It’s rather a daunting challenge to summarize solvent effects in Organic Chemistry in one single article when there are entire books dedicated to the subject. Solvent effects in nucleophilic substitution reactions can be confusing at best unless one takes the time to explain them in tangible and visual terms. Each semester, I make these sketches to share with students of Organic Chemistry throughout the entire San Diego area. I figured it’s about time to get them into an article so they’re available to anyone who wants to learn the finer points of solvent effects as they relate to nucleophilic substitution reactions. So… what do solvent effects and the Tootsie Pop Owl have in common? Read on…
Most points on Organic Chemistry exams are lost in weak areas that are highly preventable, i.e. areas requiring a constant “workout.” I’ve been keeping a mental tally for over ten years on where errors are routinely manifest, how they’re made, and how such errors can be avoided. You can read this article in less than five minutes, apply what is discussed, and increase the score on your next exam by a percentage directly proportional to the amount of energy you invest in strengthening certain areas.
Part of running an unbiased and feature driven Organic Chemistry education service is recommending students to outside websites for alternative stimulating content. The Chemistry Cascade is a WordPress blog site that highlights interesting recent developments in synthetic and mechanistic Organic Chemistry. The brief articles encapsulating novel chemical research are abstracted from major American Chemical Society journals, and are well presented.
Long ago I learned a simple rule in Organic Chemistry. Practically every synthetic organic transformation and corresponding reaction mechanism can be described in entirety as a series of attacks of nucleophiles (Nu) on electrophiles (E). This simple rule was so etched into my psyche that it became unconscious. This article is dedicated to my current students who are voluntarily, and quite eagerly, undergoing my facilitated “reorganization” of their thought patterns in their endeavor to learn the logic of Organic Chemistry.