The topic of reaction kinetics is a fascinating one and is thus approached with high expectations. Alas, these were not fulfilled here. An interesting first chapter whets the appetite as to why the study of reaction kinetics is important. But the second describes experimental techniques and is idiosyncratic in its choice and emphasis. The derivation of transition state theory is done in an outmoded classical way and is wrong.
The section on reactions in solution is very incomplete and the pictures of the solvent cage are risible. The Marcus theory of electron transfers has been one of the great unifying advances of our generation but it is hardly mentioned.
The discussion of diffusion-controlled reactions is riddled with paradox. The description of enzyme reactions is at a very elementary level. Here is one of the most important areas of modern reaction kinetics, but its treatment is perfunctory and ignores many important concepts such as the evolution of catalytic perfection.
There are interesting chapters on oscillating systems, flames and photochemistry. There are also interesting sections on proton tunnelling and atmospheric kinetics, which, I suspect are closer to the authors' interests. But overall a book on reaction kinetics that devotes only six of its 300 pages to enzymes cannot be recommended.
W. J. Albery is master, University College, Oxford.
Author - Michael Pilling and Paul Seakins
ISBN - 0 19 855528 8 and 8555 X
Publisher - Oxford University Press
Price - £40.00 and £16.50
Pages - 305