Henry Rzepa's Blog Chemistry with a twist

February 18, 2019

The Graham reaction: Deciding upon a reasonable mechanism and curly arrow representation.

Students learning organic chemistry are often asked in examinations and tutorials to devise the mechanisms (as represented by curly arrows) for the core corpus of important reactions, with the purpose of learning skills that allow them to go on to improvise mechanisms for new reactions. A common question asked by students is how should such mechanisms be presented in an exam in order to gain full credit? Alternatively, is there a single correct mechanism for any given reaction? To which the lecturer or tutor will often respond that any reasonable mechanism will receive such credit. The implication is that a mechanism is “reasonable” if it “follows the rules”. The rules are rarely declared fully, but seem to be part of the absorbed but often mysterious skill acquired in learning the subject. These rules also include those governing how the curly arrows should be drawn. Here I explore this topic using the Graham reaction.[1]

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References

  1. W.H. Graham, "The Halogenation of Amidines. I. Synthesis of 3-Halo- and Other Negatively Substituted Diazirines1", Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 87, pp. 4396-4397, 1965. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja00947a040

September 16, 2014

Electronic notebooks: a peek into the future?

ELNs (electronic laboratory notebooks) have been around for a long time in chemistry, largely of course due to the needs of the pharmaceutical industries. We did our first extensive evaluation probably at least 15 years ago, and nowadays there are many on the commercial market, with a few more coming from opensource communities. Here I thought I would bring to your attention the potential of an interesting new entrant from the open community.

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June 6, 2013

Secrets of a university lecturer: 1981-1983.

Filed under: Uncategorised — Tags: , , — Henry Rzepa @ 1:47 pm

Many moons ago, when I was a young(ish) lecturer, and much closer in time to my laboratory roots of organic synthesis, I made some chemistry videos. One of these has resurfaced, somewhat  (to me at least) unexpectedly. Nowadays of course, such demonstrations are all carried out using virtual simulations (Flash animations etc) as the equipment itself becomes less common.

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