Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Reminder

The next POMs, the 41st, will be on November 1, 2, and 3, and held at Concordia University in downtown Montreal.  The website for the meeting is - HERE.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Shedding light

Our (old) friend Tom Tidwell has a recent article entitled "Sunlight and free radicals", in Nature Chemistry 5 (8) 637-9 (2013).  He writes about the little-known proposal by two 19th century British chemists, Downes and Blunt, of the photo- chemical formation of free-radicals, published over twenty years before Gomberg prepared the triphenyl-methyl radical, the first relatively stable organic radical.  Their proposal for radical formation in 1879 was unequivocal, and was published in a major journal, but it has been largely overlooked for more than a century.

Of interest earlier this year, Meyer, von Schleyer and coworkers published a paper on the “Crystal Structure Determination of the Non-Classical 2-Norbornyl Cation”, Science 2013, 341, 62-64.  Cited therein are theoretical studies of the iconic cation by POMs pals Nick Werstiuk and Heidi Muchall. 

Continuing the theme of revisionism, Robin Cox has a chapter in Advances in Physical Organic Chemistry, Volume 46, 2012, pages 1-55 on “Revised Mechanisms for Simple Organic Reactions”.  It also sheds new "light" on old problems.

By the way, Robin Cox wrote recently to me that he has just had major surgery, so he will not be with us at the next POMs in Montreal.  I am sure that all POMs people join me in wishing him well in his recovery.
In a lighter vein, Tom Tidwell showed me an interesting article on Chocolate Consumption, Cognitive Function, and Nobel Laureates”, from the New England Journal of Medicine, 367, No. 16, 1562-64 (2012).  It identifies a fairly good relationship between the yearly per capita consumption of Chocolate in different countries and their number of Nobel Laureates! Canada is very much where it should be whereas as Germany, Ireland, the UK, and Finland are decidedly below the correlation.  Perhaps these countries consume more chocolate than is good for them.  The one data point decidedly above the correlation is for Sweden which leads the authors to write one cannot quite escape the notion that either the Nobel Committee in Stockholm has some inherent patriotic bias when assessing the candidates for these awards or, perhaps, that the Swedes are particularly sensitive to chocolate, and even minuscule amounts greatly enhance their cognition.  It also seems clear that for the Chinese to gain more Nobel Prizes they much increase their use of chocolate dramatically.  The recent Nobel Prize to Alice Munro, a Canadian author, reflects a recent increase in chocolate consumption, here, no doubt.

Reminder:  The 41st POMs will be in Montreal, on November 1, 2, and 3.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Adrian Brook (1924-2013)

Sadly, I report that Adrian Brook (University of Toronto) died on July 10, 2013. He was well-known for his original research on Organo-silicon chemistry, and especially for discovering the “Brook Rearrangement”.  

Adrian was a frequent participant of POMs in the early years and he was a valued colleague to many of us. I first met him when I was a post-doc at U of T, with Keith Yates. When Adrian was Acting Chairman I sometimes lectured on Intro Organic Chem for him when he was “away”. He lent me his notes and his overheads which made for an easy introduction to lecturing. Best of all, I had no marking to do.

In 2007, Adrian and W.A.E. McBryde published a book, "Historical Distillates", which examines the history of the Chemistry Department at the University of Toronto from its beginnings in 1843.  I am hoping to get a copy from Santa Claus.

Adrian's obituary, which appeared in the Globe & Mail and in the Toronto Star, can be viewed online - here.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Where has the summer gone?

As mentioned earlier, the 41st POMs is being organized by Heidi Muchall for November 1, 2, and 3, 2013. It will be held at Concordia University, in Montreal, Quebec. For more details check the website - HERE.

In related business, here is a message from Andy Bennet, of Simon Fraser U:

"Dear Colleagues,
I am organizing a Physical Organic Symposium at next year's CSC meeting in Vancouver. In order that the symposium is a success, I am requesting input from the mechanistic community concerning:
1) What areas would you like to see covered.
2) Suggestions for invited speakers, especially early career Canadians.
3) Any other suggestions for the symposium.
All the best, I hope to see you at POMS this year and in Vancouver next.

Andy Bennet "

Link for the 97th Canadian Chemical Conference and Exhibition

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A New Year ...

has arrived and so has Winter.  Major snowstorms recently hit southern Ontario ...

Winter has finally reached Rotary Park, Cobourg, Ontario.
... and also nearby Quebec, in a big way.

In Montreal - "Which is my car?"
So, it's time to extend my best wishes to all POMs enthusiasts, participants, supporters and sponsors for the New Year of 2013.  May your involvement with Phys-Org Chem and your personal lives be productive and satisfying.

Looking ahead, there are several meetings that may be of interest -