Inspirational chemistry

Every once in a while, we all want to read something inspirational. Alas, we like different things and our choices reflect personal preferences, dogmas, and current fads. There are people who somehow get existential meaning out of “transition metal-free X”, with X being pretty much anything… Some other folks get a kick out of site-specific modification of amino acids in proteins… How about science coming out of places that have no business producing anything meaningful because they are entrenched in conflict and corruption? I like that. Below is a paper co-authored by a team of scientists from Enamine in Kiev, Ukraine. The fact that these individuals are able to produce science of this caliber under the conditions they are currently in, is quite admirable. The Org. Lett. paper describes a very counterintuitive participation of CF3 diazomethane in reactions with nucleophiles. Effectively, nucleophilic additions of certain nucleophiles appears to result in the attack at nitrogen, which goes counter to everything we know about diazomethane chemistry. As a result, a series of interesting transformations are enabled and I would call it a method par excellence for producing heterocycles of medicinal importance. I am at a loss as to why this transformation of diazo functionality has remained veiled through all these years…


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