What is a chemical compound? Compounds are substances that are two or more elements combined together chemically in a standard proportion by weight. Compounds are all around us - they include familiar things, such as water, and more esoteric substances, such as triuranium octaoxide, the most commonly occurring natural source for uranium. This reference guide gives us a tour of 100 of the most important, common, unusual, and intriguing compounds known to science. Each entry gives an extensive explanation of the composition, molecular formula, and chemical properties of the compound. In addition, each entry reviews the relevant chemistry, history, and uses of the compound, with discussions of the origin of the compound's name, the discovery or first synthesis of the compound, production statistics, and uses of the compound.
The 100 Most Important Chemical Compounds provides readers not only with the understanding of the chemistry of these substances and the practical uses of these compounds, but also includes numerous interesting historical details about the scientific discoveries:
-Hannibal employed acetic acid in crossing the Alps
-A disgruntled family doctor pleas to do medical research leads to the use of insulin to treat diabetes -Charles Francis Hall's research as a high school student resulted in a cheap process to produce aluminum and the founding of ALCOA
-A bitter priority dispute among several doctors over the discovery of ether as an anesthetic lead to suicide, prison, and early deaths.
-Dupont scientists researching the production of CFCs accidentally produced a white waxy substance now known as Teflon
-A chemist synthesized methylphenidate and administered it to his wife Rita. He named the compound after her -- Ritalin
The reference guide includes a glossary, a guide to further reading, and numerous chemical illustrations to help illuminate the text.
Chemicals play a role in our everyday lives, from the water we drink to the air we breathe. Here, Myers (environmental science, Alaska Pacific Univ.) provides information on 100 chemicals important to society, heath, and industry. He opens with an introduction to chemical compounds and a summary of the entry format. The discussion of chemicals that follows includes acetic acid (the acid in vinegar), xylene (a chemical used to make plastics and polyester), the synthetic pesticide DDT, penicillin, chlorophyll, and methane. The three- to five-page A-to-Z entries contain each chemical's name, formula, structure, mass, CAS number, melting and boiling points, and density as well as information on its importance and, in some cases, history. The book closes with a table of common names, a guide to further reading, and a glossary. Because there is no mention of selection criteria, readers are left wondering why these particular chemicals are discussed.
Correction:In the review of Anti-Americanism: History, Causes, and Themes(LJ9/1/07), the publisher was listed incorrectly. The publisher is not Greenwood but Greenwood World Publishing, a separate imprint.