B.R.S.M. Yield isn't everything


BRSM is Two Years Old Today!

I had completely forgotten that today was my 2nd anniversary as a blogger until my girlfriend sent me this photo a bit earlier:


Apparently, as there were no number 2 candles (cf. last year), she instead made two cakes (possibly setting a dangerous precedent in the process!).

I can't believe that it's that time again – I've now been talking to the internet for two whole years! It's been really busy period for me in real life but in contrast a quieter one for BRSM. Although I've written 5 papers,[1] I've only managed 44 blog posts in the past 12 months, which is unfortunately quite a bit short of the one-a-week target that I try to aim for. How people like Derek, CJ and See Arr Oh write so much decent stuff, I don't know!

I still think of this a total synthesis blog—after all, it began with me reading a Totally Synthetic post one day and thinking "I could do that!"–but it seems that the posts that get the most hits tend to  be the ones based on random observations or conversations with friends. For example, here are my top posts of 2012-13 (In descending order of pageviews):

1. Where Did It All Go Wrong? – I probably wrote this in about 10 mins after glimpsing a ridiculously misassigned structure in J. Nat. Prod., but a link from Derek probably helped this to the top.

2. Drugs I Shan’t Be Taking This Week 1: 2,4-Dinitrophenol – I really have no idea why people keep reading this. It must be high on some Google search!

3. And Now For Something Completely Different 4: Wikipedia Fun – Based on the chance tea time observation that my PhD supervisor is outranked on Google by a number of golfers and DJs with the same name. I think that occasional commenter Martyn (of gyrofaunal fame) did most of the legwork for this one.

4. Superlatives 3: The Longest Polyene – A friend emailed me a photo (thanks, James!), which I posted.

5. A Birthday Surprise for K. C. Nicolaou – Inspired by a drunken conversation in a pub.

Not a single scheme in sight – I am constantly surprised by what you guys will read!

While I'm reminiscing, I'd like to thank this year's three guest authors: my long-time benefactor DrFreddy, who promised me a post 'about teenage love, the Greenwich Observatory and TNT' that he surprisingly was able to deliver; Brandon from ChemTips, who wrote about Hanessian's recent full paper on pactamycin; and Siddharth Yadav, whose post on pentacycloanammoxic acid will be up later in the week. Conversely, I also wrote my first ever guest post, which attempted to give some practical advice for the Birch reduction, over at ChemTips. I also contributed a little bit to Blog Syn, by mostly failing to reproduce other people's work. I hope that we'll find a way to get that site going again!

I'd also really like to thank everyone who has gave me advice for my imminent move to the US whether it was in person, on twitter, or via the recent mini-carnival that Jess and Freda organised. Hopefully I'll catch up with some of you one day!

Finally, thank you all for reading and commenting! I don't know what a couple of years in the US will do to my ability to spend hours messing around on the internet, but hopefully I'll keep this thing up for another year!


1. This claim would be a lot less impressive if I told you where we sent them...

Comments (9) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Congratulations! Double cake is twice as awesome.

    In the spirit of the donkey (virtually the same thing as a pony), can you enable the “like” button for this post? It’s… traditional.

    • I tried to get a like button and some twitter integration a while back, but I was using too old a version of WordPress, with too old a version of MySQL to upgrade. That’s all sorted now DrFreddy hosts this site, though, so I should really sprinkle in some social media links…

  2. Happy birthday!

    What a pretty fumehood you have there. X

  3. Happy birthday! Enjoy the “terrible twos”

    And congrats on your five (5) paper submissions, even if they appeared in Tet Lett, Czech Coordination Chem, or Beilstein J…

  4. Hey brsm,
    Congrats to your anniversary, keep up the good work. I always enjoy stopping by.

    Now to a little hread-Hijacking. We’re having a slight disgreement in our group as to what the term brsm entails. Is there an official definition anywhere out there? I couldn’t find one googling and checking IUPAC.
    Basically, we see two possible concepts. You can determine a conversion yield by calculating (Product)/(Product+recovered Starting material), which then just leaves out, how much of material you have actually destroyed and lost during reaction and isolation. You might as well just add %product + %recovered material to shine some light on mass balance. As you can see from my description, I’m clearly in favour of the second version. Since you hide out behind the pseudonym brsm, I guess you’re sort of obliged to shine some light on this matter 😉

    • I’ve never seen a definition in writing, and actually it’s a question that I get asked pretty often. I had always believed that it was as Hap defined it below, i.e. that any starting material you get back you pretend that you didn’t put in in the first place. I’m not sure where I got that idea, sorry.

  5. I’m not brsm, but this is what I thought it was:

    if a = yield in moles of product
    b = yield in moles of recovered starting material
    A = moles of starting material

    then brsm would be a/(A-b)*100 (in %) – A-b would be the mixture of product that reacted productively (a) and unproductively and the yield loss to purification.

  6. Happy birthday BRSM. Meant to contribute something to your coming to America carnival (seeing as I did what you are now doing). I wonder if you know if you are going back to the UK afterwards?

    I will satisfy myself by letting you know that Amazon is your friend for British comforts: I have a regular order of PG Tips and McVities choc biscuits, with an occasional order of Marmite or Branston pickle. Other snacks are available. 🙂

    And Americans wonder what the hell you are eating when you eat either of those last two.

Leave a comment

Trackbacks are disabled.