Where the chemistry has no name

Like Comment

I’ve been looking at some JACS ASAPs today, and several of the entries got me to thinkin’. For example, this paper just wouldn’t be the same if they had been trying to make a Smith diode, or even a Schmidt diode, for that matter. And in this case, think how confused you’d be if you mistook their acid for a Lewis acid or a carboxylic acid! Finally, consider how happy Shvo will be to know that his catalysts have continued to provide interesting questions for scientists around the world, just like these folks.

After pondering these situations, I decided that although there are a multitude of reactions, processes, catalysts, numbers, and constants named after people, there really need to be more. Think of the increased recognition that people would get for their efforts, the increased ability to communicate with other scientists just by quickly throwing out a name or two, and the incredible difficulty of organic classes that require you to learn all of the named reactions. This is going to be great.

As a word of caution, however, this one points out that you have to be careful with what you pick, because you can’t then later pick something else.

(Just imagine the confusion:

“Can I borrow some Grubbs’ catalyst?”

“Yes, here you go.”

“No, I meant Grubbs’ catalyst!!”

and so on…).

Considering that I’m no longer in the lab, it’s going to be hard for me to lay claim on anything too useful. Perhaps I can pick putting nanoparticles in agar gels as ‘the Goodman method’, mostly because I can’t imagine that anyone else has ever bothered to do that. So, the question for you is, what do you want named after you? A reaction? A catalyst? A football stadium? Hurry up and pick, or all the good ones will be gone…

Catherine (associate editor, Nature Chemical Biology)