Posted by: thediygeochemist | February 1, 2012

poor organikers!

DannyBoy and I share an office with a bunch of synthetic organikers.

Now I should say that when I was an undergrad 20+ years ago I actually enjoyed my organic chemistry lecture. Organic lab, however, was a completely different story. It seemed like my syntheses either went totally wrong or had a super-low yield; I remember my lab prof chewing me out for getting a ~30% yield on my Grignard reaction! So when I thought about getting back into chemistry again, synthetic organic chemistry was not high on the list. After all, it wasn’t my strong suit: I’d leave it to people who were more synthetically proficient.

But I was just talking with my officemate, a 4th-year PhD student. She was complaining that her latest attempt at synthesizing whatever had a yield of only 10%! So maybe I was harboring a misconception all those years…maybe synthesis just sucks, and some people handle the suckiness better than others.


  1. It seems in some corner of your heart, you want to justify to yourself for you not being an organiker ! Interesting question is ‘Why’ ?

    • If I had to guess, it would be one of two reasons:

      (1) During my at-home years, I frequently thought that I’d go back to grad school to do organic chemistry. Except that I was only thinking of the theory, not the practice. I realized this in time, luckily.

      (2) My dad’s PhD was in synthetic organic chemistry.

  2. I still like organikers, though. Several of my best friends are organikers.

  3. sometimes it depends on whether you’re more concerned about quantity or quality. if you’re aiming to just make the compound, then of course quantity is not going to be of a huge issue for you. if it’s a known method or a reaction you ran multiple times before, then getting a good yield may be on top of the list. but that’s just my two cents. my lowest yielding reaction gave me ~10%, so I feel sympathy for your officemate =P

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