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Book Review An Introduction to the Chemistry and Biochemistry of Fatty Acids and Their Glycerides. Edited by F. D. Gunstone

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An Introduction to the Chemistry and Biochemistry of Fatty
Acids and Their Glycerides. Edited by F. D . Gunstone.
Chapman and Hall L t d , London 1967. 2nd Edit., 209 pp.,
numerous formulas and tables, bound 63s.
The author, a student of T. P. Hilditch, presents the bookc11
only as an introduction t o the field of fatty acids. H e does,
however, list the representatives of this class of substances
virtually completely, and discusses methods for their isolation
and structure analyses with almost the same thoroughness.
Long chapters are devoted to the physical and especially the
chemical properties of fatty acids and their esters. The treatment is at a higher than introductory level, with many literature references to original work.
On the other hand, the chapters o n the “Naturally occurring
fatty acid derivatives” and o n “Biosynthesis and metabolism”
are presented remarkably briefly, and provide only inadequate
information for the reader. Reference is made, however, to
review articles, by means of which the original literature can
be consulted. The literature appendix is very valuable,
referring the reader both to scientific journals and t o monographs. Summing up, it can be said that the book should
prove very valuable to readers interested in the special
H. Debuch [NB 762 IE]
problems of fatty acids.
Dictionary of Organic Compounds, Third Supplement. By R.
Stevens. Eyre and Spottiswoode, London, 1967, 4th Edit.,
280 pp., cloth f; 10.00.
The fourth edition of the “Dictionary of Organic Compounds” was published in five volumes in 1965. To keep the
work up t o date, a supplement covering the recent literature
and correcting errors and omissions found in earlier volumes
is published every year. The entries in the third supplement,
which has now appeared, refer mainly to articles published
in 1966. The arrangement of the entries follows the scheme
used in the main work. Additions and supplementary data
relating to key words that appeared in the main work are
indicated by an asterisk. A pleasing feature is the inclusion
of many, carefully printed structural formulas, which always show the stereochemistry if this is known. Where
practicable, the names formed according t o the rules of
systematic nomenclature are given for the substances listed.
The entries also include the principal physicochemical
properties as well as references, mainly t o preparative work,
but also t o articles dealing with spectral data, structural
investigations, isotopically labeled derivatives, etc. The
annual supplement makes the “Dictionary of Organic Compounds” a useful addition t o the organic chemist’s library,
and one that will always be up to date.
H. Grunewald [NB 772 IE]
The Neurosciences. A Study Program Planned and Edited by
G. C. Quarton, T. Melnechuk, and F. 0. Schmitt. The
Rockefeller University Press, New York, 1967. 1 Edit., xx,
962 pp., numerous illustration and tables, $ 18.00.
“The human brain and the behavior correlated with its development, structure and function present a problem that is
both the most complex to which man can address himself
through the use of scientific methods and the most urgent
from the human viewpoint”. This statement taken from the
foreword t o the present volume, explains the foundation in
1962 of a “Neurosciences Research Program” by a group of
scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The
new organization is an international and interuniversity body
whose members are all indirectly or directly engaged in the
study of the central nervous system and associated fields.
Shortly after the foundation of the Program it was decided
to hold a four-week symposium. This eventually took place
at the University of Colorado in July 1966, and provided the
first broad picture of contemporary knowledge of the human
brain.
The 65 main papers presented at this symposium form the
subject of the book under review (one paper is actually omitted, but two additional chapters are provided). This fact on
its own would not justify consideration of the book in the
present journal. The work is important to us because the
lectures, both in their original and in their revised form, are
addressed principally not to specialists, who would in any
case be largely acquainted with the material, but to scientists
working in neighboring disciplines.
The volume is divided into seven sections: Components of
the nervous system, molecular biology (with a splendid introduction by A . L. Lehninger), molecular biology of brain
cells, neuronal physiology, brain correlates of functional
behavioral states, brain correlates of learning, interdisciplinary topics. Each section begins with a n introduction which
outlines the subject and places it in the context of what is
already known. This is followed by the individual contributions o n special problems within the subjects in question.
Each paper is provided with a bibliography, thus offering a n
initial review of the literature. Anyone interested in the study
of the central nervous system, whether he is a chemist, biologist, physicist, or psychologist, will find in this book a very
useful introduction, well written and excellently edited by
specialists in the field.
H . Griinewald [NB 764 IE]
Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. By R . C. Weast and
S . M . Selby. The Chemical Rubber Co., Cleveland, 1967,
48th Edit., xxvi, 1920 pp.. $ 20.50.
This handbook of approximately 2000 pages has appeared
annually in a new edition111 since the end of the war (with
only three exceptions), which gave it a chance of being improved and supplemented every year. It can therefore be
claimed, without danger of exaggeration, that we have here
the most up to date handbook of its kind. Despite its title, it
offers 267 pages of mathematical tables. 1200 pages of chemical tables, 189 pages of physical tables, and 264 pages of
various other tables divided more or less equally between
chemistry and physics. Chemistry therefore takes u p by far
the greater part, if only because of the inclusion of a table of
the properties of organic compounds which lists more than
13500 substances. The present, 48th edition of this work
again contains several new tables among which may be
mentioned a survey of the 1H-NMR signals of organic
structures, numerous charts of the characteristic frequencies
of organic and inorganic compounds over the whole range
of I R and several tables of purely chemical content. At least
ten tables have been revised or supplemented.
The formulas in the large organic table are as deplorable as
ever. It is really too much to except that it should be necessary
to study 171/2 printed pages of instructions before one knows
what name a particular compound may be found under in
the table; fortunately, there is a formula index for the same
table. The editors of this handbook should think of a solution as soon as possible which would do away with the instructions and make the contents of the table more easily
accessible, perhaps by anarrangement of the formula index in
such a way that the empirical formula carries not only the
number of the entry but also its name, which would save a
lot of unnecessary searching. As before, it is urgently desirable to carry out a thorough search through the physicochemical tables, with respect to the dimensions. It is really
intolerable to find “Kg. calories”, Kcal”, “Kilo-cals”,
“Cal.” and such like next to one another. It is also unnecessary
that a table which contains values for AH?, AFF, log Kfand
So should have a footnote to say that “all values are expressed.
[l] Cf. Angew. Chem. 78, 912 (1966): Angew. Chern. internat.
[l] Cf. Angew. Chem. 71, 144 (1959).
86
Edit. 7, 907 (1966).
Angew. Chem. internat. Edit. / VoI. 8 (1969) / No. I
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