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Ant Music

I don’t usually post articles on total synthesis. Their beauty often speaks for itself. However, a recent paper by Zhang and co-workers started me on a trip down memory lane. The paper describes a short, elegant route into the core 1-azabicyclo[4.3.0]nonane structure of the Indolizidine alkaloids (figure 1).1 Together with the structurally related pyrrolizidines (1-azabicyclo[3.3.0]octane),

Are you engaged?

The technology-driven world we live in seems to become more complex, more quickly, with every passing day. At a systems level, higher education has responded to the needs of a complex world by promoting specialism, and encouraging deep-dive learning in relatively narrow fields. Specialist expertise is to be valued, but developing the new sustainable processes

How do you safely scale up a given chemical reaction?

If you are working in industry and are responsible for safety, how do you safely scale up a given chemical reaction? How do you tackle issues like heat transfer, gas release, exposure control, waste stream issues and more? The core of any process safety study is a correct description of both heat and gas release

Sodium Azide-Sonic Boom Boy

Last week I was in Madrid running our chemical development and scale up course. I met a great group of people, one of whom worked at Dynamit Nobel. During a coffee break we struck up a conversation about (of all things) azides, in particular sodium azide. Fairly quickly we both discovered that we had no

Cleaning Up Micelle Chemistry

For the past decade I have been intrigued by the emergence of micelle technology and its ability to enable many organic reactions in water, but perplexed about why the reactions work as effectively as they do, and have been waiting for more universal reaction conditions. Two recent papers address these issues. The title of the

Mutagenic Impurities Book – New Discount

New Discount Available for Andrew Teasdale’s Book, ‘Mutagenic impurities’ click on the image below for more details. Andrew Teasdale is a senior principle scientist within AstraZeneca, with 25 years experience in the industry. Andrew is also the inventor of the purge factor concept applied to the risk assessment of mutagenic impurities. Over the last 10

To Deprotect and Serve

Several weeks ago I did my annual analysis of the synthetic routes used to prepare small molecule drugs approved by the FDA in the preceding year, obviously in this case 2022.1 I  hope those of you who have seen the presentation found it as interesting to watch as I found to put it together. One

Almost Two Centuries Later, Functional Group Tolerant Conditions Identified for the Electrochemical Kolbe Coupling!

Two principles that we at Scientific Update teach in the foundational “Chemical Development” course are that new experimental methods can open new opportunities for old reactions, and that as scientists we should be looking to understand the mechanisms of empirical observations. Both of these principles are exemplified in by a recent pre-print publication by the

Keeping Count Sometimes Isn’t So Easy

“How many steps are there in a synthetic route?” is one of the foundational questions for any chemist, but as with many apparently simple questions, the answer isn’t always that simple. In many cases chemists are incentivized to give an artificially low step count because it makes their new route look better and therefore more

Triphenylphosphine Oxide- Waste Not, Want Not

Love it or hate it, triphenylphosphine oxide (TPPO, Figure 1) is something we all encounter at some point during our chemistry careers. Most of the time it’s just a by-product from well-established and widely used process such as the Mitsunobou, Wittig, Staudinger, Appel and Corey-Fuchs reactions.1 I remember having a vial full of the white,

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