The Same and Not the Same

Paperback | February 6, 1997

byRoald Hoffmann

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Positioned at the crossroads of the physical and biological sciences, chemistry deals with neither the infinitely small, nor the infinitely large, nor directly with life. So it is sometimes thought of as dull, the way things in the middle often are. But this middle ground is precisely where human beings exist. As Hoffmann shows in his inspired prose, the world observed at its molecular level is complex and agitated, as are the emotions of the supposedly dispassionate scientists who explore it. In The Same and Not the Same the vital tensions of chemistry are revealed; with down-to-earth explanations, Hoffmann uncovers the polarities that power, rend, and reform the world of molecules. When we wash an apple before eating it, we are thinking not merely of the dirt that may still be on it but of the pesticides used in agricultural production. When we take medication, we expect relief for our pain but also fear side effects. The Same and Not the Same shows this ambivalence to be only one of a number of dualities pervading the world of molecules. The theme of identity, reflected in the title of the book, is central to the story. Other dualities, from stasis and dynamics, to creation and discovery to the rich complexity of revealing and concealing, are lucidly delineated for nonscientist and scientist alike. The Same and Not the Same also offers a rare and compelling personal statement of the social responsibility of scientists. Unabashedly confronting some of the major ethical controversies in chemistry today, the book strives for balance in facing the pressing ecological and environmental concerns of our time.

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From Our Editors

In 'The Same and Not the Same' Hoffmann does for chemistry what Stephen Hawking did for cosmology: he illuminates a science that for many has been shrouded in mystery.

From the Publisher

Positioned at the crossroads of the physical and biological sciences, chemistry deals with neither the infinitely small, nor the infinitely large, nor directly with life. So it is sometimes thought of as dull, the way things in the middle often are. But this middle ground is precisely where human beings exist. As Hoffmann shows in his...

From the Jacket

In 'The Same and Not the Same' Hoffmann does for chemistry what Stephen Hawking did for cosmology: he illuminates a science that for many has been shrouded in mystery.

Roald Hoffmann was born in Zloczow, Poland, in 1937. Having survived the Nazi occupation, he arrived in the U.S. in 1949, after several years of postwar wandering in Europe. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School, Columbia University, and proceeded to take his Ph.D. in 1962, at Harvard University, working with W. N. Lipscomb and Mar...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:294 pages, 8.75 × 1 × 0.68 inPublished:February 6, 1997Publisher:Columbia University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231101392

ISBN - 13:9780231101394

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Table of Contents

Part One: Identity-the Central Problem 1. Lives of the Twins2. What Are You?3. Whirligigs4. Fighting Reductionism5. The Fish, the Worm, and the Molecule6. Telling Them Apart7. Isomerism8. Are There Two Identical Molecules?9. Handshakes in the Dark10. Molecular MimicryPart Two: The Way It Is Told 11. The Chemical Article12. And How It Came to Be That Way13. Beneath the Surface14. The Semiotics of Chemistry15. What DOES That Molecule Look Like?16. Representation and Reality17. Struggles18. The Id Will OutPart Three: Making Molecules 19. Creation and Discovery20. In Praise of Synthesis21. Cubane, and the Art of Making It22. The Aganippe Fountain23. Natural/Unnatural24. Out to Lunch25. Why We Prefer the Natural26. Janus and NonlinearityPart Four: When Something is Wrong 27. Thalidomide28. The Social Responsibility of ScientistsPart Five: How, Just Exactly, Does it Happen? 29. Mechanism30. The Salieri Syndrome31. Static/Dynamic32. Equilibrium and Perturbing ItPart Six: A Life in Chemistry 33. Fritz HaberPart Seven: That Certain Magic 34. Catalyst!35. Three Ways36. CarboxypeptidasePart Eight: Value, Harm, and Democracy 37. Tyrian Purple, Woad, and Indigo38. Chemistry and Industry39. Athens40. The Democratizing Nature of Chemistry41. Environmental Concerns42. Science and Technology in Classical Democracy43. Anti-Plato; or, Why Scientists (or Engineers) Shouldn't Run the World44. A Response to Worries About the Environment45. Chemistry, Education, and DemocracyPart Nine: The Adventures of a Diatomic 46. C2 In All Its GuisesPart Ten: The Dualities That Enliven 47. Creation Is Hard Work48. Missing49. An Attribute of the Devil50. Chemistry Tense, Full of Life?51. Cheiron

From Our Editors

In 'The Same and Not the Same' Hoffmann does for chemistry what Stephen Hawking did for cosmology: he illuminates a science that for many has been shrouded in mystery.

Editorial Reviews

Hoffmann... has never given up his lifelong campaign to illuminate the beauties of chemistry for the unenlightened.... The Same and Not the Same consists of roughly equal parts art and science, and its relaxed style, uncomplicated explanations, and clever illustrations could qualify it as a primer for chemistry haters.