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


Physics & Chemistry 

CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, edition, 2005-2006 edited by David R. Lide (CRC Press) For more than 90 years, researchers around the world have relied on the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics for authoritative, up-to-date data. This year will be no exception. Many of the most heavily used tables in the book receive major updates and expansions, most notably: Physical Properties of Inorganic Compounds features nearly 25% more compounds; Bond Dissociation Energies includes 70% more compounds, including for the first time more than 1200 molecular ions; and Chemical Carcinogens was updated in accordance with the recent report from the National Toxicology Program. New references will also help keep readers up to date. Not seen.

CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 86th Edition, 2005-2006 edited by David R. Lide (CRC Press) Any working Lab needs to have this standard reference work around to access the standard terms and measures in basic chemistry and physics. For decades, CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics has provided scientific and engineering communities around the world with the broad range of current and critically evaluated data required by their constantly and rapidly evolving technical fields. Data have been carefully selected and verified by checking against the most reliable sources, and major references are listed.

CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics has always provided a thorough range of critically evaluated data in a convenient, one-volume format that forms the world's leading source of scientific data. Now in its 86th edition, the handbook includes a range of new topics and tables that reflect emerging and active areas of current research.

The 86th Edition of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics continues the tradition of annual updates and improvements. The expanded and updated tables include: Standard Thermodynamic Properties of Chemical Substances: Nuclear Spins, Moments, and other Data Related to NMR Spectroscopy; Strengths of Chemical Bonds; Electron Affinities; Atomic and Molecular Polarizabilities; Dielectric Constant of Water and Steam; Vapor Pressure of Mercury; Standard Atomic Weights (reflecting the IUPAC 2001 changes); Properties of Seawater; Global Temperature and Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Trends.

A new feature in the 86th Edition is a section listing other reliable sources of physical and chemical data. This section, which appears as Appendix B, includes data‑oriented journals, institutional data centers, and major hand books, as well as a list of web addresses fort he most important physical and chemical data sources on the Internet. The listings will be kept current, and the web addresses will be updated in each subsequent edition of the Handbook.

Several other new topics have been introduced in this edition: Thermodynamic Constants for Buffers used in Biological Research; Viscosity of Liquid Metals; Eutectic Temperatures of Low‑Melting Alloys; Correction of Barometer Readings; Sensitivity of the Human Eye to Light of Different Wavelengths; Characteristic Bond Lengths in Free Molecules; Viscosity and Density of Concentrated Hydroxide Solutions; Thermodynamic Functions, Equations, and Relations;

The Editor appreciates suggestions on new topics for the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics and notification of any errors.

Contents: Basic Constants, Units, and Conversion Factors; Symbols, Terminology, and Nomenclature;
Physical Constants of Organic Compounds; Properties of the Elements and Inorganic Compounds;
Thermochemistry, Electrochemistry, and Kinetics; Fluid Properties; Biochemistry; Analytical Chemistry;
Molecular Structure and Spectroscopy; Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics; Nuclear and Particle Physics; Properties of Solids; Polymer Properties; Geophysics, Astronomy, and Acoustics; Practical Laboratory Data; Health and Safety Information; APPENDICES; Mathematical Tables; Sources of Physical and Chemical Data; Index

CRC Handbook Chemistry and Physics, 85th Edition, includes facsimile of the first 1913 edition edited by David R. Lide (CRC Press) This is the 85th Edition of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics and, coincidentally, the 15th edition produced by the current Editor-in-Chief. A facsimile of the First Edition of the Handbook, which appeared in 1913 and contained 116 pages, is being distributed with this volume. Comparison of the two provides a dramatic lesson on the rapid advance of science and technology in the ensuing nine decades. When the First Edition wits published only 81 elements were known, the electron had been discovered only 17 years before, and the proton and neutron were still unknown. Madame Curie had just won her second Nobel Prize, and Max Planck, Niels Bohr, and Albert Einstein had yet to be recognized with this honor. The size and scope of the Handbook have expanded in step with the growth of scientific knowledge. It has not only served as a reference source for professionals and students, but has provided inspiration to many young people as they developed their interest in science. The late Linus Pauling, in his Foreword to the 74th Edition, wrote “I attribute much of my knowledge about substances and their properties to my study of the information that the Handbook provided.”

Throughout its history the overall philosophy of the Handbook has been to provide broad coverage of all types of data commonly encountered by physical scientists and engineers, with as much depth as can be accommodated in a one-volume format. While the Internet has spawned numerous large, comprehensive databases covering narrow areas of science, we feel there is still a need for a concise reference source spanning the full range of the physical sciences and focusing on key data that are frequently needed by R&D professionals, engineers, and students. We hope the CRC Handbook, in its print, CD-ROM, and Internet formats, can continue to serve these needs.

The 85th Edition includes updates and expansions of several tables, such as Aqueous Solubility of Organic Compounds, Thermal Conductivity of Liquids, and Table of the Isotopes. A new table on Azeotropic Data for Binary Mixtures has been added, as well as tables on Index of Refraction of Inorganic Crystals and Critical Solution Temperatures of Polymer Solutions. In response to user requests, several topics such as Coefficient of Friction and Miscibility of Organic Solvents have been restored to the Handbook. The latest recommended values of the Fundamental Physical Constants, released in December 2003, are included in this edition. Finally, the Appendix on Mathematical Tables has been revised by Dr. Daniel Zwillinger, editor of the CRC Standard Mathematical Tables and Formulae; it includes new information on factorials, Clebsch-Gordan coefficients, orthogonal polynomials, statistical formulas, and other topics.

FOREWORD: My acquaintance with the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics goes back 60 years, for when I was inducted into the wonders of chemistry by an uncle of mine ("Uncle Tungsten") — I was ten — he lent me his copy of the 23rd (1939) edition. This was not pocket-sized, like the earlier editions he had on his shelf, and indeed contained over 2200 pages printed on thin India paper, and the whole book, with its soft red morocco cover, fitted easily in the hand. I fell in love with it straightaway — my uncle, seeing this, told me I might keep it — for its tables were so full of information that I thought of it as containing the whole universe between its covers. I was especially attracted to the Physical Constants of Inorganic Compounds, 150 densely packed pages which, through constant poring over, I got almost by heart.

I think I owe the only original idea I had in my chemical boyhood to these tables — for, having been struck by the steadily rising melting points and densities of the transition metals in Groups IV-VI as one went from Period 3 to 6 (Ti, Zr, Hf; V, Nb, Ta; Cr, Mo, W), I was then taken aback to find that the Period 7 analogues of these broke the series. Thorium had a lower melting point and density than hafnium; uranium lower ones than tungsten. Could it be, I wondered, that they were not in fact analogues of hafnium and tungsten, not transition metals at all, but belonged to an interpolated series which resembled the rare-earth metals? To my joy, after the War, I found that this naïf idea of mine, a possibly unjustified leap of the imagination, turned out to be true—but it was entirely due to poring over the tables of the CRC Handbook that I owed it.

Although my interests later turned more to biology and then medicine, the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics has never lost its enchantment for me. I got the 30th (1947) and the 41st (1959-1960) editions — at this point the Handbook still had its smaller format, but had become almost cubical in shape (the 41st edition had nearly 3500 pages); and then, of course, it morphed into its present, monumental format. While I keep the massive recent editions in my study, I keep my original one, the 23rd edition, on my bedside table, for it is easy to handle (especially when one is reading in bed), and was my most cherished gift as a boy. Indeed, one way or another, whether reading in bed or in my study, I have always had a Handbook near me. While the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics is monumental in its scope, a huge, always-to-be-relied-upon mine of information, it is also a friendly book, a companion which has given me joy for the greater part of my life. -Oliver Sacks, New York, October 2003

Preface To CRC Handbook Of Chemistry and Physics Facsimile First Edition:

To mark the appearance of the 85th Edition of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, the publisher has pro­duced this facsimile of the First Edition, which came out in 1913. Comparison of the first and eighty-fifth editions illustrates the progress of science over the intervening years. Publication of the First Edition coincided with the appearance of Niels Bohr's revolutionary paper on the hydrogen atom, and came only eight years after Einstein's "miraculous year" when he published his historic papers on relativity, Brownian motion, and the photoelectric effect. Only 81 ele­ments were known in 1913, the electron had been discovered only 17 years before, and the proton and neutron were still unknown. Madame Curie had just won her second Nobel Prize, and Max Planck, Niels Bohr, and Albert Einstein had yet to be recognized with this honor.

The evolution of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics has paralleled the growth of modern science and the technological revolution that resulted. Since this first vol­ume in 1913, the Handbook has been revised annually except for a few wartime years. It has grown steadily in both size and diversity of information. The 13th Edition in 1928 contained 1214 pages plus a few advertisements for rubber aprons and stoppers. Nine pages were devoted to atomic spectra (compared to over 150 much more densely packed pages today). The charge of the electron was given to four fig­ures (now ten figures). The 29th Edition in 1945 had reached 2640 pages, with no advertising, but was still in the smaller 4.5 x 7 inch page format. It included data on amino acids and artificial radioisotopes, and the charge of the electron was quoted to six figures. Post World War II editions expanded in step with the growth of the general scientific establishment, soon leading to the present large-page format. In the last three decades information has been added on lasers, the genetic code, global climate change, high temperature super-conductors, and other topics that were unknown when many of us started our scientific education.

Throughout its history the CRC Handbook has emphasized three goals: accuracy, currency, and convenience. Data are taken whenever possible from evaluated sources and sub­jected to stringent quality control. The annual cycle for new editions permits new, improved data to be incorporated quickly and coverage of emerging scientific areas to be added. While the book passed the coat-pocket size long ago, we have retained the single volume format that finds its way to thousands of desks and laboratory benches. Development of an electronic version was started five years ago, and the full content, accompanied by powerful search and retrieval software, is now available on the Internet and as a CD-ROM product. As the needs of users change, new features and new delivery mechanisms will continue to be introduced.

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