Posts Tagged ‘Alan Dronsfield’

The history of Alizarin (and madder).

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

The Royal Society of Chemistry historical group (of which I am a member) organises two or three one day meetings a year. Yesterday the October meeting covered (amongst other themes) the fascinating history of madder and its approximately synthetic equivalent alizarin. Here I add a little to the talk given by Alan Dronsfield on the synthesis of alizarin and the impact this had on the entire industry.


The atom and the molecule: A one-day symposium on 23 March, 2016 celebrating Gilbert N. Lewis.

Friday, December 11th, 2015

You might have noticed the occasional reference here to the upcoming centenary of the publication of Gilbert N. Lewis’ famous article entitled “The atom and the molecule“.[1] A symposium exploring his scientific impact and legacy will be held in London on March 23, 2016, exactly 70 years to the day since his death. A list of the speakers and their titles is shown below; there is no attendance fee, but you must register as per the instructions below.



  1. G.N. Lewis, "THE ATOM AND THE MOLECULE.", Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 38, pp. 762-785, 1916.

How is the bromination of alkenes best represented?

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

I occasionally delve into the past I try to understand how we got to our present understanding of chemistry. Thus curly arrow mechanistic notation can be traced back to around 1924, with style that bifurcated into two common types used nowadays (on which I have commented and about which further historical light at the end of this post). Here I try to combine these themes with some analysis of wavefunctions for a particularly troublesome reaction to represent, the dibromination of an alkene, which I represented in the previous post as shown below.


The first ever curly arrows.

Friday, July 20th, 2012

I was first taught curly arrow pushing in 1968, and have myself taught it to many a generation of student since. But the other day, I learnt something new. Nick Greeves was kind enough to send me this link to the origin of curly arrow pushing in organic chemistry, where the following diagram is shown and Alan Dronsfield sent me two articles he co-wrote on the topic (T. M. Brown, A. T. Dronsfield and P. J. T Morris, Education in Chemistry, 2001, 38, 102-104, 107 and 2003, 40, 129-134); thanks to both of them.