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The second edition of 'Catalysis: Concepts & Green Applications', the popular undergraduate textbook written by Prof. Gadi Rothenberg of the University of Amsterdam's Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences, has been translated in Chinese. A low-cost paperback edition available to Chinese students is published by 'Higher Education Press', the publishing house of the Chinese Ministry of Education.

Cover of Chinese catalysis textbook
Catalysis textbook Chinese edition 催化-原理与绿色应用(第二版).

Rothenberg's book covers homogeneous, heterogeneous and biocatalysis and includes a special chapter on computer applications and data mining in catalysis research. According to Wiley-VCH, publisher of the original edition in English, it is the most popular introductory textbook to catalysis. This book has now been translated by professors Hualong Xu, Wei Shen, Weiming Hua and Yinhong Yue from Fudan University, where Rothenberg was Senior Visiting Scholar in 2017.

Rothenberg first visited China in 2011 as part of the Scientific Committee of the Solvay/CNRS lab for Eco-Efficient Products and Processes in Shanghai. He has since been intensively involved in collaboration projects with universities and institutes in Shanghai, Chengdu and Shenzhen. As he visited many Chinese catalysis labs, the need for a Chinese edition of his textbook became apparent, says Rothenberg: "I was always impressed with the commitment of the researchers and their students to the principles of green and sustainable chemistry. But I also noticed two things: First, even though most of the students understood English and some spoke it fluently, the textbooks in their labs were always in Chinese. Second, it was obvious that most students could not afford the €60 price tag of the international edition".

Straightforward, accurate and simple

The strong relationship developed with colleagues at Fudan University led to the translation project. This helped to convince the editors at Wiley-VCH and at the Chinese publisher HEP, who gave the project their blessing and support. Every effort was made to keep the translation straightforward, accurate and simple. The Chinese paperback edition now sells at only 50RMB per copy (€6,50) on Tmall.com, the Chinese equivalent of Amazon. References and colour figures are accessible via QR codes that can be scanned in WeChat to access the original files.

Rothenberg sees the translation as a tool for bridging the gap between Western and Chinese researchers, especially at a time like this when countries are isolating themselves. "I hope that this book helps spread the message of sustainable chemistry in China. At the same time, it shows the quality and commitment of catalysis research and education in the Netherlands".

The translators (from left to right): Prof. Yinghong Yue, Prof. Weiming Hua, Prof. Hualong Xu and Prof. Wei Shen. Image: HIMS.