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Published 1971 | Published
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Organic Chemistry: Methane to Macromolecules


The success achieved by this book's forerunners, Basic Principles of Organic Chemistry and Modern Organic Chemistry, was to a considerable extent due to the rigor with which the subject of organic chemistry was presented. In the present work we have tried to paint an interesting, relevant, and up-to-date picture of organic chemistry while retaining the rigorous approach of the earlier books. Organic chemistry sometimes appears to be enormously complex to the beginning student, particularly if he must immediately grapple with the subjects of structural isomerism and nomenclature. We have attempted to avoid this difficulty in the following way. Chapter 1 briefly relates carbon to its neighbors in the Periodic Table and reviews some fundamental concepts. Chapter 2 deals with the four C1 and C2 hydrocarbons-methane, ethane, ethene, and ethyne-and discusses their conformational and configurational properties and some of their chemical reactions. The reader thus makes an acquaintance with the properties of some important organic compounds before dealing in an open-ended way with families of compounds-alkanes, alcohols, etc. A heavy emphasis on spectroscopy is retained but the subject is introduced somewhat later than in the earlier books. Important additions are chapters dealing with enzymic processes and metabolism and with cyclization reactions. Many of the exercises of the earlier books have been retained and have been supplemented with drill-type problems. It seems a shame to burden the mind of the beginning student with trivial names, some of them quite illogical, and throughout we have stressed IUPAC nomenclature, which is both logical and easy to learn. The instructor, who may well carry lightly the excess baggage of redundant names, may occasionally find this irritating but we ask him to consider the larger good. As a further aid to the student, each chapter concludes with a summary of important points. The simple introduction to the subject and the emphasis on relevance, particularly to living systems, should make the book appealing to the general student. At the same time we hope that the up-to-date and more advanced topics that are included-the effect of orbital symmetry on cyclization reactions, for example-will also appeal to the chemistry specialist. We should like to acknowledge the help of many persons who read all or parts of the manuscript and offered sound advice. Professor George E. Hall read the manuscript at several stages of revision and we are particularly grateful to him. Others who helped us were Drs. E. Caress, L. D. Hall, D. N. Harpp, J. P. Kutney, T. Money, M. Smith, T. Spencer, and L. S. Weiler. We conclude this preface on a mildly philosophical note. The world of tomorrow will result from the interplay of powerful forces-some social, some technological. Responsible public action requires public knowledge and there are few areas of science that impinge more on the life around us than does organic chemistry. We hope that those who study this book will utilize their knowledge responsibly for the benefit of all who come after. JOHN D. ROBERTS ROSS STEWART MARJORIE C. CASERIO Pasadena, California Vancouver, British Columbia Irvine, California

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August 19, 2023
October 24, 2023