Needles, and the difficulty of threading them

The Art of Transformations

Compounds I am working on

And finally, a chemistry-related post.

I am a master student in Synthetic Organic Chemistry at the University of Amsterdam (that reminds me to finally get around to making a proper “About” page on this blog…). In short, I work long hours in a lab and make molecules. Lots and lots of molecules. Some of them have been polymers, plastics, coatings, rubbers. Many others have been catalysts for making those polymers, which industry does in amazing ways that you wouldn’t think of when you look at the uninspiring rubber products!

My current project involves the total synthesis of a rotaxane, a molecule that looks like a ring with a thread through its centre, much like the eye of a needle. If you’ve ever done sewing or embroidery, you’ll know how difficult it can be to get the thread through the needle’s eye in one piece; now imagine if the thread and…

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