Sunday, 20 February 2011

Saturday at work...

Yesterday was largely uneventful and I decided against boring you all with the details. The week ended on a moderately high note in that nothing went wrong and everything seems to be working. I put on a reaction last night, one that I had never done before; a Cu(I)-catalysed N-arylation. Refluxing proline, bromobenzene, K2CO3 and copper (I) iodide in everyone’s favourite solvent DMF (according to my last post) sounds pretty nasty but it does go blue, which is always nice to see. 

I had to pop into work today to add another reagent to that reaction, the lovely dimethyl sulfate, so I can leave it until Monday morning. A nice easy work-up (if you can call it that with DMF and dimethyl sulfate in there) should give me N-phenylproline methyl ester which would be most excellent. Three steps from there gives me another page of thesis and puts me a small step closer to making head or tail of my project. 

              I was just contemplating heading home when my boss walked into the lab. It was an open day at the university which I knew nothing about so I hung around a bit to get a look at the chemists of tomorrow. I popped into the lab next door to see a colleague (the colleague in fact made famous by the aforementioned t-BuLi incident swearing and emptying a round-bottomed flask into the waste solvent. He was attempting to make cyclohexylmagnesium bromide as far as I know. He had rigorously dried his three-necked flask, added his magnesium and dry diethyl ether, attached a condenser and was adding cyclohexyl bromide to the mixture along with the customary crystal of iodine for initiation when he noticed what he thought was ether condensing on his condenser. Closer inspection showed he had a crack in the water coil and was dripping water at an alarming rate into his reaction. I laughed, he swore some more and went about flame-drying another flask ready to start again. I left at this point.

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