In the south of Russia

I have been silent for a bit, but that is because of travelling… I am literally 150 miles from Sochi (the host of Winter Olympics), if I can get over the Caucausus mountains that is. I am at a small town called Pyatigorsk in southern Russia, which is where my father is from. That is a rare coincidence. In fact, he decided to join me on this trip. A conference is dedicated to the chemistry of heterocycles and is taking place here in Pyatigorsk. I am enjoying every moment of it, having already learnt a ton of new stuff. Vladimir Gevorgyan gave his usual fireworks type of a lecture, which was awesome. I must admit that I was really intrigued by the talk given by Prof. Makosza from Poland. He is an elderly gentleman speaking in a rather unassuming way. The next thing you realize is that you have the father of phase-transfer catalysis in front of you! The latter is well familiar to many people by now, but I was particularly intrigued by his foray into vicarious nucleophilic aromatic substitution. I do think (and many people would agree, I am sure) that this area has been unjustly overlooked by many of us. Take a look at the following example, by the way. Could you have anticipated this outcome? I can’t say that I could.


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