B.R.S.M. To strive, to seek, to find and not to give a yield


(+/-)-Indoxamycin B

Total Synthesis and Stereochemical Reassignment of (±)-Indoxamycin B

Carreira et al., Angew. Chemie., 2012 Early View [PDF][SI][GROUP]

There haven’t been many total syntheses recently that I’ve really wanted to write about in the last month or two, but I quite enjoyed both the Carreira offerings that appeared in Angewandte last Friday. After realising that I didn’t have time to write about both, I decided on this one as it reminded me of some chemistry I’d done myself a while back.[1] I also enjoy it when total synthesis ends in reassignment, as it’s probably one of the more worthwhile outcomes of a synthetic campaign, and it makes a nice story.

Filed under: Current Literature, Total Synthesis | 19,027 views | 6 comments Continue reading

What’s Wrong With This Picture 1: Gibberellic Acid?

For people who say that inflation of yields is a new thing... think again. Corey's synthesis of gibberellic acid is otherwise really quite good.

Filed under: Literature, Total Synthesis, WWWTP | 14,741 views | 10 comments 10 Comments

And Now For Something Completely Different 3: Some Tips On Style

Heres a little something I wrote on the flight back from the conference I attended before Christmas. It didn't quite turn out right, which is why you haven't seen it yet, but I'm a bit busy and uninspired right now so I've dredged it out for your enjoyment.

Answer: All of them, obviously

As anyone who has ever read a paper will know, scientific English is a bit different from the stuff we speak around the coffee table (and what you’ll read here). Basically, the aim of academic writing is to sound as intelligent as you can while still being quite vague. Language should be as grandiloquent as possible, to the point of obfuscation, and common words must never be used when more bookish ones are available. There are several classic papers which I needed a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary to decode. And I’m fine with that; that’s how it should be.[1]

Unfortunately, in recent years, the primary literature has become increasingly accessible and easy to read. It all began with the advent of Chemdraw, robbing the world of the beauty of stencilled/hand drawn structures, and the unabated simplification of the language still proceeds apace. This must stop. It is not acceptable to write that reactions ‘give’ or ‘yield’ particular compounds. Words like ‘furnish’, ‘afford’ or even ‘educe’ are far superior, and one should try to use a different one in each instance. Here are a few further ways to decrease the readability of your work and frustrate and confuse native and non-native English speakers alike. Just remember, you’re really doing them a favour.[2]

Filed under: ANFSCD, Fun, Literature | 44,014 views | 26 comments Continue reading