The Golden Rules of Organic Chemistry

The Golden Rules of Organic Chemistry - Outline all...

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- Outline all notes (lecture and textbook) in a clear, concise manner! - Keep roadmap up to date The Golden Rules of Organic Chemistry Your goal should be to understand, not memorize organic chemistry. The following 7 Golden Rules should be learned at the beginning of this semester. These simple ideas explain a very large number of things about the way organic molecules interact. Thus, understanding the 7 Golden Rules will allow you to develop an intuitive feel for organic chemistry, and things will make sense! (Warning: this means you will start thinking like a chemist, but, of course, no one needs to know if you don't want them to know.) 1. Atoms prefer filled valence shells. This rule explains why atoms make bonds, and the type of bonds created. A corollary is that centers of electron density (bonds and lone pairs of electrons) repel each other so they stay as far apart as possible. This latter rule, the basis for the so-called VSEPR model, explains 3-dimensional molecular structure. 2. The most important question in chemistry is "Where are the electrons?" The answer is that electrons are generally in higher amounts around the more electronegative atoms (e.g. F, Cl, O, N). The electronegative atoms pull electron density away from the less electronegative atoms (e.g. C, H) to which they are bonded. Thus, understanding electronegativities provides a simple method of deciding which portions of a molecule have a relatively high electron density, and which portions have a relatively low electron density. 3. Nature hates unpaired electrons. If a molecule must have an unpaired electron ( a.k.a. radical), it is better to have the unpaired electron distributed over as many atoms as possible through resonance, inductive effects, and hyperconjugation. 4. Nature hates localized charges. If a molecule must have a charge, it is better to have the charge distributed over as many atoms as possible through resonance, inductive effects, and hyperconjugation. In addition, when given the choice, it is better to have more negative charge on a more electronegative atom (e.g. O), and more positive charge on a less electronegative atom (e.g. C). 5. Most reactions involve nucleophiles (molecules with a location of particularly high electron density) attacking electrophiles (molecules with a location of particularly low electron density). When in doubt, transfer a proton! Thus, simply understanding where electrons are provides you with the best way of analyzing new molecules so that you will be able to PREDICT how they will react.
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6. Steric interactions (atoms bumping into each other) can prevent reactions by
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The Golden Rules of Organic Chemistry - Outline all...

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