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Book Review Deuterium Labeling in Organic Chemistry. By A. F. Thomas

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BOOK REVIEWS
Entropy. The Devil on the Pillion. A Popular Exposition. By
J . Zernike. Kluwer, Deventer L972, 1st Edit., 150 pp.,
numerous figures, bound hfl. 34.75.
The title of this book can lead to misunderstandings: apart
from the Maxwell and Arrhenius demons, which in the last
chapter are taken to absurdity, everything is very down-toearth and reasonable. It is doubtful whether the consistent
omission of differential derivatives and integrals will prove
popular, no matter how skilfully done, for a follower of
the creed that school mathematics are the work of the devil
will hardly have the ambition to achieve statistical understanding of thermodynamics.
The book offers some valuable advantages. In the first chapter
the author presents a very interesting history of the develop
ment of thermodynamics without succumbing to the obvious
temptation of using unclear expressions. Unfortunately, the
history of thermodynamics as a didactic method has been
rather overlooked, an unjustifiable trend as Zernike shows.
The avoidance of differential and integral calculus necessitates,
in the second chapter, derivation of the Clausius-Clapeyron
equation by a cycle. Nevertheless, the term “function of state”
is explained.
Chapters 3 and 4 are the best part of the book because
they contain at last statistical thermodynamics which any
chemist can understand. This fills a sorely-felt gap, for in
otherwise good thermodynamics textbooks a more than primitive statistical treatment of entropy is usually missing.
The last two chapters are merely an appendage. Auerbach‘s
“ectropism” and Arrhenius’ demon were wrong approaches
and present an unnecessary burden for the reader. Instead
the author could have made better use of his didactic skill
by presenting some modern developments in irreversible thermodynamics, as the works of Prigogine, Glansdorff, Monod,
and Eigen permit a less defeatist opposition to the philosophers’ criticism of the concept of a heat death of the Universe.
Arno Hopfner [NB 215 IE]
Identification and Analysis of Plastics. By J. Haslam, H . Willis,
and D. Squirrell. Butterworth, London 1972. 2nd ed., 748
pp., numerous figures, bound E 18.00.
Among the more recent guides to the analysis of plastics
this book deserves a special place, as it treats together both
qualitative and ‘quantitative procedures with chemical and
physical methods.
The first part deals with instrumental methods such as UV,
IR, NMR, and gas chromatography (including pyrolysis), the
methods being illustrated with some practical examples. Then
follows qualitative analysis, not only by simple chemical tests,
but also by appropriate physical techniques. Subsequent
chapters are devoted to vinyl polymers, polyesters, polyamides,
polyolefins, fluorinated plastics, rubber-like materials, thermosetting resins, and natural polymers like cellulose and some
other classes of plastics. The last part presents details of the
analysis of plasticizers, fillers, and solvents. Finally, the book
contains a collection of IR spectra of important plastics,
although their number and quality of reproduction cannot
be compared with the well-known tables by Hummef.
For expert analysts the book presents a plentiful source of
valuable information from the authors’ practical experience;
this will undoubtedly be its principal use. The beginner may
be overwhelmed by the abundance of material, especially as
680
the layout is not at all clear and the index covers only the
1 1 main chapters. The next edition really must be more clearly
subdivided, so that the reader can find what he needs more
rapidly and is not limited to the short index. About 350
bibliographic citations supplement the work, but these have
been chosen rather arbitrarily; they usually refer to the authors’
own work and are largely limited to publications in English.
Thus, the book is a valuable collection of information but
it does not always come up to its ambitious title. Any new
edition should introduce a more rigorous arrangement of
subject matter and a more careful selection of the many
methods and details.
Dietrich Braun [NB 217 IE]
Deuterium Labeling in Organic Chemistry. By A. F. Thomas.
Appleton-Century-Crofts Educational Div./Meredith Corp.,
New York 1972. 1st edit., xiii. 518 pp., numerous figures,
bound, DM 102.80.
Hydrogen atoms in the “stable” bonds of organic compounds
are frequently responsible for much more than we are normally
aware of or consider. It is therefore far from easy to prepare
a compound deuterated in a specific position. The author
is well aware of this and has written a truly useful book,
but deuterium labeling and its application range into so many
specialized fields that the subject is almost too taxing for
a single author. It is not surprising, therefore, that chapters
which do not deal with the preparative aspect are not entirely
satisfactory and that some of the propositions are not quite
correct. To mention but two examples: there is no negative
isotope effect (p. 38), and an starved yeast is quite different
from a denatured yeast (p. 424).
Eight chapters of the book deal with methods of deuteration.
The classification is based on the mechanisms and processes
which lead to the compounds. These chapters contain an
abundance of interesting chemistry. One chapter is devoted
to biochemical deuteration, but the many possibilities of steree
specific deuteration are insufficiently appreciated. Another
chapter finally deals with isotope effects and analytical procedures. A list 33 pages long of molecular formulas of deuterated
compounds, with a brief outline of the method of preparation,
is really useful. What makes this book, which contains almost
2000 references, particularly valuable and worthy of recommendation is that the author has the courage and the necessary
experience to make critical evaluations. He draws attention
to the advantages and weaknesses of individual methods, and
gives many practical guidelines.
Helmut Simon [NB 222 IE]
Grundlagen der Stereochemie (Elements of Stereochemistry). By E. L. Eliel. UTB, Verlag Birkhauser Basel-Stuttgart 1972. 108 pp., numerous figures, bound, D M 9.80.
A chemist who has left University ten years ago frequently
finds difficulty in reading recent articles on stereochemistry.
He encounters many concepts which were never raised during
his studies, and many of the notations have acquired different
meanings. This is due to the fact that during the last few
years stereochemistry has undergone drastic changes with
regard to problem formulation, applied experimental methods,
and conceptual definition and classification of stereochemical
phenomena.
Angew. Chem internat. Edit. f Vol. 13 (1974)
1 No. 10
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