Saturday, 5 February 2011

Some Perspective...

            Following my frankly rubbish Thursday, my supervisor came into the lab at 5:30 and informed me I would be going to the pub with him, and that I would be doing so within 5 minutes of being told as such. I’d not really had anything to drink since New Year’s Eve, and I had had a pretty below par day so I thought I would go and have a cheeky pint of Guinness before going home and sorting out some notes and assorted other rubbish I had accumulated over the past week, ready to finish up some chemistry on Friday and have nothing to do over the weekend.

            Five pints of Guinness and a Chinese takeaway later, I went to bed with that feeling of having a layer of cotton wool wrapped around your brain. I forgot my normal hangover prevention cure of two Nurofens and a pint of water that night and as such woke up on Friday morning with what can only be described as a headache and a powerful, powerful thirst.

            I got to the lab half an hour later than I would have liked and already in a bad mood. My attempts at recrystallizing a compound I made about a month ago had once again completely failed, we had no liquid nitrogen for the hi-vac trap and the reaction which I am convinced should work had not worked even slightly. Great.

While this is maybe the 4th attempt I have made at this reaction my heart goes out to those unfortunate souls mentioned in the C&EN news this week who have been working on the aglycone of the natural product lomaiviticin which has been published in JACS (doi: 10.1021/ja200034b). While my patience generally runs out after a week or so of failed reactions, these guys got to the final step of their 11 step synthesis and had to try to 1500 (!) different sets of conditions before finally finding the manganese complex they ended up using and completing the (pretty damn complex) molecule. 

Even trying each of those reactions on 10 mg scale, they still must have to make 15 grams at least of a compound requiring ten steps to make. That Chemdraw took me a pretty long time to draw so kudos to them for finishing, I imagine there were some dark moments during those months/years spent working on that final step. I think it's a good thing that this sort of struggle is mentioned in the paper itself just so it's obvious how much of a pain being a grad student can be sometimes. 

Anyway, I'll try and think of a good lab mishap for tomorrow and get it written up in the morning. Thanks for reading as always.

No comments:

Post a Comment