These two volumes on Femtochemistry present a timely contribution to a field central to the understanding of the dynamics of the chemical bond. This century has witnessed great strides in time and space resolutions, down to the atomic scale, providing chemists, biologists and physicists with unprecedented opportunities for seeing microscopic structures and dynamics. Femtochemistry is concerned with the time resolution of the most elementary motions of atoms during chemical change — bond breaking and bond making — on the femtosecond (10–15 second) time scale. This atomic scale of time resolution has now reached the ultimate for the chemical bond and as Lord George Porter puts it, chemists are near the end of the race against time. These two volumes cover the general concepts, techniques and applications of femtochemistry.Professor Ahmed Zewail, who has made the pioneering contributions in this field, has from over 250 publications selected the articles for this anthology. These volumes begin with a commentary and a historical chronology of the milestones. He then presents a broad perspective of the current state of knowledge in femtochemistry by researchers around the world and discusses possible new directions. In the words of a colleague, ”it is a must on the reading-list for all of my students … all readers will find this to be an informative and valuable overview.”The introductory articles in Volume I provide reviews for both the non-experts as well as for experts in the field. This is followed by papers on the basic concepts. For applications, elementary reactions are studied first and then complex reactions. Volume I is complete with studies of solvation dynamics, non-reactive systems, ultrafast electron diffraction and the control of chemical reactions.Volume II continues with reaction rates, the concept of elementary intramolecular vibrational-energy redistribution (IVR) and the phenomena of rotational coherence which has become a powerful tool for the determination of molecular structure via time resolution. The second volume ends with an extensive list of references, according to topics, based on work by Professor Zewail and his group at Caltech.These collected works by Professor Zewail will certainly be indispensable to both experts and beginners in the field. The author is known for his clarity and for his creative and systematic contributions. These volumes will be of interest and should prove useful to chemists, biologists and physicists. As noted by Professor J Manz (Berlin) and Professor A W Castleman, Jr. (Penn State): femtochemistry is yielding exciting new discoveries from analysis to control of chemical reactions, with applications in many domains of chemistry and related fields, e.g., physical, organic and inorganic chemistry, surface science, molecular biology, … etc.

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