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Chemical Name Reactions

Fundamental chemical reactions have often been named after their discoverers/developers. They represent a foundation in organic chemistry and help to set up complicated syntheses. As a contract manufacturer of "small organic molecules" and polymers, ChemCon is naturally involved in the development of syntheses and the transfer of syntheses from the laboratory to a larger scale (upscaling). These naming reactions, all of which have already been applied in ChemCon laboratories, are one of the chemical bases for our synthetic work.

A list of name reactions is given here, which is extended weekly. In this way, a reference work is developing that is not only intended to help students.

In acyloin condensation, two esters react to form an acyloin. R1 and R2 are organyl radicals.

Mechanistically the 1st ester reacts with sodium, which enables the reaction, forming a radical anion. This anion reacts with the radical anion formed from the other ester to form a dianion. Cleavage of two alcoholate residues (R2O-) forms a diketone, which is reduced with excess sodium to form a dianion. This dianion is then hydrolyzed upon aqueous workup to the α-hydroxyketone, acyloin.

Charles Adolphe Wurtz and Alexander Porfyrech Borodin independently discovered this type of reaction at the end of the 19th century.

Charles Adolphe Wurtz was a French chemist and physician. He was born in Strasbourg in 1817. During his medicine studies, he became very interested in clinical chemistry. Wurtz went to Giessen to work for Justus Liebig for a year, then he returned to Paris. Wurtz was engaged in organic chemistry, especially organic nitrogen compounds. At the famous Sorbonne, Wurtz was the first professor of organic chemistry. The Wurtz-Fittig synthesis is another name reaction in which Charles Adolphe Wurtz collaborated.

Alexander Porfyrech Borodin was a Russian composer, professor of organic chemistry, and physician. Bordi was born in St. Petersburg in the early 19th century. Musical talent and a good musical education made him learn several instruments. In 1850 he began his studies in medicine and in 1859 in chemistry. Already at the age of 29, Borodin received a professorship in organic chemistry. Borodin also conducted research in the field of fluorine compounds.

Schematic figure Aldol Reaction and Aldol Condensation

Schematic figure Aldol Reaction and Aldol Condensation

Arthur C. Cope

...was a US-American chemist and professor of organic chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge.

He received his PhD with the topic “The synthesis of local anesthetics containing various phenylalkyl groups: Vinylethyl malonic ester and the cleavage of certain substituted malonic esters with sodium ethoxide” at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1932.

During World War II, he conducted a series of researches for chemical weapons, anti-malaria compounds and the treatment of mustard gas victims.

At the MIT, he headed the chemistry department starting in 1945. The preparative organic chemistry was one of his fields of work, especially elimination and condensation reactions. Due to this the cope rearrangement, Diaza Cope rearrangement and Cope elimination were named after him.

Otto Paul Hermann Diels and Kurt Alder:

Diels was born in Hamburg and moved with his family to Berlin, where he studied chemistry. He remained at the University of Berlin until 1915, when he accepted a position at the University of Kiel, where he remained until his retirement in 1945. It was during his time at Kiel, where he worked with Kurt Alder developing the Diels–Alder reaction.
Alder was born in the industrial area of Königshütte, Silesia. When Königshütte became a port of Poland he moved to Berlin. He made his PhD in Kiel where he met Mr. Diels. Alder received several honorary degrees and other awards, such as the 1950 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which he shared with his teacher Diels for their work on the Diels–Alder reaction.

Schematic figure of Diels-Alder 4+2 cycloaddition

Schematic figure of Diels-Alder 4+2 cycloaddition

1850 Friedel studied science in Strasbourg and, after an interruption; he continued his studies at Sorbonne in 1852. From 1856 to 1870, he worked as curator of the mineral collection of the École des Mines. During this time, he deepened his chemical knowledge under Charles Adolphe Wurtz in the laboratory of the École de médecine. In 1861, Charles Friedel and James Mason Crafts met here. After James earned a Bachelor of Science degree (1858), further studies took him to the Freiberg Mining Academy in 1859, to the University of Heidelberg in 1860 and to the École de Médecine in Paris in 1861. In 1877, they discovered the catalytic effect of aluminum chloride in reactions of aromatics with alkyl halides, today known as Friedel-Crafts reactions.This is a fundamental reaction that every chemist learns and which is also carried out in the ChemCon laboratories.

Victor Grignard:

Failed entrance exams for mathematics – Served in the military - Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry
Although he initially failed the entrance exam, he tried again after a year in the military and was successful. This was not enough for him and he switched to chemistry.
Due to Dr. Grignard, who received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1912 (together with Mr. Paul Sabatier), it is nowadays possible to perform syntheses with advanced methods in organic chemistry.
Grignard published around 170 scientific articles about his work and worked on a large chemical encyclopedia in French until his death.
Even if he faced a challenge at the beginning, he never gave up.

Schematic figure of Grignar Reaction

Schematic figure of Grignar Reaction

Heinrich Emil Albert Knoevenagel...

..., born in Hannover, was a German chemist.

After studies in Hannover and Göttigen he got his PhD In 1889. Knoevenagel followed Victor Meyer to Heidelberg and became his assistant there.  He habilitated in Heidelberg in 1892 with the topic of "asymmetric carbon". Emil Knoevenagel works at the University of Heidelberg as a Professor and works on nitrogen-heterocycles compounds. The preparation of unsaturated carbonyl compounds is named after him as the Knoevenagel reaction. A special example of Aldol condensation.

Schematic figure of Knövenagel Reaction

Schematic figure of Knövenagel Reaction

Arthur Michael...

... was an American chemist who never actually graduated the university. He acquired his knowledge of chemistry through to local teachers in his private laboratory, as he was unable to study at Harvard due to illness. He acquired further knowledge by visiting well-known chemists when he traveled to Europe. At Tufts College, he met his wife and worked as a professor of chemistry. In 1912, he went to Harvard University, where he served as a professor without lecture duties until 1936, despite the fact that he never earned a university degree.  Nowadays, Arthur Michael is mainly known for the Michael Addition, which is named after him.

Frederick Nye Tebbe…

… was an organometallic chemist who published the so called Tebbe’s reagent which is usable to introduce a methylen group instead of a carbonyl functionality.
Tebbe was born in Oakland, California. He studied chemistry and received a bachelor's degree at Pennsylvania State University.

After the chemistry studies he went at Montana State University studying psychology and philosophy for a year. In 1965 he was hired by DuPont Central Research Department, where he developed Tebbe’s reagent which was named in that way by Robert Grubbs (Nobel Prize 2005).

Fritz Ullmann was a German chemist.

He studied at the University of Geneva, where he also received his PhD in 1895. At the Technische Hochschule Berlin he lectured technical chemistry from 1905 to 1913 as private lecturer and from 1922 to 1925 as an associated professor.

From 1914 to 1922, he published the first edition of the Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry in 12 volumes, under the name “Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry” a standard work that is still constantly updated.

He discovered some important preparative synthesis methods like the synthesis of diarylamines, synthesis of carbazoles and of course the Ullmann reaction, which we present you here.

Schematic figure of Ullramm Reaction

Schematic figure of Ullramm Reaction

Georg Friedrich Karl Wittig:

Wittig was a German chemist and Nobel Prize winner. Because of his family background, he was very talented artistically. He played the piano, composed and painted very well. However, his love was chemistry. Although he was drafted in the middle of his chemistry studies and became a prisoner of war, he continued his studies as soon as he was free.

By means of the Wittig reaction, carbon-carbon double bonds can be formed. This involves the use of a carbonyl compound and a phosphonium ylide, with the carbonly oxygen substituted for the carbon.

Schematic figure of Wittig Reaction

Schematic figure of Wittig Reaction