For the love of chemical synthesis

Now this is why I read blogs: Paul Docherty is head-over-heels in love with chemical synthesis and wants to tell you all about it. And I want him to tell me about it. His blog, is crackling with enthusiasm and filled with lovely diagrams and little stories that report on the latest news in the world of organic chemical synthesis. This is exactly what you don’t get in a typical chemistry class. Can you imagine how many chemists we’d have if high school teachers were half as thrilled as this?

Here’s a sampling from today’s post, Modern Aldol Methods for the Total Synthesis of Polyketides.

With all this focus on polyketide/macrolide synthesis, I thought I’d highlight an interesting review in this week’s Angewandte; a genuine masterclass in the aldol reaction.

There’s nothing pretentious about it. It’s all sinewy facts knotted together with excitement, punctuated by little self-effacing asides like “I was quite taken with this transformation, but it obviously shows that I need to brush up on my diazo chemistry…” Somehow I feel as though I’m learning something terribly useful, even though I don’t understand a word of it.

I’ve always loved technical jargon as used by someone joyfully immersed in it, whether it’s 19th century sailing terminology or dental jargon. Bring on your ipsilateral translation of the condyle, your girt lines and masting falls! Money pays the bills, but it’s Kocienski–Julia olefination that makes the world go around.

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