A Textbook of Inorganic Chemistry. Second English edition (Ephraim

The present English edition has been enlarged and revised by the translator. ... this field between the general, elementary texts and the com- prehens...
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RECENT BOOKS A T ~ x r s o oOF ~ INOROANIC C E E ~ S T Y . Fritz Ephmim, Professor of Chemistry in the University of Berne. Translated by P. C. L. Thorne. M.A. (Cantab.), M.Sc., Ph.D. (Lond.). Second English Edition. Gurney & Jackson, London, 1934. xii 873 pp. 85 Figs. 16 X 24cm. 28 s.


The German editions of this text have been known to chemists as an invaluable source of information for a numher of years. The present English edition has been enlarged and revised by the translator. It is written to fulfil the needs of the advanced student, the teacher, and the investigator in chemistry and allied subjects. I n other words, i t 131s the large gap which exists in this field between the general, elementary texts and the comprehensive treatises and dictionaries. The author describes in his preface the arrangement of the subject matter: "An attempt has been made t o arrange the numerous isolated facts of inorganic chemistry in a more rational grouping than has previously been the custom, so that they may be more readily assimilated and the interest of the reader sustained. "This arrangement of the matter presupposes that the reader is already acquainted with the fundamental facts of chemistry. The usual arrangement, in the manner of a dictionary, fails t o place related facts together and the connection of the isolated statements is never sufficientiy emphasized. I n this book unconnected facts have been included only in so far as they illustrate the general matter under discussion; in this way a clearer general view of the subject is obtained and the separate facts are remembered as part of an intelligible scheme. By treating related compounds together, comparisons and connections and their causes and effects are clearly emphasized, after which any special properties of particular substances are mentioned." Thus, the oxides of the alkali and alkaline-earth metals; basic oxides of the heavy metals; the hydrides of the elements of the fifth group; the oxygen compounds of nitrogen; and the oxygen campounds of phosphorus, arsenic, antimony, and bismuth are discussed as units in separate chapters. Such an arrangement avoids repetition of facts and, in addition, tends t o clarify and unify a large numher of facts pertaining t o substances of similar character. It is indeed gratifying t o see that the author has introduced many of the fundamental concepts and important, as well as useful, theories of chemistry early in his treatment of the subject. T o illustrate, the structure of matter, the periodic classification of the elements, the phase rule, allotropy, Werner's coordination theory, and other valence theories are introduced in the initial chapters and are used throughout the text t o great advantage. I n other words, the author has used these concepts as tools rather than as ends in themselves. Such a procedure seems t o the reviewer to be much more logical and beneficial than the usual one followed in most treatises on the subject. References t o the original literature are quite limited in number but, in most instances, cite the mare important works. It is felt that the text could be made much more valuable t o the investigator by including a larger number of references. This suggestion is of greater importance in relation t o some of the subjects which are rather hriefly discussed. Although i t is realized that a complete discussion of any given subject in a text of this type is not feasible, a larger number of citations t o the literature would be very helpful. An appendix to the text on the literature of inorganic chemistry is given; this is invaluable to the student who is not thoroughly acquainted with the sources of information of the field. The book is exceedingly well written and the translation maintains the same high standards. One is impressed by the vastness of the subject and, in particular, by the many different lines of research which might be followed t o solve some of the problems of inorganic chemistry. I n this respect, the text is stimulating to the reader.

O m oa TEE TWT TUBE. Harry N. Holmcs, Ph.D., Oberlin

College. Ray Long and Richard R. Smith, New York City, 1934. x f 373 pp. 83 Figs. 15 X 23 cm. 53.00. I n the preface the author says. "If you are one of those intelligent, yet nan-technical people who have some interest in chemistry, who would like t o penetrate beyond its wonders t o an appreciation of its methods: "If you want t o understand our research, our reasoning, in order that you may relate chemistry to daily life, t o economics, t o social relations, to the arts, t o national defense, and to world affairs: "Then to you, in your easy chair, this book is dedicated." Dr. Holmes presents the challenge of creative chemistry in a most attractive manner. I n the Contents we find such interesting chapter headings as, "The Importance of Nothing a t AU," "The Fall of the Hause of Uranium." "Man against Pygmy," "Born t o the Purple," "Windows toward Heaven," and "Have You a Chemist on Your Board?" The 83 figures are strikingly original and clever. There is scarcely a group in American soriety the author does not challenge. To the industrialist and business man he says, "The whole country suffersbecause a mighty productive capacity, geared t o continuing expansion, finds markets glutted. Business cries for some vast new need that will keep factory wheels humming with pleasing music for years t o come. Better and cheaper houses for the average man, even for the poor man, will provide this vast market for the steel industry. the glass industry, the cement industry and a dozen others." For the farmer there are these words. "For every dollar spent in agricultural research the nation profits t o the extent of $5W; and $25,000,000 is appropriated annually by the Federal Government and the states for this work." To the politician, "Sewage purification a t Los Angeles is secured by 'activated sludge.' . There can be no argument about the wisdom of compelling all cities so t o dispose of sewage instead of overloading our streams with untreated material. The scientists have done their part-will politicians and tax payers do theirs?" T o the educator he quotes the words of W. R. Whitney: "Look a t the Nile lahorer, pumping water by his own muscle vower. It takes all his time to earn the food he eak-we - can't .~~. . expect murh from his hrain. A n clectnc pump will set that man free. Perhaps. you say, he isn't ready for freedom. Then that is a proldrm not for industry but for educntion." And, finally, t o the individual with consciousness attuned to the spiritual, "A revelation of the sublime order in the atomic number arranement of our ninetv-two elements-there are no more-re~.. vivrd the religious faith of a discouraged, douhting student To him, a non-techniral man, it seemed that only a Sulmme Mind could hare sct the stars in their courses and the elements in such a convincing order." The book is up-to-the-minute. Hydrogenation of petroleum, the making of paper from hybrid poplar by McKee and from slash pine by Herty, and mercury vapor boilers are among the recent industrial developments treated. There is the story of neutrons, positrons, and heavy water from the fields of atomic structure. No mention is made, however, of the experiments of Cockcroft and Walton on tapping atomic energy, and the possihility of ever doing so is rather scouted. Glucose is also stated to have only 16 isomers. From the point of view of a chemical educator the greatest disappointment comes in the failure t o show how atomic weights and valence are determined, because the author thought these constitute "too long and difficult a tale t o tell here." After observing haw interestingly some of the other theoretical topics are treated, one does not doubt Dr. Holmes' ability to make these clear also, even t o the man in his easy chair.

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