Leading chemists share what they do, how they do it, and whythey love it.
“Letters to a young …” has been a much-lovedway for professionals in a field to convey their enthusiasm and therealities of what they do to the next generation. Now, Lettersto a Young Chemist does the same for the chemical sciences.Written with a humorous touch by some of today’s leadingchemists, this book presents missives to “Angela,” afictional undergraduate considering a career in chemistry. Thedifferent chapters offer a mix of fundamental principles,contemporary issues, and challenges for the future. Marye Anne Fox,Chancellor of the University of California San Diego, talks aboutlearning to do research and modern physical organic chemistry.Brothers Jonathan and Daniel Sessler explain the chemistry ofanesthetics that make modern surgery possible while Elizabeth Nolantalks about biological imaging. Terry Collins talks about greenchemistry, a more sustainable way of doing chemistry, while severalauthors including Carl Wamser, Harry Gray, John Magyar, and PennyBrothers discuss the crucial contributions that chemists can makein meeting global energy needs.
Letters to a Young Chemist gives students andprofessionals alike a unique window into the real world ofchemistry. Entertaining, informative, and full of honest andinspiring advice, it serves as a helpful guide throughout youreducation and career.
“The different chapters describe both the wonders ofthe molecular world and the practical benefits afforded bychemistry ... and if any girl out there thinks that chemistry is aman’s world, this book should be a good antidote.”—Marye Anne Fox, Chancellor of the University of California,San Diego, and winner of the 2009 US National Medal of Science
“Letters to a Young Chemist offers significantammunition for motivating young people to consider chemistry as acareer. ... This book should also be required reading for allfaculty members who teach chemistry in high schools, colleges, anduniversities.” —Stephen J. Lippard, Arthur AmosNoyes Professor of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute ofTechnology, and winner of the 2006 US National Medal of Science
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About the Author
Table of ContentsFOREWORD (Stephen J. Lippard).
Part I From Fundamentals to Applications.
1. Let's Get Physical (Marye Anne Fox).
2. In Silico: An Alternate Approach to Chemistry andBiology (David A. Case).
3. The Purple Planet: A Short Tour of Porphyrins and RelatedMacrocycles (Abhik Ghosh).
4. Anesthesia: Don't Forget Your Chemistry (Jonathan L.Sessler and Daniel I. Sessler).
5. The Green Evolution (Terrence J. Collins).
Part II Chemistry and the Life Sciences.
6. Thinking Like an Enzyme (Judith P. Klinman).
7. Making Sense of Oxygen (Marie-AldaGilles-Gonzalez).
8. Let’s Visualize Biology: Chemistry and Cellular Imaging(Elizabeth M. Nolan).
9. Bioinorganic Chemistry: Show Your Mettle by Meddling withMetals (Kara L. Bren).
10. Better Than Sliced Bread (Chaitan Khosla).
11. Choreographing DNA (Cynthia J. Burrows).
Part III Functional Materials.
12. Supramolecules to the Rescue! (Seth M. Cohen).
13. Biomaterials at the Beach: How Marine Biology Uses Chemistryto Make Materials (Jonathan J. Wilker).
14. The Advantage of Being Small: Nanotechnology (Michael J.Sailor).
Part IV Chemistry and Energy.
15. Happy Campers: Chemists' Solutions to Energy Problems(Penelope J. Brothers).
16. Clean Electrons and Molecules Will Save the World (CarlC. Wamser).
17. Metals, Microbes, and Solar Fuel (Harry B. Gray and JohnS. Magyar).
What People are Saying About This
"Finally this book helps teachers and scholars at universities to get ideas how to think about their own research fields in order to motivate young students and to wake enthusiasm for the wonderful and widely spread world of chemistry. So that they not only learn or study chemical facts but also live the science. For all other readers this book is an entertaining reading matter." (Materials and Corrosion, 2011)
"A great resource for career mentoring. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Teachers and students of chemistry at all levels." (Choice, 1 January 2012)
"Lippard also says that the book should be ‘required reading for all faulty members who teach chemistry in high schools, colleges, and universities'. I would endorse this view, as I found the book to provide excellent insights into many unfamiliar areas of modern chemistry." (Chemistry World, 1 September 2011)
"This is a somewhat unusual book that is well worth reading . . .The book is well constructed with print of a relatively large font size." (ISSX (International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics), 1 November 2011)
"This title deserves to be held by every public library as the interested layperson will quickly come to see just why it is that our discipline is so exciting and vibrant, and what it is that makes it so essential for the future of humankind." (Chemistry in New Zealand, 1 July 2011)
"In this imaginative book, 17 chemists give their best advice in letters to Angela, an imaginary chemistry undergraduate who is thinking about making a career in the field. In the process, the contributors provide an excellent overview of chemistry as a whole, and give a good sense of the challenging and rewarding work that chemists do." (Booknews, 1 June 2011)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I got a copy of this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. I work as a chemist and thought this sounded like a fun read. While it was a somewhat interesting read for someone who works in the field I don't think it was a good read for someone who is considering chemistry as a career.The book is broken into four sections: From Fundamentals to Applications, Chemistry and the Life Sciences, Functional Materials, and Chemistry and Energy. Each case study starts as a letter to a fictional undergrad student named Amanda who is considering getting a degree in chemistry. The author of each case study gives a brief history of their background and then delves into a specific example of how they have used chemistry to solve a problem/problems.The concept it fun but its execution is lacking in many cases. Like any collection of "stories" there are a lot of hits and a lot of misses in this book. My main problem with this book that a lot of the misses are in the beginning of the book in the From Fundamentals to Applications section. If I had started reading this book as a student I would have run the other way from chemistry; these initial case studies are difficult to understand, highly technical, and don't apply to problems that are easy to relate to. I've worked in the field for over 10 years and even my eyes were glazing over halfway through the first case study.So just keep in mind this reads like a technical journal, you need a lot of chemical knowledge to follow these case studies. Some of the case studies are so specific and narrow that you need a lot of very specific knowledge to understand what is going on.That being said there are some parts of the book that are very well done and would be exciting to read it you were considering a career in chemistry. Most of the cases in the section on Chemitry and the Life Sciences were pretty interesting. I enjoyed the case study called "Better than Sliced Bread" which goes into how they are working on solving Celiac's and other such diseases. I also enjoyed the Choreographing DNA section which discussed DNA and related it to a dance recital that the author participated in. Other highlights were "Biomaterials at the Beach: How Marine Biology Uses Chemistry to Make Materials" and "Happy Campers: Chemists' Solutions to Energy problems". These selections tackled issues that are broadly understood and did a good job of explaining in a way that was easy to understand without already have a PhD in Chemistry.Overall I do think that this book provides an interesting array of case studies from various fields in chemistry; it is an interesting read for someone who is working in the field of chemistry. Unfortunately I do not think it does a good job targeting the audience it was intended for...that of young undergrads thinking about a career in chemistry. Many of the case studies tackle obscure issues, are highly technical in explanation, and just plain tedious to read about. I wouldn't recommend this for students considering a degree in chemistry; I do cautiously recommend this for chemists interested in reading overviews of a broad variety of new chemistry areas.