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Archive → September, 2011

Chemistry Carnival: Your Favorite Chemical Reactions!

Welcome to Your Favorite Chemical Reaction chemistry blog carnival!

A total of 22 entries were received since C&EN Online Editor Rachel Pepling put out the call for posts earlier in the month. The writing was superb, the science spot-on, and the personalities of the bloggers on full display. Anyone who thinks that chemists are just a bunch of stodgy old folks mumbling to themselves at the fume hood will have the stereotype turned on its ear after reading this batch of fine writing.

For those of you who might be reading a carnival for the first time, we’ll introduce the blogger with a link to their blog frontpage first so that you can get a sense of the overall blog gestalt and, we hope, bookmark it for future reference. Some of these bloggers may be new to you and one goal of any carnival is to give greater exposure to some of the rising stars in the blogosphere. Then within our description of the chemical reaction post, there will be a hyperlink to the post of interest under the name of the reaction.

So let’s get the show on the road!

 

Simple But Powerful

Sharon Neufeldt at I Can Has Science? took the high-altitude view to reactions by giving us the o-chem standard, the SN2 reaction. Her detailed teaching examples of the SN2 illustrate why it is “the treasure trove of organic chemistry principles.” The cancer pharmacologist in David also gives Sharon extra points for the historical treatment of nitrogen mustard chemotherapy.

Carmen Drahl provided the entry from The Haystack blog with a multitude of humble but useful reactions for amide bond formation. Anyone who reads her C&EN or blog with Lisa Jarvis, knows that Dr. Drahl has a personal attachment to the Mizoroki-Heck reaction. Always the community-minded writer, Carmen drahls draws from fellow blogger See Arr Oh’s med-chem toolkit. And Carmen leads the pack contributing to her gallery of hand-drawn structures, the chemist’s personality test pointed out by Chemjobber.

 

Chemical Oscillations

When it comes to favorite reactions, particularly for engaging public audiences or groggy undergrads, nothing can quite compete with oscillation reactions. First, our own Jyllian Kemsley at The Safety Zone safely holds forth on the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, discussing the history and the ten (!) equations underlying this magnificent reaction. The video she provides of the BZ reaction occurring in a Petri dish is superb.

How many of you love chemistry *this* much?

Next, the grand dame of scientific ethics, Janet D. Stemwedel, harkens back to the work for her first PhD (see her tattoo) at her new Scientific American

blog, Doing Good Science. Yes, folks, before she did her PhD in the philosophy of science, the San Jose State University professor was entrenched with the chlorite-iodide reaction. But in reflecting on the reaction mechanisms, Janet distills seven major lessons for any student of science. The beauty of Janet’s writing is that she always nails the science but teaches us the greater messages we should take from our work.

 

Here, Smell This

Chemistry professor and science writer Rebecca Guenard was so excited about restarting her new blog, Atomic-o-licious, that she offered two posts. She first speaks in The Smell of It of befouling herself with short but stinky carboxylic acids as a University of Florida graduate student prepping for the esterification undergrad laboratory. But she doesn’t hold it against her students, as in her second where she describes her love of the Grignard reaction and “the pimp daddy of all reagents.” Both posts have quite a few nice metaphors that would be useful and humorous interludes for lectures – and two words of wisdom for the organometallics lab: dry glassware.

Hey, what’s that smell? Oh, it’s just Christine Herman making waves at Just Another Electron Pusher. What do you get when you mix ammonium thioglycolate, hydrogen peroxide, and keratin? All I can say is that her Mom has beautiful hair!

More satisfying chemistry, and definitely one with mouth-watering olfactory delights, comes from Matt Hartings at ScienceGeist who tells us about a low-percent yield process that’s conducted in the kitchen: the Maillard reaction. Like Stemwedel and Guenard, Matt shows why he’s such a great teacher, complete with a passage “for the electron-pushing crowd.” Dr. Hartings, I like mine medium-rare.

SeeArrOh at Just Like Cooking got us dreaming of steamed crustaceans until we realized that he was talking about an alkyne reaction, the Crabbé reaction. His description of the autumnal colors seems quite appropriate for the end of September (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is).

 

The Most Important Reaction?

Ash Jogalekar at The Curious Wavefunction comes in with his typically lush writing for his entry on, “a reaction so elementary that it will occupy barely a tenth of the space on a napkin or t-shirt and which could (and should) be productively explained to every human being on the planet.” Which he then does. Go read.

 

Metathesis

Stuart Cantrill at Chemical Connections (and the Chief Editor of Nature Chemistry

) reflects on his two years at the Mecca of Metathesis, Cal Tech, with 2005 Nobel laureate in Chemistry, Bob Grubbs. But he didn’t choose a metathesis reaction. Instead, he chose the making and breaking of imines. The word azeotrope is certainly beautiful one, Stu. And it seems you share some fans of the Dean-Stark trap.

And Chemjobber should be fortunate that Stu didn’t pick Grubbs’ work. Why? Because our dear CJ chose to hold forth on the Grubbs’ ring-closing metathesis reaction. CJ also shares his own story on a connection to Grubbs’ Nobel. Happy anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. CJ!

STEM_Wonk is “a chemistry PhD navigating the world of science policy.” In ROMPing around the Carnival, they take a different approach to metals, this time as catalysts for ring-opening metathesis polymerization. I don’t know why but we had the urge to go make some popcorn after reading the post.

 

Cycloadditions

Shannon Morey at chembites submitted a nice alkyne reaction: the azide alkyne Huisgen cycloaddition. Her post concisely covers ground from the history of the reaction to modern applications (semi-synthetic natural products!) and its relative ease: “It is almost too good to be true, though I know I don’t feel that way when I’m doing the dishes…”

Shannon also mentioned that the Diels-Alder reaction always tends to steal the show when discussing cycloadditions. So, it’s no surprise that Azmanam at ChemistryBlog comes in with his characterization of the legendary reaction:  ”No reaction is more elegant, more heartwarmingly satisfying.” As with several of our entries, Azmanam also satisfies the reader with a lovely collection of hand-drawn examples and beautifully detailed explanations – he must be great in the o-chem classroom.

 

Who Doesn’t Love A Good Polymer Story?

Just one word. . . Credit: The Graduate/WHYY

Polymerization reactions are also a great starting point for showing anyone the utility of chemistry in daily life.

John Spevacek, the lion-tamer at It’s the Rheo Thing, shares with us his love for the thiol-ene polymerization reaction. He’s used the reaction to rapidly create a floor coating, “using just a lamp plugged into a 120 VAC outlet, not a souped-up unit drawing enough electricity to power half of Tokyo.” John, I could use a little help with my garage floor.

Mana Sassanpour at Advancing Green Chemistry shares with us a nice epoxidation reaction to go from oranges to plastic. While we don’t yet have consumer products made from limonene polymerization, this is great example of the potential of green chemistry.

And while not necessarily a polymer story, the lecturer at Endless Possibilities v3.0 leads us through the end-of-summer reflective thought process leading to her carnival entry. And while not necessarily a polymer story, the Michael addition reaction of methyl acrylate and ethylene diamine in methanol leads to dendrimers.

 

Not Quite A Reaction

Of course, we received entries from excellent chemists who were not necessarily synthetic organic chemists. C&EN Associate Editor and “un-chemist” Lauren Wolf reminisced at the Newscripts blog about her days in the dark doing laser chemistry. In My Favorite Reaction’s Not A Reaction, Dr. Wolf sings the praises of the HeNe laser (not HeLa for you biology types) and it’s superiority to the Nd:YAC laser for physical chemists possessing long hair.

Jessica Morrison at I ♥ the Road comes in apologizing that she’s not a chemist but rather a crystallographer-in-training. Did you know about the natural nuclear reactor at Oklo in Gabon, Africa? Yes, a naturally-occuring nuclear reaction from history.

Paul at Chembark bemoaned blog carnivals but broke down and gave us a reaction without a name that caught his eye over a chicken curry. So, he gave it a name: the Mukiyama thioester synthesis. Dare we say that Paul found quite a bit of pleasure in participating in the carnival?

 

Breaking It Down

Finally, C&EN Senior Editor Bethany Halford also joined in at Newscripts to post on “the destructive beauty” of ozonolysis. Dr. Halford, I personally find the reaction a great conversation starter, although it does leave me a bit blue.

 

So there you have it. Twenty-two posts from 21 of the finest chemistry bloggers out there. A huge thank-you to everyone who participated and responded to the call. More details will follow on how posts will be selected for an upcoming issue of Chemical & Engineering News.

Happy reading and may all of your reactions be satisfying and high-yield!

 

 

 

Chemistry Carnival: Your Favorite Chemical Reactions!

Welcome to Your Favorite Chemical Reaction chemistry blog carnival!

A total of 22 entries were received since C&EN Online Editor Rachel Pepling put out the call for posts earlier in the month. The writing was superb, the science spot-on, and the personalities of the bloggers on full display. Anyone who thinks that chemists are just a bunch of stodgy old folks mumbling to themselves at the fume hood will have the stereotype turned on its ear after reading this batch of fine writing.

For those of you who might be reading a carnival for the first time, we’ll introduce the blogger with a link to their blog frontpage first so that you can get a sense of the overall blog gestalt and, we hope, bookmark it for future reference. Some of these bloggers may be new to you and one goal of any carnival is to give greater exposure to some of the rising stars in the blogosphere. Then within our description of the chemical reaction post, there will be a hyperlink to the post of interest under the name of the reaction.

So let’s get the show on the road!

 

Simple But Powerful

Sharon Neufeldt at I Can Has Science? took the high-altitude view to reactions by giving us the o-chem standard, the SN2 reaction. Her detailed teaching examples of the SN2 illustrate why it is “the treasure trove of organic chemistry principles.” The cancer pharmacologist in David also gives Sharon extra points for the historical treatment of nitrogen mustard chemotherapy.

Carmen Drahl provided the entry from The Haystack blog with a multitude of humble but useful reactions for amide bond formation. Anyone who reads her C&EN or blog with Lisa Jarvis, knows that Dr. Drahl has a personal attachment to the Mizoroki-Heck reaction. Always the community-minded writer, Carmen drahls draws from fellow blogger See Arr Oh’s med-chem toolkit. And Carmen leads the pack contributing to her gallery of hand-drawn structures, the chemist’s personality test pointed out by Chemjobber.

 

Chemical Oscillations

When it comes to favorite reactions, particularly for engaging public audiences or groggy undergrads, nothing can quite compete with oscillation reactions. First, our own Jyllian Kemsley at The Safety Zone safely holds forth on the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, discussing the history and the ten (!) equations underlying this magnificent reaction. The video she provides of the BZ reaction occurring in a Petri dish is superb.

How many of you love chemistry *this* much?

Next, the grand dame of scientific ethics, Janet D. Stemwedel, harkens back to the work for her first PhD (see her tattoo) at her new Scientific American blog, Doing Good Science. Yes, folks, before she did her PhD in the philosophy of science, the San Jose State University professor was entrenched with the chlorite-iodide reaction. But in reflecting on the reaction mechanisms, Janet distills seven major lessons for any student of science. The beauty of Janet’s writing is that she always nails the science but teaches us the greater messages we should take from our work.

 

Here, Smell This

Chemistry professor and science writer Rebecca Guenard was so excited about restarting her new blog, Atomic-o-licious, that she offered two posts. She first speaks in The Smell of It of befouling herself with short but stinky carboxylic acids as a University of Florida graduate student prepping for the esterification undergrad laboratory. But she doesn’t hold it against her students, as in her second where she describes her love of the Grignard reaction and “the pimp daddy of all reagents.” Both posts have quite a few nice metaphors that would be useful and humorous interludes for lectures – and two words of wisdom for the organometallics lab: dry glassware.

Hey, what’s that smell? Oh, it’s just Christine Herman making waves at Just Another Electron Pusher. What do you get when you mix ammonium thioglycolate, hydrogen peroxide, and keratin? All I can say is that her Mom has beautiful hair!

More satisfying chemistry, and definitely one with mouth-watering olfactory delights, comes from Matt Hartings at ScienceGeist who tells us about a low-percent yield process that’s conducted in the kitchen: the Maillard reaction. Like Stemwedel and Guenard, Matt shows why he’s such a great teacher, complete with a passage “for the electron-pushing crowd.” Dr. Hartings, I like mine medium-rare.

SeeArrOh at Just Like Cooking got us dreaming of steamed crustaceans until we realized that he was talking about an alkyne reaction, the Crabbé reaction. His description of the autumnal colors seems quite appropriate for the end of September (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is).

 

The Most Important Reaction?

Ash Jogalekar at The Curious Wavefunction comes in with his typically lush writing for his entry on, “a reaction so elementary that it will occupy barely a tenth of the space on a napkin or t-shirt and which could (and should) be productively explained to every human being on the planet.” Which he then does. Go read.

 

Metathesis

Stuart Cantrill at Chemical Connections (and the Chief Editor of Nature Chemistry) reflects on his two years at the Mecca of Metathesis, Cal Tech, with 2005 Nobel laureate in Chemistry, Rob Grubbs. But he didn’t choose a metathesis reaction. Instead, he chosethe making and breaking of imines. The word azeotrope is certainly beautiful one, Stu. And it seems you share some fans of the Dean-Stark trap.

And Chemjobber should be fortunate that Stu didn’t pick Grubbs’ work. Why? Because our dear CJ chose to hold forth on the Grubbs’ ring-closing metathesis reaction. CJ also shares his own story on a connection to Grubbs’ Nobel. Happy anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. CJ!

STEM_Wonk is “a chemistry PhD navigating the world of science policy.” In ROMPing around the Carnival, they take a different approach to metals, this time as catalysts for ring-opening metathesis polymerization. I don’t know why but we had the urge to go make some popcorn after reading the post.

 

Cycloadditions

Shannon Morey at chembites submitted a nice alkyne reaction: the azide alkyne Huisgen cycloaddition. Her post concisely covers ground from the history of the reaction to modern applications (semi-synthetic natural products!) and its relative ease: “It is almost too good to be true, though I know I don’t feel that way when I’m doing the dishes…”

Shannon also mentioned that the Diels-Alder reaction always tends to steal the show when discussing cycloadditions. So, it’s no surprise that Azmanam at ChemistryBlog comes in with his characterization of the legendary reaction:  ”No reaction is more elegant, more heartwarmingly satisfying.” As with several of our entries, Azmanam also satisfies the reader with a lovely collection of hand-drawn examples and beautifully detailed explanations – he must be great in the o-chem classroom.

 

Who Doesn’t Love A Good Polymer Story?

Just one word. . . Credit: The Graduate/WHYY

Polymerization reactions are also a great starting point for showing anyone the utility of chemistry in daily life.

John Spevacek, the lion-tamer at It’s the Rheo Thing, shares with us his love for the thiol-ene polymerization reaction. He’s used the reaction to rapidly create a floor coating, “using just a lamp plugged into a 120 VAC outlet, not a souped-up unit drawing enough electricity to power half of Tokyo.” John, I could use a little help with my garage floor.

Mana Sassanpour at Advancing Green Chemistry shares with us a nice epoxidation reaction to go from oranges to plastic. While we don’t yet have consumer products made from limonene polymerization, this is great example of the potential of green chemistry.

And while not necessarily a polymer story, the lecturer at Endless Possibilities v3.0 leads us through the end-of-summer reflective thought process leading to her carnival entry. And while not necessarily a polymer story, the Michael addition reaction of methyl acrylate and ethylene diamine in methanol leads to dendrimers.

 

Not Quite A Reaction

Of course, we received entries from excellent chemists who were not necessarily synthetic organic chemists. C&EN Associate Editor and “un-chemist” Lauren Wolf reminisced at the Newscripts blog about her days in the dark doing laser chemistry. In My Favorite Reaction’s Not A Reaction, Dr. Wolf sings the praises of the HeNe laser (not HeLa for you biology types) and it’s superiority to the Nd:YAC laser for physical chemists possessing long hair.

Jessica Morrison at I ♥ the Road comes in apologizing that she’s not a chemist but rather a crystallographer-in-training. Did you know about the natural nuclear reactor at Oklo in Gabon, Africa? Yes, a naturally-occuring nuclear reaction from history.

Paul at Chembark bemoaned blog carnivals but broke down and gave us a reaction without a name that caught his eye over a chicken curry. So, he gave it a name: the Mukiyama thioester synthesis. Dare we say that Paul found quite a bit of pleasure in participating in the carnival?

 

Breaking It Down

Finally, C&EN Senior Editor Bethany Halford also joined in at Newscripts to post on “the destructive beauty” of ozonolysis. Dr. Halford, I personally find the reaction a great conversation starter, although it does leave me a bit blue.

 

So there you have it. Twenty-two posts from 21 of the finest chemistry bloggers out there. A huge thank-you to everyone who participated and responded to the call. More details will follow on how posts will be selected for an upcoming issue of Chemical & Engineering News.

Happy reading and may all of your reactions be satisfying and high-yield!

 

 

 

Chemistry Carnival: Your Favorite Chemical Reactions!

Welcome to Your Favorite Chemical Reaction chemistry blog carnival!

A total of 22 entries were received since C&EN Online Editor Rachel Pepling put out the call for posts earlier in the month. The writing was superb, the science spot-on, and the personalities of the bloggers on full display. Anyone who thinks that chemists are just a bunch of stodgy old folks mumbling to themselves at the fume hood will have the stereotype turned on its ear after reading this batch of fine writing.

For those of you who might be reading a carnival for the first time, we’ll introduce the blogger with a link to their blog frontpage first so that you can get a sense of the overall blog gestalt and, we hope, bookmark it for future reference. Some of these bloggers may be new to you and one goal of any carnival is to give greater exposure to some of the rising stars in the blogosphere. Then within our description of the chemical reaction post, there will be a hyperlink to the post of interest under the name of the reaction.

So let’s get the show on the road!

 

Simple But Powerful

Sharon Neufeldt at I Can Has Science? took the high-altitude view to reactions by giving us the o-chem standard, the SN2 reaction. Her detailed teaching examples of the SN2 illustrate why it is “the treasure trove of organic chemistry principles.” The cancer pharmacologist in David also gives Sharon extra points for the historical treatment of nitrogen mustard chemotherapy.

Carmen Drahl provided the entry from The Haystack blog with a multitude of humble but useful reactions for amide bond formation. Anyone who reads her C&EN or blog with Lisa Jarvis, knows that Dr. Drahl has a personal attachment to the Mizoroki-Heck reaction. Always the community-minded writer, Carmen drahls draws from fellow blogger See Arr Oh’s med-chem toolkit. And Carmen leads the pack contributing to her gallery of hand-drawn structures, the chemist’s personality test pointed out by Chemjobber.

 

Chemical Oscillations

When it comes to favorite reactions, particularly for engaging public audiences or groggy undergrads, nothing can quite compete with oscillation reactions. First, our own Jyllian Kemsley at The Safety Zone safely holds forth on the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, discussing the history and the ten (!) equations underlying this magnificent reaction. The video she provides of the BZ reaction occurring in a Petri dish is superb.

How many of you love chemistry *this* much?

Next, the grand dame of scientific ethics, Janet D. Stemwedel, harkens back to the work for her first PhD (see her tattoo) at her new Scientific American blog, Doing Good Science. Yes, folks, before she did her PhD in the philosophy of science, the San Jose State University professor was entrenched with the chlorite-iodide reaction. But in reflecting on the reaction mechanisms, Janet distills seven major lessons for any student of science. The beauty of Janet’s writing is that she always nails the science but teaches us the greater messages we should take from our work.

 

Here, Smell This

Chemistry professor and science writer Rebecca Guenard was so excited about restarting her new blog, Atomic-o-licious, that she offered two posts. She first speaks in The Smell of It of befouling herself with short but stinky carboxylic acids as a University of Florida graduate student prepping for the esterification undergrad laboratory. But she doesn’t hold it against her students, as in her second where she describes her love of the Grignard reaction and “the pimp daddy of all reagents.” Both posts have quite a few nice metaphors that would be useful and humorous interludes for lectures – and two words of wisdom for the organometallics lab: dry glassware.

Hey, what’s that smell? Oh, it’s just Christine Herman making waves at Just Another Electron Pusher. What do you get when you mix ammonium thioglycolate, hydrogen peroxide, and keratin? All I can say is that her Mom has beautiful hair!

More satisfying chemistry, and definitely one with mouth-watering olfactory delights, comes from Matt Hartings at ScienceGeist who tells us about a low-percent yield process that’s conducted in the kitchen: the Maillard reaction. Like Stemwedel and Guenard, Matt shows why he’s such a great teacher, complete with a passage “for the electron-pushing crowd.” Dr. Hartings, I like mine medium-rare.

SeeArrOh at Just Like Cooking got us dreaming of steamed crustaceans until we realized that he was talking about an alkyne reaction, the Crabbé reaction. His description of the autumnal colors seems quite appropriate for the end of September (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is).

 

The Most Important Reaction?

Ash Jogalekar at The Curious Wavefunction comes in with his typically lush writing for his entry on, “a reaction so elementary that it will occupy barely a tenth of the space on a napkin or t-shirt and which could (and should) be productively explained to every human being on the planet.” Which he then does. Go read.

 

Metathesis

Stuart Cantrill at Chemical Connections (and the Chief Editor of Nature Chemistry) reflects on his two years at the Mecca of Metathesis, Cal Tech, with 2005 Nobel laureate in Chemistry, Rob Grubbs. But he didn’t choose a metathesis reaction. Instead, he chosethe making and breaking of imines. The word azeotrope is certainly beautiful one, Stu. And it seems you share some fans of the Dean-Stark trap.

And Chemjobber should be fortunate that Stu didn’t pick Grubbs’ work. Why? Because our dear CJ chose to hold forth on the Grubbs’ ring-closing metathesis reaction. CJ also shares his own story on a connection to Grubbs’ Nobel. Happy anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. CJ!

STEM_Wonk is “a chemistry PhD navigating the world of science policy.” In ROMPing around the Carnival, they take a different approach to metals, this time as catalysts for ring-opening metathesis polymerization. I don’t know why but we had the urge to go make some popcorn after reading the post.

 

Cycloadditions

Shannon Morey at chembites submitted a nice alkyne reaction: the azide alkyne Huisgen cycloaddition. Her post concisely covers ground from the history of the reaction to modern applications (semi-synthetic natural products!) and its relative ease: “It is almost too good to be true, though I know I don’t feel that way when I’m doing the dishes…”

Shannon also mentioned that the Diels-Alder reaction always tends to steal the show when discussing cycloadditions. So, it’s no surprise that Azmanam at ChemistryBlog comes in with his characterization of the legendary reaction:  ”No reaction is more elegant, more heartwarmingly satisfying.” As with several of our entries, Azmanam also satisfies the reader with a lovely collection of hand-drawn examples and beautifully detailed explanations – he must be great in the o-chem classroom.

 

Who Doesn’t Love A Good Polymer Story?

Just one word. . . Credit: The Graduate/WHYY

Polymerization reactions are also a great starting point for showing anyone the utility of chemistry in daily life.

John Spevacek, the lion-tamer at It’s the Rheo Thing, shares with us his love for the thiol-ene polymerization reaction. He’s used the reaction to rapidly create a floor coating, “using just a lamp plugged into a 120 VAC outlet, not a souped-up unit drawing enough electricity to power half of Tokyo.” John, I could use a little help with my garage floor.

Mana Sassanpour at Advancing Green Chemistry shares with us a nice epoxidation reaction to go from oranges to plastic. While we don’t yet have consumer products made from limonene polymerization, this is great example of the potential of green chemistry.

And while not necessarily a polymer story, the lecturer at Endless Possibilities v3.0 leads us through the end-of-summer reflective thought process leading to her carnival entry. And while not necessarily a polymer story, the Michael addition reaction of methyl acrylate and ethylene diamine in methanol leads to dendrimers.

 

Not Quite A Reaction

Of course, we received entries from excellent chemists who were not necessarily synthetic organic chemists. C&EN Associate Editor and “un-chemist” Lauren Wolf reminisced at the Newscripts blog about her days in the dark doing laser chemistry. In My Favorite Reaction’s Not A Reaction, Dr. Wolf sings the praises of the HeNe laser (not HeLa for you biology types) and it’s superiority to the Nd:YAC laser for physical chemists possessing long hair.

Jessica Morrison at I ♥ the Road comes in apologizing that she’s not a chemist but rather a crystallographer-in-training. Did you know about the natural nuclear reactor at Oklo in Gabon, Africa? Yes, a naturally-occuring nuclear reaction from history.

Paul at Chembark bemoaned blog carnivals but broke down and gave us a reaction without a name that caught his eye over a chicken curry. So, he gave it a name: the Mukiyama thioester synthesis. Dare we say that Paul found quite a bit of pleasure in participating in the carnival?

 

Breaking It Down

Finally, C&EN Senior Editor Bethany Halford also joined in at Newscripts to post on “the destructive beauty” of ozonolysis. Dr. Halford, I personally find the reaction a great conversation starter, although it does leave me a bit blue.

 

So there you have it. Twenty-two posts from 21 of the finest chemistry bloggers out there. A huge thank-you to everyone who participated and responded to the call. More details will follow on how posts will be selected for an upcoming issue of Chemical & Engineering News.

Happy reading and may all of your reactions be satisfying and high-yield!

 

 

 

Chemistry Carnival: Your Favorite Chemical Reactions!

Welcome to Your Favorite Chemical Reaction chemistry blog carnival!

A total of 22 entries were received since C&EN Online Editor Rachel Pepling put out the call for posts earlier in the month. The writing was superb, the science spot-on, and the personalities of the bloggers on full display. Anyone who thinks that chemists are just a bunch of stodgy old folks mumbling to themselves at the fume hood will have the stereotype turned on its ear after reading this batch of fine writing.

For those of you who might be reading a carnival for the first time, we’ll introduce the blogger with a link to their blog frontpage first so that you can get a sense of the overall blog gestalt and, we hope, bookmark it for future reference. Some of these bloggers may be new to you and one goal of any carnival is to give greater exposure to some of the rising stars in the blogosphere. Then within our description of the chemical reaction post, there will be a hyperlink to the post of interest under the name of the reaction.

So let’s get the show on the road!

 

Simple But Powerful

Sharon Neufeldt at I Can Has Science? took the high-altitude view to reactions by giving us the o-chem standard, the SN2 reaction. Her detailed teaching examples of the SN2 illustrate why it is “the treasure trove of organic chemistry principles.” The cancer pharmacologist in David also gives Sharon extra points for the historical treatment of nitrogen mustard chemotherapy.

Carmen Drahl provided the entry from The Haystack blog with a multitude of humble but useful reactions for amide bond formation. Anyone who reads her C&EN or blog with Lisa Jarvis, knows that Dr. Drahl has a personal attachment to the Mizoroki-Heck reaction. Always the community-minded writer, Carmen drahls draws from fellow blogger See Arr Oh’s med-chem toolkit. And Carmen leads the pack contributing to her gallery of hand-drawn structures, the chemist’s personality test pointed out by Chemjobber.

 

Chemical Oscillations

When it comes to favorite reactions, particularly for engaging public audiences or groggy undergrads, nothing can quite compete with oscillation reactions. First, our own Jyllian Kemsley at The Safety Zone safely holds forth on the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, discussing the history and the ten (!) equations underlying this magnificent reaction. The video she provides of the BZ reaction occurring in a Petri dish is superb.

How many of you love chemistry *this* much?

Next, the grand dame of scientific ethics, Janet D. Stemwedel, harkens back to the work for her first PhD (see her tattoo) at her new Scientific American blog, Doing Good Science. Yes, folks, before she did her PhD in the philosophy of science, the San Jose State University professor was entrenched with the chlorite-iodide reaction. But in reflecting on the reaction mechanisms, Janet distills seven major lessons for any student of science. The beauty of Janet’s writing is that she always nails the science but teaches us the greater messages we should take from our work.

 

Here, Smell This

Chemistry professor and science writer Rebecca Guenard was so excited about restarting her new blog, Atomic-o-licious, that she offered two posts. She first speaks in The Smell of It of befouling herself with short but stinky carboxylic acids as a University of Florida graduate student prepping for the esterification undergrad laboratory. But she doesn’t hold it against her students, as in her second where she describes her love of the Grignard reaction and “the pimp daddy of all reagents.” Both posts have quite a few nice metaphors that would be useful and humorous interludes for lectures – and two words of wisdom for the organometallics lab: dry glassware.

Hey, what’s that smell? Oh, it’s just Christine Herman making waves at Just Another Electron Pusher. What do you get when you mix ammonium thioglycolate, hydrogen peroxide, and keratin? All I can say is that her Mom has beautiful hair!

More satisfying chemistry, and definitely one with mouth-watering olfactory delights, comes from Matt Hartings at ScienceGeist who tells us about a low-percent yield process that’s conducted in the kitchen: the Maillard reaction. Like Stemwedel and Guenard, Matt shows why he’s such a great teacher, complete with a passage “for the electron-pushing crowd.” Dr. Hartings, I like mine medium-rare.

SeeArrOh at Just Like Cooking got us dreaming of steamed crustaceans until we realized that he was talking about an alkyne reaction, the Crabbé reaction. His description of the autumnal colors seems quite appropriate for the end of September (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is).

 

The Most Important Reaction?

Ash Jogalekar at The Curious Wavefunction comes in with his typically lush writing for his entry on, “a reaction so elementary that it will occupy barely a tenth of the space on a napkin or t-shirt and which could (and should) be productively explained to every human being on the planet.” Which he then does. Go read.

 

Metathesis

Stuart Cantrill at Chemical Connections reflects on his two years at the Mecca of Metathesis, Cal Tech, with 2005 Nobel laureate in Chemistry, Rob Grubbs. But he didn’t choose a metathesis reaction. Instead, he chosethe making and breaking of imines. The word azeotrope is certainly beautiful one, Stu. And it seems you share some fans of the Dean-Stark trap.

And Chemjobber should be fortunate that Stu didn’t pick Grubbs’ work. Why? Because our dear CJ chose to hold forth on the Grubbs’ ring-closing metathesis reaction. CJ also shares his own story on a connection to Grubbs’ Nobel. Happy anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. CJ!

STEM_Wonk is “a chemistry PhD navigating the world of science policy.” In ROMPing around the Carnival, they take a different approach to metals, this time as catalysts for ring-opening metathesis polymerization. I don’t know why but we had the urge to go make some popcorn after reading the post.

 

Cycloadditions

Shannon Morey at chembites submitted a nice alkyne reaction: the azide alkyne Huisgen cycloaddition. Her post concisely covers ground from the history of the reaction to modern applications (semi-synthetic natural products!) and its relative ease: “It is almost too good to be true, though I know I don’t feel that way when I’m doing the dishes…”

Shannon also mentioned that the Diels-Alder reaction always tends to steal the show when discussing cycloadditions. So, it’s no surprise that Azmanam at ChemistryBlog comes in with his characterization of the legendary reaction:  ”No reaction is more elegant, more heartwarmingly satisfying.” As with several of our entries, Azmanam also satisfies the reader with a lovely collection of hand-drawn examples and beautifully detailed explanations – he must be great in the o-chem classroom.

 

Who Doesn’t Love A Good Polymer Story?

Just one word. . . Credit: The Graduate/WHYY

Polymerization reactions are also a great starting point for showing anyone the utility of chemistry in daily life.

John Spevacek, the lion-tamer at It’s the Rheo Thing, shares with us his love for the thiol-ene polymerization reaction. He’s used the reaction to rapidly create a floor coating, “using just a lamp plugged into a 120 VAC outlet, not a souped-up unit drawing enough electricity to power half of Tokyo.” John, I could use a little help with my garage floor.

Mana Sassanpour at Advancing Green Chemistry shares with us a nice epoxidation reaction to go from oranges to plastic. While we don’t yet have consumer products made from limonene polymerization, this is great example of the potential of green chemistry.

And while not necessarily a polymer story, the lecturer at Endless Possibilities v3.0 leads us through the end-of-summer reflective thought process leading to her carnival entry. And while not necessarily a polymer story, the Michael addition reaction of methyl acrylate and ethylene diamine in methanol leads to dendrimers.

 

Not Quite A Reaction

Of course, we received entries from excellent chemists who were not necessarily synthetic organic chemists. C&EN Associate Editor and “un-chemist” Lauren Wolf reminisced at the Newscripts blog about her days in the dark doing laser chemistry. In My Favorite Reaction’s Not A Reaction, Dr. Wolf sings the praises of the HeNe laser (not HeLa for you biology types) and it’s superiority to the Nd:YAC laser for physical chemists possessing long hair.

Jessica Morrison at I ♥ the Road comes in apologizing that she’s not a chemist but rather a crystallographer-in-training. Did you know about the natural nuclear reactor at Oklo in Gabon, Africa? Yes, a naturally-occuring nuclear reaction from history.

Paul at Chembark bemoaned blog carnivals but broke down and gave us a reaction without a name that caught his eye over a chicken curry. So, he gave it a name: the Mukiyama thioester synthesis. Dare we say that Paul found quite a bit of pleasure in participating in the carnival?

 

Breaking It Down

Finally, C&EN Senior Editor Bethany Halford also joined in at Newscripts to post on “the destructive beauty” of ozonolysis. Dr. Halford, I personally find the reaction a great conversation starter, although it does leave me a bit blue.

 

So there you have it. Twenty-two posts from 21 of the finest chemistry bloggers out there. A huge thank-you to everyone who participated and responded to the call. More details will follow on how posts will be selected for an upcoming issue of Chemical & Engineering News.

Happy reading and may all of your reactions be satisfying and high-yield!

 

 

 

Chemistry Carnival: Your Favorite Chemical Reactions!

Welcome to Your Favorite Chemical Reaction chemistry blog carnival!

A total of 22 entries were received since C&EN Online Editor Rachel Pepling put out the call for posts earlier in the month. The writing was superb, the science spot-on, and the personalities of the bloggers on full display. Anyone who thinks that chemists are just a bunch of stodgy old folks mumbling to themselves at the fume hood will have the stereotype turned on its ear after reading this batch of fine writing.

For those of you who might be reading a carnival for the first time, we’ll introduce the blogger with a link to their blog frontpage first so that you can get a sense of the overall blog gestalt and, we hope, bookmark it for future reference. Some of these bloggers may be new to you and one goal of any carnival is to give greater exposure to some of the rising stars in the blogosphere. Then within our description of the chemical reaction post, there will be a hyperlink to the post of interest under the name of the reaction.

So let’s get the show on the road!

 

Simple But Powerful

Sharon Neufeldt at I Can Has Science? took the high-altitude view to reactions by giving us the o-chem standard, the SN2 reaction. Her detailed teaching examples of the SN2 illustrate why it is “the treasure trove of organic chemistry principles.” The cancer pharmacologist in David also gives Sharon extra points for the historical treatment of nitrogen mustard chemotherapy.

Carmen Drahl provided the entry from The Haystack blog with a multitude of humble but useful reactions for amide bond formation. Anyone who reads her C&EN or blog with Lisa Jarvis, knows that Dr. Drahl has a personal attachment to the Mizoroki-Heck reaction. Always the community-minded writer, Carmen drahls draws from fellow blogger See Arr Oh’s med-chem toolkit. And Carmen leads the pack contributing to her gallery of hand-drawn structures, the chemist’s personality test pointed out by Chemjobber.

 

Chemical Oscillations

When it comes to favorite reactions, particularly for engaging public audiences or groggy undergrads, nothing can quite compete with oscillation reactions. First, our own Jyllian Kemsley at The Safety Zone safely holds forth on the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, discussing the history and the ten (!) equations underlying this magnificent reaction. The video she provides of the BZ reaction occurring in a Petri dish is superb.

How many of you love chemistry *this* much?

Next, the grand dame of scientific ethics, Janet D. Stemwedel, harkens back to the work for her first PhD (see her tattoo) at her new Scientific American blog, Doing Good Science. Yes, folks, before she did her PhD in the philosophy of science, the San Jose State University professor was entrenched with the chlorite-iodide reaction. But in reflecting on the reaction mechanisms, Janet distills seven major lessons for any student of science. The beauty of Janet’s writing is that she always nails the science but teaches us the greater messages we should take from our work.

 

Here, Smell This

Chemistry professor and science writer Rebecca Guenard was so excited about restarting her new blog, Atomic-o-licious, that she offered two posts. She first speaks in The Smell of It of befouling herself with short but stinky carboxylic acids as a University of Florida graduate student prepping for the esterification undergrad laboratory. But she doesn’t hold it against her students, as in her second where she describes her love of the Grignard reaction and “the pimp daddy of all reagents.” Both posts have quite a few nice metaphors that would be useful and humorous interludes for lectures – and two words of wisdom for the organometallics lab: dry glassware.

Hey, what’s that smell? Oh, it’s just Christine Herman making waves at Just Another Electron Pusher. What do you get when you mix ammonium thioglycolate, hydrogen peroxide, and keratin? All I can say is that her Mom has beautiful hair!

More satisfying chemistry, and definitely one with mouth-watering olfactory delights, comes from Matt Hartings at ScienceGeist who tells us about a low-percent yield process that’s conducted in the kitchen: the Maillard reaction. Like Stemwedel and Guenard, Matt shows why he’s such a great teacher, complete with a passage “for the electron-pushing crowd.” Dr. Hartings, I like mine medium-rare.

SeeArrOh at Just Like Cooking got us dreaming of steamed crustaceans until we realized that he was talking about an alkyne reaction, the Crabbé reaction. His description of the autumnal colors seems quite appropriate for the end of September (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is).

 

The Most Important Reaction?

Ash Jogalekar at The Curious Wavefunction comes in with his typically lush writing for his entry on, “a reaction so elementary that it will occupy barely a tenth of the space on a napkin or t-shirt and which could (and should) be productively explained to every human being on the planet.” Which he then does. Go read.

 

Metathesis

Stuart Cantrill at Chemical Connections reflects on his two years at the Mecca of Metathesis, Cal Tech, with 2005 Nobel laureate in Chemistry, Rob Grubbs. But he didn’t choose a metathesis reaction. Instead, he chosethe making and breaking of imines. The word azeotrope is certainly beautiful one, Stu. And it seems you share some fans of the Dean-Stark trap.

And Chemjobber should be fortunate that Stu didn’t pick Grubbs’ work. Why? Because our dear CJ chose to hold forth on the Grubbs’ ring-closing metathesis reaction. CJ also shares his own story on a connection to Grubbs’ Nobel. Happy anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. CJ!

STEM_Wonk is “a chemistry PhD navigating the world of science policy.” In ROMPing around the Carnival, they take a different approach to metals, this time as catalysts for ring-opening metathesis polymerization. I don’t know why but we had the urge to go make some popcorn after reading the post.

 

Cycloadditions

Shannon Morey at chembites submitted a nice alkyne reaction: the azide alkyne Huisgen cycloaddition. Her post concisely covers ground from the history of the reaction to modern applications (semi-synthetic natural products!) and its relative ease: “It is almost too good to be true, though I know I don’t feel that way when I’m doing the dishes…”

Shannon also mentioned that the Diels-Alder reaction always tends to steal the show when discussing cycloadditions. So, it’s no surprise that Azmanam at ChemistryBlog comes in with his characterization of the legendary reaction:  ”No reaction is more elegant, more heartwarmingly satisfying.” As with several of our entries, Azmanam also satisfies the reader with a lovely collection of hand-drawn examples and beautifully detailed explanations – he must be great in the o-chem classroom.

 

Who Doesn’t Love A Good Polymer Story?

Just one word. . . Credit: The Graduate/WHYY

Polymerization reactions are also a great starting point for showing anyone the utility of chemistry in daily life.

John Spevacek, the lion-tamer at It’s the Rheo Thing, shares with us his love for the thiol-ene polymerization reaction. He’s used the reaction to rapidly create a floor coating, “using just a lamp plugged into a 120 VAC outlet, not a souped-up unit drawing enough electricity to power half of Tokyo.” John, I could use a little help with my garage floor.

Mana Sassanpour at Advancing Green Chemistry shares with us a nice epoxidation reaction to go from oranges to plastic. While we don’t yet have consumer products made from limonene polymerization, this is great example of the potential of green chemistry.

And while not necessarily a polymer story, the lecturer at Endless Possibilities v3.0 leads us through the end-of-summer reflective thought process leading to her carnival entry. And while not necessarily a polymer story, the Michael addition reaction of methyl acrylate and ethylene diamine in methanol leads to dendrimers.

 

Not Quite A Reaction

Of course, we received entries from excellent chemists who were not necessarily synthetic organic chemists. C&EN Associate Editor and “un-chemist” Lauren Wolf reminisced at the Newscripts blog about her days in the dark doing laser chemistry. In My Favorite Reaction’s Not A Reaction, Dr. Wolf sings the praises of the HeNe laser (not HeLa for you biology types) and it’s superiority to the Nd:YAC laser for physical chemists possessing long hair.

Jessica Morrison at I ♥ the Road comes in apologizing that she’s not a chemist but rather a crystallographer-in-training. Did you know about the natural nuclear reactor at Oklo in Gabon, Africa? Yes, a naturally-occuring nuclear reaction from history.

Paul at Chembark bemoaned blog carnivals but broke down and gave us a reaction without a name that caught his eye over a chicken curry. So, he gave it a name: the Mukiyama thioester synthesis. Dare we say that Paul found quite a bit of pleasure in participating in the carnival?

 

Breaking It Down

Finally, C&EN Senior Editor Bethany Halford also joined in at Newscripts to post on “the destructive beauty” of ozonolysis. Dr. Halford, I personally find the reaction a great conversation starter, although it does leave me a bit blue.

 

So there you have it. Twenty-two posts from 21 of the finest chemistry bloggers out there. A huge thank-you to everyone who participated and responded to the call. More details will follow on how posts will be selected for an upcoming issue of Chemical & Engineering News.

Happy reading and may all of your reactions be satisfying and high-yield!

 

 

 

Notes On Tronox/Exxaro

This week saw a good old fashioned back-integration deal in the chemical industry. I wrote a C&EN Latest News on the merger of Tronox with Exxaro’s Mineral Sands unit that includes the essential details. Not every factoid can make it into limited space, thus here are a few more observations:

  • Tronox’s back-integration isn’t unique. DuPont runs mining operations near Jacksonville Florida. Cristal, which is largely the former Millennium Inorganic Chemicals, has mineral sands operations in Brazil and Australia. The Brazilian mine came with Millennium’s purchase of Bayer’s TiO2 plant in Bahia, Brazil. Here’s an article I wrote about the mine back in 1998 for the then Chemical Market Reporter. Turns out, Millennium kept the mine after all. Cristal’s Australian mine is a relatively new development. In 2008, Cristal took over full control of Bemax, an Australian mining firm. It previously had a 34.5% interest.
  • The financial details are a little hairy, which I why I left them out of the C&EN story. I won’t get into them much here either. The old Tronox and the Exxaro assets will be pooled into a new holding company, which will be split 61.5%/38.5% between existing Tronox shareholders and Exxaro Resources. (There are different classes of existing Tronox shares, which is only important to Tronox shareholders.) The new company will be “domiciled in Australia”, which means technically headquartered in Australia, but will trade on a major exchange, probably the New York Stock Exchange. Exxaro is retaining a 26% stake in the South African mining operations to fulfill local regulatory operations. When those requirements eventually expire, Exxaro will have an option to swap that stake for another 3.2% of Tronox.
  • Recent share prices imply a value of $3.4 billion for the new Tronox.
  • In 2009, Huntsman Corp. tried, and didn’t succeed, to buy most of Tronox’s assets out of bankruptcy for $415 million. Incidentally, Huntsman’s last major acquisition was Ciba’s textile effects business back in 2006. Five years without a major Huntsman acquisition feels like an eternity.
  • The premise of Tronox’s acquisition is to facilitate the expansion of its TiO2 pigment business by securing a supply of ore. The company is now considering a new pigment plant in South Africa. It should be noted that Tronox’s existing joint venture with Exxaro, Tiwest, is integrated into mineral sands in Western Australia. The partnership completed a capacity expansion late last year. The 40,000-metric-ton-per-year increase brought capacity there up to 150,000 metric tons.

Friday chemical safety round-up

Chemical health and safety news from the past week or two (some older things popped up belatedly on the Chemical Safety Board’s feed):

  • EPA released its final health assessment for trichloroethylene, characterizing “the chemical as carcinogenic to humans and as a human noncancer health hazard”; the assessment could affect clean-up efforts at a multitude of industrial sites and also the federal drinking water standard for TCE, the Los Angeles Times reports
  • Morphix Technologies released an air-sensing device for first reponders dealing with potential chemical suicides–the device attaches to the forearm and five sensors change color when they detect high pH, hydrogen sulfide, low pH, phosphine, or sulfur dioxide in the air

Fires and explosions:

  • Already discussed: Strong acids + organic reagent = explosion in an organic chemistry lab at the University of Maryland
  • A hydrogen explosion at GTS in Pennsylvania started when “An employee was working near a bank of hydrogen tanks, which includes between six and nine tanks. One of the connections got hung up and there was an explosion.”
  • An ammonium sulfate spill sparked a fire at “an oil-related plant” in Texas
  • An unidentified product caught fire at plastics coloring company Ampacet, located in Georgia; two employees were injured
  • Some sort of explosion in the Cell & Genome Sciences Building at the University of Connecticut Health Center injured two people
  • Local bomb squads destroyed 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine discovered in two school in Ireland

Leaks, spills, and other exposures:

  • A Canadian hazmat team got skunked
  • “Chlorine acid” released from a tank at a scrap yard in Kenya send 48 people to the hospital; the Red Cross attended to about 200 people overall
  • Mercury vapour from an Orica site in Australia, the third incident in less than two months–the first two involved hexavalent chromium and arsenic
  • Hydrogen sulfide from an amine regeneration unit at a Valero refinery in Texas
  • Concentrated hydrochloric acid, 2 L, at a water treatment facility in Maryland
  • Toluene, Thixon (a Dow rubber-to-metal bonding agent), and Xonyl (DuPont coatings additive) from Dyna Drill Technology in Texas
  • Formaldehyde at a hospital in North Carolina
  • Something in a flammable cabinet at a New York high school; the school evacuated all students and called in a clean-up crew

Not covered: meth labs; ammonia leaks; incidents involving floor sealants, cleaning solutions, or pool chemicals; and fires from oil, natural gas, or other fuels

Explosion at the University of Maryland

The explosion occurred in a fume hood in a chemistry teaching laboratory. Credit: Prince George's County Fire Department

On Monday, an explosion occurred during an organic chemistry lab at the University of Maryland (UMD). The local fire department responded, reportedly sending “16 pieces of fire, EMS and Haz-Mat units and about 70 personnel” to the scene. Two students received first- and second-degree chemical burns and were taken to an area burn unit.

UMD chemistry department chair Michael Doyle tells C&EN that:

The evidence that I saw with the fire marshall was consistent with waste material (strong acids) being inappropriately added to an organic reagent bottle and not to a waste container. I believe that the lesson learned is the need to segregate reagents for a lab from the reagents being used.

One of my colleagues notes that this is also a reason to be careful about reusing old reagent bottles as waste containers–current reagents and waste can be easily confused (although I don’t know if this was actually the situation at UMD).

The fire department’s blog has more photos, although the post differs from Doyle on the cause of the explosion.