Schrock (1974)

October 29, 2015

The ability for society as a whole to build molecules tailored to a specific use has very far reaching applications. From building a stereospecific products used in the pharmaceutical industry to synthesizing polymers with special properties related to strength or conductivity through conjugated π systems, olefin metathesis is responsible for many of the products we use today. The use of transition metals for the catalysis of these reactions would become a topic of much interest in the years following this paper. The subject of this paper is one example of the synthesis of these transition metal carbine complexes. Things to think about could be what made this complex unique at the time? How stable of a compound is this relative to similar complexes of the time or complexes made with transition metals of the same group or period? How might these complexes differ from Fischer carbenes?

Dewar and Healy (1982)

October 27, 2015

All life depends on Carbon-Carbon bonds. Carbon is reactive enough for some reactions to occur but not so reactive that it can’t form stable compounds. Carbon is the goldilocks level of reactivity and Dewar explains why. Using computational methods he authored, Dewar examines the heat of formation for a variety of Carbon and Silicon molecules as well as the bond lengths of transition states. I think a grasp of an SN2 reaction coordinate diagram would be very useful in understanding the paper and the results.

In the event you lost your paper for class tomorrow or just prefer a digital copy, here’s a link to the paper.

Olah (1962)

October 25, 2015

What are the limits of what can and cannot be digested in acid? How chaotic can an acid bath get?


In Olah’s paper we will look at superacids, bored PhDs, the activation of saturated hydrocarbons, various organic cations and their condensation and fragmentation products.


Some things to think about before Monday’s discussion would be; what is the nature of a proton in a sea of molecules that want nothing to do with it? How does cation stability relate to structure for organic molecules? What is methanium and why have we not heard of it before? On Monday we will discuss these points.

Arvela et al (2004)

October 22, 2015

So we saw Leadbeater’s paper and I’m sure skepticism on whether a palladium free reaction was really observed arose in some of you. Now we are going to be looking a paper that argues that what Leadbeater and the other author observed was not that at all.

If you are wondering about the whole microwave vs conventional heating topic, there is a great paper by Kappe et al. titled “Microwave Effects in Organic Synthesis: Myth or Reality?” That would elucidate everything and if you have time it would be great if you gave it a glance:


Leadbeater (2003)

October 20, 2015

Biaryl compounds have a wide range of applications in chemistry, from pharmaceuticals to materials science. Ever since its introduction in 1979 the Suzuki reaction has been a go-to method for generating asymmetric biaryl compounds (among other things). While certainly Nobel Prize material, this synthetic method has its drawbacks, namely the use of a Palladium catalyst. Through careful experimentation and solvent manipulation, our intrepid authors demonstrate that a Suzuki-like cross coupling can be achieved in the absence of Palladium catalyst. All it takes is liberal use of a quaternary ammonium salt, a bit of the old English what-for, and a microwave…

Pearson (1963)

October 15, 2015

In the lecture on Wednesday we covered the introduction to acids and bases. The paper we are reading specifically concerns itself with Hard and Soft Acids and Bases.

Haiges et al. (2004)

October 6, 2015

Welcome to the exciting world of “Highly Energetic Materials” where molecules are just waiting to get back to nitrogen gas, and perhaps take a finger or hand with them.

How to study such oddities, well IR is the way to go. Sprinkle and season with some group theory (Wednesday) and by Friday you’ll be ready to tackle this one.

Wednesday will be our crash course into the wicked and wonderful world of infra-red spectra prediction.

Van Vleck (1935) and Griffith and Orgel (1957)

September 30, 2015

Not all the papers we will be looking at are easy to read. Some represent the first stirrings and conceptions about ideas that will later go on to change the field.

The Van Vleck paper perhaps at first does not seem relevant to the discussions we are having. magnetic susceptibilities, what on earth is that?

The Griffith and Orgel paper on the other hand turned into books by each co-author, and those books have been cited thousands of times.

On Wednesday we will be diving deeper into the discussion of the chemistry surrounding this section of inorganic chemistry, before a discussion of these papers on Friday.

Post your questions below before Thursday night.

Creutz and Taube (1969), Spingler et al. (2001) and Jackson et al. (2004)

September 22, 2015

Hello all you avid CHM650 readers!

We have three papers to consider for Wednesday which will assist in our introduction to (or remembrance of) inorganic chemistry. We covered oxidation states and d electron configurations in the course on Monday. We assigned oxidation states, coordination geometries and electron configurations to the Creutz-Taube complex. A complex so cool it even has its own wikipedia page.

The other papers discuss what are referred to as Werner complexes, and Werner is a co-author on one of them despite the fact he was dead for over 80 years by that point. You should assign oxidation states, electron configuration on your own (don’t post your answer in the comments) for discussion on Wednesday.

Have a read over these papers (they are all very short) and post your questions.

The Electron-Pair Repulsuion Model for Molecular Geometry (Gillespie, 1970)

September 16, 2015

Our first “real” inorganic chemistry paper, or is it? You decide…

Thank you all for hanging in there as we moved through the early topics. We will now be moving out from the nucleus to explain why complexes have the shapes that they do. We will try to cover topics that include coordination number, coordination geometry, Werner complexes and other essential pieces of introductory inorganic chemistry.

Gillespie is one of the few remaining pre-war figures in inorganic chemistry. Still at McMaster University in Canada, his insights have been proven to be greatly useful in the field. His wikipedia page does not do him justice, so make sure you dig futher into his work.

The paper will be discussed on either Friday or next Monday.