Irving Klotz (1950)

Chemical Thermodynamics Basic Theory and Methods by Irving Klotz, published by W.J. Benjamin Inc. and printed in the United States. I acquired this revised edition of 1964 from an online seller of second-hand books. Between the pages I found a publisher’s note showing that it was a review copy sent to a Dr. R.H. Prince. Whether Dr. Prince reviewed it is unknown, but others did and these are referred to below.

Irving M. Klotz (1916-2005) was a Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University, Illinois from 1940 to 1986. According to internet sources he was a pioneer in physical biochemistry, the field connecting physical chemistry and the life sciences. This explains why one of the book reviews I found is from The Quarterly Review of Biology.

Klotz’s book has a long publishing history. The first edition appeared in 1950, then 14 years later came the revised edition pictured above. The second edition was published in 1972, with numerous further editions following. The seventh edition of 2008, which appears to be the current one, appeared three years after Klotz’s death.

The book is in three sctions: an introductory section on the mathematics used in classical thermodynamics, then a section on basic principles, and lastly a section on thermodynamic systems of variable composition. The book is aimed towards bioscience students and avoids statistical thermodynamics altogether, but then the introductory math section includes a proof of Euler’s Homogeneous Function Theorem which is rarely covered in even moderately advanced textbooks.

A notable omission from Klotz’s book is the Phase Rule, echoing Lewis and Randall’s avoidance of the Gibbsian gem and not even stating F = C – P + 2 in their monumental masterwork of 1923. Curiously, three years after Klotz’s death in 2005, the seventh edition includes a new chapter on … the Phase Rule.

The positive review from The Quarterly Review of Biology (1952) of the first edition can be seen here

The not-quite-so-positive review from Science (1964) of the revised edition can be seen here

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P Mander March 2022