24 July 2009

Tot Synth Live Blogs

Just a quick note to send praise to the blog, Totally Synthetic, whose author has just carried out some "liveblogging".

In short, the scientific literature is plagued by references containing spurious procedures. TotSynth decided to attempt to reproduce one of these procedures: the procedure didn't make sense from a chemistry perspective.

It was the oxidation of a substance using a well known reducing agent.

After much discussion in the TotSynt's comments section the rationale of the reaction was that the sodium hydride acted as a base while ingress of air effected the oxidation.

Interestingly, the authors of the paper that was being scrutinised weren't being dishonest; rather, their explanation (and perhaps their application of the scientific method) left something to be desired.

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