Organic sulfur chemistry. Theoretical and experimental advances

Organic sulfur chemistry. Theoretical and experimental advances

readers of this journal, and many others besides. But this is more than a good read. With a host of aptly chosen illustrations, many in colour, an exp...

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readers of this journal, and many others besides. But this is more than a good read. With a host of aptly chosen illustrations, many in colour, an expansive format (25cm X 25cm) which allows effective large-scale reproductions, and fine printing by Cowells of Ipswich, it is an elegant book. Colin Ronan Chaos. Edited by Arm V. Holden. Pp. 324. Manchester University Press. 7986. Cloth f35.00, Paperback f 14.00.

The ability to generate something random from some simple deterministic system fascinates the human mind. Thus the study of Chaos has assumed an important position in modern physics, biology, and mathematics. A number of books have just appeared which deal with the various aspects of Chaos, and this one, edited by A. V. Holden, belongs to this category. The book is divided into six parts, with 15 chapters altogether. Essentially it is a collection of essaysby a number’of people working in the area. The first two articles set the scene for later discussions. Articles 3 and 4 look at iterative maps from the applied mathematical standpoint. A summary of properties of such maps is given and then the next five articles look at the generation of Chaos from various physical and biological systems, which are essentially endogenous. These are followed by three articles dealing with systems subject to external excitations. A global measure of Chaos - i.e. the quantification of the state of Chaos - is studied via the Lyapunov exponents and entropies, etc., in Articles 13 and 14 of Part 5. Then the book ends with a somewhat philosophical article by RGssler entitled ‘How chaotic is the universe?‘. All in all, the articles are generally quite well-written and readable and should be useful for the layman as an introduction into this fascinating world of Chaos. The index should prove useful as a guide into various aspects of Chaos and Chaos-related topics. I would have preferred to see the references categorised at the end of the book but perhaps this would be asking too much. An interesting omission is any substantial contribution from a statistician or a probabilist. One would expect that a statisticianiprobabilist could make a substantial contribution to the study of the interplay between determinism and non-determinism. Howell


The Mystery of Comets. By Fred L. Whipple. Pp. 276. Cambridge University Press. 1986. f 12.95.

Throwing tradition to the winds, the father of the icy nucleus comet model offers a brilliantly conceived mix of science, personality, and history. The traditionally discreet references to living workers in the field are replaced by an intimate weaving of their role (and even portraits) into the developing scientific dialogue on cometary science.

Timed to coincide with the 1986 perihelion of Halley, the book brings together a very wide range of facts and figures plus some folklore for colour. Reminding us of the almost totally insignificant mass released in just one cometary apparition compared with the scale of the solar system, we find the role of personalities vital to understanding these curious remnants of the creation of the solar system. Astrophysics today also enjoys the benefits of a comet in that ‘laboratory in the sky’ to understand physics on scales of large dimension or high energy. For Newton it was the driving force for developing his new mathematics. Written by a lesser mortal, the mix of astronomy and personality might have been irritating for the serious researcher. The book lacks, of course, data on the first exploration of comet Halley by the 1986 armada of spacecraft, and the mission’s results. And yet the book presents a benchmark of scientific understanding without undue compromise; it is unlikely to accumulate much (even cometary) dust on the bookshelf even for workers in the field. Public awareness of the new thrust in solar system studies in Europe and the USA has been greatly aided by the Halley missions, and yet we find that the teachers, parents, and administrators charged with informing the young generation of future scientists are often afraid, or unable, to teach them the science which so stimulates their inquiring minds. Fred Whipple’s expost of ideas, knowledge, understanding, and concepts tells all about comeiary astronomy, beautifully condensed into one compact volume. The book will surely be recognised as an absolutely essential primer for all school teachers. University lecturers will make less conspicious but equally frequent use of the text! The index is well prepared and organised; additional reading is suggested, but alas no bibliography is supplied. However, authors’ names, liberally quoted in the text, should prove adequate for tracing source material. Criticism is difficult to level at a text offering such a valuable primer for the teaching profession and a tasty diet for those with an interest in ‘the heavens’. J. A. M. McDonnell

Organic Sulfur Chemistry. Theoretical and Experimental Advances. Edited by F. Bernardi, I. G. Csizmadia and A. Mangini. Pp. xii + 740. Elsevier, New York and Amsterdam. 1985. $146.25 (Dfl.395).

This volume is intended to help understanding of bonding, molecular structure, and chemical reactivity of sulphur compounds. By and large the editors have succeeded. Chapter 1 is an excellent but rather self-indulgent view of sulphur bonding by Professor Oae. Much of this is repeated in the following chapter on geometric structure, which also suffers from unnecessarily large diagrams. There follows a superb chapter on the chemistry of carbanions

adjacent to sulphur, which although mainly concerned with theoretical aspects, describes useful preparative techniques. The book also contains good chapters on the stereochemistry of optically active sulphoxides, sulphur radicals, sulphonium ylides, and an authoratitive account on sulphurane chemistry. Although the book is of a generally high standard it suffers, as do most multi-author books, from an uneven style and quality. The unnecessary overlap on structural phenomena could have been eliminated at the editorial stage. The book, containing over 700 pages, is well produced, but although each individual chapter is well referenced it contains a very poor index. It is highly recommended to researchers in the field and scientists in general as an excellent up-to-date treatise on organic sulphur chemistry. Libraries should have copies but I suspect, at the price, not many individual copies will be purchased; more’s the pity, since it deserves a wider audience. D. J. H. Smith Handbook of Heterocyclic Chemistry. By Alan R. Katritzky. Pp. 542. Pergamon Press, Oxford. 1985. Hard cover $88.00; Nexicover $34.95.

‘Comprehensive Heterocyclic Chemistry’ (CHC) is currently the first-choice reference work for chemists wishing to gain entry to the enormous literature of heterocyclic chemistry. However, its price precludes all but the wealthiest from purchasing copies for their private collections. This handbook is, therefore, a very valuable addition. Though variously described as a handbook (by the title), as volume 9 of CHC; and as a textbook of heterocyclic chemistry (in the foreword), it is best considered as a handbook. It contains a wealth of information, much of it of the type that can take hours to dig out of the original literature, including bond lengths and angles, and spectral parameters such as nmr chemical shifts and coupling constants. In typical Katritzky style it is thorough, highly organized, and concentrated on those aspects of greatest significance. I found very few mistakes. The volume is broadly based upon the general sections of CHC, and crossreferences to this, as well as a list of its contents, are particularly valuable. The three major sections deal with structure/ spectra, reactivity, and preparations of the various classes of heterocycles, sub-divided into the traditional categories. This book will become one of the most-thumbed volumes in my collection. I recommend it for private or library purchase. K. Smith Nickel and Cobalt Extraction using Organic Compounds. By J. J. Jacobs, M. Allard, S. Behmo and J. Moreau. Pp. 331. Pergamon Press, Oxford. 1985. $100.00.

This monograph contains much useful information but must be used with care. It is