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This is a long, graphics intensive post. You probably don’t need to read it all now, but chances are, you’ll REALLY need to know the skill I describe here soon. Because it’s an extremely common question found on The First Midterm.What this...
Imagine you have a clock. Not a digital clock. One of those old fashioned clocks with two hands. Let’s try something.Make the clock show high noon, so that both hands are pointing at 12.Now pin down down the hour hand so it can’t move. (Or if you...
You’ve likely learned by now that you can rotate single bonds (“sigma bonds”) but you can’t rotate multiple bonds (Pi bonds).Now we can start talking about some of the consequences of this.A molecule with single bonds – an alkane,...

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In the previous post in this series, “On Conjugation and Resonance“, I warned that in order to gain a deeper understanding of some of the concepts ahead, we’regoing to need to go into MO theory.But before we do… shall we talk about dating?...
Zed Shaw teaches a course in writing Python called “Python the Hard Way“. Because the hard way is easier, he says.In the end, he’s right. If you really want to learn organic chemistry, the hard way is easier. In graduate school I had to un-learn...
Last time we talked about how some interesting electronic effects can lead to unexpected results in organic chemistry. Today we look at three examples of how steric factors can lead to unexpected products (or lack of products). The last example is a case where...

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A list of small, useful things (links): Anyone facing a writing deadline (looking at you, thesis writers) (looking right back at you, CJ - ed.) should read Dan Drezner's post on writing a non-fiction book. I have been remiss in not linking to...
A bit of a lack of exciting syntheses so far this week, so here's some methodology and random reflections and recollections.I don't mind that we don't get told the whole truth as undergraduates, because most of us can't handle the truth (well, not all of it)....
This is a loose transcript of the Syllabus Day speech I gave my Organic Chemistry I class on the first day of fall semester this week. Organic Chemistry I is the first of a two semester sequence at my small, Midwest, liberal arts university. Our five organic...