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Homogeneous Catalysis. Understanding the Art. By Piet W. N. M. van Leeuwen

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the applications chapters, is the ability of
(mixed) polymer brushes to undergo a
structural switch in response to an external stimulus. This holds promise for
applications in the biomedical field,
such as nonfouling substrates, biosensor
devices, and the microfluidics area.
Other potential applications can be
found in microelectronics and nanotechnology, such as micro- and nanopatterning with polymer brushes.
With the aid of an impressive team
of contributors, the editors have succeeded in compiling a book that combines general information on polymer
brushes with detailed scientific treatises.
Polymer Brushes presents the state of
the art in this research field in a comprehensive and easily accessible way.
Therefore, this book is of great interest
to scientists who want to learn more
about this new area in materials
research, as well as to polymer brush
experts who are interested in the latest
Jan van Hest
Department of Organic Chemistry
Institute for Molecules and Materials
Radboud University of Nijmegen
Nijmegen (The Netherlands)
Homogeneous Catalysis
Understanding the
Art. By
Piet W. N. M. van
Leeuwen. Kluwer
Academic Publishers, Dordrecht
2004. 407 pp.,
E 137.00.—ISBN
There already exists a vast number of
books about homogeneous catalysis.
However, the subtitle “Understanding
the Art” promises something new—we
would all like to know how catalysis
actually works, wouldnt we? To take
an example, the effects of solvents and
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2005, 44, 1294 – 1296
co-catalysts are still scarcely understood. Similarly, the subject of chiral
intermediates is one about which there
is much speculation but little evidence.
To deliver the verdict straight away,
this book fails to live up to the ambitious
promise of a comprehensive understanding of catalysis, but of course it
cannot do that. Nevertheless, the book
has a certain merit.
In the first few chapters the author
describes the fundamentals of homogeneous catalysis by transition metals. He
deliberately avoids including too many
details, which at this point would only
interfere with the aim and spoil the
enjoyment of reading the book. The
chapters describe the properties of different types of ligands and explain the
elementary steps of catalytic reactions.
There then follows a short, easily understandable, introduction to kinetic
models, which avoids burdening the
reader with too much theory and too
many mathematical equations.
Then, in the main part of the book,
some important catalytic reactions are
treated in more detail. For each reaction, an explanation of the general principles and a summary of the history is
followed by a detailed description of
applications, especially in the industrial
context. Here it is pleasing to note that
the author often goes beyond the level
usually found in textbooks, by also
describing current research studies. The
reactions discussed range from wellestablished industrial processes, such as
methanol carbonylation, hydroformylation, and propene polymerization,
through newer applications (asymmetric
hydrogenation, epoxidation, palladiumcatalyzed cross-coupling reactions,
etc.), to other reactions that seem to
offer great potential, but have not yet
found applications, or are still not so
widely used as they could be (e.g., C–
H transformations or olefin metathesis).
The most important industrial processes
are described particularly thoroughly,
often even with actual process schemes.
Naturally, this emphasis means that
some important processes such as
hydroformylation and propene polymerization are given much space, whereas
other reactions that are no less interesting from a scientific point of view, such
as hydrogenation or C–H activation
reactions, are given only a
tively brief treatment. On the whole,
the reader gets a good overview of a
very wide variety of types of homogeneously catalyzed reactions, and of standard modern practices in this field—to
be precise, in the field of homogeneous
catalysis using transition metals. Homogeneous acid/base catalysis is completely excluded, and electrophilic and
nucleophilic catalysis (Lewis acid/base
catalysis) together are given only two
To complete the picture, it should be
mentioned that the list of contents
serves as a good key to the contents of
the book. In contrast to that, the index
is rather too short. A list of literature
citations is given at the end of each
chapter, but some topics leave the
reader wishing for more.
The book is best suited for use as an
introduction to homogeneous catalysis
by transition metals for advanced and
postgraduate students. However, I also
strongly recommend it to experienced
industrial chemists whose use of metal
catalysts has hitherto been limited to
palladium supported on activated charcoal, as it will introduce them to homogeneous catalysis and help to overcome
their reservations.
Alexander Zapf
Leibniz-Institut fr Organische Katalyse
an der Universitt Rostock e. V. (IfOK)
DOI: 10.1002/anie.200485259
Multimetallic Catalysts in Organic
Edited by Masakatsu Shibasaki and
Yoshinori Yamamoto. Wiley-VCH,
Weinheim 2004.
295 pp., hardcover
E 129.00.—ISBN
Catalysis by metals is one of the great
success stories of organic chemistry.
2005 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
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understanding, van, leeuwen, art, catalysing, homogeneous, piety
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