Teaching

The Organic Chemistry Behind “The Pill”

The Organic Chemistry Behind “The Pill”

February 13, 2015

The Most Interesting Man In The World passed away the other week. No, not THAT guy. He’s just an actor. The OTHER guy. The OTHER guy is Carl Djerassi, organic chemist, professor, author, playwright, and most notably, “Father of the Pill”. Lots of people these days – especially startups –  talk about changing the world. […]

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My Recent Absence, Explained With 9 Molecules

My Recent Absence, Explained With 9 Molecules

January 6, 2015

Hey folks – it’s been awhile! Let me explain. It all started very innocently. In mid November I started noticing that a little bump I’d had on the back of my neck for what seemed like forever had started getting sore. At first it was annoying. One Wednesday night I was taking a fencing lesson, […]

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Another Exercise In Mind Reading

April 17, 2013

Here’s another great example of how one reagent used in a certain context performs one thing, and in a different context performs a completely different task. These are the types of inconsistencies which lead students to find organic chemistry difficult, and in many cases to mistakenly believe that it is arbitrary. It is not. First […]

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Three Years

Three Years

February 18, 2013

Today is MOC’s third blogaversary. It’s a common saying in academia that nobody teaches you how to teach. It’s something you learn on the job.  As a Ph.D. organic chemist accustomed to speaking to other Ph.D organic chemists, there were a lot of finer details of learning organic chemistry that I did not appreciate when […]

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Now Available: The Organic Reactions Flashcard App for iPhone

Now Available: The Organic Reactions Flashcard App for iPhone

February 14, 2013

Today, in partnership with Rich Apodaca of Metamolecular, I’m happy to announce the release of a new app for the Apple iOs: Organic Reaction Flashcards for iPhone.   It should come as no surprise that one of the greatest difficulties students have in learning organic chemistry is in keeping track of all the reactions. That’s […]

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Khan Academy Gets Serious About Organic Chemistry

February 5, 2013

Readers might recall that a few months ago I went through and summarized all 73 of the Khan Academy organic chemistry videos. Going back to the KA site two weeks ago I was surprised to note that  big changes have been effected on their organic chemistry home page.  The organization of the main page has changed […]

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Putting Acidity In Perspective

Putting Acidity In Perspective

January 25, 2013

[Source: xkcd  hat tip to Mike Evans @mevans86 for finding this] One concept that always seems to have a hard time getting through is that of pKa. No matter how many times I nag students to “know their pKas” or tell them that the “pKa table is your friend” or compare it to a table […]

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My biggest failure of 2012

My biggest failure of 2012

January 9, 2013

Happy New Year! The title of this post is actually a misnomer. My biggest failure of 2012 was in not being able to win even a single game at our annual pond curling tournament in Muskoka. Since I am still not mentally prepared to talk about this disaster, I am going to talk about my […]

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Why Organic Chemistry Made Me Feel Dumb

Why Organic Chemistry Made Me Feel Dumb

December 5, 2012

Today I’ll share with you one thing about organic chemistry that made me feel really, really dumb when I took it. And looking back, I didn’t need to. So if it helps at least one person feel less dumb, that’s a win for me. When I first took ochem, I was well-accustomed to the style […]

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Khan Academy Videos for Organic Chemistry, Part 6

October 30, 2012

In this post (the 6th of 6) we finish up going through all the Khan Academy videos for organic chemistry [videos 65-73]. For previous posts in this series, see [1 2 3 4 5] Video #65 – Keto-Enol Tautomerism Length: 8:03 Summary: 3-methyl 2-butanone is drawn, and the mechanism for its conversion into its enol […]

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