Chemical Creativity: Ideas from the Work of Woodward, Huckel, Meerwein, and Others / Edition 1

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Where are the origins of chemical ideas? How did the pioneers in chemistry recognize the fundamental intellectual issues of their time? What skills of reasoning and experiment did they use to solve these problemes? How did the circumstances of personality and competition influence their careers and scientific accomplishments? If we can answer these questions, we may be able to improve our own chances of success in research.

• This is a marvelous book of people and chemical ideas! The author, Jerry Berson, is known as a chemical stylist, a physical organic chemist possessed of the highest analytical powers. In a unique approach to the history of chemistry (indeed the history of science) he brings that style, as well as his insider's knowledge and a perceptive sensivity to the societal setting of chemists, to the analysis of some key chapters in modern organic chemistry.? Roald Hoffmann, Nobel Laureate

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Editorial Reviews

Using a case study approach, Berson, a physical organic chemist, analyzes the historical record of specific research problems so that advanced students and professional chemists can see great minds at work<-->or at least see great minds suffer some of the same daily frustrations. Attention is paid to the personalities of the scientists and to how their idiosyncracies helped or hurt their research. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9783527297542
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 207
  • Product dimensions: 6.65 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Jerome A. Berson received a B.S. in chemistry from the City Collegeof New York in 1944. After a brief period in the industry withHoffmann-La Roche in New Jersey, he served in the Army of theUnited Stated (1944-1946, China-Burma-India Theater). In 1946, heentered graduate study at Columbia University where he took M.A.and Ph.D. degrees with W. von E. Doering. He was a post-doctoralfellow at Harvard University (with R. B. Woodward) in 1949-1950.Subsequently, he taught chemistry at the University of SouthernCalifornia (1950-1963), the University of Wisconsin (1963-1969),and Yale University (since 1969). He is presently SterlingProfessor Emeritus of Chemistry at Yale.
His research group has concentrated its efforts on the elucidationof reaction mechanisms and the synthesis of molecules oftheoretical interest. In the latter category, a principal activityhas been the study of non-Kekulé compounds.
In recent years, he has written on the history of science,producing a number of articles and two books, both published byWiley-VCH: Chemical Discovery and the Logicians' Program (2003) andthe present book, Chemical Creativity.

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Table of Contents

The Nature of Science and the History of Science
An Experiment
Science and the Individual
Diels, Alder, Their Competitors, and the Discovery of the DieneSynthesis
The Alternation Effect and the Discovery of Orbital Symmetry
Debye-Hückel Theory of Electrolytic Solutions
Nature of the Double Bond
Hybridization in Double Bonds
Benzene Problem
MO Description of Conjugated Cyclic Compounds
Orbital Symmetry (Woodward-Hoffmann Rules)
Extension of Cyclic p-Electron MO Theory to Transition States ofPericyclic Reactions
Violation of Hund's Rule in Biradicals
Reflections on Hückel's Career
Isolations of Estrogens
Approaches to the Estrogens by Aromatization of Ring A
Alicyclic Steroids
Woodward's Challenge
Misgivings about the Structures
Why did Woodward Undertake the Correction of the PhenolicStructures?
Woodward and the Total Synthesis of Steroids
Approaches and Achievements
Mechanistic Motivation
Enolization as a Mechanism of Symmetrization
The Menthone Problem
Tricyclene and the Wagner-Meerwein Rearrangement
The Pinacol Controversy
The Favorskii Rearrangement
Racemization Machines with no Achiral Parts
Direct Nucleophilic Displacement Reaction
The Walden Inversion
Biological and Evolutionary Attraction of Symmetry

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