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Book Review Gas ChromatographyЧA Practical Course. By G. Schomburg

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(in 1957) to Stearn Hillstrom, an American lady whom he
first met during a visit to America on behalf of Shell. In his
book Dr. Williams gives a very good account of Robinson’s
first meeting with Stearn and of the, sometimes stormy,
course of the marriage-indeed, as far as I know, it is the
only account of that final phase of Robinson’s life in existence; Stearn had no scientific knowledge or interest but she
cared deeply for Robert and greatly eased his latter days. Dr.
Williams records also Robinson’s contacts with Robert
Maxwell but, perhaps unavoidably, he does not seem to me
to put quite enough weight on the connection and the friendship between them which had a great influence on Robinson
in the post-war period.
To summarize: this is a comprehensive, well-written biography of a great scientist, and it will be a standard work of
reference for any student of the rise of organic chemistry in
the twentieth century and the imprint of Robert Robinson
upon it.
Lord Todd [NB 1156IE]
Christ’s College
Cambridge (United Kingdom)
Gas Chromatography-A Practical Course. By G. Schomburg. VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim/VCH Publishers, New York 1990. xiv, 320pp., paperback
DM 76.00.-ISBN 3-527-27879-6/0-89573-889-9
Despite the spectacular advances in liquid chromatography during the last two decades, gas chromatography has
retained its place as an important analytical technique for
relatively volatile organic compounds. The modern gas chromatograph is often microprocessor-controlled and presents
an impressive exterior festooned with dials, buttons and input keys, suggesting that the foremost requirement for operation is a high degree of virtuosity on the computer keyboard. It nevertheless remains true that successful gas
chromatography depends on an appreciation of the theoretical factors controlling resolution, detection and quantitation, and the practical skill to translate these factors into
optimum performance.
Designed as a practical guide, this book gives a detailed
overview of the equipment, terminology and mathematical
parameters in current use in GC, whilst avoiding unnecessarily elaborate theoretical treatments of the derivation of equations and terms. After presenting the conceptual framework,
the author provides a series of chapters covering the techniques of packed and capillary column GC with flame ionization, thermal conductivity and electron capture detection,
and the interfacing of GC to mass spectrometry, FT-IR and
HPLC. There is a strong emphasis on practical aspects such
as column evaluation, use of reference samples and standards for quantitation and for establishing retention
parameters such as Kovats indices, and the selection and
optimization of conditions for isothermal and temperature
programmed separations of complex mixtures. The design
and construction of key components of the equipment, such
as split and splitless injectors for capillary columns, is examined at some length so that the influence of these factors on
performance can be fully appreciated and practical errors
resulting from their misuse avoided. Many of the recent developments and special methods in GC are covered, providing practical guidance on dealing with samples of low volatility and high polarity, trace analysis, coupling of capillary
columns to one another and to chemical reactors for on-line
reduction, pyrolysis and post-column reaction. There is an
extensive series of examples of GC separations, demonstrating each of the major themes discussed in the text. The many
examples of applications to real problems cover a wide range
of compound classes, isothermal and temperature programmed separations of complex mixtures using different
phases and detectors, multidimensional techniques and
enantiomeric resolutions on chiral columns.
It is surprising that, in a book intended as a guide for the
laboratory worker, there is an absence of some useful practical information, such as tables giving recommendations for
the selection of appropriate stationary phases for different
classes of compounds, and experimental details of standard
derivatization procedures such as methylation, silylation and
perfluoroacylation. In spite of this deficiency and some
weaknesses in the English, punctuation and indexing, this
text is highly recommended as a useful guide for those about
to embark on the practice of gas chromatography.
Stephen A . Mutlin [NB 1152 IE]
Chemistry Department
Warwick University
Coventry (United Kingdom)
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Angew. Chem. in!. Ed. Engl. 30 (1991) No. 8
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