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Laboratory Exercises in Physical Chemistry

Nature volume 70, page 296 (28 July 1904) | Download Citation



THE title of this book might lead one to expect that what is really a distinct want had at length been met. Beyond the title, however, there is little in it that merits favourable comment; both in conception and in execution it is most inadequate. One finds, for example, that viscosity and surface-tension are accorded fourteen pages, of which four are purely theoretical and wholly out of place, whilst solubility is disposed of in four and a half pages. Again, we discover molecular volume in the chapter on thermometry, and polarimetry in the chapter entitled “The Spectroscope ”! Not only is the author hopelessly deficient in the general sense of proportion and arrangement, but in matters of detail he is equally at fault. He actually (p. 30) introduces the temperature correction of the barometer into the calculation of a vapour density by Victor Meyer's method—the only method given—and does not even succeed in doing it correctly. He defines the unit of resistance as the international ohm (p. 153), and then gives his data in terms of the Siemens mercury unit (p. 172), which is never defined or even mentioned. Turning to his practical instructions we encounter the same thoughtlessness and omission of important details. The student who carried out a series of conductivity measurements at different dilutions according to the instructions on p. 177, for example, would obtain truly wonderful results, for no mention is made of the necessity of having two pipettes so adjusted that one withdraws exactly the same volume as the other delivers. What, again, is a student to make of the instruction on p. 178—“ About 20 c.c. of a N/32 solution of pure sodium hydroxide is titrated with the dry acid of which the basicity is sought ”? These instances suffice.

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