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Fundamentals of Molecular Symmetry. Series in Chemical Physics. By Philip R. Bunker and Per Jensen

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also to sources more easily accessible to
the public, and to internet sites, for
example. That would certainly give the
interested reader better opportunities
for gaining a deeper knowledge of some
aspects. As always, the optimum provision would be a well-ordered bibliography with references to original sources.
To summarize, John Mann has succeeded well in bridging the gap between
the biological relationships of life on
one hand and the vast number of
research results on the other hand,
which can only be recognized as true
milestones of pharmaceutical research
when we look back at the whole picture
from the present day. Readers who
expect that in this book, which covers
such a wide variety of topics, every
chapter will provide an exhaustive
description of individual drugs, and a
full and detailed discussion of their
molecular mechanisms, are perhaps
better advised to read advanced books
on those topics. I hope that all other
readers will derive untroubled enjoyment from the contents of this book.
Olaf Prien
Schering AG
Berlin (Germany)
Fundamentals of Molecular
Series in Chemical
Physics. By Philip R.
Bunker and Per
Jensen. Institute of
Physics Publishing,
Bristol 2004.
358 pp., softcover
£ 38.00.—ISBN
Since Wigner%s groundbreaking publication in 1931 on the application of
group theory to the interpretation of
atomic spectra, there have been countless monographs that have extended the
principle by applying molecular symmetry considerations to the analysis of
molecular spectra. One need only think
of F. A. Cotton%s work Chemical Application of Group Theory, which served as
a companion for several generations of
students. That book was a boon for those
chemistry students who had little inclination for preparative work, but wished
to gain a deeper understanding of
molecular vibrations and the electronic
excitation spectra of molecules. Today%s
students are more economical and selective in their use of learning resources,
which is certainly because the demands
placed on students, and therefore also
the available resources, have changed
Who are the readers most likely to
benefit from the present book? It is
intended especially for students who
wish to extend their studies to include
more advanced work in the area of the
high-resolution spectroscopy of small
molecules. It can certainly be recommended for those readers, as the authors
are recognized experts in this field, and
are therefore familiar with all the important types of problems and the difficulties that are encountered, which are
treated thoroughly in the book. Its
particular advantage is that, rather
than deriving the symmetry properties
of molecules solely from their equilibrium geometrical configurations and
the resulting point groups, the emphasis
is instead on developing them by considering molecular symmetry groups,
which are based on the permutation
groups of selected particles (nuclei,
The mathematical and physical relationships are explained in an easily
understandable way. I found only one
case where the authors failed to give a
full explanation: in introducing the transition moment and the application of the
direct product to the resulting integrands, the authors merely state that
the overall transformation of the integrand is totally symmetrical, without
explaining the physical reason for this.
On the whole, the topics are developed in manageably small steps. By
taking a small number of molecules as
examples, the student is shown how the
mathematical operations are performed
in practice, and how the theory is
applied. This approach is followed consistently throughout almost the entire
book. Important generalizations and
3 2005 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
theoretical principles are highlighted in
“boxes”, so that the reader can quickly
recognize the essential points and key
In the first chapter, as an introduction, some basic principles of spectroscopy are explained, covering ground
similar to that in elementary lectures
on physical chemistry. The authors
undoubtedly intended that this should
give the student an introduction to the
interpretation of spectra, without the
need for previous knowledge. Accordingly, the exercise problems in this
introductory chapter are kept at an
elementary level. In the rest of the
chapters, the exercise problems that
accompany the text are reasonably
easy to solve and do not overtax the
student. Brief model answers are provided for some of the questions. For
students using the book for independent
learning, it would certainly be desirable
to give short solutions to all the exercises.
The visual presentation of the material is rather unsatisfactory in a few
places. Thus, some of the figures do not
fit harmoniously into the text layout, for
example because of a poor choice of
size, or because the numerical data
shown on the axes of graphs are badly
proportioned. In these cases the textbook looks more like a set of lecture
notes, from which it has, in fact, probably originated.
As mentioned at the beginning, the
monograph is suitable for students who
wish to be able to understand the highresolution spectra of small molecules.
However, it can also be recommended
for other readers who would like to get a
better insight into the theoretical treatment and application of molecular symmetries, as a complement to existing
monographs on point group symmetries—even though (in accordance with
the book%s main purpose) some classical
areas of application, such as molecular
vibrations in transition-metal complexes, are not covered.
Hans Bettermann
Institut f-r Physikalische Chemie und
Universit1t D-sseldorf (Germany)
DOI: 10.1002/anie.200485285
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2005, 44, 6615 – 6616
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per, symmetry, chemical, molecular, series, jensen, bunker, physics, philips, fundamentals
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