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Book Review Trace Analysis. Spectroscopic Methods for Molecules. Edited G. D. Christian and J. B. Callis

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Schrodinger. Centenary Celebration of a Polymath. Edited
by C . W. Kilminster. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1987. 253 pp., bound, ~30.00.-1SBN 0-52134017-9
To mark the centenary of the birth of Erwin Schrodinger
a conference was held in the spring of 1987 at Imperial
College, London. Most of the papers presented at the
meeting are contained in this volume. They are all, without
exception, written by internationally recognized scientists.
Schrodinger, who, together with Einstein and Planck, is
one of the best known of the founders of twentieth century
physics, was born in Vienna and studied physics at the
city’s university. Towards the end of an eventful life, he
returned in 1957 to his native country. The places where
Schrodinger did his most important work were Zurich
(1921-1927), where his achievements included the publication of his six famous papers on wave mechanics, Berlin
(1927-1933) and Dublin (1940-1957), where, after years of
fleeing from the Nazis, he found a secure intellectual home
in the Institute of Advanced Studies. In 1933 he was
awarded a Nobel Prize in physics for his work on wave
mechanics.
This collection of articles is, by the nature of its theme,
very heterogeneous. There are two contributions (by
Flamm and McCrea) on biographical aspects and on the
background to Schrodinger’s scientific works, while the
rest of the articles are mainly concerned with the current
state of knowledge in those fields which were given a new
theoretical basis by the Schrodinger equation. Readers unfamiliar with the methods of theoretical physics will find
considerable difficulty with many of the articles. Nevertheless, even the layman will be impressed by the enormous
range of influence that Schrodinger’s work has on modern
physics.
Schrodinger, like Einstein, was never entirely satisfied
with the then generally accepted interpretation of quantum
mechanics according to the Copenhagen school. For this
reason the three papers (by Dorling, Bell, and Yang) that
are concerned with the modern view of Schrodinger’s interpretation of wave mechanics, are especially interesting. I
have the impression that the front of resistance to “unconventional’’ interpretations of the quantum theory is gradually beginning to weaken.
From the chemist’s point of view the greatest interest lies
in the significance of the Schrodinger equation for questions of chemistry, to which four papers are devoted (Karplus, Fukui. Buckingham, Pauling). Understanding of
chemical bonding and chemical reactions would be highly
inadequate without the basis provided by Schrodinger’s
work. Further, the numerical methods of calculation that
are based on the Schrodinger equation are now an indispensable source of exact data on molecules and molecular
aggregates. Molecular dynamics too has its origins in
quantum mechanics. In this field laborious quantum-mechanical calculations are nowadays often replaced by classical approximations which are sufficiently accurate. Some
of the most important modern applications are to understanding chemical reactions of small molecules in the gas
phase, to the structure and dynamics of liquids, and to the
study of biologically important macromolecules.
The little book “What is Life?’, which Schrodinger
wrote during his time in DubIin, undoubtedly introduced
many young physicists to interesting unsolved problems in
biology. The reservations expressed by those experts (Perutz, Pauling) who criticize the eminent physicist for superficiality and insufficient knowledge of the literature were
therefore somewhat unexpected, though justified on closer
1052
scrutiny. These minor complaints, though, cannot shake
the overall picture of Schrodinger as a widely ranging
scholar. This book is written mainly with physicists in
mind, but the chemist o r biochemist with interests in this
field will also find it profitable reading.
Peter Schuster [NB 850 IE]
Institut fur Theoretische Chemie und Strahlenchemie
der Universitat Wien (Austria)
Trace Analysis. Spectroscopic Methods for Molecules.
Edited by G . D. Christian and J . B. Callis. Wiley, ChiChester 1986. XII, 406 pp., hard cover, s 52.75.--ISBN
0-47 1-87583-X
The identification and quantitative analysis of molecular
trace components in (usually) complex mixtures belongs to
the most important tasks in modern Analytical Chemistry,
particularly in areas like environmental, clinical, agricultural, food and biochemistry. In order to obtain reliable
and accurate results, separation methods (like GC, HPLC)
are often combined with spectroscopic techniques which
enable one to obtain qualitative and quantitative information.
This volume presents four of these spectroscopic techniques-photometry, luminescence spectroscopy, IR spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy. The most important
technique for trace analysis of molecules, mass spectrometry, is not included, obviously to keep the number of pages
limited. The limitation of the content to these four techniques should have been stated in the title!
The chapters have been written by different authors,
consequently the chapters differ somewhat in style and
structure: While the chapter on IR ( A . L. Smith, Dow
Corning Corp.) does not cover the fundamentals of I R
spectrometry but centers on aspects of trace analysis with
this technique, the other chapters on photometry ( K . L.
Ratzlaff; University of Kansas), luminescence spectroscopy ( R . J. Hurfubise, University of Wyoming) and NMR
( D . L. Rabenstein, University of California, and T. T. Nakashima, University of Alberta) provide more a presentation of fundamentals, instrumentation and application of
the individual techniques. Relation to trace analysis is provided to a variable extent. The chapter on N M R shows a
particular emphasis on the fundamental principles of the
technique: only 10 out of 108 pages are devoted to trace
analysis.
Nevertheless-all of the chapters are of interest for
those who want to make themselves acquainted with the
principles and basic potential of these spectroscopic techniques. The presentations are clear and illustrative and
much specific information about measurement techniques
etc. is given. Major recent progress in each area-e.g. the
use of lasers in photometry-is included as well as a list of
references (between 86 and 395 per chapter) which refers
either to fundamental literature or specific information.
The general impression can be summarized as follows: a
good presentation of four major spectroscopic techniques
for trace analysis of molecules. The book is useful for separation scientists who want to get to know such spectroscopic techniques. It may also serve as a rather good textbook on photometry, luminescence spectroscopy and
NMR for analytical chemistry courses.
M . Grasserbauer [NB 851 IE]
Laboratorium fur Physikalische Analyse
Institut fur Analytische Chemie
Technische Universitat Wien (Austria)
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 26 (1987)
No. 10
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