Abstract: This lecture will describe the idea of synthetic half-reactions and its applications towards understanding the interplay of chemical reactivity and conformational interconversions. Apart from electrochemistry, which offers half-reaction formalism to predict reactivity, there is no system that dissects chemical transformations into simple energetic components with the goal of matching uphill steps with cognate downhill processes. Such an enthalpy-biased system might allow one to look at chemical reactivity from a perspective that does not explicitly rely on molecular orbitals. Instead, the emphasis would be placed on finding feasible combinations between endothermic and exothermic steps. Given the frequent, although often questionable, use of the term “driving force” in organic chemistry, it stands to reason that such treatment of reactivity is long overdue. I will describe the origins of the theory of synthetic half-reactions and demonstrate their utility on examples from our laboratory.
Wednesday, May 24, 2023 - 4:00pm
University of Toronto