The Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry (5B13, 5C11)

Date: 27/02/2018

Title: The Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry

Author: John McMurry

Publisher: Brooks Cole

Organic chemistry exists everywhere in our daily lives. The formation of polymers is an example of this. They can be used to make various kinds of useful products, including plastic bags and food boxes. So, what exactly are polymers? How are they formed through reactions?

The Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry(5th addition)written by John McMurry includes the comprehensive knowledge and various topics about organic chemistry. The book teaches readers the way to draw reasonable mechanisms for organic reactions, and reminds us about the common errors made, as well as ways to avoid them.

The general approach of the book is to classify reactions according to their mechanisms and the reactive conditions under which they proceed. Reactions which are not used widely or have been largely supplanted are generally not discussed, while newer reactions and reagents are often mentioned. For example, cycloaromatization, a kind of reaction which generates aromatic products, is discussed as a fundamentally new method for generating radicals. Substitution reaction, which refers to atoms replacing other atoms in a molecule, and that we learnt about in S4 is also mentioned.

Unlike normal textbooks and reference texts, this book provides more than just brief descriptions. Readers are not just simply told whether a structure or a theory is right or wrong. Indeed, it gives detailed explanations for the reactions that happened and the structures formed. It is effective in clearing misunderstandings about some concepts like the naming of alkenes. Sometimes, we may feel confused about naming a structure as pentene or hexene. In this situation, we have to consider whether the carbon double bond exists in the six carbon chain . Thus, we can easily understand the background stories or reasons which cause the existence of various shapes of structures and reactions, and so the whole concept of organic chemistry.

This book is undoubtedly useful for our study of organic chemistry. It is very informative. The book consists of a lot of daily life examples which are easy to understand and down-to-earth. For instance, aspirin is the most common medication to treat fever. An active agent in willow bark was found in 1827 to be an aromatic compound called salicin, which could be converted by reaction with water into salicyl alcohol and then oxidized to give salicylic acid . it is then converted to acetylsalicylic acid by conversion of the phenol -OH group into an ester. The example is well explained, giving me a deep understanding. It stimulates my interest in learning about the mechanisms of other reactions. It also helps consolidate our knowledge about organic chemistry.

Reading this book gives practical advice on things to do and not to do when drawing mechanisms, by using the reaction conditions and the nature of the starting materials as a basis for the mechanism. Worked and unworked examples of each mechanistic type are presented in each section so that the reader can understand the most common mechanistic pathways. An overview of the most important points is provided at the end of each chapter.

As a result, our skills in drawing organic substances structures can be improved and a mature understanding about the questions asked will be gained.

The level of difficulty of the book is suitable for senior form students, especially for those who are interested in knowledge about organic chemistry. Although the book assumes that students have a basic knowledge of the conventions of drawing organic structures and a relative understanding of reactions in certain organic substances like alkane or alkene, it provides us with clear concepts about organic structures and reactions. Nevertheless, textbooks may just teach us some facts in brief, instead of deep explanation of these facts.

All in all, you will definitely find this book informative and useful, so borrow it in the school library and start reading it now!

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