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Chemistry History Organic Chemistry

Today in chemistry history: August Kekulé and the structure of benzene

Today marks the anniversary of the birth of August Kekulé, most famous for his proposed structure for the benzene molecule. This graphic looks at his structure and its limitations and shows how later work improved upon his initial proposal.

Categories
Organic Chemistry

Organic functional groups chart – expanded edition

Since I published my original functional groups chart back in 2014, I’ve had a fair few requests to expand it to include more functional groups. This week, I finally got around to doing that!

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Chemistry in the News Organic Chemistry

What is 2,4-DNPH and Why Are Schools Carrying Out Controlled Explosions?

In the UK, school chemistry departments found themselves unexpectedly hitting the headlines last week due to a chemical used in A level chemistry practicals. The chemical involved was 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine (2,4-DNPH) – so what is it and why the sudden spate of concern? This post and graphic takes a look at the chemical facts behind the […]

Categories
Organic Chemistry

A Guide to Oxidation Reactions of Alcohols

Today’s post is a quick one for the chemistry students, with a look at alcohol oxidation reactions. These are commonly taught at A level and beyond, and this graphic tries to provide a basic summary of the reagents used, equipment required, and ways of identifying the products formed.

Categories
Organic Chemistry

A Basic Guide to Decoding Organic Compound Names

If you’ve ever looked on the back of a bottle of shampoo, or at that of a household cleaner, you’ve probably come across a list of organic compound names. To chemists, these are precise descriptions of the compounds, but to non-chemists, they can sometimes just look like some kind of indecipherable code. The aim of […]

Categories
Biochemistry Organic Chemistry

A Brief Guide to the Twenty Common Amino Acids

The proteins that make up living organisms are huge molecules, but they’re composed of tinier building blocks, known as amino acids. There are over 500 amino acids found in nature, yet, of these, the human genetic code only directly codes for 20. Every protein in your body is made up of some linked combination of these amino […]