Highlights in Chemistry 2018

Looking back at the past year to inspire the future: Springer's Editorial Team share a selection of the top downloaded books & articles in 2018, together with their outlook on 2019

Editorial Director, Dr. Steffen Pauly on 2018

In 2018, more than 200,000 chemistry journal articles were published globally across a wide range of publishers. Here, we would like to celebrate another year of vibrant research activity in chemistry by presenting some of the most highly downloaded journal articles and books published under the Springer imprint. These examples nicely showcase chemistry as the molecular science that can lead to better materials, energy, food, and health. Any progress in chemistry as an applied science requires tantamount progress in pure or fundamental research. This nexus is also demonstrated by the publications presented here.

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Take for example the work of G. Wang et al. on “Ab initio calculations of ionic hydrocarbon compounds with heptacoordinate carbon”, which was downloaded almost 4000 times already . This is remarkable in many ways. Firstly, it is an example of how we can gain chemical knowledge using computational techniques rather than lab experiments. Secondly, George Wang is neither a seasoned researcher, nor a PhD student, but as yet just a high-school senior. Thirdly, the fundamental, theoretical work of the authors may find real-world applications in hydrogen storage and thereby contribute to cleaner energy supplies. Among the most-downloaded articles, there are two further examples of energy-related chemical research: “High-Performance Anode Materials for Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Batteries” by J. Lu et al. and “An aluminium battery operating with an aqueous electrolyte” by A. Holland et al. 

Half of the articles selected here are related to materials in a broad sense (A. Kundys et. al.V. G. Zuin et al.; E. Wagner-Wysiecka et al.; M.Rawat and V. Kumar Bulasara; Yonggui Wang et al.) and present e. g. chemical research to identify new sources of materials such as agro-industrial waste or renewable resources such as cellulose. Other aspects covered are low-cost materials for important applications. Materials research as presented here relies on techniques for characterization (cf. Experimental Approaches of NMR Spectroscopy) as well as on computational methods (cf. Quantum Computational Chemistry). Chemistry-based synthetic biology may open new routes to creating chemical compounds with the help of microorganisms (Synthetic Biology – Metabolic Engineering by H. Zhao and A.-P. Zeng).

Anyone fond of sweets will agree that chemistry contributes to the enjoyable aspects of life. This is outlined in much more detail in two books published in 2018: Sweeteners by J.-M. Mérillon and K. G. Ramawat as well as Confectionery Science and Technology by R. W. Hartel, J. H. von Elbe and R. Hofberger. A sustainable food supply for the future may require thinking about other types of food, propose A. Halloran, R. Flore, P. Vantomme and N. Roos: Edible Insects in Sustainable Food Systems. Again, materials play an important role (Polymers for Food Applications by T. J. Gutiérrez) as of course do safety aspects (Consumer-friendly food allergen detection: moving towards smartphone-based immunoassays, G. M. S. Ross et al.) Meeting all these challenges requires a solid understanding of food chemistry (Principles of Food Chemistry by J. M. deMan, J. W. Finley, W. J. Hurst, C. Y. Lee).

Chemistry is important for securing our health as well by finding new and better ways to produce therapeutics, for example in the article “Sequential α-lithiation and aerobic oxidation of an arylacetic acid - continuous-flow synthesis of cyclopentyl mandelic acid” by S. De Angelis et al. Even new classes of therapeutics, such as those based on RNA are developed (RNA Therapeutics by A. L. Garner).

The journal articles and books highlighted here are, of course, only a selection of what has been published in 2018. Yet even this small selection underpins the important role of chemistry for a better future, both as an applied and a pure science. This role will be celebrated throughout next year during the International Year of the Periodic Table of the Elements (IYPT 2019), as well as celebrating the 100th anniversary of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. You are invited to visit our special IYPT 2019 page (www.springer.com/periodictable) regularly to find out about related publications and events.

Dr. Steffen Pauly

Editorial Director Chemistry

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