The book includes an excellent and entertaining outline of the history of the scientific study of lectins, which goes back more than a hundred years. Every chapter makes it clear, even to the non-specialist reader, that this history will be enriched by further additions as a result of studies that are now in progress or will be carried out in the future. This gives one an extra incentive to absorb the information presented here, so as to provide a basis for following and understanding such future developments as they occur. Therefore it is to be hoped that the book will be widely read, and that it will not be too long before a new updated edition appears. However, the reader interested in this topic is not advised to wait for such a new edition. It is to be hoped, and is indeed likely in view of the quality and presentation of the material in this well set out and easily digestible survey, that readers+specially those who are not lectins specialists-will be motivated to keep informed about progress in relevant sectors of the field of lectins. Finally, it can be assumed that some of the information that this book contains, such as the role of lectins in viral and bacterial infections or in transport of glycoproteins, will also in due course find its way into the standard textbooks. Hans-Joachim Gabius [NB 1097 IE] Max-Planck-Institut fur experimentelle Medezin, Gottingen (FRG) A Random Walk Through Fractal Dimensions. By B. H . Kaye. VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim/VCH Publishers, New York 1989. xxv, 421 pp., hardcover DM 138.00 (paperback DM 64.00).-ISBN 3-527-26468-X/0-89573496-6 The concept of fractals, invented by Benoit B. Mandelbrot, has by its vivid imagery altered ways of scientific thought to an extent that is perhaps greater than that caused by the second law of thermodynamics. It is doubtless also because of this graphic quality that a large number of scientists have already become involved with this new tool. Publications reviewing this subject are therefore to be welcomed. The book by B. H . Kaye is neither a handbook nor a work of reference; instead it contains exactly what its title promises : a random walk through fractal dimensions, confined to the scientific and mathematical aspects. The mathematical procedure of fractals is likewise a random one, but it certainly does not lack a plan. Its basic operations are governed by strict rules, but these are then applied to random numbers. Although fractals are ultimately a mathematical device, formulas are avoided in the book. Regrettably, this is taken so far that one is not even given a mathematical definition of the term “fractal”. An extreme case is the chapter entitled “Mathematical Description of Fractal Clusters”, which contains only two quite unimportant formulas. The vague references in the text to “famous” names in the field are rather annoying; for more detailed information one has to refer to the bibliography. The value of the book lies in its plentiful illustrations and the directness of its style, together with the fact that, due to the absence of mathematical detail, it is very easy to read. It is therefore very suitable as a first introduction to the topic. It can be used as a supplement to basic treatments of the subject, in particular to those by Mandelbrot or to those that deal with special aspects. It offers a wealth of new examples drawn from mathematics, scientific statistics and various fields of science. The main emphasis of the application examAngew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 30 (1991) No. 3 ples is in the author’s special field of dispersed phases. The book also serves as a stimulus for further research. Erich Robens [NB 1115 IE] Institut fur Anorganische und Analytische Chemie der Universitat Mainz (FRG) Structure and Reactivity in Reverse Micelles. (Series: Studies in Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, Vol. 65). Edited by M . P . Pileni. Elsevier, Amsterdam 1989. xviii, 379 pp., hardcover. HF1 285.00. -ISBN 0-444-88166-2 This book, which is published as Volume 65 in the series “Studies in Physical and Theoretical Chemistry”, is concerened with topical problems in the field of reverse micelles. It consists of 21 individual contributions by different authors, most of whom do not confine themselves to a narrow definition of reverse micelles but also include microemulsions in this class. The aspects emphasized in the articles fall under three headings: the applications of various analytical techniques, solubilization, and chemical reactions in reverse micelles and microemulsions. The treatment of structural problems which is promised in the book’s title is limited to that arising in the chapters on analytical techniques and solubilization, and is mainly restricted to “classical” reverse micelles. The analytical techniques that are described include methods of investigating structure, such as light-, X-ray- and neutron-scattering measurements, as well as electron microscopy and various spectroscopic methods. First the applicability of each individual technique to the study of structure and reactions in reverse micelles is discussed, then particular types of reverse micelles are used as examples to illustrate the capabilities and limitations of the various analytical methods. In the articles on solubilization in reverse micelles and microemulsions the main emphasis is on discussions concerning the site of the preferential solubilization and the associated structural changes. Also the various solubilization techniques and their advantages and disadvantages are discussed in detail. The reactions that can be carried out in reverse micelles and microemulsions include such widely different processes as pulse radiolysis, electron transfer, photoreactions, the preparation of clusters of metallic and semiconducting elements, polymerizations and enzymic catalysis. Although here too the reactions are in some cases used to gain more detailed knowledge about the structures of reverse micelles, the dominant theme is the idea of using reverse micelles as variable microreactors. The form of the book, consisting of separate individual contributions, has made it possible to present a very wide range of topics within the overall theme of reverse micelles. The articles provide the reader with numerous up-to-date references to original papers on each of the topics treated. Representatives of widely differing schools of thought such as P . L. Luisi and K. Martinek have an opportunity to put their views; this area of research is thereby presented, with its attendant controversies, as one that is active and exciting, and in which one can still expect many interesting developments. Although good use has been made of the opportunities presented by a book made up of separate contributions, one is left with the usual problems of this format: the following of a central theme is sacrificed in favor of breadth of subject matter. The attempt by P.L. Luisi to provide an aid to orientation alongside the contributions dealing with their 0 VCH Verlagsgesellsrhafi mbH. W-6940 Weinheim.1991 0570-0833/91/0303-0339$3.50+ .25/0 339

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