Friday, March 14, 2014

Update on Clayden's Organic Chemistry textbook "challenge"

As I mentioned in this post, I am trying to finish reading and understanding Clayden's organic chemistry textbook until the end of May 2014. Thanks to spring break, I was able to gain some more speed and today I have finished Chapter 26. Since there are 53 chapters, I thought it would be nice to write about my studies so far. 

Anyway, as you can understand from my blog's header and posts I am way more interested in inorganic chemistry than organic chemistry. But, organic chemistry knowledge is essential in inorganic chemistry too. Firstly, I want to design and synthesize ligands. In fact, I want to prepare a new AND useful ligand on my own. Without knowing the basics and details of organic chemistry, there is no way I can do this. Moreover, without organic chemistry, there is no way that I can even understand and appreciate the use/synthesis of some ligands that are already published. Having finished  Wade's textbook, I realized that I needed to learn more. Also, I know I am not so good at organic chemistry. So, I decided to be better at it with Clayden's.

First of all, my thoughts about the book mentioned in that post haven't changed. I am not an organic chemist, but as a student (the target reader of the book) I still find the book not organized for my educational purposes. It is very common to come across some reagent, reaction or even a functional group in the early chapters without learning anything about them first. Usually, there is a note saying that "...covered in Chapter X." When I compare it to my favorite organic chemistry textbook (Wade's), I still think this book doesn't follow the usual sequence (from simple to difficult). 

I did every single practice problem in the book. Most of the time, I really enjoyed the problems and I am planning to write some blogposts on some mechanisms. My favorite problems and examples are the ones that give or ask you the mechanisms of real drug syntheses. It's great to see that I can understand and design the same syntheses for some drugs. Organic chemistry is really cool! To my surprise, I was able to do ~70% of the problems without much effort. So, I am better than I had expected. Some problems that involve certain agents were really hard for me. Because, if you don't know which one to choose, you will have to go and seek help in tables or chapters. One thing I realized about myself is that I can make some educational guesses, but when it comes to mechanisms I sometimes choose wrong steps although I can draw the right product in the end. I think some problems have more than one routes, and sometimes I am just wrong but lucky. 

I have never done anything about protecting groups at the school, so Chapter 25 took me a while to understand. It's not hard but it was new to me.

Overall (26 chapters), this book is great and I am sure I will always use this book in my future career.

So, now I am ready to go to ACS Dallas and when I come back, I will go on studying. I also decided to read organic chemistry papers too. Maybe they will help me to pick up some tricks. Also I will be able to see more syntheses. Feel free to suggest me readings too.

By the way I did not give up #chempaperaday. In fact, I still read papers but the point of that challenge was that I had decided to read "extra" papers. Right now, I am only reading inorganic chemistry textbooks, books and publications. So, it won't be fair to post those papers.

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