Chemistry: A humanistic approach (Andrews, Donald H.) - Journal of

Chemistry: A humanistic approach (Andrews, Donald H.) Esther B. Sparberg. J. Chem. Educ. , 1975, 52 (2), p A132. DOI: 10.1021/ed052pA132.2. Publicatio...
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book reviews The Proton in Chemistry. Second Edition

R. P. Bell, University of Stirling. Cornell Universitv Press. Ithaca. New York. 1973. vii .+ 310 i p . Figs. and tables. 16 X 24 cm. $17.50. Professor R. P. Bell is a leading authority on acids and bases, as well as one of the great teachers and writers of chemistry. The first edition of "The Proton in Chemistry," published in 1959, has been a muchquoted classic. The present, second edition takes a fresh look a t the subject, based on today's knowledge, and is current u p t o 1974. More than half of the nearly 1000 literature references are t o articles published since 1959. Recent developments, especially the direct study of fast proton transfer reactions and the experimental and theoretical study of hydrogen isotope effects, are treated clearly and authoritatively. I a m frankly enthusiastic about the seeond edition. It gives a comprehensive coverage of proton transfer-equilibrium, kinetics, catalysis, structural and solvent effects, and reaction mechanism-within the brief span of 300 pages. It achieves a balance of perspective, a clariy of exposition, and a happy synthesis of recent knowledge with old, that are intensely educational and are certain to reveal new facets of this familiar subject t o a wide range of readers, from college seniors to seasoned researchers, from chemical physicists t o biochemists. I recommend it for purchase by your school's technical library and as a book you may wish t o add t o your personal library, even if you already own a copy of the first edition. The new edition of "The Proton in Chemistry" may be particularly rewarding t o teachers of chemistry. In response t o our environmental and enerm crises, there have recently been a number of widely publicized high-level discussions of desiderata for chemical education in the U.S.A. The sense of these discussions has been that chemical education has become too narrow and too specialized, especially a t the graduate level, and that i t needs t o be broadened through better integration of knowledge from diverse chemical fields. The second edition of "The Proton in Chemistry" provides a n extraordinarily fine model of scientific breadth. achieved without sacrifice of high critical standards, by a master teacher. Ernest Grunwald Brandeis University Waltham. Massachusetts 02154

Chemistry: A Humanistlc Approach

Donald H. Andrews. McGraw-Hill Book Co., New Yark, 1974.xv 396 pp. Figs. and tables. 17 X 23.5 cm. $11.95 ($9.95 Paperbound).


The late Dr. Donald Andrews designed this tent for a one-semester or two-quarter course for the non-science major. He was also coauthor of the excellent general chemistry text "Fundamental Chemistry." A132


Journal of Chemical Education

In the preface of "Chemistry A Humanistic Approach," he wrote that he tried to open new paths to understanding and enjoyment in the study of chemistry with a minimum of mathematics by emphasizing form and symmetry in shaping chemical behavior, and also by using an integrative approach taking analogies and illustrative examples from applied chemistry, the humanities, and the social sciences. The contents of the book have been consistently organized within this framework. The opening chapter on chemistry in today's world is followed by a chapter each on basic definitions related to matter, the elements, energy, electronic structure, nuclear structure, chemical bonding, chemical dynamics, states and reactions, and solutions. This is followed by three chapters of descriptive chemistry, six chapters a n organic and biochemistry, and a eoncluding chapter an chemistry in the future. Scattered throughout the hook are many allusions to topics of current practical scientific interest, and t o ideas and individuals outside of science, e.g., impressionism in art, Freud, Wordsworth. There are many excellent analogies to clarify scientific concepts. The theme of the symmetries of wave patterns within the atom, accompanied by the imagery of the production of unheard music by these vibrations, first described in Chapter 5,"The Singing Atom," is used frequently throughout the book. Dr. And r e w appears to have been a modern Kepler who searched for the harmony of the universe in number. He affirms his agreement with Pythagoras and Teilhard de Chardin, the latter comparing the periodic table to a chime of hells. The wave nature of the electron is developed thmugh a rather detailed discussion of sound and vibrations in one, two, and three dimensions. Although this treatment is imaginative and well-written, it would require close concentration for those unfamiliar with musical theory. Chemical elements, their characteristics, and nuelear stability are described in terms of their magic numbers. There are excellent original accompanying diagrams. The author's obvious enthusiasm and delight in these symmetries are communicated to the reader. Some careless errors were found in the hook. The terms atomic weight and gram atomic weight were used interchangeably. Atomic weight was defined as a collectian of 6 X loz3 atoms. J . R. Mayer (p. 344) was not a chemist but a German physician who was one of the first to formulate the conservation of energy principle. Neither the music compositions noted on page 95, nor thermodynamic analysis on page 192 are included in the appendix as indicated in the teat. Table 14-3contains alcohols in one column rather than aldehydes. The book contains some excellent and original material-but will it work in a course for the non-science student? I regretfully must reply, "I think not." Many concepts are introduced without definition, e.g., torque, volt, electron volt, diffraction, free energy. Such equations as C = Af. E = %R(t + 273.15°), and A G = A H - TAS are included without justification. The hook is obviously not self-contained, for students would need both additional background and much help from the in-

structor. The level of presentation is uneven ranging from statements of basic definitions assuming no previous knowledge, to the use of concepts that are not defined, and thermodynamic equations that would he too much for the average non-science student. Although the paint of view of the book is unique in its emphasis an the aesthetic component of chemistry and symmetry, it can be compared to others stressing eult u r d aspects of chemistry for the nonmajor. "Chemistry, A Cultural Approach" by William Kieffer, and "Chemistry, Man and Society" by M. Jones, J . Netterville, D. Johnston, and J . Wood are more even in their presentation, more self-contained, and more realistic in their level of presentation. The problem is illustrated here of constructing a course for the non-science major without including adequate hackground material. The author partially attempted to solve this tough problem by adopting a straight narrative, expository style, and presenting modem chemistry as a "fnit occompli." In doing so, he omitted such important aspects of science for the nonmajor as the processes of science, the relationship between observations and theories, the meaning of explanation, models, and operational definitions in science-in short, the essence of science. Examples of some notable omissions are any reference to the source of empirical formulas in the laboratory, and the operational definition of an element. In short, the hook emphasizes the aesthetic component of chemistry in a uniquely refreshing way, hut omits discussion of the nature of chemistry as one of the natural sciences. Esther B. Sparberg Hotstra University Hernpsted, New York 11550

An Introduction to Separation Science

Bany L. Karger, Northeastern University, Lloyd R. Snyder, Technicon Instruments Corp., and Csaba Horvoth, Yale University, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1973. aix + 586 pp. Figs. and tables. 15.5 X 23.5cm. $19.50. This hook, written by three prominent researchers in gas and high speed liquid column chromatography with eontributions by others, attempts t o present a unified treatment of various separation methods which could serve as a text for an advanced undergraduate or graduate-level course in separation science. After an introductory chapter, Part One of the bwk covers general principles and fundamentals, with chapters on separation equilihria (thermodynamics), diffusion and mass transport, operational aspects of separation, chromatography, and characteristics of individual separation methods (e.g., capacity, selectivity, speed). Part Two includes nine chapters on specific separation methods which are based on phase distrihution equilibria. Chapters are included on distillation. gas-liquid (Continued on page A1361