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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences



Lange's Handbook of Chemistry, 70th Anniversary Edition, 16th Edition by James Speight (Lange's Handbook of Chemistry: McGraw-Hill Professional) Very few reference works these days seem indispensable or can be easily found on-line. However Lange’s Handbook is the essential tool for any working chemist.

Respected for over seven decades as the standard reference for chemists and chemical engineers, this extensively revised and updated 70th Anniversary Edition of Lange's Handbook of Chemistry is an enormous compendium of facts, data, and tabular material. Lange's lists the properties of over 4000 organic and 1400 inorganic compounds. The new edition features new tables covering viscosity, thermal conductivity, critical constants, explosion limits, and vapor density; and for the first time in Lange's, equations allow the calculation of values such as temperature and pressure.

New and revised coverage of Organic Compounds * General Information, Conversion Tables, and Mathematics * Inorganic Compounds * Properties of Atoms, Radicals, and Bonds * Physical Properties * Thermodynamic Properties * Spectroscopy * Electrolytes, Electromotive Force, and Chemical Equilibrium * Physicochemical Relationships * Polymers, Rubbers, Fats, Oils, and Waxes * Practical Laboratory Information

This Sixteenth Edition offers 40% new or extensively revised content and starting with this edition, the author includes equations that allow users to calculate important values such as temperature and pressure. The handbook every chemist must have. A close-at-hand, bookshelf necessity for science students, chemists, chemical engineers, and … others whose sphere of interest intersects with that of chemistry.


Excerpt: This new edition, the fifth under the aegis of the present editor, remains the one-volume source of factual information for chemists, both professionals and students—the first place in which to "look it up" on the spot. The aim is to provide sufficient data to satisfy all one's general needs without recourse to other reference sources. A user will find this volume of value as a time-saver because of the many tables of numerical data that have been especially compiled.

Descriptive properties for a basic group of approximately 4300 organic compounds are compiled in Section 1, an increase of 300 entries. All entries are listed alphabetically according to the senior prefix of the name. The data for each organic compound include (where available) name, structural formula, formula weight, Beilstein reference (or if un- available, the entry to the Merck Index, 12th ed.), density, refractive index, melting point, boiling point, flash point, and solubility (citing numerical values if known) in water and various common organic solvents. Structural formulas either too com­plex or too ambiguous to be rendered as line formulas are grouped at the bottom of each facing dou­ble page on which the entries appear. Alternative names, as well as trivial names of long-standing usage, are listed in their respective alphabetical order at the bottom of each double page in the regular alphabetical sequence. Another feature that assists the user in locating a desired entry is the empirical formula index.

Section 2 on General Information, Conversion Tables, and Mathematics has had the table on general conversion factors thoroughly reworked. Similarly the material on Statistics in Chemical Analysis has had its contents more than doubled.

Descriptive properties for a basic group of inorganic compounds are compiled in Section 3, which has undergone a small increase in the number of entries. Many entries under the column "Solubility" supply the reader with precise quantities dissolved in a stated solvent and at a given temperature. Several portions of Section 4, Properties of Atoms, Radicals, and Bonds, have been significantly enlarged. For example, the entries under "Ionization Energy of Molecular and Radical Species" now number 740 and have an additional column with the enthalpy of formation of the ions. Likewise, the table on "Electron Affinities of the Elements, Molecules, and Radicals" now contains about 225 entries. The Table of Nuclides has material on additional radionuclides, their radiations, and the neu­tron capture cross sections.

Revised material for Section 5 includes the material on surface tension, viscosity, dielectric con­stant, and dipole moment for organic compounds. In order to include more data at several tempera­tures, the material has been divided into two separate tables. Material on surface tension and viscosity constitute the first table with 715 entries; included is the temperature range of the liquid phase. Material on dielectric constant and dipole moment constitute another table of 1220 entries. The additional data at two or more temperatures permit interpolation for intermediate temperatures and also permit limited extrapolation of the data. The Properties of Combustible Mixtures in Air has been revised and expanded to include over 450 compounds. Flash points are to be found in Section 1. Completely revised are the tables on Thermal Conductivity for gases, liquids, and solids. Van der Waals' constants for gases have been brought up to date and expanded to over 500 substances.

Section 6, which includes Enthalpies and Gibbs Energies of Formation, Entropies, and Heat Capacities of Organic and Inorganic Compounds, and Heats of Melting, Vaporization, and Sublimation and Specific Heat at Various Temperatures for organic and inorganic compounds, has expanded by

11 pages, but the major additions have involved data in columns where it previously was absent. More material has also been included for critical temperature, critical pressure, and critical volume.

The section on Spectroscopy has been retained but with some revisions and expansion. The section includes ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, fluorescence, infrared and Raman spectroscopy, and X-ray spectrometry. Detection limits are listed for the elements when using flame emission, flame atomic absorption, electrothermal atomic absorption, argon induction coupled plasma, and flame atomic fluorescence. Nuclear magnetic resonance embraces tables for the nuclear properties of the elements, proton chemical shifts and coupling constants, and similar material for carbon-13, boron-11, nitrogen-15, fluorine-19, silicon-29, and phosphorus-31.

In Section 8, the material on solubility constants has been doubled to 550 entries. Sections on proton transfer reactions, including some at various temperatures, formation constants of metal com­plexes with organic and inorganic ligands, buffer solutions of all types, reference electrodes, indicators, and electrode potentials are retained with some revisions. The material on conductance has been revised and expanded, particularly in the table on limiting equivalent ionic conductance.

Everything in Sections 9 and 10 on physiochemical relationships, and on polymers, rubbers, fats, oils, and waxes, respectively, has been retained.

Section 11, Practical Laboratory Information, has undergone significant changes and expansion. Entries in the table on "Molecular Elevation of the Boiling Point" have been increased. McReynolds' constants for stationary phases in gas chromatography have been reorganized and expanded. The guide to ion-exchange resins and discussion is new and embraces all types of column packing and membrane materials. Gravimetric factors have been altered to reflect the changes in atomic weights for several elements. Newly added are tables listing elements precipitated by general analytical reagents, and giving equations for the redox determination of the elements with their equivalent weights. Discussion on the topics of precipitation and complexometric titration include primary standards and indicators for each analytical technique. A new topic of masking and demasking agents includes discussion and tables of masking agents for various elements, for anions and neutral molecules, and common demasking agents. A table has been added listing the common amino acids with their pI and pKa values and their 3-letter and I-letter abbreviations. Lastly a 9-page table lists the threshold limit value (TL V) for gases and vapors.

The Art of Chemistry: Myths, Medicines and Materials by Arthur Greenberg 0471071803 (Wiley-Interscience) How do you picture an atom or imagine a chemical reaction? How have chemists, and before them alchemists, carried out their experiments? For centuries, people have sought to convey the ideas and practices of chemistry through art, poetry and prose. And in The Art of Chemistry, Arthur Greenberg leads us on an eclectic and very personal romp through many of them. In 72 short essays accompanied by nearly 200 illustrations, we follow an erratic but fascinating route through the history of chemistry. The approach both complements and expands on Greenberg's earlier Chemical History Tour (Wiley, 2000).
He guides us from representations of the four ancient elements, through 18th-century illustrations of Dalton 's atoms, to recent depictions of molecules that are looped together like links in a chain. We see diagrams of apparatus and pictures of laboratories in action, from a 16th-century mineral assayer to a 20th-century chemistry class for women. We meet some of the great characters of chemical history portrayed on cigarette cards, and are introduced to some fascinating lesser-known persons. Among them is Marie Meudrac, who in 1656 became the first woman to have a chemistry book published.

The Periodic Table may be familiar to many people, but what about a Periodic Helix or a Periodic Roller Coaster? Greenberg shows how an understanding of relationships between the elements developed, as well as providing brief extracts from books inspired by the Periodic Table. You may be familiar with Primo Levi's 1975 book of that name, in which 21 chapters are named after elements, but more than 50 years earlier Edwin Herbert Lewis produced White Lightning, with 92 chapters running from hydrogen to uranium. Greenberg does not claim to offer a comprehensive history of chemistry or a systematic survey of chemical art, but rather a host of fascinating snippets that both inform and entertain.

The Chemical Philosophy: Paraclesian Science and Medicine in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries by Allen G. Debus ( Dover ) Swiss-born physician and alchemist Paracelsus (1493-1541) and his disciples espoused a doctrine they proclaimed as a truly Christian interpretation of nature in chemistry. Drawing upon a mixture of ancient, medieval, and Renaissance sources, they developed a new philosophy that interpreted both macrocosmic and microcosmic events through the personal observations of the chemist and the Divine Grace of the Lord. Until the publication of this book, however, the breadth and vicissitudes of the Paracelsian approach to nature and medicine had been little studied.
This volume spans more than a century, providing a rich record of the major interests of the Paracelsian and other chemical philosophers and the conflicts in which they engaged with their contemporaries. It examines chemistry and nature in the Renaissance, the Paracelsian debates, the theories of Robert Fludd, the Helmontian restatement of the chemical philosophy, and many other issues of this transitional era in the history of science.

 Enhanced with 36 black-and-white illustrations, this well-researched and compellingly related study will fascinate students of the history of science, chemistry, and medicine.
Dover (2002) republication in one volume of The Chemical Philosophy: Paracelsian Science and Medicine in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (2 volumes), published by Science History Publications, a division of Neale Watson Academic Publications, New York, 1977.

Magick, Mayhem, and Mavericks: The Spirited History of Physical Chemistry by Cathy Cobb (Prometheus)  takes a unique approach to explaining the concepts of this essential body of knowledge by telling the story of the geniuses and eccentrics who over the centuries made groundbreaking discoveries in this fascinating field that bridges chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Her tale is as much about the colorful varieties of human character as it is about the struggles to understand the workings of the material world. Through true stories of rebels, recluses, heroes, and rogues--some burned at the stake--Cobb creates a compelling narrative (without a single equation to ponder) that helps the reader discover how one idea built upon another and how an elegant discipline arose from centuries of trial and error.

Starting with the ancient Greeks, Cobb takes the reader on a sweeping tour of history. She shows how an understanding of basic chemical properties gradually emerged out of medieval "magick" and alchemy, the primitive healing arts, and the mathematics of the ancient Greeks as modified by Muslim scientists. Her tour continues through the scientific revolution, which laid the foundation for our modern principles and methods, up to the present creation of new techniques that can be used for rational drug design and the manipulation of individual atoms in the promising field of nanotechnology.

With engaging explanations of fundamental scientific concepts and a lively cast of characters, this absorbing, eloquently written, and spirited history of physical chemistry will surely enhance the reader's comprehension and appreciation of our richly textured past, the exhilarating scientific advances of today, and the challenges for tomorrow.


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