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Physical Organic Chemistry with Prof. Eric V. Anslyn


The goal of physical organic chemistry is to understand the details of reaction mechanisms, and gain insight into structures and reactivity common to organic chemicals and of high-energy chemical intermediates. In this regard, the majority of work is aimed at defining the nature of the reaction coordinate: the structure of any intermediates, the extent to which bonds have been formed or broken in the transition states, and the relative energy of reactants, products, intermediates, and transition states.

The specific goal of this course is to introduce the students to concepts necessary to solving mechanistic organic problems encountered in the research laboratory. Common organic reaction mechanisms, common experimental techniques, and theoretical approaches to understanding reaction mechanisms will be covered. After completion of the course, the student should be confident in designing experiments to probe mechanistic questions, choose theoretical approaches to address chemical problems, and invoke known mechanisms and intermediates to explain observed phenomena.


Course Goal


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