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Book Review Electroanalysis of Biologically Important Compounds. (Series Analytical Chemistry). By J. P. Hart

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small amounts of metallic activators such as copper or silver,
it is possible to change their color. In Chapter 10 characteristic properties of ZnO are described. Here the author does
not limit the discussion to cathodoluminescence properties,
but also comments on applications of this material in other
fields including electrophotography, varistors, piezoelectricity and gas sensors.
In summary, the book is very useful both for the scientist
who wants to understand the physical principles of cathodoluminescence and for the engineer who has to select or manufacture the right material for specific applications. The
book collects together the research results of several decades,
and for further information a number of references are given
at the end of each chapter. Its only minor shortcoming is the
relatively large number of typographic errors.
Lothar Kador [NB 1154 IE]
Lehrstuhl fur Experimentalphysik IV
der Universitat Bayreuth (FRG)
Electroanalysis of Biologically Important Compounds. (Series: Analytical Chemistry). By J P. Hart. Ellis Horwood,
Chichester 1990.213 pp., hardcover $72.50.-ISBN 0-13252107-5
Electroanalysis has been found to be widely applicable to
many problems of clinical and biological significance. The
subject presented by J Hart is thus certainly timely. The
objective of this book is to demonstrate the suitability of
modern electroanalytical techniques for measuring biologically important compounds. The focus is on controlledpotential techniques, primarily classical voltammetry and
liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection
(LCEC). New trends such as biosensors, micro and modified
electrodes, are also covered but in a limited depth. Detailed
theory is not given and the approach is primarily experimental. In particular, the (clearly written) text offers various
strategies for the determination of certain groups of biological compounds. The book is full of practical examples, including numerous (very recent) references. The material is
divided into five chapters. The first is devoted to the basic
principles and instrumentation of finite-current controlledpotential techniques. Chapters 2 and 3 deal with the electroanalysis of purine and pyrimidine derivatives, amino acids
and proteins. Electrochemical methods for the determination of vitamins and coenzymes are discussed in Chapters 4
and 5. Overall, this book will be a very useful reference
source for those involved in bioelectroanalysis and LCEC.
The practical approach makes the book particularly appealing to industrial users.
Joseph Wang [NB 1169 IE]
Department of Chemistry
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM (USA)
Robert Robinson-Chemist Extraordinary. By 7:I. Williams.
Clarendon Press, Oxford 1990, viii, 201 pp., hardcover
f 25.00.--ISBN 0-19-858180-7
Some sixteen years have passed since the death of Robert
Robinson and this book is the first and, as yet, the only
biography of one of the greatest figures in the history of
organic chemistry. A master of natural product chemistry
and an outstanding contributor to our understanding of or
AngeM.. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 30 (1991) No. 8
0 VCH
ganic chemical reactions, he dominated chemistry in Britain
for half a century and at the same time played a vital part in
the development of its chemical industry. That the appearance of a biography should have been so long delayed may
seem extraordinary and yet it is understandable. Robinson
never kept any records, apart from reprints of his published
work and, although he repeatedly said that he would record
everything in a detailed “scientific autobiography”, he did
not in fact make any serious attempt to do so until about
1970, by which time he was almost completely blind and
unable to properly undertake such a demanding task. He
did, nevertheless, set about it with astonishing vigor and,
with the help of a few devoted young assistants, collected a
vast amount of material so that, by the time of his death in
1975, he had put together a draft manuscript recording his
work and career up to 1930, when he went to Oxford as
Waynflete Professor. This manuscript was published posthumously by Elsevier in 1976 as Volume I of the planned
autobiography Memoirs of a Minor Prophet. This volume
showed all too clearly the effects of Robinson’s age and disabilities: liberally sprinkled with typographical errors which
should have been eliminated at the proof stage, it contains
recollections of individuals cheek by jowl with large and
highly technical discussions of chemical problems, the whole
book giving the clear impression of an ill-constructed draft
which, had he been alive, would have been completely rewritten by its author before publication. In addition to the material which was published, he left a mass of manuscripts designed to be incorporated in a second volume but these were
so incomplete and so preliminary in character that they
could not be published and so no Volume 2 ever appeared.
As a result, apart from obituary notices and the long tribute by Lord Todd and J. W. Cornforth in Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society (1976, pp. 415-527), the
entry in the Dictionary of National Biography 1971 -80, and
the Proceedings of a special meeting of the Historical Group
of the Royal Society of Chemistry (1987), there has been no
overall portrayal of Robinson’s genius and personality until
the publication in 1990 of Robert Robinson-Chemist Extraordinary by Trevor I. Williams.
Overall, the volume gives a valuable and very fair account
of Robert Robinson-a complex character if ever there was
one! Dr. Williams has clearly put a great deal of work into
collecting and sifting material from both professional and
family sources and has produced an informative and wellbalanced account of the life and work of an extraordinarily
complex yet extremely human scientist. This he has done
without getting lost in technicalities in those sections dealing
with scientific work; in particular, he has included a chapter
on the famous Robinson-Ingold quarrel which, I feel, will
give the nonspecialist reader a clearer picture of that affair
than he is likely to find elsewhere.
It is perhaps only natural that, as one who was closely
associated with Robert Robinson from the autumn of 1931,
when I joined his research group in Oxford, until his death
in 1975, I should feel that, admirably comprehensive though
it is, this book does not convey fully the warmth of Robinson
the man, and his great love of children with whom he was
always immensely popular. I shall always remember one occasion when, in the Swiss Alps, he and my younger daughter
(she aged about 10 and he about 70) scrambled joyfully
together on a rocky mountain top in such a way that one
might have wondered whether they were not both about the
same age.
Robert was completely shattered by the sudden death of
his wife Gertrude in 1954 after 42 years of happy married life.
His loneliness was, however, relieved by his second marriage
Verlugsgesellschufl m b H , W-6940 Weinheim, 1991
0570-0833/91/0808-10498 3.50+.25/0
1049
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