Friday, July 7, 2017

Book: Rabi, Scientist and Citizen

I may be wrong but Rabi I think is one of the least known scientists even though he was one of the most important ones in the 20th century. He won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of nuclear magnetic resonance! In this book, you can find out how difficult it was do study the magnetic resonance in those years with the instrumentation they had. I still can't believe that people built their own instruments, came up with theories/techniques/experiments and did precise measurements! Because the book was written when he was alive and with his collaboration, there are lots of quotes from him. I will compile my notes and paste them here soon.

Book: Thirty Years that Shook Physics: The Story of Quantum Theory

Another great story from George Gamow. I read his book Gravity and I highly recommend reading that one too. He has an exceptional talent in simplifying complicated topics. In this book, where he summarizes the development of quantum theory, he has a very similar writing style. He explains very complex physical theories such as uncertainty, de Broglie waves, Pauli exclusion principle etc. incredibly simple for a layperson. But, somehow he manages to give much more helpful information about them than any textbook that I read can give. If I were to teach chemistry, this book would be a class assignment for my students in their first semester.

Book: Iron Catalysis in Organic Chemistry: Reactions and Applications

I read this book to get an understanding of how people use iron in catalysis. I have read books that are (unfortunately) just bibliographies. This book is much better than any of those. You can see useful examples and some real discussion.

Book: Force of Nature: The Life of Linus Pauling

When I read Linus Pauling and the Chemistry of Life, I said it was the best biography of his. I didn't know that the same author wrote even a better one. In fact Linus Pauling and the Chemistry of Life is more like a summary of this book (700 pages vs. 140 pages). 

Tom Hager did a really good job in explaining Pauling's contributions to chemistry and medicine. He was a man full of ideas and a will to try to execute them. A career full of success.

You can read the book on Kindle for free too!

Book: The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdős and the Search for Mathematical Truth

The biography of Paul Erdos. Such an interesting genius. He didn't own much. He traveled all around the world to give lectures, solve problems and offer prizes for some really difficult problems in math. You can tell that he dedicated all his life to math only.

It was an easy read and I enjoyed reading it. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

"there is no such thing as 'the reaction did not work'" #chempaperaday 307

The quote is from Prof. Murillo who is the author of this paper. For those who don't know him well, he worked with Al Cotton and is also the co-author of "Multiple Bonds Between Metal Atoms". This paper is a short summary of some successful and unsuccessful attempts to isolate divalent metal-metal bonded early transition complexes. It is very difficult! I love the conclusion. People often give up after sometimes only one (1) attempt! First of all, I don't consider one attempt as a real attempt. There is still a good chance after a few attempts, you may get what you want. Secondly, it is also important to know WHY it is failing. You can isolate something unexpected but something much more important than your initial goal. Third, without failure, you can't learn.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sterically Encumbered Metalla-diphosphines: Unlocking Alkyne Rotation by PtII Coordination #chempaperaday 306

If you read this post, you shouldn't be surprised to see they used the tungsten compund to make bimetallic complexes. I mean they even mentioned it in the paper as far as I can remember. So here we go, probably the first of the series of biemtallic complexes. Depending on the alkyne substituents, they can tune the redox potentials as expected. The real interesting part is that alkyne can rotate in this bimetallic complex while it is not observed for the tungsten compound. I like this group's work. Looking forward to the next paper.