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Predicting Synthetic Routes

  1. Dec 31, 2016 #1
    Hello. I am trying to learn about synthetic chemistry, which I have so far found rather difficult to learn without guidance. So, in reality this is two questions, which I think are most appropriate to include together.
    First, can you provide an order that I should learn topics of synthetic chemistry in? For example, I have already learned about agonists, then isomers, then catalysts, then electrophilic aromatic substitution reactions, then epoxides, etc. This may not have been the best order to learn them in, but I do not know the subject and therefore do not know a logical order to learn the topics in. A list of topics of synthetic chemistry, in the order of how you think they should be learned, would be greatly appreciated.
    Second, I would like to know more about how reaction pathways are predicted. If you are given a chemical's structure and want to determine a route of synthesis, how would you do this? Would this be done by knowing many different reactions by memory, and being able to see where they could fit into your synthesis pathway? This is a very broad question. I know that you would focus on the functional groups. Would it be like "okay, I need a secondary amino group here, a hydroxyl group here, a methane group here, and in this order and these positions"?
    I will have more questions soon, but perhaps I can answer some of them myself once I understand these better. I apologize for any formatting errors. This is one of my first few posts using this forum. Thank you very much!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 31, 2016 #2


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    (I'm assuming you're referring principally to organic synthesis; organometallic/inorganic synthesis is somewhat different) If you haven't already, pick up a decent organic chemistry book and go through it. You need to know the basic concepts behind reactivity of the various functional groups. If you're into synthetic chemistry in particular, just about the best book you can buy is EJ Corey's "Logic of Chemical Synthesis." It's written by the inventor of retrosynthetic analysis and is a really good resource.
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