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Book Review German-Jewish Pioneers in Science 1900Ц1933. By D. Nachmansohn

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The following critical observations may be made: In view
of the confused mass of abbreviations already used in the
technical literature, the introduction of new abbreviations
(e.g. QSWB = Quantitative Struktur- Wirkung-Beziehung,
for QSAR = Quantitative Structure Activity Relationship) is
regrettable. The balance between the chapters does not always appear appropriate and the relevance of the described
procedures for the drug chemist engaged in syntheses does
not always appear to be correctly evaluated. This may be due
to the fact that the book also gives an account of the relevant
investigations of the Institut fur Experimentelle Biologie und
Medizin at Borstel, where both authors are working.
In order to promote the practical use of this book and its
employment as a valuable reference work, the subject index,
at the moment comprising only seven pages, should be made
uniform (e.g. not all abbreviations are included) and substantially expanded (e.g. the classes of substance investigated
are of interest to the chemist; so far only benzylpyridinium
ions, carboxylic acid hydrazides, phenylguanines, sulfonamides, and sulfonylureas are mentioned).
The book can be recommended as required reading and/
or an interesting work to all those active in the complex interdisciplinary field of research on active principles-whether drugs or plant-protection agents.
Eike Moller [NB 511 IE]
Radiotracers in Agricultural Chemistry. By M . F. L’Annunziata. Academic Press, New York 1979. 536 pages, bound,
$ 62.00.
The special value of this book lies in its capacity as a textbook and practical manual giving both students and practical workers primarily an introduction to a broad working domain ranging from nuclear radiation and isotope decay to
scintillator techniques. N o more than a good third of the
contents relates to problems of agricultural chemistry and to
their solution by the application of radioactive-isotope techniques; two-thirds of the processes and data given could also
be in a laboratory manual for radioactive procedures. To this
extent, the title is unfortunately somewhat misleading.
The up-to-date nature of the literature references attached
to each section must be emphasized. If, therefore, in spite of
the comprehensive account given, the reader feels the need
for further information, the way toward more intensive study
is clearly indicated.
In the section on special problems and techniques of agricultural chemistry the emphasis is on the isolation and localization of a radioactively labeled element or its compounds.
The main part-studies on soils, plants, and animals-is of
somewhat smaller extent but is supplemented by about 250
literature references largely of fairly recent date. In spite of
its restricted compass, the third part, which deals with autoradiography, is packed with information and contains a
teaching experiment to be followed by the reader.
The Appendix (about 20% of the book) contains, inter alia,
decay data for the most common radionuclides and references to statistical criteria of the measurement processes and
to dangers, procedures for characterizing labeled substances,
permissible limiting concentrations of radionuclides, and
regulations for the latter’s discharge into water or soil.
The author’s aim, to write a classroom laboratory manual
on radiotracer techniques in agricultural chemistry, has undoubtedly been achieved, but cannot be deduced from the title of the book. For the experienced practical laboratory
worker many common techniques, such as Soxhlet extraction, are perhaps explained in too much detail. Surprisingly
enough, the standard German-language work (Linser and
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. I9 (1980) No. 7
Kaindl: Isotope in der Landwirtschaft) does not appear to the
author to be worth mentioning.
Albert Wiinsch [NB 512 IE]
German-.Jewish Pioneers in Science 1900-1933. By D.
Nachmansohn. Springer-Verlag, Berlin 1979. xx, 388
pages, bound, D M 60.00.
When in 1933 more than a thousand scientists of Jewish
origin had to escape from Germany, the country lost within a
few years the leading position that it had formerly been able
to claim in many disciplines. This applies particularly to
atomic physics, chemistry, and biochemistry, the three fields
to which David Nachmansohn confines himself when he investigates the contribution of German Jews to modern natural science on the basis of the biographies of some important
German-Jewish scientists.
An introductory chapter is devoted to the emancipation of
the German Jews in the 19th century. Physics is dealt with
next. Here among the Jews who had been in important positions prior to 1933, apart from Einstein who is deliberately
excluded, one may mention in particular Max Born, James
Franck and Gustav Hertz, other examples are Otto Stern, Lise
Meitner, and Wolfgang Pauli, who are considered only briefly. This chapter includes little that cannot be found in the exhaustive accounts by Armin Hermann (Die Jahrhundertwissenschaft (1977); Die neue Physik (1979)); its real importance
is that it shows how unimportant for the German scientists of
the ‘twenties’ was the question of racial origin. It was-and
this is Nachmansohn’s thesis-the cooperation between the
Jewish and the non-Jewish scientists, almost unmarred by
anti-Semitic resentment, that led to the brilliant triumphs of
physics during that period.
As a biochemist, the author (who was forced to emigrate to
the United States via France in 1933) is particularly well acquainted with the history of his own field. Chemistry and
biochemistry in the early 20th century are treated exhaustively, the book being devoted mainly to the work of the
Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin-Dahlem. This chapter,
which with 176 pages makes up almost half the book, will
prove of the greatest value for the chemist interested in the
more recent history of his subject, on the one hand because
of the profound knowledge of the field by the author who
was a n associate of Otto Meyerhof in Berlin until 1933, and
on the other hand because of his many personal reminiscences of the scientists about whom he writes.
At the center of his considerations are the biographies of
Haber, Willstatter, Warburg, Meyerhof; Neuberg, and Embden. Another, shorter chapter is devoted to representatives of
the younger generation, born around 1900, who were generally only at the beginning of their careers when they were
forced to emigrate: Krebs, Ochoa, Schoenheimer, and Chain.
Nachmansohn has particularly studied the question of the attitude of German scientists of Jewish origin towards Judaism, and demonstrates clearly that in most cases their origin had played a minor role: they thought and felt as Germans and had substantially departed from the religious tradition of Judaism; they had ofren become Christians. Only
the anti-Semitism of the ‘twenties’ and the nazi persecution
made many of them turn back to Zionism, but even then
Germany remained their home from which they could part
only with difficulty.
What is particularly remarkable is the author’s championship of the German scientists who did not emigrate in 1933.
Just as he understands Fritz Haber’s participation in the production of poison gas in the first World War, he also defends
573
Werner Heisenberg against the reproach that he should have
emigrated or have resisted instead of remaining in Germany
and cooperating in the construction of an atomic reactor.
The art of not judging human and political behavior from
the point of view of the present but of understanding it in the
context of its own time, which Nachmansohn always attempts, is an outstanding example of objective historical
scholarship.
The book is directed at a wide readership, and the scientific background necessary for understanding it is explained
with much didactic skill. It would be highly desirable for a
German translation to appear in the near future. Many inadvertent errors could thus easily be eliminated. Most regrettably, there is no name index and only a few names appear in
the subject index. More factual errors are contained particularly in the chapter on atomic physics: Rafhenau was murdered not in July 1922 but on 24th June 1922 (p. 19). The
planetary model of the atom was not a contradiction of classical Newtonian mechanics, but of Maxwell’s electrodynamics (p. 35). Johann Jakob Balmer was not Swedish but Swiss
(p. 36). Otto Stern’s birthplace is called Sorau (not Sohrau)
and is not in Upper Silesia but in Niederlausitz (p. 39). Sommerfel8s first name was not Arthur but Arnold (p. 43). Einstein did not die in 1956 but in 1955 (p. 78). Strassmann did
not receive the Nobel prize (p. 136).
Andreas Kleinert [NB 513 IE]
The Protection of Personal and Commercial Reputation.
Reihe IIC Studies, Band 3. Edited by R. M. Kunstadt. Verlag Chemie, Weinheim 1980. vii, 98 pp., sewed, DM
58.00.-ISBN 3-527-25697-0
The Molecular Basis of Microbial Pathogenicity. Dahlem
Konferenzen. Life Sciences Research Report 16. Edited by
H. Smith, J. J. Skehel, and M. J. Turner. Verlag Chemie,
Weinheim 1980. 357 pp., sewed, DM 44.00.-ISBN 3-52712018-1
Diuretika. Edited by J. Rosenthal and H. Knauf: edition medizin, im Verlag Chemie, Weinheim 1980. x, 342 pp.,
sewed, DM 45.00.-ISBN 3-527-15021-8
H. Staudinger, H. Mark, and K. H. Meyer-Thesen zur
GroAe und Struktur der Makromolekiile. By C. Priesner,
Verlag Chemie, Weinheim 1980. x, 386 pp., bound, DM
98.00.--ISBN
3-527-25838-8
Advances in X-Ray Analysis. Vol. 23. Edited by J. R. Rhodes,
C. S. Barret, D. E. Leyden, J. B. Newkirk, P. K. Predecki,
and C. 0. Ruud. Plenum Publishing Corporation, New
York 1980. xvii, 390 pp., bound, $ 45.00.--ISBN 0-30640435-4
Advanced Inorganic Chemistry. A Comprehensive Text.
Fourth Edition. Edited by F. A . Cotton and G. Wilkinson.
John Wiley & Sons, New York 1980. xvi, 1396 pp., bound,
E 17.45.--ISBN 0-471-02775-8
Organometallics in Organic Synthesis. Vol. I:General Discussions and Organometallics of Main Group Metals in
Organic Synthesis. By Ei-ichi Negishi. John Wiley & Sons,
New York 1980. xiv, 532 pp., bound, E 15.85.-ISBN 0471-03193-3
Organic Syntheses. Vol. 59. Edited by R. M . Coates. John
Wiley & Sons, New York 1980. xx, 267 pp., bound, E
Il.lO.-ISBN 0-471-05963-3
Lehrprogramm Biochemie I. Edited by H. Schmidkunz and
A. Neufahrt. Verlag Chemie, Weinheim 1980. xii, 461 pp.,
sewed, DM 29.80.--ISBN 3-527-25866-3
Programmierte Priifung. Chemie-Physik-Physikalische
Chemie. Reihe: Ausbildung. Edited by W. Klein, H. Mayer,
and G. Rerf: Verlag Chemie, Weinheim 1980. x, 412 pp.?
sewed, DM 29.80.-ISBN 3-527-25848-5
Solubility Data Series. VoI. 11. Alkali Metal, Alkaline-Earth
Metal and Ammonium Halides, Amide Solvents. Edited by
B. Scrosati and C. A. Vincent. Pergamon Press, Oxford
1980. xx, 354 pp., bound, E 50.00.--ISBN 0-08-023917-X
Analytical Techniques in Environmental Chemistry. Edited
by J. Albaiges. Pergamon Press, Oxford 1980. xii, 646 pp.,
bound, $ 85.00.-ISBN 0-08-023809-2
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574
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engi. 19 (1980) No.
7
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