THIS work is stated by the author to be intended for a student commencing the study of chemistry, and, as he states in his preface, this volume commences with a short sketch of the more important elementary bodies, the principal laws of chemical combination, and the representation of the constitution and reaction of bodies by symbolic notation. In addition to this there is a large section on chemical physics, including the mechanical properties of gases and the chief phenomena of heat, light, magnetism, &c. For an elementary work, as intended by the author, it is somewhat dense, and would be certainly apt to frighten a beginner in chemistry. The sections on physics alone, comprising Part I., occupy very nearly 150 pages, and within this narrow space we find that in the domain of light we have refraction, reflection, circular polarisation, &c., treated at considerable length. In magnetism and electricity we have a very complete and exceedingly condensed mass of information, certainly much too complete and condensed for an elementary text-book. In the purely chemical section, forming Part II., the work is extended so as to include a considerable chapter on crystals and the more recent extensions of the atomic theory, and also to the so-called rare metals, which we find treated at considerable length. As to the arrangement of the chemical part, the method adopted in “Miller's Chemistry” of arranging the elements under the terms metals of the alkaline earths, &c., has been adopted, which is a very excellent method of arrangement for teaching purposes, as it allows of elements with similar properties being compared. There is evidently throughout the whole of the book a tendency to condense far too much into a small space. It would be an exceedingly difficult book indeed to be put before an absolute beginner. The explanatory part is reduced apparently as much as possible, although a great many facts are crammed in, certainly in good order; but still a beginner requires very much more explanation of facts than is to be found in this book. On that account, and being more an epitome of facts than explanations, especially in the chemical portion, it is scarcely possible to criticise it. The arrangement is very excellent and the details are well up to date. We notice that ozone has been put in in the form of an addendum: surely its position is closely in connection with oxygen. It is very liable in this position to be overlooked, or at any rate neglected, by a student. As there is such a considerable amount of attention given to the rare metals, especially vanadium, many of its compounds being detailed, it is somewhat surprising that davyum, though perhaps not yet absolutely settled, is not mentioned along with them. On looking carefully through the book, a number of points occur in which more explanation, or even an explanation of formulæ, would be very advantageous; but on the whole Mr. Watts is to be complimented on having produced a very complete, though certainly not quite elementary, manual on the science.
A Manual of Chemistry.
By Henry Watts. (London: Churchill, 1883.)
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