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Book Review The Use of Chemical Literature. Published by R. T. Bottle

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problems, which are important to electrochemists in general.
The special applications to fuel cells are certainly kept in the
foreground, but only as a continuous theme that allows these
general facts to be illustrated for a particular example.
The Use of Chemical Literature. Published by R. T. Botrle.
In the series “Information Sources for Research and
Development”. Butterworth, London 1969. 2nd Edit., xii
+ 294 pp., numerous illustrations and tables, bound 65 s.
A brief introduction (Chapter 1) is followed by a historical
survey, beginning in 1839 (Grove) and ending in 1933 (Buur
and Tobler). This chapter is thus “historical”, but not in the
sense that we can nowadays pass over it with a tolerant smile.
I t is in fact here that we see clearly that though refined
methods of investigation and advanced technology have led
in the meantime to important progress, the fundamental
problems have hardly changed, and in particular, the idea
postulated by Baur is still surprisingly current.
The present book is the first in the series “Information
Sources for Research and Development” published by D. J.
Foskett and R . T. Bottle. Since important changes have taken
place in the field of information since the appearance of the
first edition (1962) [*I the authors have revised and expanded
almost every chapter. Thus, sections have been added on
spectroscopic data, physical methods, literature on analytical
chemistry, and sources relating to prices and manufacturers
of chemicals. The original chapters on data collections,
physicochemical literature, literature on inorganic chemistry,
nuclear chemistry, organic chemistry with a special chapter
on Beilstein, and patents have been supplemented by a chapter on polymer chemistry. New also is the chapter on less
conventional sources of information like market reports,
personalities (Who’s Who?) etc.
The next few chapters (3-9) present what was described
above as a textbook. The thermodynamics and the kinetics
of electrode reactions are dealt with in detail; the concept of
irreversibility, the types of overpotential, electrocatalysis, and
the shape of the current-voltage curve are discussed. The
authors attach special importance to the study of transport
processes, which are often regarded as being of minor
significance, and consequently go into great detail in this
chapter (79 pages). The next sections lead us more toward the
practice of fuel cells; these are the chapters on the electrode
structure, experimental methods, and the oxygen and hydrogen electrodes.
This first, general part of the book has already presented all
the theoretical and practical information about “normal”
fuel cells (Hz/Oz in aqueous electrolytes) that is worth
knowing, so that only special types remain to be discussed
separately in the succeeding chapters ( 1 k 1 3 ) . These are
systems that use liquid fuels, those that utilize hydrogen
indirectly, i . e. after conversion of hydrocarbons, those that
burn hydrocarbons directly, and those in which non-aqueous
electrolytes, i.e. molten salts or solid electrolytes, are used.
The discussion of ion exchangers as electrolytes (Chapter 14)
leads over t o the description of complete fuel batteries
(Chapters 14 and 15). The authors confine themselves here to
two types that have already proved themselves in practice,
i.e. the batteries developed by General Electric for the
Gemini space missions and the methanol batteries constructed by Brown-Boveri for the long-term supply of power
to television translators. This limitation is justified o n the
grounds of the enormous amount of data, which cannot be
covered in a single book. On the other hand, because of this
very abundance of material, the reader would expect such a
comprehensive work to contain a critical selection of fundamentally or technically interesting prototypes, even if these
have not yet come into practical use, even at the risk of being
proved wrong in the assessment of future prospects. Instead
of this the last chapter, which deals with the decisive step
from the fuel cell t o the fuel battery, closes with a consideration of the main problems involved, though further
information can be obtained from references. The surprising
brevity of the discussion of the technique of battery construction is compensated for, however, by a more thorough
account of the development and practical testing of the Gemini batteries, interesting details of which can be provided
by the authors as former employees of General Electric.
The book on the whole is thorough, comprehensive, and
flowingly written in the “dry” theoretical sections. Its main
value probably lies in the fact that it is a valuable source of
information for the expert, but is equally suitable for use by
the non-expert as a n understandable introduction to what is
for him a new field. Despite the continuous theme, each
chapter, and particularly those that are predominantly
theoretical, is self-contained (some of them have already
been published as independent articles), so that special
sections may be skipped for a general picture. This is particularly worthy of mention in that in this age of space travel,
which has provided the most spectacular demonstration so
far of the value of fuel cells, even many who are not electrochemists may be expected to have a n interest in these modern
sources of current.
Helmut Schmidt
[NB 877 IE]
748
Although the work is designed predominantly for scientists
from the English-speaking world, as the publisher emphasizes
at the beginning, and the directions for the use of the chemical
literature were written from this standpoint, the book should
be generally useful to all readers interested in this field. The
chapters o n the work of libraries, primary literature (journals,
reports, dissertations), secondary literature, in which the
well-known larger abstracting services are described in detail,
and works of reference give a particularly good survey even
though the German-language services, which of course are
important for the German scientist, are given only incomplete coverage.
A special chapter is devoted to translations and translation
journals. A reference section for Russian literature is also
supplied. The list of acronyms used in the literature and their
meanings (Appendix I) is extremely useful. Appendix 11
contains exercises (with answers) on problems broached in
the book.
I t is difficult to see why Dissertation Abstracts and information services are mentioned under primary sources, while
there is no reference to patents in this section. Furthermore,
the Signal Information from the All-Union Institute for
Scientific and Technical Information, Moscow, is not included in the section o n information services while the reference to Express Information is inappropriate at this point.
The index at the end of the book is valuable, like every aid t o
search, but unfortunately random checks showed that it is
not complete (no entry under CA Condensates and Basic
Journal Abstracts and no reference to the paragraph on
ASLIB on p. 18).
Despite its minor shortcomings, however, this book can be
recommended to those interested in the field of information.
Christian Weiske [NB 887 IE]
The Biochemistry of Folk Acid and Related Pteridines. Vol. 13
in the series “Frontiers of Biology”. By R. L . Blukley.
North Holland Publ. Co., Amsterdam-London 1969. 1st
ed., xxi, 569 pp., Dfl. 90.-.
The chemist knows the pterins only as a n unusual class of
rather intractable heterocyclic natural pigments that lead a
somewhat aloof existence in the wings of the brimstone
butterfly or in the skin of frogs. The biochemist also knows
that pteridines and pteridine derivatives occupy key positions
in metabolism as cofactors of several reactions. They have
recently attracted increasing attention from plant physiologists as primary photoelectron acceptors in green leaves,
from which the best-known conjugated pteridine derivative,
folic acid, takes its name. However, relatively simple unconjugated pterins are active here and in the hydroxylation
of aromatic rings; the more complex folic acid, o n the other
[*I See Angew. Chem.
75, 740 (1963).
Angew. Chem. internat. Edit.
Vol. 9 (1970) No. 9
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