Reactions of Grignard Reagents

Reactions of Grignard Reagents

December 10, 2015

Here’s the summary for today’s post: So far in this series we’ve introduced organometallic compounds and said that their carbons tend to be nucleophilic. We’ve learned how to make them from alk…

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Organometallics Are Strong Bases

Organometallics Are Strong Bases

November 13, 2015

Last post we talked about how to make certain organometallics, specifically Grignard and organolithium reagents. One thing we saw is that it’s useful to think of them as “carbanions”, that is, carbon…

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Synthesis of Grignard and Organolithium Reagents

Synthesis of Grignard and Organolithium Reagents

November 9, 2015

In the last post we introduced the concept of organometallic compounds – molecules where carbon is bound to a less electronegative atom such as Li, Mg, Cu, and many other metals. We said that carbon in these mol…

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What’s An Organometallic?

What’s An Organometallic?

October 28, 2015

Quick summary for today – the first in a new series on organometallic compounds: Previously on MOC we’ve discussed how important dipoles are in determining the reactivity of a molecule. Wait: dipoles, yo…

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I Memorized 875 North American Birds During Paternity Leave

I Memorized 875 North American Birds During Paternity Leave

October 20, 2015

What I Learned From A Massive Memorization Project This spring I had a weird obsession with birds. I ended up learning the names of all 875 birds of North America and trained myself to recite them from memory. It was …

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This Is Why Students Use Flashcards

This Is Why Students Use Flashcards

October 2, 2015

A long but interesting letter from a reader who I’ll call “Annie” on how preparing for an exam the “right way” (learning the mechanisms for every reaction) as opposed to the ‘wrong …

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Learning Reactions: A Checklist (PDF)

Learning Reactions: A Checklist (PDF)

September 14, 2015

Let’s Get More Specific About Where Memorization Works And Where It Doesn’t Recently, we tried to understand what instructors mean when they say, “Don’t Memorize!”, or its darker variant…

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“Organic Chemistry Is Like…” – A Few Metaphors

“Organic Chemistry Is Like…” – A Few Metaphors

September 7, 2015

What’s organic chemistry, and how is it different from most classes you’ll encounter? In this post I share a few useful metaphors from commenters on a recent Reddit thread, “Organic Chem: What Is Me…

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What Does “Don’t Memorize!” Mean, Anyway?

What Does “Don’t Memorize!” Mean, Anyway?

September 4, 2015

“Memorize Everything!” was good organic chemistry study advice in 1952. From the MIT Technology Review, a letter to the editor: A Memorable Chemistry Final There is only one final exam that i can date from…

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Reproducibility In Organic Chemistry

Reproducibility In Organic Chemistry

September 1, 2015

How One Chemist Playing Hooky From His Day Job Helped To Get A Paper Retracted From Chemistry’s Flagship Journal [In the vein of the recent Chemical & Engineering News perspective on “how the internet has chan…

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