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Molecules that Changed the World.


Chemists aren't afraid to show off their love for molecules. Some wear chemistry-themed jewelry, including necklace pendants shaped like the hexagon and pentagon of serotonin. Others get tattoos of their favorite molecules. On the same wavelength, this book by chemists Nicolaou from the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., and Montagnon from the University of Crete, in Greece, is an "enthusiastic celebration of many organic molecules," according to the foreword by chemistry Nobel laureate E.J. Corey. The authors explain the synthesis and story behind more than 30 unique substances. This celebration blends science and history with a bit of anthropology. The chapter on morphine, for example, highlights the history of opium use; the first verse of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Kubla Khan," which he wrote under the drug's influence; and a history of the morphine molecule's place in pharmaceuticals. Wiley-VCH, 2008, 366 p., color illus, and photos, hardcover, $55.00.

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Title Annotation:Books: A selection of new and notable books of scientific interest
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Apr 5, 2008
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