Sunday, December 28, 2014

"Coping with Fritz Haber's Somber Literary Shadow" #chempaperaday 179

This is a beautiful article on Fritz Haber and how he was represented in several forms of art.

"Fritz Haber is often this scapegoat...Most of us are also teachers. We have to do better than the usual, traditional technical presentation of the ammonia synthesis, invoking it as a fine illustration of Le Chatelier's Principle. We have to talk also about Haber, the historical figure and the person. His choices and agony are a part of us.";2-K/abstract

"Valence Bond Theory in Coordination Chemistry" #chempaperaday 178

This is a very short paper by Linus Pauling. Apparently, he read an article where the author said that valence bond theory was not as popular and useful as it was. Obviously, the response came from Pauling and his response in fact was very short:

"I do not agree with this opinion."

The rest of the article explains how valence bond theory is still can be used in coordination compounds.

The article was published in Journal of Chemical Education, but here you can read it as pdf for free.

Book: A Troublesome Inheritance

A few months ago (or maybe it was summer), I saw many people arguing about this book whether the author Nicholas Wade expressed "racist" ideas and whether the book had any "value" etc. I hate debates on what people call "controversial" topics. In my world, there is nothing controversial. You can say what you want. I respect everyone's ideas and even "insults." Also I had enough reasons to think that the book was worth reading. First, I read this post and then I saw several people's and "scientists" ' anger towards the author and his post. 

So, I bought the book and read it. 

I found the book really well written and clear. There are several parts that I do not agree with the author. But, there is no need to try to insult the author or the book. Moreover, there is no need to try to suppress others' ideas. Censor has no place in this century and in this country. It absolutely has no place in science. So, if you don't agree with him, you can try to write a better one and disprove what he said. It must be very simple if you are an expert in your field. This is where the problem stems from. Being a "science blogger" does not give you any credibility or expertise in a specific field of science. I saw people saying the he is not an expert so he is not eligible to write  book like this. Well, hello everyone can write anything as they want just like you write blogposts on topics that you have no understanding of. 

I saw a group of scientists wrote a letter saying "We are in full agreement that there is no support from the field of population genetics for Wade’s conjectures." This is the best way at least to tell public that there are flaws in the book. A better one would be to write a better book defending your position. But, I guess not many people will do that since it requires writing more than a few hundred sentences. 

As far as I know, Wade gave an answer and said that he had asked for feedback but had never gotten any or something along these lines (I don't remember where I read it). So, it looks like the debate will go on. Maybe he will write another book. We will see.

Anyway, I think the book is worth reading. Believe it or not, the whole book is not about race and genetics. 

A few quotes worth noting (not associated with race debate) :

"researchers do not act independently but rather as communities of scholars who constantly check and approve one another's work."
 "[Paul Samuelson] Knowledge advances, funeral by funeral."
"Science is about what is, not what ought to be."

Book : Memoirs by Edward Teller

No matter what people say about him, Edward Teller is one of my science heroes. I don't care about his personal life or some of his "controversial" ideas. I care about his approach to science and research. He was a great mind and truly a genius.

His Memoirs is a really long (602 pages) but a fun to read autobiography. The story of his life is also the story of science (nuclear physics/chemistry) that covers almost a century. I think you should read the book even though you don't like anything about him. There are tens of stories, memories, people that you will find interesting to learn about.

I really enjoyed his Memoirs and took some notes. I will quote a few of them here (as always I do not agree with him or others on everything they said):

"Before I was ten, I understood that in the United States foreigners are not foreign."
"Nationalism has little to contribute today except further suffering."
"Ignore teasing."
"...before the 1880s, science played almost no role in the advances of technology...Chemistry was the first science to undergo a merger with technology, and the first technology affected was dyemaking."
"He [Heisenberg] complained that physics had ceased to develop; there was hardly anything interesting left to do."
"Bohr:Where we find a paradox, we find something of real interest."
"Bohr said that to be properly understood, one should not lecture in his native tongue."
"The lesson is that the correct theory applied to the wrong data is better than no theory applied to correct measurements."
"[Bohr] Opennes is the basic condition necessary for science."
" Johnny [von Neumann] was the Euclid of quantum mechanics."
 "The scientist is not responsible for the laws of nature. It is his job to find out how these laws operate...Hydrogen bombs will not produce themselves."
"Science historically had moved forward because of openness."
"I find the idea of civil disobedience in a democracy wrong."
"Fermi and I both lacked formal religious beliefs"
"I believe that if a mentally superhuman race ever develops, its members will resemble Johnny von Neumann."
"I had begun teaching Paul[his son] relativity theory when he was five or six...he understood the theory of relativity by the time he was twelve."
[about Plato's Republic]" I was shocked that a book advocating a centralized government administered from above, much on the lines of totalitarianism, was so highly recommended to young people." 

Epoxidation #chempaperaday 167-177

Sharpless, Jacobsen, Shi

Comp.Org.Syn. 1991, 389
JOC 1986, 1922
JACS 1991, 113
JACS 1991, 106
JACS 1990, 2801
JACS 1991, 7063
TL 1990, 7345
Science 1997, 936
JACS 2002, 1307
JACS 1996, 9806
JACS 1997, 11224

Dihydroxylation #chempaperaday 159-166

Sharpless, Upjohn

JACS 1976, 1986
TL 1976, 1973
JACS 1980, 4263
JACS 1988, 10986
JACS 1989, 1123
JOC 1976, 766
TL 1990, 2999
JOC 1992, 2768

Hydrogenation #chempaperaday 144-158

Selected examples and mechanisms below:

Wilkinson, Crabtree, Knowles

JCS CC 1973, 629
JCS CC 1968, 1445
JACS 1977, 5946
JACS 1977, 2576
Science 1982, 401
JACS 1987, 1746


JACS 1987, 1596
JACS 1995, 1017
JACS 1995, 2675
JACS 2001, 7473
JACS 1995, 7562
JACS 1997, 8338
ACIE 2001, 2818
JOC 2003, 1998
JACS 2013, 2604

Asymmetric and Catalytic Conjugate Addition Reactions #chempaperaday 134-143

JACS 1979, 4236
ACIE 1998, 2099
Tetrahedron 1989, 349
JACS 2000, 1826
Chem.Rev. 2012, 2339
Chem.Soc.Rev. 2009, 1039
JACS 2005, 6877
JACS 2008, 446
JACS 2010, 14315
ACS Catalysis 2012, 95

C-H Activation #chempaperaday 125-133

Selected examples:

JACS 2004, 2300
JACS 2010, 14530
JACS 2004, 9542
Tetrahedron 2006, 11483
ACIE 2005, 2112
JACS 2009, 11234
JACS 2010, 14092
JACS 2012, 12002
JACS 2013, 1978

Buchwald-Hartwig Coupling #chempaperaday 109-124

Chem.Lett. 1983, 927
JACS 1994, 7901
ACIE 1995, 1348
TL 1995, 3609
JACS 2006, 3584
ACIE 1998, 2046
JOC 1999, 5575
JOC 2000, 1158
ACIE 2008, 6338
JACS 2008, 6586
JACS 2009, 11049
JACS 2006, 2180
JACS 2007, 10354
TL 1997, 6367
JACS 2006, 2180
ACIE 2011, 9943

Heck, Tsuji-Trost, Sonogashira Reactions #chempaperaday 101-109

Time to update the blog. Here are some examples from selected papers:

JACS 1992, 10091
TL 1994, 3453
JOC 1994, 2685
JOC 1994, 5583
TL 1993, 2505
JACS 1991, 1417
TL 1992, 2589
JACS 1999, 3543
JACS 1999, 7410