The Kinetics of Chemical Change in Gaseous Systems by Cyril Norman Hinshelwood, published by Oxford University Press and printed in Great Britain. This well-preserved copy is a second edition from 1929, the first edition having been published in 1926.


CN Hinshelwood 1897-1967

The key difference between the first and second edition is the addition of a chapter on chain reactions. Hinshelwood’s theoretical and experimental work in this area, especially in the study of explosions, led to him receiving the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1956, which he shared with Nikolay Semyonov.

This particular copy of Hinshelwood’s masterwork has further historical interest since it once belonged to another famous chemist, who inscribed his name on the title page:


The signature is that of Friedrich Paneth, an Austrian-born chemist of Jewish parentage who took refuge in Britain in 1933 and became a naturalized British citizen in 1939. After a distinguished scientific career in Britain, Paneth was invited to become director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, a position he held from 1953 until his death in 1958.


Friedrich Paneth 1887-1958

The inscription XI.29. indicates that Paneth acquired this copy in November 1929, shortly after its publication. In the chapter on heterogeneous reactions, Hinshelwood refers to work published by Paneth and includes him in the index of authors. So it is possible that this book was a courtesy copy sent by Hinshelwood to Paneth, who at the time was heading the chemical institute at Königsberg University.

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Friedrich Paneth was a multitalented individual; besides his extensive achievements as a physical chemist, he was also an accomplished photographer and early user of autochrome photography, as can be seen on this link:

This autochrome photograph of his children Eva and Heinz, on the shore of Lake Luzern, was probably taken in 1927.


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