The first five articles involve a fair bit of physics. "The Search for New Elements" looks at the synthesis of elements beyond uranium. "Bonding and the Theory of Atoms and Molecules" touches on a mix of theory: chemical bonds, reaction dynamics, simulation of liquids, and mathematical chemistry. "Chemistry in a New Light" and "Novel Energy Sources for Reactions" look at new tools for controlling reactions: lasers, electrosynthesis, microwaves, and ultrasound. And "What, Why and When is a Metal?" explains how the well-known criteria for distinguishing metals and insulators don't always work; this is one of the more accessible chapters, with a good selection of colour illustrations and historical "boxes".
The more "pure chemistry" chapters were the ones I had the most trouble following. These include "The Clothing of Metal Ions: Coordination Chemistry at the Turn of the Millenium", "Surface Chemistry", and "New Roads to Molecular Complexity". Other chapters connect more with biology. "Medicines from Nature" illustrates the search for new medicines through a case study of Erythromycin biosynthesis. "From Pharms to Farms" has two parts, one surveying major drugs and fragrances and the other pesticides. And "The Inorganic Chemistry of Life" is an unusual abstract overview of life from the point of view of an inorganic chemist.
A range of chapters are oriented towards engineering applications; these will be of particular interest to those following new computing technologies. "Supramolecular Chemistry" is an accessible look at the building of structures, at the chemical approach to nanotechnology. "Advanced Materials" focuses on applications to electronics — alternatives to silicon, packaging materials, liquid crystals, plastic batteries, and more — while "Molecular Electronics" focuses on actual circuits, on conductors and switches and molecular computing. "Electrochemical and Photoelectrochemical Energy Conversion" looks in detail at a range of traditional and experimental battery and fuel cell systems, and more briefly at photoelectrochemical cells and photochemical waste disposal.
"Chemistry Far from Equilibrium: Thermodynamics, Order and Chaos" is the most mathematical chapter, presenting some dynamical theory with a few examples. And a final chapter "Chemistry in Society" outlines the contributions of chemistry back to the Industrial Revolution, and urges better research both to avoid environmental problems and to correct popular misconceptions.