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Book Review Chronologie Chemie 1800Ц1970 (Chronology of Chemistry 1800Ц1970). By S. Neufeldt

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BOOK REVIEWS
ChJonologie Chemie 1800-1970 (Chronology of Chemistry
1800-1970). By S. Neufeldt. Verlag Chemie GmbH, Weinheim-New York 1977. 1st edit., vii, 359 pp., 19 figs., 4
tables, linen, D M 78.-.
Neufeldt’s “Chronology of Chemistry 1800-1 9 7 0 will be
welcomed both by chemists and by historians of science. It
is a wide-ranging reference work standing half-way between
a presentation of the history of chemistry and a chronological
tabulation of findings and discoveries. It should be found in
every school library, in every library of a chemical college or
research institute, and on the desks of science historians,
teachers and lecturers of chemistry.
Dates provide the main arrangement of the most important
discoveries, theories, syntheses, processes, and apparatus (as
well as occasionally the more important institutions), and
they also serve for crossreferences. In each section arranged
under a year the names of the innovators as subtitle are picked
out in bold print, while the innovation itself is presented
in three to eighteen lines of text and is emphasized
within the text by an italicized keyword. The events described are “characterized by their content and nature, and
are provided with references to previous knowledge as well
as their importance; laws and rules are formulated, formulas
and equations are written out wherever possible, and synthesis
routes are indicated (page V). There follow brief bibliographic
references to the original publications, to previous work mentioned in the text, and to directly dependent subsequent innovations and further advances; but unfortunately only a few
references to historical papers or books occur. Eighteen
“highlights” have been extracted from the chronological arrangement, and for those Appendix I gives a detailed description with an illustration. “Important steps in the development of chemical nomenclature” are described in Appendix
IV (why is Cannizzaro’s name missing from the item “1860
Karlsruhe Chemical Congress”?), which is divided into
inorganic and organic chemistry; this gave the opportunity
to mention Lauoisier’s contributions under the dates 1787
and 1789, whereas the date 1800 seems to have been a rather
arbitrary choice for the starting point of chemistry proper.
Other Appendices contain the names of Nobel prizewinners
for physics, chemistry, and physiology or medicine (each up
to 1975)and the achievements for which the prize was awarded;
the names of the scientists who bore or bear the order “Pour
le mCrite” for science and technology; chemical societies; a
“Chronological list of a selection of the oldest scientific journals
(up to 1900)”, as well as a “Selection of (s.c. monographic)
literature on the history of chemistry” (up to 1974).
No lexicological method is perfect, since it can never be
applied to the whole material. It is somewhat confusing that
the names of several persons are often given together as keywords under one date, persons who either made different contributions (e.g. 1800: Ritter, Cruickshank; electrolytic decomposition of water and cathodic separation of metals) or made
advances that supplemented each other ( e . g . 1934: Butenandt,
Marker [1940],Pincus[1956];isolationofcrystallineprogesterone, conversion of sapogenins into progesterone, and investigations on oral contraceptives, respectively). There are also
other difficulties with the system, as in the organization of
important institutions. For example, e.g. “191 1 : A . u. Harnack
[the first President] and 0. Hahn [the first postwar President
after renaming]” as the keyword for the organization of the
Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft (Max-Planck-Gesellschaft).
The dating usually follows the date of appearance of the
first publication, but here too there have been decisions that
Angew. Chrm. I n t . Ed. Engl. 16 (1977) N o . 10
could lead to different dates and thus to confusion. X-Rays
were discovered in December 1895; Riintgen submitted his
work (“Vorlaufige Mitteilung”) on December 28th, and it
was accepted by the Sitzungsberichte der Physicalisch-Medizinischen Gesellschaft in Wiirzburg of the year 1895, but the
journal didn’t appear before January 1896 (recorded in Neufeldt’s book under 1895); on November 19th, 1807 Dauy
reported the discovery of sodium and potassium before the
Royal Society; the lecture was published as the first contribution in the Philosophical Transactions of 1808 (put by Neufeldt under 1808). In December 1938 0. Hahn and F. Strassmann discovered nuclear fission of uranium (why was Strassrnann’s name not mentioned, especially since it was in fact he
who provided the analytical proof?), but the paper appeared
only on 6th January 1939 (listed by Neufeldt under 1939).
Since I. Noddack’s paper of 1934 is listed in this section and
recorded as the first reference to nuclear fission, the editorial
comment in Naturwissenschaften 27 (No. 13) 1939 concerning
her pretension printed there should have been noted together
with this pretension itself.
The notions above are, however, minor criticisms that d o
not detract from the excellent total impression of this work,
the contents of which are made accessible by author and
subject indexes.
Fritz &aft
[NB 382 IE]
Atmospheric Chemistry. By J . Heicklen. Academic Press, London-New York 1976. 1st edit., xiv, 406 pp., numerous
figures and tables, bound E 27.00.
This book aims at giving a comprehensive account of the
chemical processes taking place in the upper and lower atmosphere.
The structure of the atmosphere, its chemical composition
in individual altitude zones, and the primary photochemical
processes are first treated in the introductory chapter. The
next two chapters deal with the chemical reactions in the
upper atmosphere, i. e. the stratosphere, the mesosphere, and
the ionosphere. Here the treatment follows essentially the
view of the Brussels aeronomist M . Nicolet, with whom the
author collaborated for many years. The theory is strongly
emphasized, but unfortunately much less emphasis is given to
the results of measurements, so that the impression is one of
an uncritical treatment of the material.
The remaining two-thirds of the book deal with the problems
of atmospheric pollution. After a chapter on the sources and
the effects of atmospheric pollutants there is a section on
the chemical processes taking place in the oxidation of hydrocarbons. Three chapters follow on the chemistry of chemical
smog, on the reactions of ozone and singlet oxygen, and
on the homogeneous oxidation of sulfur dioxide. Two concluding chapters treat very briefly the possible processes of aerosol
formation and measures for limiting the emission of pollutants.
In the general representation of this material Heicklen writes
overwhelmingly from the standpoint of reaction kinetics. This
has the advantage that the reaction mechanisms are described
in detail, but on the other hand a number of other important
aspects are dealt with too briefly. The biochemical sources
of trace atmospheric gases, the transport of trace constituents
in the troposphere, and the chemical composition and distribution of atmospheric aerosols to mention only a few topics,
are not treated. Furthermore, the author cannot be absolved
from the charge of using some obsolete material. On the
subject of the distribution of CO with geographic latitude
more extensive and more reliable data are now available;
733
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