Nanoparticles seem to be popping up in all sorts of guises and in all manner of places these days.

Michael K?hler and Wolfgang Fritzsche
Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH 2004 | Pp 272 | ?85.00 (HB) | ISBN 352730750
Reviewed by Dennis Rouvray

Nanoparticles seem to be popping up in all sorts of guises and in all manner of places these days. Moreover, nanotechnology is now widely seen as a brand-new technology with a very bright future. Among some of their more remarkable accomplishments, nanotechnological methodologies have recently been exploited to deposit nanowires on plastic and glass surfaces, to cause nanotubes to emit light, and to mop up the free radicals extant in biological tissues and so keep organs functioning well beyond their normal lifespan. Even the downside has been in the news lately with the claim being made that nanoparticles could perhaps play the role of viruses and therefore prove to be deadly in the hands of terrorists.

In view of all the current buzz surrounding the field, it comes as something of a shock that a book can be written on this theme that is so dreary that it effectively puts the reader to sleep.

As I see it, there are two major problems with this work, neither of which reflects on the undoubted technical competence of the authors.

First, the book has the feel of a dictionary of nanotechnology with entries for all of the key subjects offered up without any noticeable flair or virtuosity.

Second, this work has a sentence structure and a syntax that is all too often German presented in English words. Some words have not even been translated at all: thus we run across Licht for light and two famous ancient Greek atomists who are designated as Demokrit and Leukip.

All of which makes this book very tiresome to read. In fact, I am astonished that a monograph on so fascinating a topic can make so little effort to engage the reader’s imagination. Although it may serve somewhat perfunctorily to satisfy the reader’s curiosity, it is unlikely to provide any real stimulus to delve further into the burgeoning realm of nanotechnology.