Home » Editorial

Tot Syn was on holiday – and is three!   

16 April 2009 11,883 views 34 Comments


Tot Syn is three!

Remarkable!  I’m astonished that the gig has lasted this long, and that you lovely reader keep reading my stream-of-conciousness.  Thanks!  And BTW, you (yes you!) are one of 33,000 people reading this month – which I reckon is a significant percentage of the chemically minded populous.  So what’s changed over those years?

1.  The theme.  Lots.  Sorry – I like to think I’m a bit of web-designer, but I promise I’ll limit the changes to once a year…

2.  The nationality of my readers:

  • United States  15,517
  • Japan  3,794
  • United Kingdom  3,194
  • Germany  1,886
  • Canada  1,692

Interestingly… La Jolla 1,094

3.  The journals I read – there seems to be more chemistry in Nature and Science these days.  But also far less total syntheses in JACS, and the majority of papers covered seem to be in Angewantde.

4.  Better supporting information all-round.  Perhaps this is only the tip of a data-filled iceberg – and we’ll all be submitting our FIDs.

5.  Macrolides – no longer where it’s at – all the cool kids make alkaloids.  Overman FTW.

6.  Blogs – some keep on going (with ‘Kyle’s ChemBlog teetering at the door), others sadly departed.  RIP Tenderbutton, ChemBark.  Respect to all that keep tapping away at the keyboard, cause it’s more difficult that it might seem.

7.  My chemistry – less manganese triacetate, and more D6-DMSO.  Less polarimetry (yay –  that damned random-number generator was a bastard), more chiral HPLC.  More biotage!

8.  JOC – I feel bad for saying it, but I don’t read the abstracts any more…

9.  Oxford uni – still hasn’t got enough organic chemists yet, and is advertising two new lectureships, bringing the total to over 25.  And building another one of these.  Cambridge – where’s everyone gone?  Ah, I see…

Some things don’t change…

1.  KCN – still working on Maitotoxin, and still impressing me with his non-polyether work.

2.  Tet. Lett. – Still not work the bother…

3.  Sigma-Aldrich pricing – still doesn’t make any sense!

4.  Column chromatography – still a pain in the arse.

5.  Publisher websites – the RSC’s is better, but the ACS website is a disaster.  It hurts my eyes to visit it, and is a good reason to use a feed aggregator to I can avoid it!  Science direct is still pretty damned indirect.  Wiley journals – nice to see some SI, but where’s the graphical abstracts in the news-feed?!

6.  UK RAE (Research Assessment Exercise, a way of ranking the research contributions of UK institutions).  Oxbridge, IC, Brizzle still at the top.  Nice to see EastChem working out well though.

Just a few things – what would you folks add to these lists?

BTW… proper post tomorrow, I promise :).  I was back-home in Edinburgh for most of this week, but I’ll have some Mulzer chemistry tomorrow…

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)


  • Carl says:

    So you’ve heard rumours about new labs in Oxford too – I was beginning to think I was the only one. Hopefully they’ll then kick the inorganic lot out of the top floor and there’ll be more room for organic…

  • gauner says:

    Really a great Blog!!! keep it up…

  • Totally Natural says:

    This is by far the best blog for hard-core total synthesis. Don’t change anything!

  • rui says:

    a ha, i am from china,i read ur blogs evryday,but i cannot see how mang chinese read urs…thank u
    it is a better blog about total synthesis. a za a za,fighting.

  • No graphical abstracts in Wiley feeds drives me nuts. I end up just not reading them as much.

  • AndyMedSynth says:

    I love this blog. I’m an undergrad chemist in my final year working for a big pharma in Kent UK. My knowledge of chemistry grows so much by reading blogs like this and others (and tet. lett. :S)
    Moving to EastChem next year for a Masters/PhD. Will definitly keep reading!!

  • PotStirrer says:

    I can’t believe its only been three years. I feel like I’ve been reading your blog forever. A hearty thank you and congrats for a really great resource and community.

  • Ian says:

    Keep up the good work boss,

    PS, I thought Nottingham pushed into 2nd this year splitting the big 2?

  • Hap says:

    Congratulations. Hope you don’t have to clean cake from the walls.

  • Tok says:

    Wow, you like the RSC website better than ACS? I can hardly see anything that’s going on when I visit the RSC website. It makes no sense at all with the page number on the same line as the authors, thus making the location of the page number completely random on the page. With ACS, one can easily scan the page numbers to find the right one, though I have to admit the new layout is worse than the old one and the front page they stuck on every article is annoying.
    No JOC? JOC’s got some nice full papers from time to time. Plus their SI is pretty much the best around.

  • williswill says:

    I left the chemistry lab a few years ago, and no longer have access to the journals – your blog lets me get my fix when I need it – keep up the good work!

  • milkshake says:

    The impressive thing is that you kept at it, during and after the graduation and with the current pharma job. Please treat yourself to a Three Years Service Awards Dinner. You earned it.

  • The Dutchess says:

    3 years! Hurrah! Many happy returns.

    And La Jolla? Where’s that?

  • Ian says:

    Just because the N-C3 indole bond was made 5+ years ago in Heterocycles, in does not mean it should be skimmed over as irrelevant

  • Jose says:

    Baran, sweet Jesus. I don’t care what anyone says- that guy is pushing the limits WAY beyond anyone else. No redox celotape or PG monkeying, just damn impressive new chemistry.

  • anniechem says:

    Congratulations on 3 great years! Here’s to three more :)

    ps. The Duchess: La Jolla, California is where Scripps Research Institute is located, and has a fairly significant concentration of organic chemists due to the presence of Nicolaou, Sharpless, Roush, Boger, Baran, just to name a few.

    • The Dutchess says:

      Cheers! I thought it was some obscure country, hahahaha.

      I’m not a chemist, clearly…

    • milkshake says:

      Roush and Micalizio are in Scripps Florida but the IP address from their groups probably shows as La Jolla. I noticed that here in Florida I get sometimes “customized” adds for the real estate in La Jolla.

  • anniechem says:

    Thanks for the correction, Milkshake. I kind of forgot that Scripps is not only in La Jolla! Oops.

  • snowbird says:

    It is always fantastic to discuss total synthesis with people around the world.

  • Luge says:

    Kapakahine = my fav synthesis of the year

  • antiaromatic says:

    Yeah, I think it was a very bold step to hope that amide would form an equilibrium to a six membered ring when a five membered ring was already in place! I don’t know that I would’ve ever proposed it or believed it could work if I didn’t already see that it does. I guess the strain from the 5 membered ring is enough to make the equilibrium even exist…still extremely impressive.

  • Ian says:

    no reference to Somei’s work with 1-hydroxyindoles

    why does this guy think he invented everything? yawn

    • ,,, says:

      Hey, you just keep saying things! Explain and give references! Otherwise it sounds like bla-bla-bla…

  • Luge says:

    What does a 1-hydroxy indole have to do with this? Their group references somei when appropriate (stephacidin).

    Ian you must be from ranier or overman or another group that was working on these. Bitter!!

  • Kevin says:

    “La Jolla 1,094″

    Wow, that’s at least 75% of the post-docs in KCN’s lab!

  • Chemist@ASU says:


    I can not believe you are not checking out JOC! They have solid synthetic papers (from time to time!).

    Both the RSC and ACS websites are a bit of a mess really.

    the rest you are spot on.

    keep up the good work.

  • Thx for the great blog. I am a organometallic chemist by training working in industry by synthesizing PGM complexes for utilization in organic synthesis via homogeneous catalysis. I like to keep an eye on new trends and what to offer the synthetic organic chemistry world in terms of products for catalysis. Your blog on total synth provides great insight. All the best.

  • iamdeigo says:

    congratulation! It is best blog by far! I hope you keep up your blog!