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Molecular Physics. Theoretical Principles and Experimental Methods. By Wolfgang Demtrder

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Aziridines and Epoxides in Organic
Edited by Andrei K.
Yudin. Wiley-VCH,
Weinheim 2006.
492 pp., hardcover,
149.00 E.—ISBN
As the editor, A. K. Yudin, states in his
foreword, “Interest in epoxides and
aziridines has been amplified because,
not only are they significant synthetic
endpoints, but they are also tremendously useful synthetic intermediates.
Due to the strain associated with the
three-membered ring, they are springloaded! for reactions with nucleophiles”.
According to the introduction, the
book describes in a fascinating manner
the developments not only in the synthesis of both these classes of small-ring
heterocycles, but also in their reactions.
Appropriately, the treatment of the
latter subject is not limited to the wellknown classical nucleophilic substitution reactions, but also covers many
unusual transformations that are not so
well-established, but are no less amazing.
Of the 12 chapters, four are concerned solely with the synthesis of
epoxides and aziridines. As well as
metal-catalyzed reactions, the chapters
discuss the synthesis of epoxides from
aldehydes, and of both epoxides and
aziridines by methods that are wellestablished but are still active areas of
research. The chapter devoted to the
biosynthesis of epoxides opens fascinatAngew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2006, 45, 5733 – 5734
ing perspectives for the synthetic chemist, and is therefore rightly included in
the book. The biosynthesis of aziridines
is also described in a chapter on the
discovery, biological activity, and biosynthesis of aziridine natural products.
However, the organocatalytic epoxidations of olefins are not included.
It is, of course, impossible to cover
comprehensively in a single book the
applications of aziridines, and especially
of epoxides, as starting materials in
organic synthesis. Therefore, a choice
had to be made as to what subjects to
include. The topics chosen include vinylaziridines and vinylepoxides in organic
synthesis, asymmetric synthesis with
aziridine carboxylates and phosphonates, metalated epoxides and aziridines
in synthesis, catalytic asymmetric epoxide ring-opening, epoxides in complex
molecule synthesis, aziridine natural
products, and epoxides and aziridines
in click chemistry. All these areas of
research are topical, and therefore relevant to researchers interested in epoxides and aziridines. My only criticism is a
consequence of the space limitation of
the book. Some topics could, and
should, have been covered more extensively. As an example, the chapter on
epoxides in complex molecule synthesis
should have been more comprehensive.
The treatment of the very active field of
epoxypolyene cyclizations by cations
and free radicals is much too short in
view of its importance.
Clearly, other editors might have
chosen different topics, but this is
merely a matter of personal taste.
While, of course, it remains to be seen
whether all of the described emerging
areas will stand the test of time, the
book nevertheless represents a fascinating and intriguing description of the
state of the art in the chemistry of
epoxides and aziridines.
All the chapters are written by
leading experts in the field, and one
can feel the excitement of the researchers about their work. The book is therefore a genuine pleasure to read, contains
a large body of useful information, and
contains literature references up to early
2005. The index is well-organized and
greatly facilitates the finding of information.
Aziridines and Epoxides in Organic
Synthesis should therefore be included
in the library of every chemistry department. Experts in the field of catalysis
and organic synthesis in both academia
and industry will value the book as a
very important “spring-loaded” source
of information.
Andreas Gansuer
Kekul*-Institut f-r Organische Chemie
Universit1t Bonn (Germany)
Molecular Physics
Theoretical Principles and Experimental Methods.
By Wolfgang Demtrder. Wiley-VCH,
Weinheim 2005.
470 pp., softcover
E 69.00.—ISBN
This book, an updated English translation of an original written in German,
is a textbook on the basic physics of
molecules, with a strong emphasis on the
theoretical analysis of molecular spectra
and how to record them experimentally.
The book assumes that the reader has
some basic knowledge of quantum
mechanics and physical chemistry, but
apart from this addresses students at
both undergraduate and graduate levels.
The field is structured in a way that
one would choose for a lecture: it starts
with the Born–Oppenheimer approximation and the description of electronic
states of diatomic molecules (including a
short description of approximate methods to solve the electronic Schr8dinger
equation), then discusses rotations and
vibrations of diatomic molecules. The
“inverse problem”, namely how to
obtain the potential energy curve from
a knowledge of the molecular energy
levels, is also discussed in some detail.
This first part of the book is completed
by a chapter on spectra of diatomic
molecules, which also covers some general aspects of molecular spectroscopy
such as line widths, Doppler broadening,
and two-photon processes. The 25 pages
: 2006 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
on symmetry and group theory form a
hinge between the first part (on diatomics) and the second part, which discusses
polyatomic molecules.
Among the topics presented in the
second part are different types of molecular rotors, vibrational normal modes in
such molecules, new couplings such as
the Coriolis interaction, electronic states
of polyatomic molecules, and the spectra arising from transitions between
their eigenstates. The three chapters
that follow can be viewed as add-ons
to the main body. One of them is
devoted to phenomena that are beyond
the theoretical treatment described so
far, and covers effects as diverse as the
breakdown of the Born–Oppenheimer
approximation and perturbations resulting from spin–orbit coupling. The other
two chapters briefly discuss molecules in
external fields and entities (clusters)
held together by non-covalent bonds.
A large chapter (80 pages) on experimental techniques, more specifically
how to use laser techniques to obtain
high spectral or temporal resolution,
completes the book.
Molecular physics is a well-established research field, and is therefore
already covered by many existing textbooks. So it is not unfair to ask which
need is addressed by the present one.
According to the author, the aim of the
book is to present a homogeneous
coverage of both theoretical and experimental aspects. However, out of the
12 chapters only a single one (albeit the
largest) is devoted to experimental
techniques. Although real world spectra
are displayed in the theory sections, the
treatment is not very different from that
in other books, except for the valuable
subchapter on the “inverse problem”,
which is not treated in many other
places. Thus, the bottom line is that
this is a textbook on the quantummechanical description of molecular
energy levels and the transitions
between them, which is augmented by
a chapter on how to record them with
high quality. Presenting a comprehensive discussion of diatomic molecules
first, and treating polyatomic molecules
separately thereafter, is probably of
great help to the novice reader, but
may be felt as less convenient on a
second or third reading.
It is noteworthy that the literature is
referenced rather extensively. The bibliography to the chapters contains
265 references, many of them to original
publications (although there are many
duplicates, since the references are
organized chapter by chapter). Some
historical papers (even from the 19th
century) are cited, but it seems doubtful
whether the reader will actually look up
these references.
There are some topics that I think
should have been covered, given the
quite general title of the book. As the
interaction of light and matter is the
central event recorded in molecular
: 2006 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
spectra, a bit more than the seven
pages on transition probabilities would
have been appropriate. Since the dipolar
approximation is not derived (e.g., in
the context of time-dependent perturbation theory), chirooptical methods
that necessitate going beyond the
dipole approximation are not covered
by the book. On the whole, the material
in the theoretical part has been chosen
for its relevance to molecular spectroscopy, from microwave frequencies to the
UV region—nuclear magnetic resonance, electron spin resonance, and Xray absorption experiments play no role
here. Molecules in external fields are
only discussed very briefly. Likewise, the
chapter on experimental methods contains detailed information on various
kinds of laser spectroscopy, but remains
somewhat cursory for other techniques.
This book can be recommended to
students looking for a textbook on
molecular spectroscopy. The organization of the material is oriented towards
the needs of undergraduate students,
but nevertheless the book is comprehensive and will also be of value for
more advanced readers.
Christoph van W"llen
Institut f-r Chemie
Technische Universit1t Berlin (Germany)
DOI: 10.1002/anie.200585402
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2006, 45, 5733 – 5734
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experimentov, wolfgang, theoretical, molecular, physics, demtrder, method, principles
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