Imagine yourself to be an undergraduate science major, with some interest in the possibility of a career in chemistry. Wouldn't it be interesting to have lunch with more than a dozen (actually seventeen) accomplished academic researchers, who could tell you about some of the cool things that their work has discovered, and what they are currently excited about. That is the goal of "Letters to a Young Chemist", that was put together by editor Abhik Ghost, who also contributed a chapter about his work on porphyrins. The authors each of these chapters has his/her own story to tell, and there is no imposed structure. The stories span much of the recent forefront of chemistry, from bioinorganic to oxygen sensors to biomaterials to nanotechnology, with lots between. Several authors made the connection between the pure research and practical energy considerations. One of the things I liked best about the book was that the contributors liberally used wit and humor while maintaining an overall serious tone to charm the fictional "Angela", to whom all of the chapters are addressed. Several of them also described their own origins, to show that chemistry is a potential career for almost anyone.
Abhik Ghosh (editor)