Catalyst, a Novel

It's not too late to do some recreational reading this summer. "Catalyst" is an enjoyable, light read, especially for chemists. How often do you find a novel that includes catalysis, NMR, mass spectrometry, TLC, some scientific misconduct, and a little sex? The main character of "Catalyst" delivers singing telegrams for a living, but her husband and friends are chemistry graduate students at a fictional New York City university. The situations are exaggerated for the sake of drama, but much of the ambiance of graduate school in science is captured in this novel, although the graduate advisor of the group is even more of a jerk than most of the ones I know. The science in the book largely plausible, except for the repetition of the misconception that old windowglass is thinner at the top than at the bottom because it has flowed over the years.

Publication information
Pick Attribution: 

Jennifer Ball

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, January 1, 1997


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Image of Catalyst
Title: Catalyst
Authors: Jennifer Ball
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication date: 1997-04-01
Edition: 1
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 300
List price: $24.95
EAN (13-digit ISBN number): 9780571199150


Hal Harris's picture
Hal Harris
University of Missouri - St. Louis