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Article
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Son of an Organic Chemist of Denmark
Journal of Chemical Education (2004)
  • Ronald Brisbois
Abstract
Once faced with structure–reactivity relationships in the context of nucleophilic substitution at sp3carbon, introductory organic chemistry students must compare and contrast the various attributes and ramifications of SN2 versus SN1 reaction pathways. The dramatic (even melodramatic) way in which some students ask such comparative questions inspired a parody of Hamlet's famous to be or not to be soliloquy. Herein, Hamlet (the son of an organic chemist of Denmark) is the surrogate of any and every student as he uses a thoroughly Shakespearian approach to sorting out some of the key distinguishing features of SN2 versus SN1 reactions.
Keywords
  • Undergraduate,
  • Organic Chemistry,
  • Humor,
  • Puzzles,
  • Games,
  • Kinetics
Disciplines
Publication Date
April 1, 2004
DOI
10.1021/ed081p502
Citation Information
Ronald Brisbois. "The Tragedy of Hamlet, Son of an Organic Chemist of Denmark" Journal of Chemical Education Vol. 81 Iss. 4 (2004) p. 502 ISSN: 1938-1328
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/ronald_brisbois/16/