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Book Review Edward Frankland Chemistry Controversy and Conspiracy in Victorian England. By C. A

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tunate that, because of these activities, he
was denied research grants and his
passport, was persecuted by the FBI and
other governmental agencies, and was defended and supported only halfheartedly
by the California Institute of Technology,
to which he devoted almost four decades
of his life, and snubbed by the American
Chemical Society, which he had served as
President in 1949. His battles with political enemies, although eventually resulting
in his ultimate vindication, consumed
much of his time and energy. As his wife
expressed it, “It is just a shame for Linus
to be wasting his talents in this way”
(p. 520).
It is interesting to speculate as to what
further discoveries Pauling might have
made had he not been deflected from his
goals by short-sighted, self-serving, mercenary, or jealous opponents. However,
he never became embittered. In one of his
last interviews (April 1,1994), in response
to our question as to how he was able to
retain his positive outlook on life, he told
us, “I suppose it’s partially genetic . . . actually the result of my having been pretty
successful in my own career, and, of
course, my feeling that we ought to be
smart enough, we human beings, to solve
our problems, whatever they are.”
As Pauling states in his autobiographical introduction (completed only a few
months before his death) to Linus Pauling
in His Own Words, “Up to now . . . there
have been no general anthologies of my
written words to provide lay readers with
an overview of the many different interests that I have pursued during my lifetime.” Fortunately, Barbara Marinacci, a
consultant with the Pauling Institute who
knew Pauling personally for many years,
the sister of his son-in-law, and editor of
his book N o More War!, has produced a
representative anthology of excerpts,
about one-fifth published here for the first
time, ranging from a sentence to several
pages in length, from more than one hundred sources, including publications and
a number of unpublished manuscripts,
notes, and interviews.
Because her book is intended for a general rather than a scholarly readership,
Marinacci has made minor editorial
changes to reduce redundancies, added
transitional words or sentences, and
blended individual fragments. Although
sources for specific fragments are not always identified, they are listed in chronological order for each of the 12 chapters in
a separate section titled “Notes on
Sources.” Marinacci has provided an insightful preface and a useful four-page
chronology summarizing Pauling’s life
and career, and she has inserted explanaAngew. Chem. Int. Ed Engl. 1997.36, No. 15
tory material (from a sentence to a page
and in boldface type) between quotations
to set the context.
The book is divided into three sections
of three chapters each: I. The Path of
Learning 1901-1922; 11. The Structure of
Matter 1922-1954; 111. The Nuclear Age
1945- 1994; and IV. Nutritional Medicine
1954-1994. This vivid self-portrait of an
extraordinary scientist and humanist who
possessed one of the greatest minds of our
time makes a perfect complement to the
Goertzels’ and Hager’s biographies discussed above. And until the long-awaited
multivolume work-in-progress by chemist
and science historian Robert J. Paradowski of the Rochester Institute of Technology, Pauling’s official biographer and
author of the 1972 doctoral dissertation,
The Structural Chemistry of Linus Pauling, appears, Hager’s book may be regarded as definitive.
George B. Kauffman
and Laurie M . Kauffman
California State University
Fresno, CA (USA)
Edward Frankland: Chemistry, Controversy and Conspiracy in Victorian
England. By C . A . Russell. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
1996. xx +535 pp., hardcover
$ 110.00, .€ 65.00.-ISBN
Colin A. Russell, Professor Emeritus of
History of Science and Technology at the
Open University, spent the first half of his
career as a practicing chemist. He first encountered Edward Frankland, the most
eminent chemist in Victorian Britain,
more than three and
a half decades ago
while working on
his doctoral thesis
(London University, 1962) on the rise
and development of
valency-one of the
most fundamental
concepts of modern
chemistry and one
inextricably linked
with Frankland’s name. This thesis
formed the basis for the first in-depth
study of the subject, The History of Valency (Leicester University Press, 1971).
Russell learned that Frankland, who is
relatively unknown today, had been born
a few miles from where he and his wife and
frequent collaborator, Shirley Russell,
were living. In the belief that Frankland’s
childhood and youth were his most for-
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Weinheim, 1997
mative years, he delved into local history,
leading to the publication of Lancastrian
Chemist: the early years of Sir Edward
Frankland (Open University Press, 1986).
In a sense the volume under review
here, the first scientific biography of
Frankland, is a sequel to Lancastrian
Chemist, but it is also complete in itself.
Although Frankland himself wrote his
own recollections, Sketches,from the life of
Sir Edward Frankland (privately printed,
1901; 2nd [expurgated] edition, 1902), it
was incomplete and had the usual limitations inherent in any autobiography, and
almost all copies of the first edition were
withdrawn within months of its release.
Thus the raw data for an extended biography were unavailable until Colin and
Shirley Russell discovered a vast collection of Frankland papers in private
hands. The Russells located and microfilmed other privately owned documents,
traveling across the world in some cases.
An account of their preliminary work on
these and other documents that have recently come to light appeared in Brit. J.
Hist. Sci. 1990, 23, 175. Not until Russell
had digested this hitherto unpublished
mass of material as well as primary and
secondary sources from university, institutional, industrial, and governmental
archives in Britain, Germany, New
Zealand, and the United States, did he begin to write his latest book, which is a
major new assessment not only of the life
and work of “this self-made man from
Lancaster alone”, but also of the scientific
and cultural environment in which he
Edward Frankland was born on January 18, 1825 in Churchtown, Lancashire,
the illegitimate son of Margaret Frankland, who had been a servant in the home
of Edward Gorst, a prominent lawyer.
Frankland’s father was the latter’s son,
Edward Gorst, Jr., later also a distinguished lawyer. According to Russell, his
illegitimacy, a secret that had to be suppressed, left him with a keen sense of social insecurity that contributed to his driving ambition to advance himself socially
and monetarily, to be accepted by the
chemical community, and to prove to
himself that he had overcome his inherited
disabilities, a dominant motivation
throughout his life.
After attendance at eight schools and
an apprenticeship in a druggist’s shop in
Lancaster, none of which provided him
with the scientific education that he desired, at age 20 Frankland traveled to
London to study systematic chemical
analysis in Lyon Playfair’s laboratory (a
journey described with incredible attention to local color and detail in Russell’s
$17.50+ SCfiO
first chapter). The next year he followed
Playfair as his Lecture Assistant to Putney
College, where he met Hermann Kolbe,
his first chemical collaborator and
lifelong friend. With Kolbe he spent three
months in 1847 in Robert Bunsen’s laboratory in Marburg, where he met Sophie
Fick from a German academic family,
who became his wife in 1851 and by whom
he had two daughters and two sons.
A warm admiration for the German ideal
of enlightened scholarship and the meritocracy of the intellect remained with
Frankland all his life; he valued “the German division of Society into classes, which
is here [Marburg] effected according to
mind and not money.”
After teaching at Queenwood College,
a progressive private school, Frankland
returned to Bunsen’s laboratory in Marburg, where in 1849 he became the first
Englishman to receive his Ph.D. In 1850
he succeeded Playfair as Professor at Putney College and became the first Professor
of Chemistry at Owens College,
Manchester (1851-1857), the forerunner
of Manchester University. He became
Lecturer in Chemistry at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital (1857), simultaneously a
Lecturer at the Royal Indian Military College at Addiscombe (1859-1861), Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution
(1863- 1865), and finally August Wilhelm
von Hofmann’s successor at the Royal
College of Chemistry, a position which also made him official analyst for the London water supply (1865-1885). (Russell
provides syllabuses of Frankland‘s courses, excerpts from his lectures, and detailed
tables of his lectureships, appointments,
and water analyses). Frankland’s wife
died in January 1874, and in May 1875, at
the age of 50, he married 26-year-old Ellen
Grenside, by whom he had two daughters.
He was knighted in 1897 and died in
Golaa, Norway on August 9, 1899.
Russell has chosen his subtitle “Chemistry, Controversy, and Conspiracy” advisedly. In chemistry, Frankland’s discovery of zinc alkyls made him the true
founder of organometallic chemistry, a
field that he himself named and pioneered. These compounds not only were
useful as reagents in synthetic organic
chemistry, in which he was an acknowledged leader, but they also played a significant role in the creation of Cannizzaro’s
modern atomic weight system, and most
importantly led Frankland to unite the
radical and type theories into his crowning achievement in fundamental chemical
theory-the idea that elements have a definite combining power, i.e., the concept of
valency (1852). In 1866 he introduced the
word “bond”, a term universally used by
today’s chemists without realizing its originator. In his 1866 book, Lecture Notesfor
Chemical Students, he popularized the
term along with his new structural formulas, which, along with his work as syllabus
setter and trainer of teachers, made him
one of the nineteenth century’s great contributors to structural chemistry, chemical
communication, and popular scientific
education. In applied chemistry, Frankland established himself as one of
Britain’s leading academic consultants to
industry and expert legal witnesses.
As “the greatest living authority on water supply”, Frankland introduced into
water analysis the entirely new concept of
previous sewage Contamination, which
proved to be intensely controversial at a
time when the ultimate cause of waterborne diseases was still speculative. For a
number of reasons, the most important of
which was probably the opposition of his
chief rival August Kekule, Frankland’s
claim to priority in the valency concept
was mired in controversy, and more than
two decades elapsed before his claim was
publicly recognized. His involvement in
“trade”, i.e., his extensive consultancies
and commercial activities, caused conflict
with his fellow members of the shadowy,
highly influential, all-male organization
known as the X-Club, which included
such luminaries as Crookes, Darwin,
Huxley, and Tyndall. The agnosticism
and anti-clericalism that had replaced his
earlier religious beliefs and his participation in the X-Club, which was opposed to
organized religion, served to estrange him
further from his conventionally religious
family, which was already opposed to his
second marriage and his increasingly frequent absences. (Russell devotes considerable space to his troubled family relationships, making use of the papers, letters,
and in the case of his older daughter Margaret the diary, of the children of his first
Frankland played a prominent role in
the professionalization of chemistry in
England, serving as president of the
Chemical Society (1871 -1873) and the
newly founded Institute of Chemistry
(1877-1880). Yet his “tendency to ride
roughshod over proper democratic processes, to take short cuts, to form small
groups of activists, and to manipulate individuals behind the scenes” and the
Royal Society’s horror of “trade” resulted
in a conspiracy to deny the power-hungry
Frankland its presidency. Also, following
his death the Chemical Society and the
Royal Society failed to publish a memoria1 lecture or death notice, respectively, either because the task was too difficult (to
hide his illegitimacy Frankland had
0 VCH Verlagsgesellschaft mbH.0-69451 Wernheim, 1997
cloaked his private life in secrecy) or because his enemies wanted to deny him
even posthumous honor.
Russell’s thoroughly researched and
meticulously documented book contains
52 illustrations and Frankland’s original
formulas along with their modern equivalents, and it is methodically organized into
numbered sections and subsections. He is
completely objective and devoid of hero
worship and states: “A biographer does
no one a service by implying that his subject has no faults.” Although he does not
hesitate to speculate about Frankland’s
motivations, he clearly distinguishes them
from factual statements. His book considers in engrossing and fascinating detail every aspect of Frankland’s life and career
and is likely to prove to be a definitive
biography. We heartily recommend it to
both historians of science and chemists interested in the development of their science.
George B. Kauffman,
Laurie M . Kauffman
California State University
Fresno, CA (USA)
Laser Techniques in Chemistry.
(Series: Techniques of Chemistry.
Vol. 23). Edited by A . B. Meyer and
T R . Rizzo. Wiley, New York, 1995.
448 pp., hardcover $145.00.-ISBN
This addition to the series Techniques of
Chemistry, originally started by A. Weinberger, is welcome and timely in view of
the continuing growth in the applications
of laser spectroscopy to chemical problems, especially since no comparable survey of the field has appeared in recent
years. The book contains ten articles by
recognized experts, covering a selection of
the most important methods. Regrettably, femtosecond spectroscopy is not included in these, but otherwise the choice
of topics is excellent.
P. M. Felker contributes an article on
“Fourier-Transform Nonlinear Spectroscopies”. The techniques covered include
stimulated emission Raman spectroscopy
(SERS) with ionization detection, coherent Raman spectroscopy, and stimulated
emission with fluorescence detection. The
descriptions of the methods are illustrated
by examples of applications to molecules
and small molecular aggregates.
The article by R. E. Miller on “NearInfrared Laser-Optothermal Techniques”
gives technical details of the method and
includes a good survey of the various
types of detectors, with special emphasis
on bolometer detectors. Examples of ap-
0570-083319713615-1658$ 1 7 50t .SO10
Angew. Chem. Inr. Ed Engl. 1997, 36, No. I5
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