Organic Multi-step Synthesis: Step 1 – The Wittig Reaction

Many reactions in chemistry form carbon-carbon bonds. The Wittig Reaction discovered in 1954 by Nobel laureate George Wittig, is one of the most reliable ways of forming new carbon-carbon double bonds. Because it is so reliable, it is commonly used in organic synthesis to prepare alkenes. With an aldehyde or ketone as a starting reagent in the presence of an organophosphorus ylide (a compound containing a charged phosphorus atom that is adjacent to an oppositely charged organic atom) an organophosphine oxide and an alkene will be formed.

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Week 2: Freezing but Fascinated

So it’s my second week here at the DeWitt Decorative Art Museum/Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, and I am slowly acclimating to life in the Arctic Tundra (aka my very cold office/working quarters). Although the air temperature is low, my spirits are high as I have learned an incredible amount in the past week and a half (or at least attempted to stuff as much information in my head as possible!) Yesterday while on a furniture tour, I learned differences in English vs. American made furniture in the colonial period as well as variations in styles of furniture in the different colonies…if you see a rosette on a chest-on-chest, it’s most likely from Pennsylvania! I also have been trying to learn as much as I can for the first tour I will hopefully be leading: A World Made Small. I need to do more research about toy soldiers and stables from the 19th century, but I look forward to taking that tour in my own direction (as per my supervisor’s wishes).

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