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Book Review Grundlagen der Stereochemie (Elements of Stereochemistry). By E. L. Eliel

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Entropy. The Devil on the Pillion. A Popular Exposition. By
J . Zernike. Kluwer, Deventer L972, 1st Edit., 150 pp.,
numerous figures, bound hfl. 34.75.
The title of this book can lead to misunderstandings: apart
from the Maxwell and Arrhenius demons, which in the last
chapter are taken to absurdity, everything is very down-toearth and reasonable. It is doubtful whether the consistent
omission of differential derivatives and integrals will prove
popular, no matter how skilfully done, for a follower of
the creed that school mathematics are the work of the devil
will hardly have the ambition to achieve statistical understanding of thermodynamics.
The book offers some valuable advantages. In the first chapter
the author presents a very interesting history of the develop
ment of thermodynamics without succumbing to the obvious
temptation of using unclear expressions. Unfortunately, the
history of thermodynamics as a didactic method has been
rather overlooked, an unjustifiable trend as Zernike shows.
The avoidance of differential and integral calculus necessitates,
in the second chapter, derivation of the Clausius-Clapeyron
equation by a cycle. Nevertheless, the term “function of state”
is explained.
Chapters 3 and 4 are the best part of the book because
they contain at last statistical thermodynamics which any
chemist can understand. This fills a sorely-felt gap, for in
otherwise good thermodynamics textbooks a more than primitive statistical treatment of entropy is usually missing.
The last two chapters are merely an appendage. Auerbach‘s
“ectropism” and Arrhenius’ demon were wrong approaches
and present an unnecessary burden for the reader. Instead
the author could have made better use of his didactic skill
by presenting some modern developments in irreversible thermodynamics, as the works of Prigogine, Glansdorff, Monod,
and Eigen permit a less defeatist opposition to the philosophers’ criticism of the concept of a heat death of the Universe.
Arno Hopfner [NB 215 IE]
Identification and Analysis of Plastics. By J. Haslam, H . Willis,
and D. Squirrell. Butterworth, London 1972. 2nd ed., 748
pp., numerous figures, bound E 18.00.
Among the more recent guides to the analysis of plastics
this book deserves a special place, as it treats together both
qualitative and ‘quantitative procedures with chemical and
physical methods.
The first part deals with instrumental methods such as UV,
IR, NMR, and gas chromatography (including pyrolysis), the
methods being illustrated with some practical examples. Then
follows qualitative analysis, not only by simple chemical tests,
but also by appropriate physical techniques. Subsequent
chapters are devoted to vinyl polymers, polyesters, polyamides,
polyolefins, fluorinated plastics, rubber-like materials, thermosetting resins, and natural polymers like cellulose and some
other classes of plastics. The last part presents details of the
analysis of plasticizers, fillers, and solvents. Finally, the book
contains a collection of IR spectra of important plastics,
although their number and quality of reproduction cannot
be compared with the well-known tables by Hummef.
For expert analysts the book presents a plentiful source of
valuable information from the authors’ practical experience;
this will undoubtedly be its principal use. The beginner may
be overwhelmed by the abundance of material, especially as
the layout is not at all clear and the index covers only the
1 1 main chapters. The next edition really must be more clearly
subdivided, so that the reader can find what he needs more
rapidly and is not limited to the short index. About 350
bibliographic citations supplement the work, but these have
been chosen rather arbitrarily; they usually refer to the authors’
own work and are largely limited to publications in English.
Thus, the book is a valuable collection of information but
it does not always come up to its ambitious title. Any new
edition should introduce a more rigorous arrangement of
subject matter and a more careful selection of the many
methods and details.
Dietrich Braun [NB 217 IE]
Deuterium Labeling in Organic Chemistry. By A. F. Thomas.
Appleton-Century-Crofts Educational Div./Meredith Corp.,
New York 1972. 1st edit., xiii. 518 pp., numerous figures,
bound, DM 102.80.
Hydrogen atoms in the “stable” bonds of organic compounds
are frequently responsible for much more than we are normally
aware of or consider. It is therefore far from easy to prepare
a compound deuterated in a specific position. The author
is well aware of this and has written a truly useful book,
but deuterium labeling and its application range into so many
specialized fields that the subject is almost too taxing for
a single author. It is not surprising, therefore, that chapters
which do not deal with the preparative aspect are not entirely
satisfactory and that some of the propositions are not quite
correct. To mention but two examples: there is no negative
isotope effect (p. 38), and an starved yeast is quite different
from a denatured yeast (p. 424).
Eight chapters of the book deal with methods of deuteration.
The classification is based on the mechanisms and processes
which lead to the compounds. These chapters contain an
abundance of interesting chemistry. One chapter is devoted
to biochemical deuteration, but the many possibilities of steree
specific deuteration are insufficiently appreciated. Another
chapter finally deals with isotope effects and analytical procedures. A list 33 pages long of molecular formulas of deuterated
compounds, with a brief outline of the method of preparation,
is really useful. What makes this book, which contains almost
2000 references, particularly valuable and worthy of recommendation is that the author has the courage and the necessary
experience to make critical evaluations. He draws attention
to the advantages and weaknesses of individual methods, and
gives many practical guidelines.
Helmut Simon [NB 222 IE]
Grundlagen der Stereochemie (Elements of Stereochemistry). By E. L. Eliel. UTB, Verlag Birkhauser Basel-Stuttgart 1972. 108 pp., numerous figures, bound, D M 9.80.
A chemist who has left University ten years ago frequently
finds difficulty in reading recent articles on stereochemistry.
He encounters many concepts which were never raised during
his studies, and many of the notations have acquired different
meanings. This is due to the fact that during the last few
years stereochemistry has undergone drastic changes with
regard to problem formulation, applied experimental methods,
and conceptual definition and classification of stereochemical
Angew. Chem internat. Edit. f Vol. 13 (1974)
1 No. 10
This book will assist those for whom the transition from
the earlier, mainly experimentally oriented mode of thinking
to the current, more abstract approach is too abrupt.
The didactic arrangement and flowing style make the book
a pleasure to read. The descriptions of experimental results
and the theoretical discussion are well balanced. Even the
untrained reader will find little difficulty in understanding
the material and will not have to resort to additional reading
(only in the application of the Cahn-Ingold-Prelog rules to
multiple bond systems would some additional remarks have
been useful). Exercises (with answers) round off the positive
impression made by the book.
The book is recommended not only to all students after their
preliminary examinations but to all who want to brush up
their knowledge and would like a readable introduction to
modern stereochemistry.
Giinther Maier [NB 224 IE]
Comprehensive Chemical Kinetics. Vol. 4. Decomposition of
Inorganic and Organometallic Compounds. By C . H . Bamford and C . F. Tipper. Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam-London-New
York 1972. 1st edit., xii, 272 pp.,
numerous figures and tables, bound, $ 27.25.
This volume, together with volume 5, constitutes Section 2
“Homogeneous Decomposition and Isomerization Reactions”
of the above work. As suggested by the title, all those reactions
are discussed which proceed, if not necessarily unimolecularly,
at least in the absence of a foreign reactant. Major attention
is always paid to the primary reaction (in the true sense),
and secondary reactions between reactant molecules and
decomposition products are in general only dealt with when
they have been shown to contribute significantly to reactant
consumption. Photolytic and radiolytic processes are only
raised in special cases.
The subdivision of the volume into chapters is substanceoriented, which occasionally results in apparently arbitrary
sections ;this procedure does, however, ensure maximal clarity
and fits in well with the reference nature of the work.
The first chapter ( K . H . Homann and A. Haas) deals with
the homogeneous decomposition of hydrides of oxygen, sulfur,
nitrogen, silicon, germanium, and boron; -The subject of the
second ( K . F. Preston and R. J . Cvetanovic‘) is the kinetics
of the decomposition of inorganic oxides (especially those
of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, fluorine, and chlorine), of sulfides
and selenides(or carbon), of ozone, of certain acids of nitrogen,
and of perchloric acid. The following section (D. A. Armstrong
and J . L. Homes) merits particular attention; this is devoted
to the decomposition of halogen compounds, especially hydrogen halides, and commendably takes account of the recent
findings so important in this field. The concluding chapter
( S . J . W Price) deals with the decomposition of alkyl, aryl,
carbonyl, and nitrosyl metal compounds. The decomposition
of homonuclear diatomic molecules will be discussed in one
of the subsequent volumes.
All sections are provided with extensive and instructive tables
and figures, and do ample justice to the rigorous demands
that may be made on the work.
0.F. Olaj [NB 225a IE]
Comprehensive Chemical Kinetics. Vol. 5. Decomposition and
Isomerization of Organic Compounds. By C . H. Barnford
and C . F. Tipper. Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam-London-New
York 1972. 1st edit., xvi, 779 pp.,
numerous figures, bound $ 65.75.
Angew. Chem inrmnat. Edit. 1 Vol. 13 (1974) / No. 10
This volume completes Section 2 of the above work. Subdivision according to chemical classes has again been adopted
throughout, which allows rapid orientation and almost entirely
eliminates overlap.
Many of the homogeneous gas reactions dealt with are considered as models of unimolecular processes ; the associated
experimental data were (and still are) of the greatest significance for the theory of these reactions. Furthermore, reactions
in homogeneous solutions as well as pyrolytic, photolytic,
photosensitized, and radiolytic processes are extensively discussed, even where the reaction course is determined by
secondary reactions.
The first chapter ( K . J . Laidter and L. F. Loucks) is devoted
to the decomposition and isomerization reactions of hydrocarbons, the second ( E . S. Swinbourne) to the thermal and radiation- and particle-induced decomposition of halogen compounds. The following sections deal with the thermal and
photochemical decomposition of aldehydes and ketones (7:
Be‘rces), as well as the decomposition and isomerization reactions of other oxygen-containing compounds such as esters,
anhydrides, ethers, alcohols, carboxylic acids, and especially
peroxides ( W H . Richardson and H . E. O N e a l ) . The next
chapter is concerned with the unimolecular reactions of
nitrogen compounds (0. P . Strausz, H . E. Gunning, and J .
W Lown); apart from diazo compounds and azides, most
attention is understandably paid to azo compounds. These
last two chapters thus also contain all the important information on the two major groups of radical formers, namely
peroxides and aliphatic azo compounds. The volume concludes
with a chapter on the unimolecular reactions of sulfur compounds (0. P. Strausz, H . E . Gunning, and J . W Lown).
The positive aspects of the book again include the uniformly
liberal provision of cleartables and figures and an abundance
of numerical data; the delayed publication in one case deserves
criticism, however. All in all, each chapter indicates that the
volume is a worthy member of the series.
0. F. Olaj [NB 225 b]
Analysis of Triglycerides. By C . Litchfield. Academic Press,
New York-London 1972. xvii, 395 pp., numerous figures
and tables, bound, $ 19.50.
Until 1955 the only methods available tor the analysis of
triglycerides were essentially fractional crystakation (Cheur e d , 1815) and oxidative degradation (Hilditch, 1927-1950).
Bearing in mind the number of triglyceride isomers which
occur in natural fats (approximately 4O-lOOO in vegetable
fats), these methods were quite inadequate; it was only in
simple cases that the triglyceride composition could be elucidated. After 1955a burst ofactivity resulted in the development
of new chemical and physical methods; this subsequently
drew to a close in certain areas, but some methods, e.g.
the application of mass spectrometry to the analysis of triglycerides, are still in their infancy. It is therefore highly welcome
that Litchfield, who has personally contributed much to the
development ofanalytical techniques in this field, has produced
a review in which the current state of knowledge is summarized
in concise but unusually informative manner.
Following a brief introduction to the stereochemistry and
nomenclature of triglycerides and a short historical review,
the extraction of lipids and isolation of triglycerides are first
described; in this context the identification of fatty acids by
gas chromatography is also touched upon. The following
chapters deal with methods of preparation of glyceride derivatives and with the chemical and physical processes currently
available for the separation and structure elucidation of triglycerides (chromatography on Ag +-containing carrier material;
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