Friday, February 26, 2010

The most useful thing Nicolaou has ever done

I typically think that Nicolaou has contributed very little to the endeavor of total synthesis (unless you count using the same series of 3 reactions over and over again to make 1 mg of huge molecules important). But he has finally done something useful (while still managing to just combine two separate and well established reactions). I could have used this when I was banging my head against a wall for 6 months-a year trying to do an oxidative cleavage.


scientist 1 said...

I thought that was a rather interesting paper with interesting wording such as "The disadvantages involved with these methods (e.g., safety, drastic or inconvenient conditions)" when talking about old methods.

So far as I know this method has no advantages over the Johnson-Lemieux, within the aforementioned framework.

I, personally, don't look at having water in a reaction as inconvenient, but I do see the absolute requirement of column chromatography to remove reactant by products as pretty inconvenient.

So even his 'most useful' work isn't really that useful.

Jim said...

I think you are giving him to much credit, he combined two known reactions. I guess we won't know how useful this method is until someone can't get anything to work and tries it out and it works better.

You could probably make a career out of republishing modern varients of all sorts of forgotten reactions published back in the days in journals not written in english and not readily accessed.

I should have filled out a table with the oxone/2-iodobenzoic acid conditions I was using to try and oxidize that 1,2 diol you left me for Noto M, since all it did was cleave it in good yield to the acid.

scientist 1 said...

What do you mean "You could probably make a career out of republishing ..."?

That's the time honored standard method of getting tenure and then famous.

Dr. Miller said...

Just because this is the most useful thing he was ever done doesn't mean that it's important. It just means all his other stuff really sucks.

Mike said...

I can't wait for part 3 of his autobiography, I mean "Classics 3"!