Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The History of Curly Arrows

Christmas is approaching rapidly and I am off from work until 4th January. I will try my very, very best to do nothing work related for the next 2 weeks (Could be tricky. Fingers crossed)
This years Christmas post is a tribute to Robert Robinson for inventing the curly arrow. It really is fascinating to think how recently we have have come to think about molecules the way we do now. The whole idea of bonds between atoms and sharing of electrons to make up covalent bonds really isn't as old as one would think. So hats off to Robinson who published some fantastic papers back in the 1920s where he introduced the concept. Back in the 20s Robinson was the first to draw stuff that we would recognise as curly arrows today using curly arrows to explain (and successfully predict) the outcome of reactions. Ingold was another champion in this area of chemistry who embraced the ideas put forth by Robinson (but apparently forgot to credit him for it!) and expanded it to include resonance effects and introduced stuff such as SN1, SN2, E1, E2 etc.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all the Curly Arrow readers and to Robinson and Ingold for being on top of things. See you all again in 2010. D!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009