Annual Survey of American Chemistry


THE object of this survey is “to present throughout a period of years a complete survey of American chemistry”, not, it will be noted, an American survey of chemistry, quite another and a much more acceptable thing to non-American chemists. The endowment of science with a national label would be open to criticism even were it admitted that chemical progress, like creative art or even mechanical invention, can be so characterised. In point of fact, one step depends too much on the success of another; moreover, the search for fundamental truth in scientific fact, whether it proves a source of strength or weakness, a curse or a blessing, according to the use made of it, is as little concerned with political frontiers as is the legislature with the laws of thermodynamics. Hence whatever value the series under review possesses and its value in certain directions is not denied the survey can scarcely be regarded as a significant contribution to the world's literature of chemistry. The limitation of its general value is admitted in the foreword: “The progress in any branch of chemistry is not confined by the boundaries of any one nation”, whilst the sentence which follows exhibits a proper sense of patriotism: “This fact means that in a short time fundamental progress abroad is reflected by the work carried on in America. Therefore a careful annual survey of American chemistry possesses only a certain lag…” Incidentally, however, not all the authors mentioned are United States citizens, and not all of the journals cited are of American origin. The present volume covers a period of eighteen months in order that succeeding volumes may review a calendar year instead of a fiscal year. There are 43 chapters covering a great variety of subjects in pure and applied chemistry, and an author index is appended.

Annual Survey of American Chemistry.

Vol. 4: July 1, 1928, to December 31, 1929. Prepared under the Auspices of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, National Research Council. Clarence J. West. Pp. 549. (New York: The Chemical Catalog Co., Inc., 1930.) 4 dollars.

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E., A. Annual Survey of American Chemistry . Nature 126, 346 (1930).

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