The Williamson Ether Synthesis

October 24, 2014

In the last post, we discussed the acid-base properties of alcohols. Two posts ago, we said that acid-base reactions are often used to “set up” substitution and elimination reactions of alcohols.  In this post, we’ll talk about what is probably the best example of this last point –  the Williamson Ether Synthesis. The Williamson Ether [...]

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Organic Chemistry IUPAC Nomenclature Demystified With A Simple Puzzle Piece Approach

October 21, 2014

IUPAC Nomenclature Demystified with a Simple Puzzle-Piece Approach, by Leah Fisch Note from James: This is a guest post by Leah Fisch of Leah4Sci.com , an online resource for learning organic chemistry, MCAT preparation, and other science topics . This is an epic, comprehensive post on organic chemistry nomenclature. You might want to bookmark this page for future reference, [...]

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Alcohols (3) – Acidity and Basicity

October 17, 2014

In the last post we said that one of the keys to the reactions of alcohols as we go forward is that the conjugate acid is a better leaving group and the conjugate base is a better nucleophile. We might have gotten a little ahead of ourselves broaching that topic, because we haven’t yet really revisited some [...]

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How Esther Bounced Back From a “C” To Get A’s In Organic Chemistry 1 And 2

October 8, 2014

The importance of attitude The student who is the subject of today’s success story, Esther,  didn’t start off doing well in organic chemistry. Actually, she says that the first time she took organic, she got a C. This is because she believed that her NOT doing well was almost inevitable. Esther: “I am not going to [...]

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How To Make Alcohols More Reactive

How To Make Alcohols More Reactive

October 6, 2014

In the last post we explored some of the properties and nomenclature of alcohols. We said that alcohols tend to have high boiling points due to hydrogen bonding, and that  we commonly divide alcohols into the categories  “primary”, “secondary”,  and “tertiary” (with a nod to the unique, “methanol”) according to how many carbons are attached to the C [...]

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Alcohols (1) – Nomenclature and Properties

September 17, 2014

In this next series of posts we are going to discuss the reactions of alcohols. As a functional group, alcohols are introduced fairly early in organic chemistry. Their reactions, however, are usually not covered until near the end of Org 1 – at least after subjects like substitution and elimination reactions have been explored. That’s [...]

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How Concepts Build Up In Org 2

September 9, 2014

OK. Having looked at the Org 1 Concept Map, let’s ask the next logical question: what does a typical Org 2 course look like? One general observation: the way functional groups are covered in your typical two-semester organic chemistry course generally follows the oxidation ladder. Look at the progression:  alkanes (low oxidation state) first, then [...]

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How Concepts Build Up In Org 1 (“The Pyramid”)

September 5, 2014

I LOVE making maps. Whenever I played adventure games as a kid (or, let’s face it, as an adult) I often made meticulous maps of how each area led to the next. Any time I really want to understand something, I have to write everything out and make a map to connect things together – usually [...]

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Bredt’s Rule (And Summary of Cycloalkanes)

Bredt’s Rule (And Summary of Cycloalkanes)

September 2, 2014

At the beginning of this series I said that the fact that carbon forms rings leads to all kinds of interesting consequences that follow logically from the rules of structure and bonding in organic chemistry, but nevertheless would have been hard to predict from first principles. Among them, we’ve seen that: 3 and 4 membered rings have significant ring [...]

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How Helena Aced Organic Chemistry

How Helena Aced Organic Chemistry

August 28, 2014

How Helena Got 93 In Organic Chemistry An Australian reader, Helena, recently wrote to say she’d earned a 93 in her organic chemistry class as part of her course requirements as a biology major.  Here’s how she described her background: I’m a “mature age” student. The last time I studied chemistry was in high school twenty [...]

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