Archive for the ‘Historical’ Category

The thermal reactions … took precisely the opposite stereochemical course to that which we had predicted. A non-covalent-interaction view of the model.

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021

Another foray into one of the more famous anecdotal chemistry “models”, the analysis of which led directly to the formulation of the WoodWard-Hoffmann (stereochemical) rules for pericyclic reactions. Previously, I tried to produce a modern computer model of what Woodward might have had to hand when discovering that the stereochemical outcome of a key reaction in his vitamin B12 synthesis was opposite to that predicted using his best model of the reaction.

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Internet Archeology: an example of a revitalised molecular resource with a new activity now built in.

Thursday, November 5th, 2020

In Internet terms, 23 years ago is verging on pre-history. Much of what was happening around 1997 on the Web was still highly experimental and so its worth taking a look at some of this to see how it has survived or whether it can be “curated” into a form that would still be useful. I had noted in my earlier comment a site which early on had become non-functional and then speculated whether any volunteers might have suggestions for how to best rescue it.

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Blasts from the past: a snapshot of online content in chemistry, ~1994-1998.

Monday, September 28th, 2020

With universities around the world having to very rapidly transition to blended learning (a mixture of virtual and face-2-face experiences) with a very large component based on online materials, I thought it might be interesting to try to give one snapshot of when the online experience started to happen in chemistry.

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The history of Alizarin (and madder).

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

The Royal Society of Chemistry historical group (of which I am a member) organises two or three one day meetings a year. Yesterday the October meeting covered (amongst other themes) the fascinating history of madder and its approximately synthetic equivalent alizarin. Here I add a little to the talk given by Alan Dronsfield on the synthesis of alizarin and the impact this had on the entire industry.

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Octet expansion and hypervalence in dimethylidyne-λ6-sulfane.

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

I started this story by looking at octet expansion and hypervalence in non-polar hypercoordinate species such as S(-CH3)6, then moved on to S(=CH2)3. Finally now its the turn of S(≡CH)2.

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Twenty one years of chemistry-related Java apps: RIP Java?

Saturday, June 10th, 2017

In an earlier post, I lamented the modern difficulties in running old instances of Jmol, an example of an application program written in the Java programming language. When I wrote that, I had quite forgotten a treasure trove of links to old Java that I had collected in 1996-7 and then abandoned. Here I browse through a few of the things I found.

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The Chemistry Department at Imperial College London. A history, 1845-2000.

Friday, February 10th, 2017

The book of the title has recently appeared giving a rich and detailed view over 417 pages, four appendices and 24 pages of photographs of how a university chemistry department in the UK came into being in 1845 and its subsequent history of discoveries, Nobel prizes and much more. If you have ever wondered what goes on in an academic department, populated by and large by very bright and clever personalities and occasionally some highly eccentric ones, then go dip into this book.

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Revisiting (and maintaining) a twenty year old web page. Mauveine: The First Industrial Organic Fine-Chemical.

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

Almost exactly 20 years ago, I started what can be regarded as the precursor to this blog. As part of a celebration of this anniversary, I revisited the page to see whether any of it had withstood the test of time. Here I recount what I discovered.

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The “hydrogen bond”; its early history.

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

My holiday reading has been Derek Lowe’s excellent Chemistry Book setting out 250 milestones in chemistry, organised by year. An entry for 1920 entitled hydrogen bonding seemed worth exploring in more detail here.

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The "hydrogen bond"; its early history.

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

My holiday reading has been Derek Lowe’s excellent Chemistry Book setting out 250 milestones in chemistry, organised by year. An entry for 1920 entitled hydrogen bonding seemed worth exploring in more detail here.

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