Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/872

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

The Students' Guide in Quantitative Analysis. Intended as an Aid to the Study of Fresenius's System. By H. Carrington Bolton, Ph. D., Professor of Chemistry in Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut. Illustrated. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Pp. 127. Price, 1.50.

The little book before us is intended as a guide for the student at his desk rather than as a text-book for study; it may be called a key to the comprehensive work of the distinguished Fresenius. In the latter the science of quantitative analysis is exhaustively taught, but the young chemist is too often bewildered by the wealth of material therein presented. He can not see the forest for the trees. Professor Bolton has cut a path for him through the wilderness; he has selected those points which it is important for the student to see, and placed them prominently before him. This book seeks to teach the art of quantitative analysis, without, however, entirely neglecting the science that lies at its base. The author presents a course of thirty-six typical analyses, arranged progressively from the simplest to the most complex, in the order that they are taken up in chemical laboratories generally, in the Columbia School of Mines particularly. The first analysis is that of barium chloride; each step in the operation is given in detail, and when the student has faithfully repeated these operations he has learned how to estimate barium, chlorine, and water cf crystallization, in almost any salt. Next follows magnesium sulphate, in winch he determines magnesium, sulphuric acid, and water. A few other salts follow, and, when the student has become familiar with chemical operations, natural and technical products are given, such as coal, ores, alloys, and slag, closing with water, sugar, milk, and petroleum. The whole course of quantitative analysis, both volumetric and gravimetric, is herein described, and the student who has made the analyse swith care will certainly have attained a considerable skill in manipulation, and can scarcely fail of obtaining an insight into the underlying principles which would enable him to devise methods adapted to other cases not given in the book. To aid in this, every step in each analysis contains a reference to the chapter and section in "Fresenius," where the operation is described, or to other authorities, when, as in a few cases, others were made use of. For this reason we have called it a "key," or guide, to the study of Fresenius. The book is intended as an aid to the teachers of quantitative analysis, to spare them the necessity of explaining to each student all the details of each analysis, which, in our overcrowded laboratories, the teacher has no time to do. It is equally suitable for "self-instruction," and by its aid any young person, with a fair knowledge of general chemistry, can, by himself, go through a course of analysis, lasting say two years, that would fit him for a position in a commercial or technical laboratory. The work is similar to Woehler's "Mineral Analysis," but fuller in detail, newer in methods, and in every way better suited to the wants of the American student. To compare things in totally different spheres, we would say that it resembles the "South Kensington Cook-Book," and this is no small praise.

Astronomy for Schools and General Headers. By Isaac Sharpless, Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy, Haverford College, and Professor G. M. Phillips, Principal of State Normal School, Westchester, Pennsylvania. J. B. Lippincott & Co. Pp. 303. Price, $1.25.

This is a very judiciously prepared school-book, neatly printed and elegantly illustrated. The explanations are clear, and the subject-matter of exposition well chosen for popular purposes. It opens with a sketch cf the history of astronomy as part cf an introduction, which is followed by a general view of the heavens and some considerations of the usefulness of astronomy. The solar system is then taken up in Tart I, and the sidereal system in Part II, while Part III is devoted to the properties of light and astronomical instruments. There are no questions to the volume, but pains are taken to give the proper pronunciation of terms, and there are brief notices of the eminent men who have contributed to the progress of astronomy. No one book can combine all excellences, but this may be commended as well adapted for general school use.