The 2005 Nobel prize in chemistry went to Yves Chauvin, Robert Grubbs, and Richard Schrock “”http://nobelprize.org/chemistry/laureates/2005/index.html">for the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis." Olefin metathesis has been used to make a wide range of compounds, including natural products, polymers, and stabilized alpha helices that can inhibit the growth of human leukemia xenografts in vivo.
So it’s not surprising that this field is still really “hot” – you can’t open a chemistry journal without seeing at least one paper involving metathesis… In the March 22nd issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Hong & Grubbs reported that a ruthenium catalyst that had a poly(ethylene glycol) conjugated saturated 1,3-dimesityl-4,5-dihydroimidazol-2-ylidene ligand was able to catalyze ring-opening metathesis polymerization, ring-closing metathesis, and cross-metathesis reactions in aqueous media (Highly Active Water-Soluble Olefin Metathesis Catalyst).
There’s also a nice minireview by Donohoe et al. that just appeared on Angewandte Chemie International Edition’s Early View – this minireview focused on papers in which ring-closing metathesis was used to synthesize aromatic compounds, including pyrroles, furans, and quinolines (Ring-Closing Metathesis as a Basis for the Construction of Aromatic Compounds).
Although Professor Donohoe won’t be speaking at the upcoming American Chemical Society meeting in Atlanta, Professor Grubbs will give three talks: “”http://oasys2.confex.com/acs/231nm/techprogram/P922810.HTM">Synthesis and applications of ROMP block polymers," “”http://oasys2.confex.com/acs/231nm/techprogram/P921662.HTM">Olefin metathesis catalysts for the synthesis of large and small molecules," “”http://oasys2.confex.com/acs/231nm/techprogram/P948656.HTM">Organic synthesis using the olefin metathesis reactions." Of course, he won’t be the only scientist talking about metathesis at the meeting – there’s a whole session devoted to metathesis on Sunday afternoon (“”http://oasys2.confex.com/acs/231nm/techprogram/S19047.HTM">Recent Developments in Metathesis-Related Processes").
I’ll be attending the upcoming ACS meeting and will be updating this blog regularly – so if you see any of these talks, please feel free to post a comment and let me know what you thought…
Joshua Finkelstein (Associate Editor, Nature)