Chemistry Book Reviews

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  • 7/25/2019 Chemistry Book Reviews



    Student book reviews

    Chirality in transition metal chemistry:

    molecules, supramolecular assemblies

    and materials

    H Amouri and M GruselleChichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell2008 | 260 pp | 37.50 (SB)ISBN 9780470060544Reviewed by Dai Davies

    This book starts with a detailed

    introduction to chiralityand enantiomers and thenomenclature associated withchirality. However, readers shouldideally already be familiar withchiral carbon atoms and themore simple aspects of inorganicchirality, for example enantiomersof [M(bipy)3]

    n+complexes.This section is followed by a

    chapter on chiral organometalliccompounds and asymmetriccatalysis which is necessarily a verybrief overview of this topic andif this is your main interest, more

    specialist books in this area will bemore appropriate.

    The second half of the bookconsiders chiral recognition,supramolecular coordinationcompounds, and enantiopuremolecular materials and it is inthese areas that the book is mostuseful. These topics are wellcovered, in particular showing howthe field is progressing to morerational approaches to the design

    of enantiopure supramolecularcompounds and materials.The book is well-referenced

    to the primary literaturethroughout and serves as a goodreview of these areas but withexplanations provided for theless well-established worker inthe field. Throughout, a cleardifferentiation is made between theuse of enantiopure materials andracemates, and where appropriate,discussion of the stability of thechiral information.

    Overall this book will be useful

    to students taking an advancedundergraduate course and

    particularly to postgraduates andacademics undertaking researchin the areas of chiral inorganicsupramolecular complexes andmaterials.

    Fundamentals of asymmetric


    P J Walsh and M C KozlowskiHerndon, US: University Science

    Books2008 | 688pp | 52.99 (HB)ISBN 9781891389542Reviewed by Dai Davies

    My advice to anyone readingthis book that is not alreadyexperienced in the field would beto start with the appendix, itselfover 50 pages long, on terms andenantioselective processes inasymmetric catalysis. Indeed, eventhough I thought I understood thefield reasonably well, I learnt somenew things just from the appendix.

    The book is organised differentlyto most books on asymmetriccatalysis in that the chapters arearranged by concepts rather than byreaction type. While this sometimesleads to the same reaction beingdiscussed in more than one place,I found it gave me an overview andperspective of asymmetric catalysiswhich I had not found from anyother text.

    The book deals with Lewis acid,Lewis base, metal-based catalysisand organic catalysis with detaileddiscussions of reaction mechanisms

    including kinetic analyses andenergy diagrams in many cases.

    There are chapters on varioustypes of kinetic resolution and onhow stereochemical informationis transferred from the catalystto the substrates. The authorsemphasise that while there havebeen significant achievements inasymmetric catalysis there is muchleft to do.

    The book will no doubt provideinspiration for further work whilemaking it clear that understandingthe mechanisms and origin of

    The importance of knowing left from right

    Hands up for chiral chemistry

    60 |

    Chemistry World |August 2009

    This willbecome thebible for thosewho wish tomaster theconcepts ofasymmetric


  • 7/25/2019 Chemistry Book Reviews


    enantioselectivity in asymmetric

    catalysis is a very challenging field.Overall this book will be useful,though perhaps somewhatdaunting, to students taking anadvanced undergraduate course.However, for postgraduates andacademics undertaking researchin asymmetric catalysis this shouldbe essential reading before startingresearch. I concur wholeheartedlywith the foreword which suggeststhat it will become the bible forthose who wish to master theconcepts underpinning researchadvances in asymmetric catalysis. It

    is also very good value.

    Writing up yourresearchWriting scientific research articles:

    strategy and steps

    Margaret Cargill and PatrickOConnorChichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell2009 | 184pp | 17.99 (SB)ISBN 9781405186193Reviewed by David Parker

    As both an author and copy editorof scientific articles, I know well thechallenges and pitfalls of writingup research for publication in theinternational literature.

    Written by a science educatorand a linguist, this book aims tomentor early-career researchersthrough the difficult crucial stepsof knowing how to write, whatto write and where to aim forpublication, reminding the readerthat though the quality of theirresearch is key, how it is presented

    for publication will ultimatelydecide whether it is accepted and sogain the kudos it deserves.

    The book breaks down thewriting process into a series ofkey concepts, from understandingthe publishing process and thereasons for doing so, to explainingthe purpose and best practicestructuring of an articles varioussections, through to the importantissues of language use and theavoidance of plagiarism.

    Depending on how a writerintends to use the book, there are

    Chemistry World |August 2009 |61

    How you present yourresearch is key to

    whether it gets published

    Classic kitThiele tube, p72

    Last retortCar catastrophe, p84

    A researcharticle is neverbetter than thequality of thedata

    Physical meetsbiologicalModern biophysical chemistry:

    Detection and analysis of biomolecules

    Peter Jomo WallaWeinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH2009 | 301pp | 39.95 (SB)ISBN 9783527323609Reviewed by Alan Cooper

    The interface where physicalchemistry meets molecularbiology presents exciting

    challenges for both disciplines,and this new book gives a niceintroduction to some currentaspects.

    Biophysical chemistry dates backat least to 1958 with the classic, nowtechnically antiqueBiophysicalchemistry, by Harvard chemistsJohn Edsall and Jeffries Wyman.

    Fifty years on, and we shouldexpect to see significant advances,as indeed exemplified here. Takingadvantage of recent developments,especially in optical and electronictechnologies, often driven by the

    need for enhanced sensitivityand applicability to biomedical/pharmaceutical R&D, we now havea wide range of techniques forstudying the structure and functionof biological macromoleculesand their detection at almosthomoeopathic levels. Walla gives athorough and authoritative accountof the current situation, focusingalmost entirely on spectroscopicmethods.

    The book is strong on the basics,with appropriate treatmentsof fundamental molecular

    spectroscopy leading on to morerecent application in single-molecule manipulation andanalysis. The authors researchexpertise in this area underpinsa good selection of illustrativeexamples, with a nice range ofproblems accompanying eachchapter (answers apparently tobe available online though not attime of writing).

    But perhaps the choice of title isa little unfortunate. The coveragehere is not quite as comprehensiveas the title might suggest, omitting,

    exercises (with answers) at theend of each section, the scope tolearn as you write your own article,complete example articles to referto, and the support of a dedicatedwebsite.

    Some of the authors advice mayseem like common sense to some,but nevertheless it is sometimesvaluable to have the underlyingreasoning reiterated to keepwriters focused on their goal ofsuccessful publication. Even for amore seasoned writer, the very welllaid out and accessible style of the

    book offers a dip-in reminder ofaspects of good scientific writingpractice.

    As always, a research article isnever better than the quality ofthe data and scientific rigour thatunderpins it, a principle that nogeneralised training material, suchas this book, can reasonably hopeto impart. That said, I found thatthere was enough genuinely usefulguidance, which can help writersdevelop their technique, for thisbook to be a worthy companion onany new researchers desk.

  • 7/25/2019 Chemistry Book Reviews


    Student book reviews

    Curly arrows show the

    movement of electrons

    eventually reaches a definition inthe last paragraph, and even then thedefinition is poor. Other definitionsare suspect; for example consider:carbocations are positively charged

    carbon ions (a much better definitionfrom elsewhere is a carbocation isan ion in which a positive chargeresides on a carbon atom). Detailedexplanations are given for simplepoints, but more difficult ones areskipped over.

    The one good feature of the bookis the collection of problems withsolutions, and lecturers may like tomake use of these.

    In conclusion, I would mostdefinitely not recommend this bookto students they might like to try

    Pushing electronsby Daniel Weeks


    Jump startthermodynamicsIntroduction to molecular


    Robert M Hanson and Susan GreenHerndon, US: University ScienceBooks2008 | 296pp | 23.99 (HB)ISBN 9781891389498Reviewed by Mark Miller

    There are several reasons whyfirst-year science undergraduatesrarely rate thermodynamics as theirfavourite subject. Many find themathematics daunting, but it can alsobe hard to grasp concepts like entropyand free energy when presentedwithin the traditional framework ofphenomenological thermodynamics.

    Hanson and Green strive to bypassthese problems first by restrictingthe level of mathematics to simplealgebra with no calculus, and secondby taking a molecular approach from

    the very start. Hence, explanationsof thermodynamic quantities andproce