B.R.S.M. When all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail


The Author

Call me BRSM. I'm a UK-trained organic chemist with a background in total synthesis who is currently conducting research at a big US university that you've probably heard of. Unless stated otherwise, everything on this site was written by me. I enjoy romantic evenings in the lab, sharing cups of tea, and long walks to the NMR spectrometers. I'm particularly interested in chemical history, total synthesis, rock climbing, cooking, craft beer, and using Oxford commas.

Feel free to email me with suggestions, feedback, ideas for guest posts, beer recipes or about absolutely anything:

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If you'd rather have a conversation in 160 character chunks, or be subjected to my random thoughts between posts, you can follow me on Twitter:

The Blog

Created in mid-2011, I'm hoping that this will be an interesting read for other organic chemists engaged in or interested in the art of total synthesis. Typical posts cover exciting new work in the literature, classic syntheses, chemical history and occasionally humour. I try to write informally enough that you can read this stuff while waiting for an NMR to run without too much thought. At the same time, I'm hoping this will be a place where the latest work can be discussed and questions can be asked and answered.


The Disclaimer

Obviously, views expressed here are my own, and not those of any institution at which I have worked, am working, or will work. Feel free to use any content I post for anything you like. I should inform you that I have, in the past, been wrong, and you should probably take everything I say with a large pinch of salt and take the usual precautions.


Comments (6) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Great blog. Interesting, insightful and well informed commentary.

  2. Hi BRSM, I just wanted to say thanks for the reference resolver. I am just about to start my thesis so it will be a great help; brilliant idea. I have just began properly getting involved online in the chemistry community hence the reason I am reading your blog and not writing and it looks like it has paid off quite quickly.


    • Hi Karl, thanks for the comment and for linking to me from your own site. Look forward to seeing how that develops. I must say that the resolver isn’t mine, I’ve just included it on the site. All credit goes to Mr Zhurakovskyi of the Robertson group at Oxford. I should probably make that obvious as people occasionally email him instead of me when they disagree with my point of view…

  3. BRSM: I just was directed to your blog for a source of Harvard and RB Woodward lore. I was wondering if you or anyone else could confirm a piece of RBW lore I heard years ago from post doc in my lab at Princeton. Briefly it involved awards RBW gave to his research team who worked on one of his total syntheses of natural products. At the celebratory party for publication of the masterpiece, all with significant contributions to the synthesis got a tie, in Woodward blue, with the embroidered structure of the compound. Really significant contributors got their names on the paper. Anybody have confirmation of the validity of this story? My source heard it from a friend, an unidentified Harvard post doc, but my source has since regrettably passed on. Please let me know with any further details. Bob Buntrock, Orono, ME butrock16@roadrunner.com

  4. So the past few nights I stayed up late editing this video. Please watch it and if you like it please share it xD. It’s a bonus video for my ochem class that I am in, the more views we get, the higher rating we will possibly get for the class bonus project.

    • Great job kids, hilarious, well produced. I’m forwarding the link to members of my family, one of whom starred as Dream Angel in Grease on Broadway and his daughter is a college senior and award winning videographer. Good luck, hope you get a lot of extra credit, and keep ’em coming.

      — Bob Buntrock, semi-retired chemist (organic)

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