Stereochemistry

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Abstract

STEREOCHEMISTRY grows apace. The birth of this youngest scion of the chemical family, which occurred about twenty years ago, when Van't Hoff and Le Bel (published almost simultaneously their now famous memoirs, was not greeted with universal acclamation. The event excited at the time but little interest among English chemists, and when the young science was introduced, through F. Hermann's Lagerung der Atome im Raume, to the acquaintance of our German colleagues, it was regarded not without suspicion in some quarters. There was one chemist of high rank who denounced the Chimie dans l' Espace as “fanciful nonsense,” as the outcome of “a miserable speculative philosophy, whose treatment of scientific subjects is not many degrees removed from a belief in witches and spirit-rapping.” Stereochemistry, however, soon found a congenial home in the German laboratories, and flourished marvellously. About four years ago the young stripling was duly christened by Victor Meyer on the occasion of an address to the German Chemical Society, and thus received formal recognition as a legitimate member of the chemical family. Since then three general treatises have been called for in order to chronicle the progress of this latest development of chemical science—the “Chemistry in Space” of Van't Hoff, translated into English and re-edited by J. E. Marsh; Meyer-hoffer's “Stereochemie,” a later translation into German of the same work with much additional matter, and the admirable “Grundriss der Stereochemie,” by A. Hantzsch. Following quickly in the wake of these, we have, in the “ Handbuch der Stereochemie,” a much more elaborate and complete treatise, chiefly from the pen of Dr. C. A. Bischoff, whose well-known indefatigable labours in the new field of research eminently qualify him for the serious task he has undertaken.

Handbuch der Stereochemie.

Unter Mitwirkung von Dr. Paul Walden Herausgegeben von Dr. C. A. Bischoff. I. Band. (Frankfurt: H. Bechhold, 1893.)

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