Blogging in chemistry remains something of a niche activity, albeit with a variety of different styles. The most common is commentary or opinion on the scientific literature or conferencing, serving to highlight what their author considers interesting or important developments. There are even metajournals that aggregate such commentaries. The question therefore occasionally arises; should blogs aspire to any form of permanence, or are they simply creatures of their time.
The knowledge that substituents on a benzene ring direct an electrophile engaged in a ring substitution reaction according to whether they withdraw or donate electrons is very old. Introductory organic chemistry tells us that electron donating substituents promote the ortho and para positions over the meta. Here I try to recover some of this information by searching crystal structures.
- H.E. Armstrong, "XXVIII.?An explanation of the laws which govern substitution in the case of benzenoid compounds", Journal of the Chemical Society, Transactions, vol. 51, pp. 258, 1887. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/CT8875100258
Sodium borohydride is the tamer cousin of lithium aluminium hydride (LAH). It is used in aqueous solution to e.g. reduce aldehydes and ketones, but it leaves acids, amides and esters alone. Here I start an exploration of why it is such a different reducing agent.
Last August, I wrote about data galore, the archival of data for 133,885 (134 kilo) molecules into a repository, together with an associated data descriptor published in the new journal Scientific Data. Since six months is a long time in the rapidly evolving field of RDM, or research data management, I offer an update in the form of some new observations.
- R. Ramakrishnan, P.O. Dral, M. Rupp, and O.A. von Lilienfeld, "Quantum chemistry structures and properties of 134 kilo molecules", Scientific Data, vol. 1, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2014.22
This might be seen as cranking a handle by producing yet more examples of acids ionised by a small number of water molecules. I justify it (probably only to myself) as an exercise in how a scientist might approach a problem, and how it linearly develops with time, not necessarily in the directions first envisaged. A conventional scientific narrative published in a conventional journal tells the story often with the benefit of hindsight, but rarely how the project actually unfolded chronologically.‡ So by devoting 7 posts to this, you can judge for yourself how my thoughts might have developed (and I am prepared to acknowledge this may only serve to show my ignorance).
I do not play poker,‡ and so I had to look up a 5-4-3-2-1(A), which Wikipedia informs me is a 5-high straight flush, also apparently known as a steel wheel. In previous posts I have suggested acids which can be ionised by (probably) 5, 4, 3 or 1 discrete water molecules in the gas phase; now to try to track down a candidate for ionisation by the required two water molecules to form that straight flush.