Element of the month: Cobalt close-up

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As we announced in this post, we’ll be posting here some anecdotes or characteristics of the element featured each month in the ‘in your element’ section of the journal.

In our June issue, David Lindsay from the University of Reading and William Kerr from the University of Strathclyde write about cobalt — an element thought to be named after evil sprites (kobold in German) — check out the article to find out why! [subscription required]

But cobalt later went on to show its good side. It is an essential trace element in the human body, found in a group of co-enzymes called cobalamins. Vitamin B12, a cobalamin, features the only naturally occurring organometallic bond that cobalt engages in: a cobalt–carbon bond. B12 is pretty crucial for life as it plays a role in the formation of blood as well as the function of the brain and nervous sytem. Oh, and according to Wikipedia, it also treats cyanide poisoning — a use that is hopefully less in demand.

Find out a variety of catalytic characteristics of organocobalt complexes from Lindsay and Kerr’s essay — including a serendipitous discovery that has led to the well-known Pauson–Khand reaction. That being said, Pauson apparently refers to it as the Khand reaction, however. I wonder how Khand calls it?


Anne Pichon (Associate Editor, Nature Chemistry)

Anne Pichon

Senior Editor, Nature Chemistry, Springer Nature

Anne received a broad training in chemistry at the National Graduate School of Chemistry in Montpellier, France. She then focused on inorganic and supramolecular chemistry and obtained her MPhil and PhD degrees from the Queen's University Belfast, UK, investigating porous coordination polymers for host–guest applications. After an internship with Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, Anne moved to John Wiley and Sons in 2007 as an assistant editor of the Society of Chemical Industry journals. She joined Nature Chemistry in October 2008, and was initially based in Tokyo where she also worked on other publishing projects with Nature Asia-Pacific. In April 2013, Anne relocated to the London office and now works full time on the journal.