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Acta Cryst. (1995). B51, 893-894

Modern crystallography. Vol. 2. Structure of crystals. (Second enlarged edition.)

Edited by B. K. Vainshtein, V. M. Fridkin and V. L. Indenbom

Pp. xx + 520. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1994
Price DM 119. ISBN 3-540-56848-4

This is the second volume in the ongoing republication of Modern Crystallography, which has previously appeared in English translation in the Springer series in Solid-State Sciences (this volume as No. 21). A review of Vol. 1 of the second edition, by Douglas Dorset [Acta Cryst. (1995), B51, 264], has already been published earlier this year. The first edition of this volume was reviewed in 1983 by Professor J. Auleytner [Acta Cryst. (1983), A39, 272].

This second volume qualifies as a new edition solely on the basis of the addition of a 90pp. sixth chapter, entitled `Advances in Structural Crystallography', written by Professor Vainshtein and nine colleagues. The earlier chapters remain virtually unchanged from the previous edition. Of 233 literature citations in these earlier chapters, only 18 cite work published after 1983. Of these 18, only six cite work published after 1990, and four of them are a general reference to the second edition of Vol. 1. The five original chapters deal with `Principles of Formation of the Atomic Structure of Crystals', `Principal Types of Crystal Structure', `Band Energy Structure of Crystals', `Lattice Dynamics and Phase Transitions' and `The Structure of Real Crystals'.

The new chapter contains 11 sections, of widely varying quality, reviewing structural topics that came into prominence in the eighties and early nineties. Three sections are written by Professor Vainshtein himself. The first of these is a six-page review of fullerenes and fullerides, through 1992. The second, written in collaboration with V. I. Simonov, is a useful review of superconductivity and superconducting structures. Here literature citations are given through 1993. The third section reviews developments in the structural investigation of biomolecular crystals, with discussions of NMR methods and molecular dynamics calculations. Here, again, the bulk of the work discussed dates from before 1990, with but a brief mention of more recent achievements, such as the increasing use of MAD phasing and time-resolved studies using synchrotron radiation.

The remaining sections of the chapter are devoted to later developments in the crystal chemistry of silicates, the use of X-ray analysis in the study of chemical bonding, modular structures, ordering in liquid crystals, Langmuir-Blodgett films and stimulated phase transitions in ferroelectrics. There is a perfunctory listing of databases as of 1993 and a six-page `update' on organic crystal chemistry.

The pattern of revision in this volume follows that adopted for the first. The bulk of the original material is left untouched and an extra chapter is added to `complement' the original material. Whereas such an approach may be justified where the original material is well established and relatively unmodified by recent activity, it is much less satisfactory where that activity has changed or greatly modified our perspective. Thus, simply to add a few pages to supplement descriptions of views and models now more than two decades old, as has been done in Chapter 6 for several of the topics of Chapter 2, is to lose an opportunity at best, and to produce a quite misleading impression at worst. As an example, the supplementary material on liquid crystals, while a concise summary of some of the structural discoveries of the eighties, leaves in place the thoroughly outdated pictures of the nature of nematic and smectic phases used as illustrations in Chapter 2. A similar criticism may be made with respect to many of the illustrations of biological macromolecules in that same chapter. Plywood cross sections and glass contour maps, while of legitimate historical interest, scarcely qualify as `modern' in the sense that the series title seeks to portray. The text remains one of the few generalized treatments of the structure of crystals. However, in the absence of a systematic integrated modernization of the work, it is difficult to recommend it over competing and more truly modern (and usually more specialized) treatments or, indeed, over the earlier edition that justifiably found a place in every scientific library.

Robert F. Bryan

Department of Chemistry
University of Virginia
Charlottesville
VA 22901
USA


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