Real Thing; paper presented at the 125th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Dallas, TX, March 30, 1998; CHED 0096.

8.        Marshall, J. L. A Living Periodic Table. J. Chem. Educ. 2000, 77, 979–983. This article describes his permanent element collection and how it is used in demonstrations and presentations.

9.        Marshall, J. L.; Marshall, J. R. Ernest Rutherford, The “True Discoverer” of Radon. Bull. Hist. Chem. 2003, 28, 76–83.

10.     Marshall, J. L. A Walking Tour of the Elements; CD-ROM, 2000, updated 2002, 2006.

George B. Kauffman

California State University, Fresno,

S1430-4171(07)22015-8, 10.1333/s00897072015a


Hawley’s Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 15th Edition. Richard J. Lewis, Sr., Editor. Wiley Interscience; John Wiley & Sons: Hoboken, NJ, 2007. xiii + 1379 pp. 18.6 ´ 25.8 cm.; hardcover. $150.00; book and CD-ROM set, $240.00; ISBN 978-0-471-76865-4.

The first edition of this popular longtime reference source appeared in 1919 at a time when the chemical industry in the United States was beginning a large expansion as a result of World War I [1]. The need for such a reference book was apparent to Francis M. Turner (1889–1952), President of the Chemical Catalog Company, the predecessor of the Reinhold Publishing Corporation, who supervised a succession of various editors who developed and expanded the dictionary to meet the demands of a growing chemical industry [2, 3]. After his death the development continued unabated, and the series of books achieved worldwide recognition as a standard reference work. Beginning with the 11th edition (1987) [4], the series has been edited by internationally renowned chemist and reference author, Richard J. Lewis, Sr., and the possessive “Hawley’s” was added to the title to honor one of the previous editors, Gessner Goodrich Hawley.

The Condensed Chemical Dictionary is unique among such publications, in that it is not a dictionary in the usual sense of being a collection of brief definitions but rather “a compendium of technical data and descriptive information covering many thousands of chemicals and chemical phenomena, organized in such a way as to meet the needs of those who have only minutes to devote to any given substance or topic” (p ix).

Three different types of information are presented: (1) descriptions of chemicals, raw materials, processes, and equipment; (2) expanded definitions of chemical entities, phenomena, and terminology; (3) descriptions or identifications of a wide variety of trademarked products used in the chemical industries. These are supplemented by listings of accepted chemical abbreviations used in the literature, brief biographies of chemists of historical importance, and Nobel chemistry laureates. Also, descriptions or notations of the nature and location of numerous American technical societies or trade associations are included. In some cases, where the editors felt that it was necessary to amplify or clarify a definition or description, editorial notes have been added. Several entries written by special authorities have been acknowledged by inclusion of the authors’ names.

The selection of topics to be included has been influenced by current interests and developing concerns. For example, the growing importance to chemists and the general public of concerns with the environment and health that arose during the 1960s was reflected in the increasing coverage of these topics in the 8th edition (1971) [5]. Since that time the dictionary has devoted increased attention to energy, the most important technical problem of our time. While the 9th [6] and 10th [7] editions continued to emphasize environmental concerns, they expanded the coverage of energy and its sources. Simultaneously, as in previous editions and in view of increasing public concern, attention was given to common hazards such as flammable and explosive materials, poisons, pesticides, carcinogens, corrosive substances, and radioactive wastes.

In the 11th edition [4] the format for chemical entries was revised, and new chemicals, new trademarked products, and new definitions were added, and for the first time Chemical Abstracts Services (CAS) numbers were included for numerous chemicals to facilitate recourse to computerized data bases. In the 12th edition [8] all the trademarked entries were revised, the referencing method was changed from superscripted numbers to the company names, simplifying access to addresses of the manufacturers of trademarked products, and additional definitions and cross-references were included. In the 13th edition [9] all trademarked entries were revised, all CAS numbers were verified, and more chemical entries, definitions, and cross-references were added. The 14th edition [10] included internet links and Worldwide Web page addresses for manufacturers and associations, and trademarked entries and their manufacturers were updated.

The 15th edition under review here contains more than 4,200 new or updated entries, 700 biochemical entries, and 90 nanotechnological terms. Almost 3,000 new chemicals, including tradenamed products, were added, and internet links and Worldwide Web page addresses for manufacturers and associations, and trademarked entries and their manufacturers were added or updated. For controversial pesticides and carcinogens the statement “Use may be restricted” indicates that a state or local regulation may exist although the product has not been officially banned or that a definitive ruling on its use is pending. For banned products the statement ”Use has been prohibited” is used.

The entries are arranged in strict letter-by-letter alphabetical order. Many of the prefixes of organic chemistry as well as all numerals are disregarded in alphabetizing, but some of them that are considered an integral part of the name are considered. The information for chemicals and raw materials is listed in the following order: (1) commonly accepted name with manufacturers of trademarked products in italics within brackets; (2) synonyms, alternative names (IUPAC and others), or trivial names, most of which are cross-referenced; (3) Chemical Abstract Service Register Number (CAS), which permits absolute identification of a compound with all of its synonyms and facilitates acquisition of information from computerized data bases; (4) molecular formula (empirical or atomic); structural formula in special cases of unusual importance or interest; (5) properties: physical state, atomic number, atomic weight, valences, isotopes, odor, taste, density, boiling point, melting or freezing point, refractive index, and solubility or miscibility; also, where pertinent, flashpoint, autoignition temperature, electrical properties, tensile strength, hardness, coefficient of expansion, etc.; (6) source or occurrence: geographical origins of metals, ores, essential oils, vegetable oils, and other natural products; (7) derivation: chemical reactions or other means for obtaining the product by current industrial methods; (8) grade: technical, CP, USP, refined, reactor, and semiconductor; (9) hazard: flammability, toxicity characterization, explosive risks; also, threshold limit values (TLV) for workroom exposures and various rulings of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); (10) use: primarily large-scale applications; and (11) website: Worldwide Web internet address provided by the company or association.

The general entries include the major subdivisions of matter directly involved with chemical reactions, the various states of matter, the more important groups of compounds, and added or expanded topics chosen for their interest or importance, both industrial and biochemical, or for terminological confusion in the literature or industrial practice such as gum, resin, pigment, dye, filler, extender, reinforcing agent, and homogeneous and combustible materials. Other general entries are important subdivisions of chemistry; brief biographies of outstanding chemists of the past, including Nobel laureates through 2000; numerous group definitions (for example, barbiturates and peroxides); major chemical and physical chemical phenomena (for example, polymerization and catalysis); functional names (for example, antifreeze and heat-exchange agent); terms describing special material forms (for example, aerosol, foam, and fiber); energy sources (for example, solar cell, fuel cell, and fusion); the more important chemical processes; and various types of machinery and equipment used in the process industries. No general entry is intended to be encyclopedic or exhaustive but is rather a condensation of essential information.

The entries from “a. See alpha” to “Zytel” comprise 1355 double-column pages, and a one-page double-column list of abbreviations from “ACS” to “wt/gal” is provided. The entries in Appendix I, “Origins of Some Chemical Terms” (six double-column pages), from “abrasive” to “zymase,” have been chosen on the basis of their historical interest and value in illuminating meanings. In cases where it is known, the date of the first use of the term is given. Appendix II, “Highlights in the History of Chemistry“ (six double-column pages), consists of five sections: A. “Chronology of Notable Achievements” from “Democritus” to “Woodward;” B. “American Chemical Society;” C. “Chemical Abstracts;” D. “Center for History of Chemistry” (not up to date; now the Chemical Heritage Foundation); and E. “Brief History of Five Major Industries” (Drug and Pharmaceuticals; Paper; Plastics; Petroleum; and Rubber). Appendix III, “Manufacturers of Trademarked Products: Alphabetical List” (ten triple-column pages), contains the names, addresses, and websites of 275 companies from around the world.

Several misspellings of scientists’ names occur in Appendix II, A.: “Kekul” for “Kekulé” and “Wohler” for “Wöhler” (p 1364); “W. K.” for W. C.” (Roentgen), “Le Chatelier” for “Le Châtelier,” and “Moisson” for “Moissan” (all on p 1365); and “R. W.” for “R. B.” (Woodward, p 1366). Also, Francis H. C. Crick’s death date, July 28, 2004, is not given (p 1366).

I strongly recommend this longtime international bestseller as an essential reference tool for chemists, chemical engineers, environmental professionals, industrial hygienists, toxicologists, police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, emergency clean-up technicians, managers of toxicological and chemical information systems, and to scientific and technical staff, sales and marketing personnel, managers and administrators and all levels of staff in industries in which chemicals are used.


1.        Turner, F. M., Technical Ed.; Berolzheimer, D. D.; Cutter, W. P.; Helfrich, J., Asst. Eds. The Condensed Chemical Dictionary: A reference volume for all requiring quick access to a large amount of essential data regarding chemicals, and other substances used in manufacturing and laboratory work; Chemical Catalog Company: New York, NY, 1919; 528 pp.

2.        For example, Gregory, T. C., Ed.; Welch, I. M., Asst. Ed. The Condensed Chemical Dictionary: A reference volume for all requiring quick access to a large amount of essential data regarding chemicals, and other substances used in manufacturing and laboratory work, compiled and edited by the editorial staff of the Chemical engineering catalog, Francis M. Turner, editor,2nd ed.; Chemical Catalog Company: New York, NY, 1930; 551 pp.

3.         For example, Rose, A.; Rose, E., Revisers. The Condensed Chemical Dictionary: A reference volume for all requiring quick access to essential data regarding chemicals and other substances used in manufacturing and research, and to terms in general use in chemistry and the process industries,5th ed.; Reinhold Publishing Corp.: New York, NY, 1956; xix + 1200 pp.

4.        Sax, N. I.; Lewis, R. J., Eds. Hawley’s Condensed Chemical Dictionary,11th ed.; Van Nostrand Reinhold Publishing Corp.: New York, NY, 1987; xv + 1288 pp.

5.        Hawley, G. G., Ed. Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 8th ed.; Van Nostrand Reinhold Publishing Corp.: New York, NY, 1971; xiii + 971 pp.

6.         Hawley, G. G., Ed. Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 9th ed.; Van Nostrand Reinhold Publishing Corp.: New York, NY, 1977; xiii + 957 pp.

7.        Hawley, G. G., Ed. Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 8th ed.; Van Nostrand Reinhold Publishing Corp.: New York, NY, 1981; xi + 1135 pp.

8.        Lewis, R. J., Ed. Hawley’s Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 12th ed.; Van Nostrand Reinhold Publishing Corp.: New York, NY, 1993; xiii + 1275 pp.

9.        Lewis, R. J., Ed. Hawley’s Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 13th ed.; Van Nostrand Reinhold Publishing Corp.: New York, NY, 1997; xiii + 1229 pp; CD-ROM. Wiley-Interscience: New York, NY, 2001.

10.     Lewis, R. J., Ed. Hawley’s Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 14th ed.; Wiley-Interscience: New York, NY, 2002; xiii + 1223 pp; also CD-ROM.

George B. Kauffman

California State University, Fresno,

S1430-4171(07)22016-7, 10.1333/s00897072016a