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Book Review Electrode Kinetics for Chemists Chemical Engineers and Material Scientists. By E

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BOOKS
language is constantly balanced by scientific precision. resulting in a vividness and
clarity that is rarely found. By using a
wealth of appropriate analogies even the
most difficult process concepts are clearly
explained, and the direct and forceful presentation broadens and liberates the reader’s outlook. The result is a work into
which the author and the translator have
each put their whole soul.
As one expects, the book covers nearly
all the ground that is nowadays common
knowledge in the scientific world : the tedious “march across the plains” that began with Miescher and Altmann and continued through several decades; the tortuous pathways that were followed and eventually led, by an unexpected route, to the
summit; the conquest of the summit by
the four researchers whose discovery of
the “sacred structure” and its inherent dynamics released a veritable flood of creativity: the “dogmas” concerning the flow
of information between DNA, RNA, and
proteins, and the partial revision of these
that was so significant; the great efforts to
discover the key to life in the D N A code;
the role of the structures and long-range
order of D N A molecules in the developing
understanding of the static and dynamic
behavior of genes, and the effects of natural and artificial stimuli in the complex
information processing of DNA. RNA.
and proteins; the new insights into evolution and the emergence of contradictions
with genetics, a subject then experiencing
an unprecedented surge of interest; the
challenges and temptations of the technology of genetic engineering that began to
emerge within the wider field of biotechnology-a technology that could be seen
either as offering the realization of mankind’s ancient dream of achieving a godlike omnipotence, o r as perhaps the ultimate folly, already previously discovered
by Oppenheimer in the case of physics, of
“original sin”, here in its truest sense; ultrastable cybernetic systems and the
threatening disruption of their rhythms;
D N A in the conflict between selfinon-self
recognition and discrimination, between
new plagues on humanity and still unfulfilled needs, between the examples of the
past and visions of the future.
So much of this we already know-and
yet the “unwinding” and “decoding” D N A
that Frank-Kamenetskii describes here
contains much that is different. In what
formerly seemed to be mainly an irregular
mosaic of observations, previously unnoticed relationships are now becoming apparent. Whereas formerly the observer
was content to look at mountains of statistical and ephemeral data, now he delights
in the many new insights that are becoming
1304
#(-’#
clear for the first time in an exciting and
action-packed film. In order to come closer
to a scientific understanding of the processes of life, our approaches to the subject
should preferably take account of the
complexity involved. On the other hand,
science is the science of human beings. Its
endeavors in the many different skills are
dependent on people, and thus it is subject
to development and decay. Frank-Kamenetskii’s praiseworthy attempt at a novel
way of informing and inspiring the reader
is based on a recognition of this dependence. It is an endeavor in which one must
wish the author and publishers all success;
it is also to be hoped that all kinds of
readers and many areas of science will
benefit from authors (and translators!)
following this example.
“I am the original fragrance of the earth/
I am the life of all that lives11 am the original seed of all existences/All states of being are manifested by my energy/I am
unborn and my transcendental form never
deteriorates/Although I appear in so many
configurations/You know not my true
transcendental form”-~-Krishna’s description of himself from the Bhagavad-gita, as
applied by Ramaswamy H. Sarma to represent the informational component of
life, would perhaps form a suitable epilogue to this book by Maxim D. FrankKamenetskii on the molecule of life and
its “unraveling”, again reflecting the
preface’s theme of the wonder of life, the
“transfiguration of its molecule”.
Siegfir ied Hqffmunn
Institut fur Biochemie
der Universitiit Halle-Wittenberg (FRG)
Electrode Kinetics for Chemists,
Chemical Engineers, and Material
Scientists. By E. Gileadi. VCH
Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim/VCH
Publishers, New York, 1993. 597 pp.,
hardcover DM 189.00.--ISBN 3-52789561-211-56081-561-2
After a period of twenty years during
which there was a shortage of good textbooks on electrochemistry, now in rapid
succession several books have appeared
dealing with general and special aspects of
electrochemistry, and differing in their
level of treatment and intended readership. This book by Gileadi, his second on
this subject, is intended as an introduction
to electrochemical kinetics, and sets out to
familiarize students, and also scientists
from related disiplines, with the classical
methods of this field. Readers are assumed to have only a basic grounding in
thermodynamics and chemical kinetics.
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and the amount of mathematics is kept to
a minimum.
The book is in two parts. The first part
contains, according to the author, the
minimum basic knowledge that the reader
needs to understand electrode processes.
The second, more advanced, part treats
some special topics in greater depth.
Part 1 begins with two introductory chapters in which some basic concepts of electrochemical kinetics are explained from a
phenomenological standpoint: currentvoltage curves, material transport, and
the capacitance of the double layer. The
various potentials that can apply to a
phase are then defined: the electrochemical and chemical potentials, internal and
external potentials, and the conventional
hydrogen scale. Next there are chapters
on measurement principles and cell design, the relationship between chemical
and electrochemical kinetics, and some
simple measurement procedures. The core
of this first part consists of the chapters on
the kinetics of electrode processes, which
deal with all the usual topics, such as overvoltage, the Butler-Volmer equation, the
transfer coefficient, and simple and more
complex reactions, and discuss these in relation to hydrogen and oxygen evolution.
The author takes considerable time in discussing these aspects, describes practical
examples, raises various relevant questions and answers them, and presents all
this material clearly and skillfully. Nevertheless, one may not always agree with his
views-for example, the answer to the
question of whether the permeation factor
depends on the potential must be yes, at
least for simple electron transfer processes. Part 1 ends by discussing simple theories of the double layer and of electrocapillarity.
The more advanced part begins with a
chapter on intermediates formed in electrode reactions including, interestingly, a
discussion of underpotential deposition
and the adsorption of halides. The latter
topic is also included under the heading
“underpotential deposition”, although
to thus broaden the meaning of this clumsy expression could well lead to confusion
here. Next come two chapters on the electrosorption of neutral molecules; the
prominence given here to the now obsolete “Gileadi combined adsorption isotherm” can be excused as a touch of vanity on the part of the author. Most of the
space is then devoted to measurement
techniques: current and voltage transients,
cyclic voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, and microelectrodes. Here again it is pleasing to find that
the treatment of these topics is lucid and
practically-orientated. The only unsatisfac-
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An,qew. C‘hem. I n t . Ed. Engl. 1994, 33, N o . 12
BOOKS
tory chapter is that on impedance spectroscopy, which suffers from the author’s
self-imposed restriction to simple mathematics; the spectra given here cannot be
understood without the relevant derivations. The book ends by discussing some
examples of practical applications : batteries and fuel cells, corrosion, and electrodeposition. The review articles listed in
the bibliography are mostly from the period 1970 to 1983, with only a few exceptions. That is also an indication of the
state of knowledge covered by the book,
which is not inappropriate for an introductory work such as this.
The book has evidently been produced
in copy-ready form, and the author has
made good use of modern desk-top publishing methods. The only aspects that I
disliked were the inadequately small type
size in the index and inaccurate positioning of the subscripts in some of the diagrams.
As can be seen from the list of contents,
the subject matter is limited to classical
electrochemistry. and therefore to the information obtainable from currentvoltage curves. This restriction is appropriate for an introductory text, so the
author should not be blamed for having
omitted modern spectroscopic methods.
Nevertheless, I would have liked to see the
electrochemistry of semiconductors included. as it is undoubtedly within the
classical domain. To summarize, however,
this introduction to electrochemical kinetics i s lucid and well written from a teaching standpoint. and the few shortcomings
and omissions can willingly be forgiven.
Wolfgang Sclimickler
Abteilung Elektrochemie
der UniversitLt Ulm (FRG)
Dictionary of Trivial Names/Trivialnamen-Handbuch. Vols. 1-3. Edited
by Fachinformationszentrum Chemie
(FIZ Chemie), Berlin. VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim, 1993. XIV,
2464 pp., hardcover DM 2100.00.ISBN 3-527-29030-6
Having regard to the size of this reference work and what it claims to provide,
it i s at first glance very impressive and,
despite the small print, easy to use. It lists
21 812 compounds under eight data fields,
which comes to a total of 174496 data
field entries - a considerable amount of
information which should be of interest to
a large number of potential users. However. because of its price the number of
actual purchasers will probably be much
smaller than that. In any case, the high
price makes it necessary to d o a careful
cost-benefit analysis, and that is what
this review aims to provide.
The 14pages of preliminaries in Volume 1 contain information about the contents, an introduction, and a more detailed explanation of the individual data
fields and the indexes. This is followed by
1008 pages of text covering trivial names
from A to H. Volume 2 (1296 pp.) covers
trivial names from I to Z. Volume 3 contains an index of synonyms (60 pp.) and a
reference index (200 pp.). Altogether
21 812 compounds are listed, each page
presenting ten compounds in miniature
VDU-screen displays (5 cm x 9 cm). Each
of these has fields containing the English
and German trivial names, a sequential
data-bank number, the structural formula
with full stereochemistry, the molecular
formula, the CAS Registry number, stereochemical information, and bibliographic information (a literature reference selected for maximum information about
synthesis, structure, and activity). The
print size of the text within the fields is
uniform. about 1.5 mm, whereas the characters in the structural formulas are rarely
more than 1.0 mm. Volumes 1 and 2 are
each provided with a Fresnel lens that can
be used as a bookmark and magnifier.
The work lists about 28000 entries
(twice as many as in the German-language
first edition published in the form of index
cards), comprising trivial name of simple
organic compound. names of natural products of known constitution, common abbreviations and acronyms for important
compounds, and selected trade names of
dyes, pharmaceuticals. and other industrial chemical products, together with an
index of synonyms (in English), and a
German-English index of names.
This reference work is intended as a resource that one can turn to for help when,
for example, a compound is referred to in
the literature by a trivial name with which
one is unfamiliar, when one needs the correct structural formula of a compound for
a publication or lecture and the trivial
name is open to misunderstanding, or
when one wishes to use an on-line data
bank and needs search criteria such as synonyms or CAS Registry numbers. The Dictionary of Triviul Numes is intended for use
by everyone working in the areas of organic chemistry, biochemistry, or pharmaceutical chemistry, both in industry
and in academic research.
After a thorough examination of this
handbook (it would perhaps have been
better to use the word “Handbook” instead of “Dictionary” in the English title,
as on the back cover), a number of specific
points occur to me:
1) Since the field containing the structural formula i s of a constant size and
each formula is always adjusted to fill the
field so far as possible, the result i s that
small molecules are shown on a large scale
and large molecules on a reduced scale.
Consequently there is often a gross mismatch between the size of the characters
and the length of the bond lines (an extreme example is acetaldehyde, where the
CH, and CHO groups are linked by a
bond 7.5 cm long!).
2) The editors have not followed the usual practice of distinguishing stereochemical descriptors from atomic symbols by
means of italic type and/or brackets; also
they are sometimes too far distant from
the chiral center or too close to it, which
can cause confusion (example: abienol).
3) The bibliographic information (which
is not always in the form recommended in
the Chemicul Abstructs System Source I n &X) often seems very outdated (e.g.. hystazarin: 1955), and sometimes cites exotic
sources that are not easily accessible (e.g.,
hypotaurine: Atti Accud. Nuz.Liizcei CI.
Sci. Fis. Mat. Nut. Rend.). Occasionally
publications in less common languages
are cited (e.g., homostephanoline: Yukuguku Zusshi), or only a patent number is
given (e.g., hetacillin: US 4321 196). In
such cases it would have been very useful
to also include a reference to Chcwicul
Abstructs.
4) In a few cases the CAS Registry number is not given, even though it is already
known (e.g., inusoniolide: 129927-20-4).
5 ) In most cases the Cliernicul Ahstructs
Index name is also known, and could usefully have been included. Alongside the
trivial name one would then have a name
in accordance with nomenclature rules that
would give the structure unambiguously
and could be used for on-line searching.
6) Despite the size of the work there are,
of course, some gaps here and there. Random checks showed, for example, that
pseudilin and temaroten were both missing (the CAS Registry numbers of these
compounds prove that they have been
known for a long time). Surprisingly,
some common acronyms such as AIBN,
BBN, COT, and DABCO were also missing (showing that the claims made in the
introduction regarding “Acronyms of Important Compounds” need to be qualified
somewhat).
How serious these individual shortcomings are to be regarded is a question that
potential purchasers or users must decide
for themselves.
However, one must also ask at this
point whether or not some works of comparable usefulness already exist. In principle the answer has to be yes--for ex0570-OH33i94: 1212-1305 5 10.00 + .2S, 0
1305
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