Monday, October 24, 2011

Organic Chemistry

What is working for me, and what is not.

Memorizing massive amounts of reactions is NOT helpful.  I am not even trying.

What I am doing is this:

1)  I look at the structure of the starting material: tert-butyl?  halide?  more than one halide?  on a ring?  between rings?

2)  I count the R-groups off the C attached to the leaving group.  Oh yea, I did memorize the better leavers and better stayers... kind of like men... leavers are good, stayers are even better!

3)  I number my groups, I also quickly decide if they are all different (easy) or same (stereo purposes).

4)  Then I look at my reactant above the line, and the solvent, if there is any.

5)  Aprotic or protic?  If it is aprotic, it sort of encourages one route, if protic another.  Indications of which way the reaction will take place.  Kind of makes it easy.  Like a puzzle.  You get some pieces and just need to put them together.

6)  How does that align with my starting mat(s)?

From there it is pretty easy to figure out the reaction process itself, and what will become of the starting materials, and what my products should look like.

Carbocations and carboanions, base vs. nucleophile, steps to make it all work, and wallah!  Ochem made easy (without memorizing horrendous amounts of tedious tidbits of factoids, I am NOT Cliffy Claven!).  At some point, I'm hoping to draw out a really good flowchart to post on here on how I worked ochem problems.  I'm not finding any of the material really hard, just really, really, ad infinitumally tedious.  But that's okay... the harder the problems, the better I should do on exams (or at least that is what I tell myself).

So far, with the practice problems, I'm doing okay.  I FINALLY get enantiomers and diastereomers without needing help.  I also see chiral and achiral very readily AND get inversion, R&S, and E & Z.

And bite my tongue, I reawwy wike oganiwic cwemistwy (my tongue is bitten).

After 9 hours in the library, mostly studying (lightly playing that beaking bird game, dang you Solitary!!!), I'm headed to bed.  Full day at work, a demo to show for the group, new boss, and then class, with some more homework.  Test in one week that I'd LOVE to nail.


Solitary Diner said...

Glad you're enjoying the bird game! I've wasted many quality hours on it.

A Doc 2 Be said...

Oh boy, should have gone to bed last night at normal hour... nope, wanted to clear the level of smiling green "pigs" (is that what they are??)

Right angle. Yep!

Right speed. Nope.

Drop an egg on the last house? no

Drop and egg while flying lower clear out the bottom, top falls, kaboom....

oooooh... next level.


Eden said...

I'm glad you're enjoying chemistry (and your iPad) :)

I've been a lurker on your site for quite awhile, and I finally felt like I should post.

I'd love to hear how you're juggling everything. I know you mention work, but how do you juggle work and school? It's something I've been trying to figure out for a year and can't come up with a solution!

~ Eden