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One of the Most Significant Resources for Chemists Celebrates Its One Hundredth Birthday

08-14-2009 10:41 AM CET | Science & Education

Press release from: Thieme Publishers

Stuttgart – In 1909, Theodor Weyl wrote and edited the Houben–Weyl Methods of Organic Chemistry series. The first edition, consisted of two volumes and covered material published from as early as 1834. As part of the centenary celebration a rarely seen first edition, displayed courtesy of the Swain Library at Stanford University, will be on display from August 16 to August 20 at the Thieme Chemistry booth during the fall meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, DC.

In 1913, Josef Houben, whose major achievements include ketone synthesis as well as terpenes and camphor studies, expanded the project. Comprehensive descriptions of preparative methods, presented in a consistent style, along with their critical evaluation by leading experts, are the foundation upon which Houben–Weyl flourished.

The two German chemists made a significant contribution to the field of chemical information at the commencement of the 20th century. Weyl and Houben were the first scientists to exhaustively evaluate the organic chemistry literature with regard to its practical application. They were pioneers in the presentation of organic synthetic information and developed a hierarchical structure system that enables a reader to easily locate information.

Houben–Weyl continues to be appreciated by chemists from around the globe as a well-structured, reliable, and comprehensive source of information. With 700,000 references dating back to the 1800s, this 160 volume 160,000 page work holds 580,000 structures, and 146,000 experimental procedures. The electronic format is available as part of Science of Synthesis, a reference work for preparative methods in synthetic chemistry, developed by Thieme in cooperation with InfoChem.

Nobel laureate and Science of Synthesis Editorial Board Member, Professor Ryoji Noyori, at Nagoya University, in Nagoya, Japan, says, “Science of Synthesis is the most widely used resource on organic synthesis in both academia and industry. It was completed after a 15 year international collaboration in which chemists in many countries in Europe, America and Asia were involved.” One hundred years after the first edition was published by Weyl, Houben–Weyl and Science of Synthesis together form an influential service that is prized by scientists and researchers worldwide.

About the Editorial Board

Science of Synthesis has been developed under the guidance of an international Editorial Board. The extensive knowledge and experience of the Editorial Board enable Thieme Chemistry to develop a system that ensures both the print and electronic versions of Science of Synthesis will continue to remain at the heart of the fully integrated laboratory of the present and future.
The Editorial Board responsible for the concept and content of Science of Synthesis consists of: Professor Ryoji Noyori, Nobel laureate, Nagoya University; Professor Barry M. Trost, Stanford University; Professor Daniel Bellus, Riehen; Professor Eric N. Jacobsen, Harvard University; Professor Steve V. Ley, University of Cambridge; Professor Manfred Regitz, Universitaet Kaiserslautern; Professor Paul J. Reider, Princeton University; Professor Ernst Schaumann, Institut für Organische Chemie der TU, Clausthal; Dr. Ichiro Shinkai, Tokyo; and Professor E. Jim Thomas, Victoria University of Manchester.

About InfoChem

InfoChem GmbH (, based in Munich, Germany, is a market leader in structure and reaction handling and retrieval. Founded in 1989, InfoChem focuses on the production and marketing of new chemical information products, including structural and reaction databases, and the development of software tools required for these applications. The main software tools provided are the InfoChem Fast Search Engine (ICFSE), the InfoChem Chemistry Cartridge for Oracle (ICCARTRIDGE), and the widely used InfoChem reaction classification algorithm CLASSIFY. Springer (Heidelberg) has held a majority interest in InfoChem since 1991.

About Thieme

Thieme Publishing Group is a privately held STM publishing house employing more than 950 people and maintaining offices in seven cities, including New York, Delhi, Stuttgart and three other locations in Germany. Founded in 1886, the Thieme name has become synonymous with high quality and excellence in medical and scientific publishing. Today, Thieme is the market leading publisher of neurosurgical content and holds strong market positions in orthopedics, radiology, anatomy and chemistry, among other specialties. Thieme publishes 137 peer-reviewed journals and over 500 new books annually. The company also has a rapidly growing array of web-based products in medicine and science. Popular online products include Thieme eJournals and the Thieme ElectronicBook Library, which are accessible via, Thieme's platform for electronic products.

Simone Rueckle
Public Relations and Press Office
Thieme Publishing Group
Ruedigerstrasse 14
70469 Stuttgart
Tel: +49-(0)711-8931-280

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