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Book Review Molecular Devices and Machines A Journey into the Nanoworld.

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Modern Organocopper Chemistry
Edited by Norbert
Krause. WileyVCH, Weinheim
2002. 373 pp.,
E 139.00.—ISBN
Based on the work of Ullmann and
others, copper was one of the first
transition metals used in organic chemistry. Since those days the harsh conditions originally associated with it have
given way to modern metalation procedures that provide fast access to novel
organocopper reagents. These developments lead to broad applications in
chemo-, regio-, and stereoselective
transformations. This monograph deals
with that particular topic, and appears
just in time for the 50th anniversary of
Gilman"s groundbreaking discovery.
The book provides within ten chapters
a good and comprehensive survey of
those areas in organocopper chemistry
that already belong to the standard
repertoire of a synthetically orientated
organic chemist but are still undergoing
exciting developments. Norbert Krause
has organized many scientists who are
well known in their respective fields into
writing contributions in which they review
the advances of the past two decades, and
put them into a historical context with
numerous literature citations.
The well-structured book starts with
the elementary properties of organocopper compounds. As well as describing the wide structural variety of these
compounds, this initial survey explains
the essential terminology. The following
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2003, 42, 2331 – 2335
chapter focuses on modern metalation
methods which have greatly increased
the potential of organocopper chemistry. In combination with organozinc or
organomagnesium reagents, highly functionalized structures can be synthesized
in an elegant manner. The following
contribution is devoted to the carbon
analogue cuprates, which can be used to
introduce silyl and stannyl moieties.
Employing several well-chosen examples, the synthetic value of the methods
is impressively demonstrated. However,
the organocopper reagents should not
be considered as competitors for palladium-catalyzed transformations but
more as a complementary synthetic
feature. In the fourth chapter the
editor himself summarizes applications
to addition and substitution in extended
multiple bond systems, with emphasis on
the synthesis of allenes. The next review
is about the regioselective reduction of
enones, and includes detailed experimental procedures. Three further contributions deal with the stereoselective
aspects of 1,4-addition and allylic substitution reactions which represent the
classical field of organocopper chemistry. The first survey discusses the diastereoselective auxiliary-directed transformation, and is followed by a discourse on the catalysis of enantioselective 1,4-additions. The corresponding
chapter on catalytic enantioselective
allylic substitutions also includes auxiliary-directed reactions which would
have fitted better in Chapter 6. The
ninth chapter illustrates the great potential of modern organocopper reagents by
discussing total syntheses of natural
products wherein the key steps are
accomplished by copper-mediated transformations. The final discourse is devoted
to the mechanistic aspects of reactions
involving organocopper reagents.
The book has been very carefully
organized: the individual contributions
fit together well and with the help of the
large index the reader will have no
problem in finding a specific subject;
the schemes are clearly arranged and the
numbering is systematic; typos in the
written part and the schemes are rare.
In summary, this monograph provides an excellent survey of the recent
developments and frontiers in organocopper chemistry. Although there are
other recent reviews, this book is the
first to give a comprehensive overview
and covers the literature up to the
beginning of 2001. It will probably
become a standard book for the interested scientist working in these areas;
for the synthetically orientated chemist
it will be compulsory reading. Therefore, this valuable monograph will have
a firm place in every good library
Siegfried R. Waldvogel
Organisch-Chemisches Institut
Universit*t M,nster (Germany)
Molecular Devices and Machines
A Journey into
the Nanoworld.
By Vincenzo Balzani, Margherita
Venturi, and
Alberto Credi.
Weinheim 2003.
494 pp., hardcover E 99.00.
—ISBN 3-52730506-8
The area of molecular machines and
motors is extremely fascinating just now,
as some important goals are close to
being realized, although not yet fully
achieved. That was also the verdict of
the international symposium “Molecular Motors” organized by Dechema in
November 2001. It is particularly welcome that the authors of this book have
spared no effort to collect all the many
new developments in this highly topical
field which are scattered throughout the
chemical literature. The book also
includes an introduction to the most
important methodology and a critical
evaluation. The work reflects the
remarkable success in synthesizing
molecular machines using Feynman"s
“bottom-up” approach and the concepts
of self-assembly, and it shows the enormous wealth of original ideas that have
been developed into supramolecular
architectures and into chemistry on
surfaces within only a few years.
Nobody is better qualified to describe
the latest advances in this area of
research than Vincenzo Balzani and his
7 2003 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
coworkers, who were interdisciplinary
pioneers in the field. At the outset the
preface and the systematic arrangement
of the sixteen chapters strongly support
this impression. All aspects of the historical development are described, starting with the chemical building blocks
such as crown ethers, viologens, or
dendrimers, and progressing to controlled translational and rotational movement and artificial photosynthesis. The
clearly written text is illustrated with
beautiful drawings and even a series of
color pictures. This shows the advantage
of a book written entirely by the same
team of authors: the text, graphics,
legends, and literature references are
of a piece, and the reader does not need
to adjust to differing definitions and
styles. It is particularly commendable
that complex formulae and drawings
from the original literature have been
redrawn in the same style throughout.
Photophysical measurements form a
topic that recurs frequently throughout
the book; the authors definitely feel at
home in this area and are able to present
even difficult matter in a very convincing and excellent way.
In accordance with the subtitle “A
Journey into the Nanoworld”, the
reader travels through the realm of
nano-architectures and functions at the
molecular level. The table of contents is
like a map: from general concepts one is
guided to molecular wires, switchable
molecules, light-harvesting antennas,
and the conversion of solar energy in
ways that bypass the usual principles of
electron and energy transfer. The
second challenging, but intellectually
appealing, part of the journey begins
with molecular switches and logic gates
and leads to mechanical movements in
molecules, ion channels, and proton
pumps. Guided by an expert travel
guide, the reader finally reaches the
field of mechanically bound molecules
which perform rotational, translational,
and threading motions controlled by
external stimuli.
The book is of highest quality, not
only with respect to its contents, but also
as far as formal aspects are concerned.
An extensive glossary gives short definitions of terms like supramolecular
approach”, topology, rotaxane, kinesin,
molecular recognition, F;rster mecha-
nism, cucurbituril, allosteric effects, etc.
In addition, a clearly organized table of
contents and a detailed index help the
reader to orientate himself/herself
within the book.
Due to their long experience, the
authors are cautious about using the
somewhat exaggeratory terms such as
molecular machines, molecular motors,
switches, or antennas. These terms are
certainly useful for motivating scientists
and attracting the necessary funding.
However, the aim of developing synthetic molecular motors doing useful
work in analogy to biological motors is
still a challenge. Based on the broad
fundamentals discussed in the book, one
might well expect that these goals can be
achieved within the next few years. It
does not seem overstated to predict that
molecules will literally—even as single
molecules—learn to walk!
The journey is not yet over. It will
need much more creative work, cooperation, and well-focused research to
mimic the functions of biological
machines in all respects. Similarly, the
design and synthesis of novel nanodevices remains a fascinating challenge.
This type of interdisciplinary science
and “molecular technology” depends
on enthusiastic scientists. For these and
many others, this wonderful book is a
must and a motivation at the same time.
Fritz V'gtle, Christoph A. Schalley
Kekulé-Institut f,r Organische Chemie
und Biochemie
Universit*t Bonn (Germany)
Chemical Speaking
Dictionary of
Edited by Carl C.
Gaither and
Alma E. CavazosGaither. Institute
of Physics Publishing Ltd., Bristol 2002. 583 pp.,
$ 29.00.—ISBN
One"s curiosity is aroused immediately
by the title of this book and by reading
7 2003 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
on the cover that it “... is the largest
compilation of published chemistry quotations available”. What can lie behind
these words? Certainly a lot of diligent
collecting work, as is apparent from the
number of pages. A married couple who
are bibliophiles with scientific interests
have set themselves the task of writing a
series of books of quotations. They are
doing so at a breathtaking pace, having
already dealt with statistics (1996), physics, mathematics, engineering, medicine,
general science, life sciences, and now
(in 2002) chemistry.
The first thoughts that come to mind
on looking at this collection concern the
mechanics of the compilation process.
There are 28 chapters. The bibliography
and index together occupy 124 pages.
Here already the first weaknesses
become apparent. The book does not
give the years of birth and death of the
people quoted, and only literature in the
English language has been covered.
Moreover, some “standard works” such
as those by Isaac Asimov or Alan
Mackay are not mentioned. One is
especially struck by the fact that only a
small proportion of the people quoted
are chemists. Completeness and relevance have apparently not been high in
the editors" priorities. However, that is
not necessarily a disadvantage, as it is
also interesting to discover how our
discipline appears from the perspective
of other professions and areas of experience. In the individual chapters the
quotations are listed again under the
names of the authors arranged alphabetically. This has some consequences:
the banal appears alongside the important, and trivialities intervene to distract
the reader who may be reflecting about
some profound point. If you enjoy that
kind of variety, you will benefit from this
book. It makes easy and agreeable
reading with its spacious and attractive
layout, and there are a few cartoons
which lighten the book in an unobtrusive way, although of course one"s
appreciation of them is a question of
What should be my recommendation? Anyone who is interested in
quotations cannot do without this
book. It can also be recommended for
those who take pleasure in original
phraseology or in poetry with a scientific
theme. It would be nice to be able to
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2003, 42, 2331 – 2335
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