Weeks 4-6 - Chrimbo Break

Weeks 4-6

So, the department was closed over Christmas and I successfully avoided doing any semblance of work, after all I don’t have papers etc. to work on.  Instead I filled my time catching up with the family and eating too much.  Did get an early Christmas present in the form of a paper being accepted which is always nice!

Back in the department this week (week 6), it’s deathly silent again.  The department only opened on Wednesday, so I think a lot of people are working from home for the rest of this week. I think I may try doing the whole 365 papers in a year thing…I’ll list the papers I read here (possibly, to be honest I may ditch this when I get busy with doing my own chemistry, but still waiting on chemicals/glassware/bosses to arrive!).

1)      Nitrogen Fixation and Reduction at Boron – Braunschwieg in Science, 2018, 359, 896-900
I looked at the highlight result when this first got published, but only thoroughly read the paper now. I’m a bit of a main-group sceptic but must admit this is pretty sweet stuff.  Also, really well written!  Would love to hear Braunschwieg talk on it.  I hope I’m spelling Braunschwieg right…

2)      A Room-Temperature-Stable Phospanorcaradine – Stephan et al., JACS, 2018, 140, 7466
Apparently this is the first example of valence tautomerisation of a phosphinidene. And though the science is great, with my main-group sceptic hat on, to be honest I don’t really understand why it is a JACS.  Anyway read it if you loooove phosphorous.

3)      Reduction vs. Addition: The reaction of an Aluminyl Anion with COT. Coles (and Lein) et al., ACIE, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201811675
So found this through Mattias Lein’s twitter. He’s recently written a fair amount about leaving the Ivory Tower…anyway he tweeted this paper.  I feel a should clarify – I don’t think I’m a main-group sceptic, maybe just a non-metal sceptic?  Because this is aluminium and pretty cool.  Anyway they’ve recently made aluminyl ‘NHC’ equivalents, and these react with COT initially to form an eta-2 complex but then complexing the counter-ion makes the ‘aluminyl’ do a 2+2+1 pericyclic-esque addition. Forbidden stuff...

4)      Cobalt-catalyzed asymmetric hydrogenation of enamides enabled by single-electron reduction, Chirik et al. (in collaboration with some at Merck), Science, 2018, 360, 888-893
I could NEVER, do a screen of over 200 ligands. They did (probably using high-throughput stuff though, so it doesn’t count). Anyway what is particularly beautiful about this paper is the precise redox mechanism that allows the Co to stay active (and not lose its ligand in the I or 0 oxidation state). It’s such a SIMPLE system (CoCl2 + bidentate phosphine + Zn), that makes you ask why it hasn’t already been done. But I guess that’s why it’s a science!