This is the time of year when I deliver two back-2-back lecture courses, and yes I do update and revise the content! I am always on the look-out for nice new examples that illustrate how concepts and patterns in chemistry can be joined up to tell a good story. My attention is currently on conformational analysis; and here is an interesting new story to tell about it.
Archive for the ‘General’ Category
So much to do, so little time to do it. That is my excuse at least. Right from my first post on this blog in 2008 I have tried to enhance it using Jmol, a Java-based applet (normally indicated with the caption Click for 3D). This has been pretty stable for some five years now, but a recent spate of security-based releases of the JRE (Java runtime environment) for desktop computers has impacted, the latest of which was released yesterday (Java 7, V 51). Put simply, when I started, an unsigned applet was fine. Now to run, it can only be a properly signed applet. Fortunately, there are two solutions:
When I first started giving lectures to students, it was the students themselves that acted as human photocopiers, faithfully trying to duplicate what I was embossing on the lecture theatre blackboard with chalk. How times have changed! Here I thought I might summarise my latest efforts to refactor the material I deliver in one lecture course on pericyclic reactions (and because my notes have always been open, you can view them yourself if you wish).
I have several times used arrow pushing on these blogs. But since the rules for this convention appear to be largely informal, and there appears to be no definitive statement of them, I thought I would try to produce this for our students. This effort is here shared on my blog. It is what I refer to as the standard version; an advanced version is in preparation. Such formality might come as a surprise to some; arrow-pushing is often regarded as far too approximate to succumb to any definition, although it is of course often examined.
With metrics in science publishing controversial to say the least, I pondered whether to write about the impact/influence a science-based blog might have (never mind whether it constitutes any measure of esteem). These are all terms that feature large when an (academic) organisation undertakes a survey of its researchers’ effectiveness.‡ WordPress (the organisation that provides the software used for this blog) recently enhanced the stats it offers for its users, and one of these caught my eye.
The Baldwin rules for ring closure follow the earlier ones by Bürgi and Dunitz in stating the preferred angles of nucleophilic (and electrophilic) attack in bond forming reactions, and are as famous for the interest in their exceptions as for their adherence. Both sets of rules fundamentally explore the geometry of the transition states involved in the reaction, as reflected in the activation free energies. Previous posts exploring the transition states for well-known reactions have revealed that the 4th dimension (the timing of the bond formations/breakings) can often spring surprises. So this post will explore a typical Baldwin ring formation in the same way.
Many reaction mechanisms involve a combination of bond formation/cleavage between two non-hydrogen atoms and those involving reorganisation of proximate hydrogens. The Baeyer-Villiger discussed previously illustrated a complex dance between the two types. Here I take a look at another such mechanism, the methylation of a carboxylic acid by diazomethane.