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Book Review Physics and Chemistry of the Upper Atmosphere. By M. H. Rees

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regarding gas phase acidities of alkanes, which are relevant
in connection with the scission of their C-H bonds.
A minor weakness of this book is that in many of the
chapters there are frequent repeated references to the standard examples of C-H activations that have become wellknown. This is, admittedly, almost unavoidable in a collection of individual articles, but it does become a little tedious
for the reader. There is a large preponderance of authors
from the USA (18 out of 20, although regrettably a few of the
greatest names in this field are not included; the remaining
two are from Australia and France). This is perhaps not
surprising in view of the make-up of the group of editors, but
nevertheless it does, unfortunately, reflect to some extent the
relative output of contributions from different countries in
this area of research. The greatest value of the book lies in
the wide and interdisciplinary coverage of the subject, which
is what the editors have set out to achieve and have succeeded in producing, without at the same time sacrificing detailed
information. The fact that the title of the book describes a
hope for future developments rather than the existing situation does not diminish the value of this collection of articles;
on the contrary it emphasizes the need for intensive and
interdisciplinary research using all the available methods
and tools, and provides some pointers in that direction. For
a field that is undergoing such rapid developement it is unfortunate that a book of this nature appearing in 1990 cannot include references to the very latest work (i.e. papers
published in the latter part of 1989 or in 1990), but one
presumably has to accept this as a necessary evil. Obviously
in the very near future one could only justify buying the book
on the grounds of the “Principles” mentioned in the subtitle
rather than “Principles and Progress”, but nevertheless one
can be confident about the coverage of the former.
This specialized work can definitely be recommended unreservedly for everyone whose work is concerned with the
activation and functionalization of hydrocarbons, or who
wishes to learn about this field; it is at present the best
treatment available on the market. It is certainly essential for
appropriate libraries.
Peter Hofmunn [NB 1166 IE]
Anorganisch-chemisches Institut
der Technischen Universitat Munchen,
Garching (FRG)
Physics and Chemistry of the Upper Atmosphere. By M . H .
Rees. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (UK) 1989.
ix, 289 pp., paperback E 15.00.--ISBN 0-521-36848-0
To fully understand the upper atmosphere requires a
knowledge of many disciplines: the physics and chemistry of
radiation, spectroscopy, fluid dynamics and the chemistry of
gases. A typical student of physics or chemistry will have a
knowledge of some, but probably not all, of these fields. In
the introduction to this book the author sets himself the task
of bridging the gap between the material covered in standard
physics textbooks and the literature on upper atmosphere
research. The resulting book succeeds in this aim. In it the
student will find a good survey of the science of the upper
atmosphere with useful references to the research literature.
In the introductory chapter M . H . Rees defines the upper
atmosphere as the zone in which the energy sources consist
of solar UV radiation, energetic particles, electric fields and
electric currents, where the most important neutral species
are 0. N, and O,, and the dynamic behavior of the neutral
gas atmosphere is largely determined by plasma dynamics.
Angeu,. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 30 (1991) No. 11
The rest of the chapters consist of explanations and discussions of this theme.
Chapter 2 deals with photochemistry, in particular with
the interaction of solar UV photons with N, and 0,
molecules, leading to the production of atomic nitrogen and
oxygen together with Nf’, Of’,
Ne and Oe ions in the upper
atmosphere. The basic theory of radiation transfer and
photochemistry is described. High-energy electrons that are
produced in the upper atmosphere interact strongly with the
ions present, and this interaction is the subject of Chapter 3.
In Chapter 4 the effects of collisions between particles in the
ionosphere are analyzed: the distinction between elastic, inelastic and reactive collisions is explained and the theory of
these processes is developed. Chapter 5 describes the composition of the upper atmosphere. The different temperatures
of the molecules and ions in the ionosphere are discussed in
Chapter 6. Chapter 7 is concerned with the spectroscopy of
the emitted radiation, with the night sky light or airglow
(which is also important in daytime), and with the polar
aurora. Lastly, Chapter 8 describes the dynamics of the thermosphere and ionosphere.
The main emphasis of the book is on interpreting the
results of observations on the composition of the upper atmosphere, often also with the help of relatively new data
obtained from artificial satellites. Although the theoretical
basis is adequately explained, enabling the reader to understand the important processes and to interpret data, some
prior knowledge of theoretical physics would also be an advantage. Also it is difficult for a reader with no previous
knowledge of the atmosphere to understand some parts of
the book: for example, the D and F zones are referred to
before they have been defined.
The text contains some inaccuracies. For example, in the
treatment of dynamics in Chapter 8 the meaning of the hydrostatic equation is wrongly stated. It is not correct to say
that the vertical velocity vanishes in this case; instead one
should say that the vertical acceleration is small compared
with the vertical gradients of the pressure field and of the
gravitational force.
The example problems provided at the end of each chapter
are very well chosen, since they are relevant to the main
points covered in the chapters. Also at the end of each chapter there are literature references to results of recent research.
These are an important help for readers wishing to study the
subject at a more advanced level. The book includes a great
deal of useful data, e.g. on the structure of the atmosphere
and on the effects of solar radiation. To summarize, this is a
well written and informative book. It is suitable as a textbook on the complex subject of upper-atmosphere science
and can be recommended as such.
Steven Puwson [NB 1111 IE]
Institut fur Meteorologie
der Universitat Berlin (FRG)
Biocatalysis. (Van Nostrand Reinhold Catalysis Series).
Edited by D . A. Abrumovicz. Van Nostrand Reinhold,
New York 1990. xxv, 369 pp., hardcover $89.95.ISBN 0-442-23 848-7
This volume, published as part of a series on catalytic
methods of synthesis, is based on selected papers presented
at an international conference on “Biocatalytic Synthesis of
Organic Compounds”, held in August 1988 at Saratoga
Springs, NY (USA). It contains 17 articles related to different problem areas of biotechnology ;without claiming com-
Verlagsgesellschafi mbH, W-6940 Weinheim. 1991
0570-0833i9lj1111-1529 $3.50+.25/0
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