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Introductory Organic Chemistry - Lecture 25

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Lecture 25 - Models in 3D Space (1869-1877); Optical Isomers

Despite cautions from their conservative elders, young chemists like Paternó and van't Hoff began interpreting molecular graphs in terms of the arrangement of a molecule's atoms in 3-dimensional space. Benzene was one such case, but still more significant was the prediction, based on puzzling isomerism involving "optical activity," that molecules could be "chiral," that is, right- or left-handed. Louis Pasteur effected the first artificial separation of racemic acid into tartaric acid and its mirror-image.

Prof. J. Michael McBride
CHEM 125: Freshman Organic Chemistry, Fall 2008
(Yale University: Open Yale)
Date accessed: 2009-11-11
License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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