Friday, November 20, 2015

Bleg: old chemistry texts?

It must be Chemistry Book Day in the chemblogosphere, with Derek asking about ideas for new drug discovery/development texts.

Here's my question: what is your favorite pre-1980s chemistry text/reference book?, i.e. a book that chemists use (not a popular chemistry text). Bonus points if it is an organic chemistry text. 

31 comments:

  1. Vogel. No need to look further.

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    1. Ditto. I can't even count the number of times I cracked that thing open to figure out how to distill a particular solvent/reagent, activate/use drying agents, make cold baths, make TLC stains. It's now even available online!

      http://app.knovel.com/web/toc.v/cid:kpPLCE0014/viewerType:toc/root_slug:purification-laboratory-2/url_slug:purification-laboratory-2/?

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  2. Although there are now newer editions; here are mine:

    Chemical Applications of Group Theory - F.A. Cotton

    Advanced Inorganic Chemistry - Wilkinson&Cotton

    General Chemistry - L. Pauling

    I also think the best source for inorganic chemistry is always literature if one knows where to look or whose papers to read from 70's or 80's.

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  3. Coulson's Valence. This was one of my set texts at college, and I remember starting to read it during the Summer before I started. I still have it in my book collection, although the spine is somewhat faded now.
    Also: Principles of Organic Synthesis by R.O.C. Norman.

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  4. The green (2nd?) Morrison & Boyd, an old friend and my intro to OCHEM.

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    1. When I was a TA in general chemistry, some of my former students were taking organic chemistry and the text was Hendrickson, Cram, and Hammond. They told me they would read Morrison and Boyd first before tackling HC&H.

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  5. A book chemists use? We have a few pre-1980s CRC Handbooks kicking around that still get pulled out now and then. Everyone has their school texts on their shelves too but they don't move much.

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  6. Nature of the Chemical Bond? Dang, can't believe the last edition's from 1960 (?). Shouldn't that be like the Feynmann lectures of chemistry?

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  7. Rabinovic-Chavin: Strucna Chemicka Prirucka (Brief Chemical Handbook), Czech translation from Russian "Kratkaia Khimicheskiy Spravochnik" 2nd ed.,1978. Nothing to rave about, but contains useful data on solubility of inorganic salts at various temperatures (including some organic solvents), the stability constants of various complexes, densities of acids, acid/base titration indicators, buffers and the like. Printed on a crappy yellowing paper, it looks more ancient than it really is, and the best thing - I got it for free, lifting it when I moonlighted in a book-printing shop.

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  8. Mechanism and Structure in Organic Chemistry-Gould and Organic Chemistry of Synthetic High Polymers-Lenz

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  9. I think Peter Sykes book was initially published pre 1980. I still recall being told, on how to learn mechanism, to read it "until the pennies drop".

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  10. Weygand/Hilgetag "Preparative Organic Chemistry", 4th edition Wiley-Interscience 1972, got a lot of use, more than any other book on my shelf when I was in graduate school in the early 70s. The imbedded experimentals made it the go-to book in the lab and saved endless hours in the library going through Chem-Abs looking for stuff. Organic Functional Group Preparations vol 1 by Sandler and Karo, Academic Press 1968 also was used a lot in the lab.

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  11. Ho yeah, I should have mentioned Fieser and Fieser Reagents for Organic Synthesis vol 1, Wiley 1967 which was everyone's go-to book from 1967 to this day.

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    1. I actually have a copy signed by Mary Fieser. Got it when she wandered into the lab one day.
      Certainly a collectors item, perhaps?

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  12. Weirdly, I like to collect old chemistry textbooks (and occasionally I will read a paragraph in one of them). For organic, Fieser & Fieser Text book of Organic Chemistry (1939) is kind of fun because these were the days before Derek Barton and conformational analysis, so there are no Newman projections and cyclohexane chairs in the text anywhere. Its kind of fun for me to understand what was known, when, in Chemistry.

    My favorite organic is Carl Noller's Chemistry of Organic Compounds (3rd edition, 1965). The best part of the book is he has written, throughout the text, paragraphs in small print about the isolation and purification of organic compounds, anything from, say the history of purification of sugar from cane sugar beets, or aromatic compounds like napthalene from coal tar. Did you know that Micheal Faraday determined the empirical formula for both benzene and napthalene? Got that from this book.

    Otherwise, the Principles of Chemical Equilibrium (Kevn Denbigh, 1950) is the best I have. I love English academic authors. I need to pull that one out and start re-reading that.

    My most valuable book is "Physical Chemistry of Macromolecules" by Charles Tanford (1961)- got that for a used bookstore for $5.00, I think its worth over a $100.00 .

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  13. Its not pre-1980s, but Physical Methods for Chemists by Russell Drago

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  14. I don't know how useful it is, both because I'm not in lab and because I can't carry it around for fear of the binding falling apart, but Fieser and Fieser's Steroids is pretty good.

    My advisor had a copy of Pimentel's general chemistry book; some of made copies but I lost mine. I don't know if it would be generally useful, but his discussion of thermo seemed intuitive and useful.

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  15. I also collect old chem textbooks. I'm analytical not ochem though, so my collection is slanted that way. I picked up one of Fresenius' Chemical Analysis books at a garage sale one day--it was the 1880s 1st American edition which I didn't realize at the time. I think that's the equivalent of the 15th German edition or something, since he originally wrote the thing in the 1840s when he was still an assistant to Liebig.

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  16. As an undergrad, I don't see a whole lot of textbooks from pre-2000 unless I go treasure hunting into the depths of the library (in which case I find all sorts of "Organische Chemie" books from the 1870s covered in dust), which is a shame because they all seem to be smaller, cheaper, and more succinct than the monstrosities that are Bruice (our department's book), Jones, and Loudon.

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  17. Cantor and Schimmel is still the best text on biomolecular chemistry, hands down.

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  18. organic synthesis by robert ireland

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  19. Seconded Chemical Applications of Group Theory. Even though I'm a synthetic organicker, I still have my copy from undergrad right above my desk.

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  20. Peter Sykes - A Guide to Mechanism in Organic Chemistry.

    I have never seen a textbook which says so much so simply in such few words. I continue to maintain that English authors in general have better pedagogical skills than American authors.

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  21. Back in the old days the bible for organic chemistry was "Reazioni Organiche: teoria e pratica" by D. Pocar (1966), italian translation of a textbook from the Chemistry Institute of Dresden (East Germany): everything you needed to start working in an organic chemistry lab was described there!

    Quite used was "Chimica Organica" by Fusco et al. from the University of Milan, a book fool of heterocycles (it was all the rage in Italy back then!).

    And, of course, the mighty Vogel!!!

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    1. Sorry, I meant "full", not "fool" (a case for Dr. Freud?)

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  22. Mechanism of organic chemistry....Jerry March
    Stereochemistry.......Ernest Eliel
    Inorganic Chemistry....F. A. Cotton

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  23. Milkshake_ Since your background is from Czech republic- I also recall a book on stereochemistry by Popov from the Soviet Union which was doing its rounds in India until I realized that it was some sort of variation on book on the same subject by Ernest Eliel! Am I right?

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    1. I have not seen that one. Russian language chemical textbooks were avoided in teaching, unless translated (Russian has a disgusting chemical nomenclature, and if you combine it with cyrillic, the result is painful to read. Organic chemistry is hard enough as it is...) I have seen some Russian-language unauthorized soviet translation of western chemical monographs, but nothing really too useful - all the good stuff was available in German and English. But only in select few libraries.

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  24. Symmetry and Spectroscopy by Daniel C. Harris and Michael D. Bertolucci (1978)
    It's $14.95, funny, informative, and one of two books I carry to every new desk.
    The other is Modern Physical Organic Chemistry by Eric V. Anslyn and Dennis A. Dougherty (2006), but that is considerably more expensive.

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  25. Molecular Photochemistry - Turro
    Organic Reaction Mechanisms - Breslow

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