How to Assign R and S Configurations Without a Molecular Model

Chiral centers come in two flavours - vanilla or chocolate chip... Just kidding! They come in R and S varieties. There's a three-step process for assigning the R or S, and one of the steps in putting the lowest priority group at the back, away from you. But what do you do when the lowest priority group isn't behaving and isn't already at the back? Read on and watch the video to find out two simple strategies that will rock your chiral world!

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5 Rules for Organic Reaction Mechanisms

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If there's one thing you're guaranteed in Organic Chemistry exams, it's to be asked mechanism questions! Reaction mechanisms in organic chemistry are the bread and butter of exam questions! So how do you avoid the most common mistakes?

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How to Draw Newman Projections

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You probably don't want me designing your house. I can't look at floorplans and 'see' what the finished building will be like. Similarly, when it came to understanding molecules in 3D, I wasn't a natural. I particularly remember being bad at Newman projections! And yet, as a research organic chemist, my specialty was stereochemistry. How does that work?!

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Lego + Isomers = the Mariachi-mers!

I loved playing with Lego when I was a young boy and I don't think it is an over-statement to say that the love of building more complicated constructions from simple Lego building blocks led, at least in part, to me becoming an organic chemist!

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Flash Cards for Organic Chemistry

I distinctly remember the turning point in my organic chemistry studies. It was mid-way through my first full Organic Chemistry course. I felt like I was drowning in reactions and mechanisms. There seemed endless! So, I wrote them all out on a large sheet of paper, and stuck it to the back of the toilet door (TMI?). Eventually, after repeatedly seeing all those reactions written out, the patterns emerged and it started to make sense. The good news is that you don't need to re-decorate your water closet to get the same results! Flash cards to the rescue!

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Nomenclature Ninja – Naming Alkanes

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Naming organic molecules is... complicated! Or, it can sure seem that way. There's alkynes of rules in organic nomenclature 🙂 What are the most important things to know when naming alkanes? What is a system for naming compounds? And, what is going to be on the exam?

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Carbocation Rearrangements – Explained!

How and why do carbocations rearrange? Professors love to torture, err.. I mean "test" students with exam questions that involve carbocation rearrangements. So, when do carbocation rearrangements occur? It can be confusing to know how to spot what will happen in these reactions, but there's some basic principles that will have you migrating the right hydrides and alkyl groups in no time!

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