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Book Review Biological Chemistry. By H. R. Mahler and E. H. Cordes

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cations for free-lance inventions, the utilization of these
protective rights, and the general treatment of employees’
suggestions. The book closes with a section on tax concessions
for the remuneration of employees’ inventions, for income
from free-lance inventions, and for bonuses for suggested
improvements. In the voluminous appendix, the relevant
legislation, ordinances, and guiding principles are given and
various forms are also reproduced. The book can also be recommended t o employers and to those whose profession it is
V. Vossius
[NB 628 IE]
to advise inventors.
The Chemistry of Technetium and Rhenium. By R . D . Pea-
cock. Topics in Inorganic and General Chemistry, Monograph 6. Edited by P. L. Robinson. Elsevier Publishing
Company, Amsterdam-London-New York 1965. 1st. Edit.
ix, 137 pp., 14 Figures, 29 Tables. 55s; 27.50 Dfl.
The main purpose of the monograph, which is a Ievlew of the
present knowledge of rhenium and technetium, IS to be found
in the comparison of the chemistry of these homologous
elements. The author not only describes the various classes
of compounds but explains the material in the light of
modern transition-metal chemistry. Understandably, the
greater. art of the bookis devoted to the chemistry of rhenium. The literature is covered up to the middle of 1965;
however, various omissions have been made, even in the better
documented chemistry of technetium. For example, one
searches in vain for information concerning the technically
and scientifically remarkable inhibition of corrosion exhibited
by pertechnate ions. Nevertheless, the book assists the reader
in gaining a deeper understanding of the chemistry of these
transition elements and will prove stimulating reading for
chemists interested in inorganic and radiochemistry.
K. Schwochau
[NB 620 IE]
Introduction to Nuclear Chemistry. By D. J. Carswell, Elsevier Publishing Co., Amsterdam-London-New York 1967,
1st Edit., ix, 279 pp., 69 figures, 23 tables, Dfl. 32.50.
This book is based on lectures which the author gave over
the course of many years at the University of New South
Wales in Australia. It deals with the structure of the atom
and of the nucleus, the laws of radioactive decay, nuclear
reactions, types of decay, the use of physical nuclear methods
in chemistry, such as the Mossbauer effect and nuclear
magnetic resonance, detectors and their mode of action,
radiation chemistry, mass spectrometry. isotope separation,
neutron sources, accelerators, the actide elements, and the
application of radioisotopes in industry and research. The
concluding chapter lists 16 simple experiments which, without
substantial outlay of time nr money, provide an experimental
insight into radiochemistry and nuclear chemistry.
The book is very simply written. Mathematical and abstract
treatment is largely avoided, sometimes with adverse effects.
For example, the reviewer thinks it unlikely that the description of isotope dilution analysis can really be understood.
In a demanding chapter, in which several electronic circuits
are described and in which the mode of action of a diode or
triode is compared with that of a transistor by means of a
circuit diagram, the statement of Ohm’s law is too trivial. In
the chapter “Actinides” the description of the stability of the
individual actinide valences appears to need revision, as well
as a better presentation.
Despite these drawbacks, the book should be particularly
suitable for students who wish to acquire some overall
knowledge of nuclear chemistry and who have no opportunity
to attend lectures on nuclear and radiochemistry. A big help
in understanding the subject matter is the short summary
given a t the end of each chapter. On the other hand, the
price of about € 3.0.0 seems a little high for this introducC, Keller
W B 649 IE]
tory book.
Nobel Lectures Chemistry 1901-1921 and 1922-1941.
Issued by the Nobel Foundation, Elsevier Publishing
Company. Amsterdam-London-New York, 1966. Volume
1901-1921, xii, 409 pp., several iiiustrations, Dfl 80.-;
Volume 1922-1941 : 53 pp. several illustrations, Dfl. 80.-.
The first Nobel prizes were awarded in 1901. They were, and
in a certain sense still are, a present from the nineteenth
century to the twentieth, for Alfred Nobel died in 1896. It
must have been particularly difficult at the time to find
among the many eminent chemists the one who deserved to
be the first awarded this great distinction. Cannizzaro, Gibbs,
Thomsen and Berfhelot, Arrhenius, Ostwald and A . von Bnyer,
Emil Fischer, and Moissan were considered, and some of
them received the prizes in later years.The majority of the
votes (11 of 20) went to van’t Haff in 1901. It is a pleasure
to read his Nobel lecture today, more than 65 years later.
van’t Huffdeals with osmotic pressure and chemical equilibria
and it is of interest to note that neither here nor in the motivation for awarding theprizesis there an indication of the discovery of the asymmetric carbon atom. This work is mentioned
only in the eulogy - in one sentence. One becomes acutely
aware of the fact that the material that we learn today in the
first few semesters as something self-evident was by no means
self-evident at the beginning of the century.
In 1902 Emif Fischev received the prize for his fundamental
work on sugars and purines, and in 1903 it was Arrhenius’
turn for his theory of electrolytic dissociation (who can
envisage the time when talk of the theory of electrolytic
dissociation was the order of the day?). In 1904 Ramsay was
honored for his discovery of the inert gases, in 1906 Moissan
for his discovery of fluorine, in 1907 Buclrrrer for his demonstration of cell-free fermentation. Self-evident truths today,
but were they 60 years ago?
Anyone with a sense of history will find his money well spent
o n the two volumes of Nobel lectures that have now been
issued by Elsevier. The reader will encounter many important
men who have shaped our modern thinking, but will meet
them in a way different from that in textbooks. One could
say he will meet them on a more personal level.
H . Griinewald
[NB 643 IE]
BiologicaI Chemistry. By H. R . Mahler and E. H. Cordes.
Harper and Row (Publishers) New York-London 1966.
1st Edit., xv, 872 pp., numerous figures and tables, 63 s.
The outstanding contribution made by American workers
to biochemistry during recent years is very largely the result
of this subject gaining a firm place a long time ago in both
medical and natural science faculties of American universities.
In chemistry, as in medicine and biology, biochemistry has
become a pillar of a modern syllabus admittedly with
different aims. While biochemistry (Dhysiological chemistry)
in the field of medicine is characterized by the functions and
pathology of organs, in chemistry i t is thefundamental set
of chemical and physicochemical principles of the life.determining processes. Although all aspects of biochemistry are
interdependent, they can be developed better independently of
one another if the curriculum is adapted to achieve this aim
in the optimum manner. It is clear that a rapid advance in
one section will promote a similar speeding up in another.
This subdivided responsibility somewhat resembles a technique applied for difficult ascents during mountain climbing.
Two ropes are needed for climbing overhanging rocks. One
is used to pull while it runs through the hook fixed above the
climbers, and the second is carried loosely. After the fixing
of the next hook, the second rope in turn takes up the pull.
The above general remarks seemed necessary in order to
characterize the place and importance of this new work. The
book has been written for chemists by chemists. The authors
have done splendidly, and in many respects have achieved a
breakthrough for biochemistry in the part it occupies in
chemical teaching. The book reproduces fairly accurately
Angew. Chem. internat. Edit. f Vol. 7 (1968) 1 No. 1
the two-semester course of lectures given at Indiana University for graduate students. Since a thorough background in
organic and physical chemistry is assumed, certain traditional
sections of biochemistry textbooks have been eliminated. For
example, there is no chapter on carbohydrate chemistry. The
structure of coenzymes is likewise discussed only as far as its
function in enzymatic reactions makes this necessary. The
difficult problem of protein and nucleic acid structure,
relegated to the later chapters in most textbooks, is placed
right at the beginning. It is characterized by a thoroughness
and breadth normally found only in large reference books
and survey articles. Two similarly detailed chapters o n the
thermodynamics and kinetics of enzyme reactions follow to
provide the prerequisite basis for the discussion of the
mechanism of enzyme action (in a separate chapter). Enzyme
action here signifies the catalytic action of protein, not the
chemical principles of coenzyme activity. The latter is dealt
with in detail for each coenzyme in the next chapter.
The first half of the book, which is devoted to theoretical
principles and general aspects, concludes with a chapter
about the structure of cells and the organization of enzymatic
activities in cell fractions and particles. The second half deals
with the dynamics of the chemical events in the cell. A sequence of chapters of conventional nature is found: carbohydrate metabolism, amino acids, nucleic acids, oxidation of
fatty acids, and decomposition of complex lipids, and also
chapters on the tricarboxylic acid cycle, biological oxidation,
a n extensive chapter on photosynthesis, and finally two
chapters o n biosynthesis (lipids and proteins).
As is to be expected in a first edition, some aspects are
unbalanced. This is often due to the fact that in some fields
there are gaps in the literature references. It will be possible
to make the necessary improvements in the new editions,
which will no doubt soon be forthcoming. In particular,
reference may be made to the chapter “Quaternary structure
of proteins”, which has in no way been given the detailed
treatment that is devoted later to the model of allosterism as
a controlling principle in enzyme activity. Many decisive
facts, such as the relationship between the number of subunits
and the number of coenzyme binding sites, particularly in
dehydrogenases, have been omitted entirely. The spontaneous
association of subunits to form typical structures and active
complexes likewise depends on the interactions determining
the structure of higher order, and characterizing the allosteric
transformations. The literature references attached to each
chapter are most welcome, survey articles and papers to
which special progress can be attributed being listed separately. The German reader will note that original work from
German periodicals is rarely mentioned, and, when it is,
with mutilated names. The subject of biochemistry in natural
science faculties will receive a strong impetus through this
work, and it is hoped that the book will achieve the widest
possible distribution.
K. Wallenfels
P B 639 IE]
Organic Compounds with Nitrogen-Nitrogen Bonds. By C. G.
Overberder, J.-P. Amelme, and J. G. Lombardino. From the
Series “Modern Concepts in Chemistry”. The Ronald
Press Company, New York 1966. 1st Edit., vi, 115 pp.,
$ 7.00.
The authors of the present work have succeeded admirably in
presenting a concise survey of the vast field of compounds
with N N bonds. In addition to the subject and author index,
the book contains a theoretical introduction and chapters on
the following topics: Hydrazines, azomethines having N N
bonos (hydrazones, azines, osazones), azo compounds, diazo
compounds (aromatic diazonium salts, diazoalkanes, diazirines), hydrazides, N-nitrosamines (N-nitramines), azides
(tetrazenes, triazenes). Each chapter is carefully subdivided
and completed by a literature register in which particular
emphasis is placed upon review articles and surveys. The
literature is covered up to 1965.
Angew. Chem. infernaf.Edit. 1 Vol. 7 (1968)
/ No. 1
It is only to be expected that in 115 pages the information
given is in a concentrated form and that a somewhat subjective
choice of material has been made. Nevertheless, the authors
have made such a good selection that the reader has no difficulty in obtaining a good idea of the preparation and reactions of these compounds and, particularly, of the work
carried out with them during the last decade.
E. Fuhr
[NB 619 IE]
The Encyclopedia of Chemistry. Edited by G. L. Clark and
G. G. Hawley. Reinhold Publishing Corporation, New
York 1966. 2nd Edit., xxi, 1144 pp., numerous illustrations,
$ 25.00.
The appearance of a second edition of a n “Encyclopedia”
exceeding 1000 pages within nine years can be described as
an achievement. It may be expected that work has meanwhile
been carried on to eliminate out-of-date information, to
collect together scattered pieces of information, and to cut
down verbosity. Unfortunately, these expectations have not
been entirely fulfilled.
A cursory glance through the volume gives an excellent
impression. There is hardly a subject that is not discussed
(admittedly some entries, such as Carbene, Cobalamine, and
Tacticity, are absent the printing is pleasant, the i:lustrations
are large and clear. Careful reading of the text, however,
reveal that the quality of the articles varies. Side by side with
good, modern, and clearly written contributions (e.g. on
crystal field theory and nuclear reactors), there are others
which provide out-of-date information, engage in long,
pointless argument, or are poorly coordinated. For example,
information about nucleic acids is contained in three different
places. Four authors are named, and there is no indication
that they had previously agreed o n who is to say or write
On the library shelf the book will often be useful and sometimes annoying. There is a long way to go before the editors
and the authors achieve a true encyclopedia.
H . Griinewald
[NB 645 IE]
Interpretation of Mass Spectra. By F. W . McLafferty. W. A.
Benjamin, Inc., New York-Amsterdam 1966. 1st ed.,
xvii, 229 pp., several figures, bound $ 9.00.
The ever-increasing importance of mass spectrometry in
science and industry has made it necessary to systematize the
interpretation of mass spectra, i.e. to classify them according
to significant aspects. While the hitherto published books
confine themselves t o the decomposition mechanisms of
classes of organic compounds, the author of this treatise
attempts to instruct the reader in the interpretation of mass
spectra by the use of spectra of unknown organic substances.
Problems of instrumentation are therefore merely touched
on in the introducfion.
The elucidation of reactions leading to molecular fragmentation and hence conclusions regarding the type and structure
of a compound form the predominant content of the interpretation of mass spectra. Certain fundamental rules are set
up for the treatment of decomposition mechanisms and the
reactions are classified in few general groups. Although
certain simplifications are necessary, this systematization
does represent a n aid for evaluating mass spectra.
The method with which the author introduces the student
and scientist to the problems of the interpretation of mass
spectra is interesting. Progress from initially simple decomposition mechanisms to ever more complicated ones enables
the student to test his understanding on unknown spectra
and to compare his solution with that given in the final
chapter. One advantage of this method is that it also provides
H . Krone
[NB 635 IE]
practice in interpretation.
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