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Vol. 30 No. 3
May-June 2008

Bookworm | Books and publications hot off the press.
See also www.iupac.org/publications

The Investigation of Organic Reactions and their Mechanisms
edited by Howard Maskill
Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, 2006

reviewed by Tadeusz Marek Krygowski

This 370-page volume consists of 12 monograph reviews dealing with modern—but classical in origin—physical organic chemistry. The first chapter by H. Maskill is a valuable introduction to problems of the relations between the kinetics and mechanisms of organic reactions, providing a perspective for the issues presented in the whole volume. Then, T.W. Bentley discusses how to investigate mechanism reactions by studies of their products. The next chapter by L.M. Canle, H. Maskill, and J.A. Santaballa presents a wide spectrum of experimental methods for investigating kinetics. Important problems of relationships between the mechanism and rate law are presented by the same authors in the next chapter. Kinetics in the multiphase systems is also an important field of current research and is reviewed by J.H. Atherton.

O. Hammerich reviews electrochemical methods for investigating the organic reaction mechanism with a presentation of specific features of these methods in experimental practice. P.R. Schreiner answers the question: How can computational chemistry help to elucidate the reaction mechanisms? He covers fundamental ideas and basic approximations employed in quantum chemistry, the methods of which are a theoretical basis for most approaches in this field. Recent developments in calorimetry and IR-ATR spectroscopy for investigating the reaction kinetics are reviewed by U. Fischer and K. Hungerbuehler.

Detection of intermediates in the chemical reaction is a very important research problem, particularly as it concerns their structure. C.I.F. Watt presents an expert opinion on this problem by answering the question What is an intermediate? and by providing the reader with a systematic approach to the description of the mechanism of chemical reaction. Another important review deals with the investigation of catalysis by acids, bases, and enzymes written by A. Williams.

All review articles are well referenced in two ways: they refer the reader to some other, earlier review articles and monographs, and they provide references to the most important original papers. This volume is a very valuable source of comprehensively presented knowledge in the field kinetics and mechanisms of organic reactions. It is recommended to all researchers involved in the kinetics and mechanical studies of chemical reactions in chemistry, chemical technology, biochemistry, and materials science.

Tadeusz Marek Krygowski is a professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Warsaw.


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