Many of the substances that have revolutionized our way of living do not exist in nature but were created by the organic chemist: plastics, synthetic fabrics, dye-stuffs. Other substances have been carefully isolated from nature, then duplicated in the test tube: antibiotics, vitamins, alkaloids.
Despite its vital importance, the subject of organic chemitry is generally reserved for college texts because of its presumed difficulty. But even chemical formulas can be made thoroughly clear, Isaac Asimvo proves.
Isaac Asimov, whose Building Blocks of the Universe won the Edison Foundation Award for the best science book for youth published in 1957, is well known for his talent of imparting his own professorial knowledge through a remarkably clear and highly readable prose.
In The World of Nitrogen, Dr. Asimov covers the entire range of nitrogen-containing organics, from explosives to vitamins and from dyes to antibiotics.
A previous book by Dr. Asimov, The World of Carbon, describes and discusses the wide field of organics not containing nitrogen, from petroleum to paint and from anaesthetics to antifreeze.
There is little to be said about this book which is not already said about its companion, The World of Carbon. (In fact, these two volumes represent the first instance of writing a book somewhat longer than the publisher had anticipated and being forced to split it into two as a result.) Like all the Abelard-Schuman juvenile science books, it’s fun, breezy,and informative, and one of the books which helped build Asimov’s reputation as a science writer.