A Short History of Chemistry (Partington, J. R.)

in the history of chemistry and for collateral reading by students of chemistry and by students of intellectual history. I t is written in a compact s...
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RECENT BOOKS A SHORT HISTORYoa CHEMISTRY. J . R. Partington, M.B.E.. DSc., Professor of Chemistry in the University of London, Queen Mary College. The Maanillan Company, New York City, 1937. 13 X 20 cm. xiv 386 pp. $2.50. This is an excellent textbook, suitable for use in college courses in the history of chemistry and for collateral reading by students of chemistry and by students of intellectual history. I t is written in a compact style, contains rather more information than some of the texts, and willserve, in general, as a book for first reference by teachers of chemistry who wish t o look up the historical background for their lectures. The author says in his preface, "The intention of the present work is t o give a concise survey of the history of Chemistry, suited to the requirements of students preparing for degree examinations. The period before Boyle has heen treated hridy, although greater prominence than usual is given t o van Helmont on account of his undeniable importance. The development of Chemistry in thelater part of the nineteenth and in the twentieth century is only briefly sketched and illustrated by the w o k of a few outstanding chemists; this part of the subject is dealt with the ordinary lecture courses on Chemistry and need not he reI n subject matter also, an peated in a book of this kind. attempt has been made, by a careful division of topics. t o find a better balance than has sometimes been attained. Mast histories of Chemistry lay too much emphasis upon Organic Chemistry, and there are several special histories of this subject; more consideration has now been given t o the important development of Physical Chemistry, no special history of which has yet appeared." The &st three chapters, treating respectively of The Origins of Applied Chemistry (Early Applied Chemistry, Early Knowledge of Metals. Glass. Dyes), of The Beginnings of Chemistry (The Four Elements. Chemical Knowledge of the Classical Period, The Chemical Papyri, Alexandria, The Beginning of Chemistry, Alexandrian Chemistry) and of The DXuusion of Alchemy (Chemistry in Arabia, Hindu Chemistry, Chemistry in China, Alchemy in Europe, Early European Writers on Alchemy, Roger Bacon, Amald of Villanova, Raymund Lully), occupy forty pages and bring the history t o the time of Paracelsus. They seem to the reviewer t o constitute an inadequate treatment of the early period, and fail t o give sufficient account of the results which the recent research of scholars of various nations has produced. This is all the more curious because of Partington's well-known interest in early chemistry and of the notable contributions which he has made t o our knowledge of it. Yet i t is probably true, after all, that the present brief treatment of the early period is sufficient t o fulfil the author's objective of meeting "the requirements of students preparing for degree examinations!' I t is, however, not enough to meet the requirements of students who wish to get as liberal an education as possible out of their study of science. The cultural value of the history of early chemistry is large. Concerned with a time when the various intellectual disciplines were not yet separated, i t brings the student in contact with the whole idea system of an ancient people, out of which system ideas, chemical and non-chemical. have been transmitted -transmitted by the processes of history.which the student may thus see a t w o k s e p a r a t e d , revised, re-combined or held separate; and these are the ideas which a u e n c e our present life in innumerable ways in chemistry and out of it. A study of the logical structure of ancient doctrines, of the morphology of dead beliefs, may be made without prejudice, and will help the student to evaluate fairly the opinions which prevail a t present. Chapter IV deals with Iatrochemistry, or Chemistry in the Service of Medicine (Paracelsus, Van Helmont, Sylvius, Agricola, Basil Valentine, Lihavius, Glauber, Lemery, Tachenius. Kunckel) and terminates with a hrief tabular Summary of the Early History of Chemistry. Chapter V. Early Studies on Combustion and



the Nature of the Atmosphere, describes the work of Boyle. Hwke, Mayow and Jean Rey, and includes a short account of the philogiston theory of Becher and Stahl. Chapter VI treats of the Discovery of Gases (Hales, Black, Cavendish, Scheele. Priestley), and Chapter VII of Lavoisier and the Foundations of Modem Chemishy. Chapter VII and all those which fallow it contain Summaries and Supplements which greatly increase the scope and value of the book. I n Chapter VII the author says. "In this, and further summaries, the broad outlines of the work of each of the chemists dealt with in the text are summarized, and the opportunity is often taken of giving a brief mention of other chemists, or of work done by those dealt with in the text, in addition. The summaries are, therefore, in some ways an addition to the chapters and should not be passed over by the student. Summaries of topics are also given for the purpose of correlating information given in different places in the text." The remaining Chapters, headed respectively, VIII, Laws of Combining Proportions and the Atomic Theory; IX, Davy and Berzelius and the Electrochemical or Dualistic Theory; X. The Beginnings of Organic Chemistry; XI, Substitution, the Unitary and Type Theories; XII. The Theory of Valency; XIII, The Development of Organic Chemistry; XIV, The History of Physical Chemistry; XV. The Periodic Law; andXVI, The Structure of the Atom, are such that the student may learn chemistry as well as the history of chemistry from them. The Summaries are excellent. That a t the end of Chapter XI11 makes mention of twenty-six organic chemists, always with dates, and of many others who collaborated with them or worked in related fields. The Supplement of Chapter XIV similarly contains twenty paragraphs, each devoted to a single physical chemist and the field of his researches. The Supplement of Chapter XV, entitled, "The Development of Inorganic Chemistry," likewise contains fourteen paragraphs. The book ends with "A Short Bibliography" which "contains particulars of some works which may be consulted for further details, and also books on the History of Chemistry (of varying value)," and with name and subject indexes. It is fully illustrated. The excellent textbook is attractive and moderately priced. TENNEY L. DAVIS M*SSACRVSBTTS INSTITUTB 0. TBCBNOLODY C~BRIDOB M. A ~ A C W S B T F S

LABORATORY TECHNIQUE IN ORGANICCHEMISTRY. AvWy Adrian Morlon, Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York and London, 1938. a 261 pp. 14 X 21 cm. $2.50. IN ORGANIC CREMISTRY presents a LABORATORY TECHNIQUE detailed and comprehensive consideration of the basic principles of organic technic. One complete chapter is devoted to each of the following basic procedures: drying and drying agents, the melting point, the boiling point, fractional distillation, vacuum distillation, steam distillation, crystallization, filtration, adsorption, extraction, and special methods and apparatus. Eighteen experiments in the hack of the book are designed to familiarize the student with micro-boiling points, micro-fractionation, microsublimation or distillation under vacuum, fractionation, drying or esterification with a fractionating column, vacuum distillation, vacuum distillation of very small quantities, molecular distillation. super-heated steam distillation, purification by digestion, chromatographic adsorption, the cooling curve, purity and identity from the boiling point, filtration, crystallization of lactic acid and sirupy mixtures, determination of the number of theoretical plates in a fractionating column, reaction in an inert atmosphere. and macro experiments. Twenty pages are devoted t o a consideration of drying and drying agenls, which is subdivided into (a) chemical agents, (b)