The Chemistry Book: From Gunpowder to Graphene, 250 Milestones in the History of Chemistry (Sterling Milestones) (英語) ハードカバー – 2016/2/9
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From atoms and fluorescent pigments to sulfa drug synthesis and buckyballs, this lush and authoritative chronology presents 250 milestones in the world of chemistry. As the -central science- that bridges biology and physics, chemistry plays an important role in countless medical and technological advances. Covering entertaining stories and unexpected applications, chemist and journalist Derek B. Lowe traces the most important--and surprising--chemical discoveries.
Since 1989, chemist Derek B. Lowe, has worked for several major pharmaceutical companies on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases. After receiving his PhD in chemistry from Duke University, he was awarded a Humboldt fellowship to do postdoctoral research in Germany and has since handled almost 50 elements of the Periodic table. His columns on organic and medicinal chemistry are featured in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Chemistry World, and he has served on the advisory board for Chemical & Engineering News. Having written daily for the popular -In the Pipeline- blog (pipeline.corante.com) for over 12 years, Lowe is also a science blog pioneer with 6,000-plus Twitter followers. He lives in MA.
In this book chemist and blogger Derek Lowe shows us the reach, relevance and beauty of the central science through a series of two hundred and fifty milestones. Lowe does a very good job of capturing the intrinsic diversity of chemistry. The entries in this encyclopedia range from the utterly mundane but utterly indispensable (soap making, the bronze age, porcelain, modern drug discovery), to the exotic (at least for non-chemists - MALDI, Viking Steel, polywater, Nozaki coupling) to the historical (Boyle's 'The Skeptical Chymist', Bauer's tome on metal smelting, "De Re Metallica").
The cast of characters here is mouth-watering. The ordinary and yet immensely important everyday implements and protocols of the laboratory (Soxhlet extractor, separatory funnel, glove boxes, Erlenmeyer flask) get ample mention, as do important instrumental techniques (mass spectrometry, x-ray crystallography). Theoretical and historically important chemical concepts (ideal gas law, structural formulas, Dalton's atomic theory, hydrogen bonding) also get a nod. The former showcase the fact that the greatest revolutions in chemistry have been enabled by tools; the latter showcase the great ideas which illuminated the world discovered by these tools.
Lowe also devotes adequate space to the palpable beauty and joy of common chemical compounds and elements - Perkin's mauve, bakelite, teflon, polyethylene, technitium. Much of chemistry is about stunning colors, smells and sounds, and Lowe spares no effort in illustrating these marvels of the chemical world; the colorful side of chemistry is also one that lends itself well to the lavishly illustrated photographs typical of this series of books. Key chemical reactions used by organic chemists to synthesize the molecules that lie at the heart of the central science (Birch reduction, Merrifield synthesis, Ziegler-Natta calaysis) are scattered like signposts in these pages. The substances that these reactions produce - penicillin, sulfuric acid, the Pill, borosilicate glass - turn out to be crucial ingredients of our modern way of life. However the book also explores the ugly side of chemistry. Like any other science chemistry is Janus faced, and the same exploration of matter which gave us penicillin also gave us nitroglycerin, nerve gas and carbon dioxide. The unseemly manifestations of chemistry in the hands of unreliable human beings are investigated through entries describing the Bhopal Disaster, the Donora Death Fog, chemical warfare and the thalidomide tragedy. This list of entries makes it clear that the same science that can reveal and charm can also kill and maim.
Which one of these aspects we embrace is up to us. As we decide, this diverse collection of key concepts, techniques, elements, and history will hopefully drive home the deep relationship, inherent beauty and immense practical significance that the world of chemical science presents. A world without chemistry would look dramatically different and impoverished from the world we inhabit, and this listing shows us how. It's a worthy addition to the series and to science libraries in general.
"The Chemistry Book" is an excellent source for information about the science of chemistry. The format of the book is quite intriguing. There are 250 one page essays accompanied by a full page related drawing or photograph. The pages follow a chronological history of concepts, discoveries and methodology directly related to chemistry.
I would assume that this book would be an useful addition to a high school library or a helpful text for an AP chemistry student.
This is a distinctive book in many respects. It is not a text book yet assumes a "reasonable" knowledge of chemistry. Reasonable being a strong familiarity with the basic terminology and concepts of the subject.
This retired reader has no formal chemistry training but an abiding curiosity about the subject. Having the time and inclination I read through the entire book several pages per day. I came away with a deep appreciation of this science and the persistence of its practitioners. Learning how mankind has strived over several thousand years to unravel chemical mysteries was very inspiring.
The author has an engaging writing style and an obvious enthusiasm for his field. Quite accessible
for the lay reader.