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Book Review A Lifetime of Synergy with Theory and Experiment. (Series Profiles Pathways and Dreams. Series editor J. I. Seeman.) By A

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BOOKS
topical subject of “Drug Targeting and
Delivery” merited more than the mere
two pages allowed here, However, the
shortness of many of the articles is
perhaps unavoidable in view of the
broad conception of the work and the
great variety of topics covered.
The first volume of this encyclopedia
has already been reviewed in this journal
(Angew. Chem. 1996, IOS, 1218; Angew.
Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 1996,35, 1578. The
very favorable impression reported then
is further reinforced on examining the
complete work. The appearance of all six
volumes within a short space of time has
ensured that all the articles are similarly
up-to-date. It is pleasing to find that the
literature references extend up to 1996
in many cases. For example, the article
on “Yeast Genetics” (Vol. 6, p. 305)
mentions the complete sequencing of the
yeast genome published in April 1996.
The cross-references to related articles
in the encyclopedia are especially useful;
by following these through one can
quickly find one’s way around the available information on a particular area of
interest. As an example, in the article on
“Receptor Biochemistry” (although
there is also an entry for “Other Receptors”) we find that only membranebound receptors are mentioned there.
However, information about soluble receptors can be found in the articles on
“Endocrinology, Molecular” and “Steroid Hormones and Receptors”, both of
which are listed as cross-references. On
the other hand, the articles “Vitamin
Receptors” and “Zinc Finger DNABinding Motifs”, which also contain
information about important aspects of
soluble receptors, are not mentioned.
Volume 6 contains a comprehensive
index (127 three-column pages) listing
all the subjects that are treated in more
or less detail in the text but do not
necessarily have a separate article devoted to them.
Much care has been devoted to the
copy-editing, and the number of errors
has been kept very low. To mention
particular errors would probably convey
a misleading impression of the whole.
However, just one should be picked out
because of its unintentional humor: on
page 347 of Volume 2 the text refers
throughout to “glucocerebrosidase” instead of distinguishing between this and
“glucocerebroside”, an error which is
amusing rather than serious. As in Volume 1 reviewed earlier, the later volumes too contain a few incorrect structural formulas (e.g., those of estrone on
p. 165 of Vol. 2 and of cyproterone
acetate on p. 484 of Vol. 5).
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There are a few omissions and other
shortcomings that one would wish to see
remedied in a revised edition, but their
number is small. For example, there is no
entry nnder the important heading “Proteome”. Also there are a few minor
weaknesses, which is almost inevitable in
any multiauthor work. Thus, for example, combinatorial chemistry-perhaps
as a result of its rapidly growing importance-appears in several different places, sometimes with identical figures (as
in the illustration of the split-and-combine technique). However, a redundancy
of this kind does no serious harm.
In agreement with the earlier verdict
based on Volume 1, the Encyclopedia of
Molecular Biology and Molecular Medicine is without a competitor in this field,
and it is an important and valuable
resource for one’s daily work. Every
chemist, biochemist, biologist, or medical scientist who is interested in a new
topic in molecular biology or genome
research will find this encyclopedia useful in providing a rapid overview of the
subject of interest. It is an essential
addition to the libraries of university
departments, research institutes, and industry engaged in research in these
areas. In most cases the high price will,
of course, prevent individuals from buying their own copy. However, the publishers have devised an elegant solution
to this problem, in the form of a shortened version entitled Molecular Biology
and Biotechnology. A Comprehensive
Desk Reference (VCH Publishers, New
York, 1995. 1024 pp., hardcover DM
275.00; paperback DM 89.00.-ISBN 156081-569-8/1-56081-925-1). This should
prove useful when the library copy that
you so urgently need turns out (yet
again) to have been lent out to a
colleague.
Hugo Kubinyi
BASF AG, Ludwigshafen (Germany)
A Lifetime of Synergy with Theory
and Experiment. (Series: Profiles,
Pathways, and Dreams. Series editor: J. I. Seeman.) By A. Streitwieser. American Chemical Society,
Washington, DC, 1996. 310 pp.,
hardcover $34.95-ISBN
0-84121836-6
In general, chemists have little inclination to study history, and the history of
their own subject is no exception.
Brought up to appreciate practical skills
and used to learning by pictorial presen-
0 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH, D-69451 Weinhem, 1997
tations, they often acquire a dislike of
pure text (“when will there finally be a
formula scheme”), which stands right at
the heart of humanities, and therefore
also of historical sciences. It is therefore
not surprising that compared with the
large number of biographical and historical works in the neighboring disciplines,
there are only a few in the area of
chemistry. Biographical material is likely
to be found in obituaries, which naturally
are meant to present the deceased from
the most favorable point of view possible.
Several years ago, J. I. Seeman, himself active in the area of physical organic
chemistry, asked a number of wellknown chemists-the vast majority of
whom come from the Anglo-American
realm-to present essays on the development of organic chemistry over the
past 30-40 years using their personal
research work. The project, initially
planned to be a terse one-volume compilation not including autobiographical
material, has grown since 1990 to the
proportions of 22 full-fledged autobiographies of prominent chemists. Andrew
Streitwieser, one of the chosen authors,
now presents his life’s work. The external circumstances of this can be presented as a paradigm of the dynamics of
American society: while his parents
were not “dishwashers”, they nevertheless were German immigrants struggling
with the disaster of the Depression; so
their son Andrew had to earn extra
money to enable him to attend a scienceoriented high school. He, like many
others, had been won over to chemistry
by his first chemistry set (which is no
longer possible these days, as he deplores, because “all but the most innocuous chemicals are considered too dangerous-or perhaps too subject to lawsuits-for children to form part of their
play and learning”). His career advanced steadily via the studies at Columbia and the post-doctorate at MIT to
the tenured position at Berkeley, overshadowed only by the illness and death
of his first wife. Accordingly, he does not
report on any strife, let alone personal
adversaries that might have impeded his
progress. He only deplores the contemporary widespread disrespect for physical organic chemistry, and the problems
that arise from ever fiercer competition
for grant money, while funding through
the department becomes ever more
marginal-a situation that has become
a threat to the freedom of research and
teaching. Central to this book however is
Streitwieser’s chemical research, which
began with solvolysis reactions, and
0570-0833/97/10923-2692$ 17.50+.50/0
Angew Chem. Inr Ed. Engl. 1997,109, No. 23
BOOKS
focused on CH-acidities, theoretical and
organometallic (uranocene-)chemistry,
and polycations. His commitments as
the author of well-known textbooks and
his role as an editor of J. Urg. Chem. are
also mentioned. Many references to the
primary literature, a collection of short
biographies of the chemists mentioned
in the text, and an index are testimony of
the author’s diligent approach. The reader who expects a collection of “funny”
anecdotes will therefore be disappointed, although there are references here
and there to hobbies like fly fishing, and
the author includes information about
all of his students who are mentioned.
Rather, Streitwieser endeavors to show
how the mutual fertilization of theory
and experiment have contributed to his
scientific success. This book will therefore be of great value to those who wish
to be informed about the research of
Streitwieser’s group and, moreover,
about the development of physical organic chemistry in the USA over the past
three to four decades.
Jens J. Wolff
Organisch-Chemisches Institut
der Universitat Heidelberg (Germany)
Synthetic Methods of Organometallic and Inorganic Chemistry. Vol. 6.
Lanthanides and Actinides. Edited
by I;: T Edelmann. (Series editor:
W. A. Herrmann). Georg Thieme
Verlag, Stuttgart, 1997. 226 pp.,
hardcover DM 124.00.-ISBN 3-13103071-2
This book is the best current source of
preparative information on lanthanide
and actinide complexes. It is an important resource for anyone involved in the
chemistry of these metals.
The decision to update the classic
Handbook of Preparative Inorganic
Chemistry by G. Brauer, and to include
organometallic as well as inorganic information, is an excellent one. In the
past, “Brauer” has been extremely valuable as a concise
source of detailed
preparative information in the inorganic area. A single source of this
type is useful not
only to obtain specific information,
but also to get an
overview of an
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed Engl. 1997,109, No. 23
area, its techniques, and its potential
applicability to a problem. The Herrmann/Brauer update of this series will be
even more useful since it will extend the
coverage to modern organometallic
chemistry. This is a daunting task, however, and requires eight volumes!
The decision to include in this series
one volume on lanthanide and actinide
chemistry was also an excellent choice.
Lanthanide and actinide chemistry has
been one of the most rapidly developing
areas of inorganic and organometallic
chemistry in recent years. Since this is a
rather modern area, no single source of
preparative information is available.
Currently, this information must be obtained either from the primary literature
or from review articles. As the field has
grown, recent review articles must report
only the latest results in order to maintain a manageable size. As a result,
several sources must be examined sequentially to get synthetic information
and to be to certain that it is up-to-date.
The Edelmann volume of the Herrmannl
Brauer series provides in a single book
the information currently available on
lanthanide and actinide synthesis.
Professor Edelmann did an excellent
job in organizing this volume. Initially,
he surveyed the lanthanide and actinide
community for suggestions and contributions and used this input to select the
specific syntheses to be included. All of
the major types of compounds are represented in this volume, which is an
outstanding achievement considering
the space limitations. With the growth
rate of this field, the volume could easily
double in size in the next revision. Users
of this volume should realize that the
coverage is necessarily representative
rather than comprehensive.
Professor Edelmann has also written
introductions to each of the chapters,
briefly surveying the synthetic aspects of
each sub-category. These introductions
are very valuable since this type of
summary information on preparations
is not readily available elsewhere. Occasionally, introductions to some of the
specific syntheses have also been written
to put the chemistry in context. These
are stimulating since they sometimes
include statements not universally accepted by the lanthanide and actinide
community. For example, syntheses of
some bimetallic compounds traditionally
thought to have no metal - metal bonding are prefaced by comments that the
distances suggest metal - metal interactions. Similarly, prefaces to some sections make statements about the relative
sizes of cyclopentadienyl ligands for
0 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH, D-69451 Weinheim, 1997
which there is not complete agreement
among specialists.
The individual synthetic sections of
the book are generally taken directly
from the literature. As such, different
syntheses have different levels of detail.
For example, in some cases all of the
infrared data on a series of analogous
compounds is given, whereas in other
cases no such information is included.
Similarly, cell constants from X-ray crystallographic studies are sometimes, but
not always, given when a structural study
has been done. In the case of the
syntheses taken from the older literature, some of the formulas for the
starting materials are antiquated, particularly in terms of alkoxide precursors
which have subsequently been found to
have structures more complicated than
Ln(OR)3 or Ln(OR),. Hence, it must be
remembered that this book is neither a
critical review nor a publication such as
Inorganic Synthesis, in which the preparations have been independently tested.
In addition, since this field is moving
quickly, the book already unavoidably
contains some dated material. For example, it is stated in one section that the
introduction of a third n ligand to a
(C,Me,),U unit is impossible.
The four chapters divide the book into
lanthanide (inorganic and organometallic) and actinide (inorganic and organometallic) sections. The inorganic chapters are also valuable to organometallic
researchers since they describe the preparation of starting materials. For example, since it is somewhat difficult to
obtain truly anhydrous lanthanide starting materials, and the descriptions of the
drying methods are in very early literature, it is particularly useful to have a
modern analysis of this topic.
In summary, this lanthanide/actinide
inorganic/organometallic volume is a
unique resource in the field. This information has not previously been available
in a single place and no modern compilation of these details is available. For
someone interested in starting a project
in lanthanide or actinide chemistry, this
volume provides the information on how
to begin experimentally. For any active
lanthanide/actinide laboratory this book
is an essential resource. It should be
required reading for all new students in
lanthanide/actinide laboratories, and I
found that it can stimulate thought in the
experienced researcher as well.
William J. Evans
Department of Chemistry,
University of California
Irvine, CA (USA)
0570-0833/97/10923-2693$ 17.50t.5010
2693
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