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Book Review Integrated Chemical Systems. A Chemical Approach to Nanotechnology. (Baker Lecture Series.) By A. J. Bard

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What's in a Gene?
Dictionary of Gene Technology. By
G. Kuhl. VCII Verlagsgesellschaft,
Weinheim. 1994. 550 pp.. hardcover
DM 184.00. -ISBN 3-527-30005-8
I t is an undisputed fact that the importance of gene technology was first recogn i x d in the USA. and i t was there that its
applications were most vigorously pursued. This circumstance has given rise to a
whole vocabulary of English terms that
have becomc. lirnily established in the everyday language of niolecular biology.
For many of us in the German-speaking
world. the difficulty of finding a German
equivalent for ;in English technical term in
gene technology or molecular biology is
already ii familiar problem. Many of the
expressions used to describe processes.
phenomena. etc. cannot actually be translated. since it is the privilege of the discoverer to invent :I name for his brain-child.
In many c a m the name is an abbreviation.
The Dic,i/omu.j, u / Gcw Tdi/io/ogj.acknowledges this development and sets out
to deline and explain. in English. the increasing flood of technical terms. names.
and abbreviations used to describe methods. processes. substances. materials, and
biological macromolecules. What sort of
terms should be included in such a dictionar),. and how much detail can be put
into the definitions and explanations? In
many cases the decisions are not easy. I n
this compilation the main emphasis is on
keywords that are concerned. in the
broadest senbe. with nucleic acids and
their structures. synthesis. anal).'sis . transfer. modification. and processing. Although the dictionary includes inany
terms belonging to related fields outside
gene technology. the author has not
aimed at a complete coverage of these
peripheral areas.
The result is an impressive compilation
of technical terms with explanations that
are mostly brief and easily understandable. occasionally rather more detailed
but never long-winded. and nearly always
absolutely correct. The author has set out
to meet the needs of a wide readership.
especially scientists working in the relevant disciplines and their students, but also specialists in neighboring areas of science as well as journalists and politicians.
The book has not been written for the lay
reader. as it assumes an understanding of
the language and jargon commonly used
by molecular biologists. However. the
great majority of the envisaged readership
should find the book useful, especially in
view of the fact that their educational
backgrounds differ widely. The clear and
simple diagrams. the practical examples
included for illustration. and the more detailed explanations where these are appropriate. all contribute to the usefulness of
the work.
Of course one does not actually read
through a dictionary. but even onjust randomly leafing through it the many crossreferences gently lead one to read further.
These cross-references are indicated by
small arrows which tend to dominate the
appearance of the text, so that in many of
the entries their effect is at first sight
rather irritating. However. on closer examination one discovers that they are very
useful. as they serve to form a network
linking the various t e r m and to place
each individual term within a wider context. A dictionary cannot be a substitute
for a textbook or practical handbook and
is certainly not intended as such. I t can
explain the principle of a technique. remind one of a formula. show the structure
of a molecule, or give the meaning of an
abbreviation. I t is a reference source
which can help to call things to mind or to
f i l l gaps in one's knowledge. This book
fulfills those aims very well.
I t will certainly not be an easy task to
update such a book in printed form so as
to keep place with future developments.
E w n now there are a few important and
highly topical techniques. such as "twohybrid system". "interaction trap". and
"knock-out animal". that should have
been included. These omissions are all the
more surprising in view of the fact that in
the preface the author emphasizes that
new technological developments are included. Other readers will undoubtedly be
able to list other omissions. Also a few of
the definitions could have been better expressed or expanded. such as those of
"gene expression'' and "repressor". The
explanations of some of the keywords
seem too short or too dull.
A dictionary. by its very nature. informs one about matters that are treated
more fully and with more explanation
elsewhere. Its advantage lies in its eonvenience, allowing one to look things up
very quickly. It seems to me an almost
impossible task for a single author to
write a book of this kind that I S complete
and free of mistakes. On the whole. however. that appears to have been achieved
in this case. This is a comprehensive.
balanced. and useful work of reference,
and it will certainly find i t i i assured place
on the office desk and i n the laboratory.
Laboratorium f u r Molekulare Biologie
und Gen~entrum
der Lniversitat Munchen (Germany)
Integrated Chemical Svstems. A
Chemical Approach to Nanotechnology. (Baker Lecture Series.) By
A . J. Bard. Wiley. Chichester, 1994.
324 pp., hardcover f 41.50. --ISBN
This book contains the text of a course
of lectures which the author. who is best
known to electrochemists and physical
chemists. gave during 1987. The reader
will recogni;.e in the title two keywords
that are of particular interest; "nanotechnology" and "integrated" Although it is
now some time since microelectronics
gave birth to the niicrotechnologies.
which are already almost part of the everyday scene, the next stage in this field,
the nanotechnology referred to in the title,
is still in an exciting and very promising
state of development. The word "integrated" is also associated with novel and high-
ly topical advances in technology. Both
these concepts are synonymous with very
rapid developments, and the delay in producing this book therefore seeins unfortunate.
Probably only those few readers who
make a pastime of phantasizing about future developments will start off with an
idea of what an integrated chemical system might consist of. The rest must wait
for several pages before coming to the following definition: “We define these integrated chemical systems (ICSs) as heterogeneous, multiphase systems involving
several different components (e.g.. semiconductors. polymers. catalysts. membranes) designed and arranged for specific
functions or to carry out specific reactions
or processes. Often the different components will be organized structurally and
will show synergistic effects. Usually it is
the interaction of the components of the
ICS that determines its properties.” Unfortunately many readers will still not
have a clear picture of an ICS from this
definition. However. some examples follow which should help in making the
breakthrough. In the biological field
chloroplasts and mitochondria are cited
as typical ICSs. while in chemistry a
heterogeneous catalyst coupled to a redox
system is given as an example. in photography the instant color film is cited. and in
chemical analysis various sensor systems
are mentioned. In accordance with the author’s aim of giving a systematic overview
of nanotechnology the following chapters
describe methods for constructing and
characterizing ICSs. which could perhaps
be incorporated into future nanotechnological developments. Many of the methods described will already be familiar to
some readers from their acquaintance
with microtechnology. Others based on
self-organizing structures are common
knowledge. while some, such as the use of
a scanning electron microscope for fabricating components, are speculative. The
methods proposed for characterizing ICSs are mainly drawn from surface and thin
film analytical techniques. although some
new advances in these will be needed to
enable them to be applied to ICSs.
This is followed by chapters on chemically modified electrodes and methods for
characterizing these. as well as developments in photoelectrochemistry. both of
which are stages o n the way to nanostructured systems. The author describes advances towards producing these. which
are already well covered in existing review’
articles. The choice of substrates. reactants. and systems is discussed, with some
complicated examples related to the development of sensors and highly selective
electrocatalytic films. The description of
electrochemical methods used to study
such modified electrodes concentrates
mainly on potentiodynamic measurements: nonc1;issical methods are not discussed. This omission is surprising if one
assumes that nanostructured surfaces for
many af the functions envisaged will need
to have a specific well-defined surface topography or other properties that cannot
be investigated by electrochemical methods. The following chapter is concerned
with semiconductors and their photochemistry; starting with the band model,
this gives a thorough and detailed account
of current knowledge. This is then related
to the development of ICSs by discussing photosemiconducting electrodes
with modified surfaces and finely-divided
photosemiconductor particles as components for such systems. The final chapter
is an appraisal of future prospects and research trends in the areas of microsensors.
microreactors. and composite materials.
The book is completed by a comprehensive index which provides a useful key to
the contents. The numerous figures are
mostly successful in illustrating and clarifying even the more complicated discussions. IIowever. many of these are of inferior quality. occasionally making them
difficult to understand.
One must now ask who are the readers
most likely to benefit from the book. I t
will be of interest to scientists entering the
field of methods for modifying surface
properties and for generating surface
structures with molecular dimensions. Experienced electrochemists and specialists
in microtechnology will gain little new
knowledge from the book.
Rirdolf Holze
Insti tut Chemie -A bt. Elek trochemie
der Technischen Universitat ChemnitzZwickau
Chemnitz (Germany)
A New Dimension to Quantum Chemistry. Analytic Derivative Methods in
Ab-Initio Molecular Electronic Structure Theory. By Y Yumuguchi, Y Osutn~rru.J. D. Goddurtland H . E Schuef e r . Oxford IJniversity Press, Oxford,
1994. 471 pp., hardcover E 60.00.ISBN 0-19-507038-3
I t is probably no exaggeration when, in
the title of this book. the development of
analytical derivative methods for ah-initio
wave-function calculations is described as
a new dimension in quantum chemistry.
Following on from the pioneering work of
P. Pulay in the late 1960s. the standing of
ab-initio methods of calculation has been
considerably enhanced through the advantages of analytical gradients, especially their use for reliably determining equilibrium structures and saddle points. In
addition. however. the development
and appropriate implementation of algorithms for analytical calculations of
derivatives of the energy function has now
made it possible to calculate harmonic v bration frequencies, anharmonic corrections, IR and Rainan intensities. and
many other properties. There already exist a number of review articles and collections of papers on this topic. but this book
by Schaefer and coauthors is the most detailed and thorough retrospective survey
to appear so far. Starting from a concise
introduction to the LCAO-MO formalism. the authors derive explicit expressions for the first and second derivatives
of various Hartree-Fock ( H F ) SCF
wave-functions and of wave-functions of
the configurational interaction (CI). twoconligurational SCF. and general multiconfigurational SCF (MCSCF) types.
This is followed by chapters describing in
detail the methods for solving “coupled
perturbed” 1IF. CI. or MCSCF equations. Next there is a discussion of higher
derivatives and of the special case of
derivatives involving an electric field. The
mathematical part of the book ends with
a short chapter on the “Z-vector” method
recently developed by Handy and Schaefer for calculating analytical derivatives.
In the penultimate chapter the authors describe a number of typical applications of
analytical derivatives for obtaining answers to chemical problems. The final
(20th) chapter offers an optimistic assessment of likely future developments. This
is followed by 28 appendices which summarize the key equations from all the
chapters. The book ends with a bibliography listing the relevant original papers.
which is commendably up-to-date as it
extends up to 1993.
The quality of production is up to the
same excellent standard as others in this
series from the same publisher. However.
after even an initial brief glance through
the book one is struck by the large proportion of space devoted to mathematical expressions. which is unusual even for a
monograph on a theoretical subject. In
fact the work is essentially a collection of
formulas relieved only by a small amount
of explanatory text. The structure of the
chapters is rigid and very formalized.
Chapters treating related aspects have an
almost identical structure. with only small
differences in the wording. As a result the
book makes arid and heavy reading. Who
are the readers most likely to benefit from
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