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.