Friday, March 29, 2013

Catalytic hydrogenation

The current organic chemistry class hydrogenated olive oil using a palladium catalyst. As the reaction begins to come to a boil, the vapor bubbles carry the fine particulate matter of the black catalyst up on their surface. As the bubbles reach the surface, the catalyst falls back.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Brain Mapping

Organic chemistry introduces a whole new language to students, one which they must learn to speak fluently and apply in practice by the end of their organic class. The subject focuses on the synthesis of various functional groups, as well as their reactivity as reagents. An organic chemist's most frequently pondered question is how to get from compound A to compound B. The courses introduce a set of possible paths. However, the map becomes very complex very quickly.

I encourage any orgo student to make use of a brain mapping software, such as "The Brain" during their time in the course. Start with the very first group of compounds, describe their characteristics, and as you learn their reactions, make the appropriate connections in the software. This way you can visualize the process that a synthetic chemist must think through when designing a new synthesis route for a compound.

Castleton presents the 2012 fall installment of the classes "organic brain" with the following login information on the brain website:
ID: Castetonbrain
Password: GoCState

Click the pdf filed for synthesis routes. Enjoy and give the students feedback here!