Essays in Contemporary Chemistry
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Gerhard Quinkert, M. Volkan Kisakürek (Eds.)

Essays in Contemporary Chemistry: From Molecular Structure towards Biology





ISBN: 3-906390-28-4
472 pages
December 2001


In this volume, internationally renowned chemists recount their roles in the progress of chemistry research toward elucidation of biological processes. Beginning with a historical perspective on the development of X-ray crystallography, the reader is regaled with first-hand accounts of research milestones. Included are descriptions of the cutting-edge nuclear-magnetic-resonance and electron-paramagnetic-resonance spectroscopic techniques, the dynamics of ultra-fast reactions, and the central problem of molecular oxygen activation in biological processes. The roles of chiral auxiliaries in organic synthesis and of photochemistry in natural product synthesis are told, and innovations in combinatorial synthesis approaches are described. Contemporary issues in molecular recognition and modulation of molecular function are addressed, concluding with a missive regarding how the frontiers of medical ethics may be breached by molecular manipulations. The contributors, who number among the finest scientists in the world, including two Nobel Prize winners, are Peter B. Dervan, Jack D. Dunitz, Christian Griesinger, Jean-Marie Lehn, Thomas F. Prisner, Gerhard Quinkert, Peter G. Schultz, Helmut Schwarz, Dieter Seebach, and Ahmed Zewail. Additionally, there is a prologue by Albert Eschenmoser, for whom this collection was conceived, and an epilogue that contains facsimiles of notes from his landmark lecture 'Synthesis of Co-Enzyme B12: A Vehicle for Teaching Organic Synthesis'. This book is definitely a must for all who want to read, or to read again, where we stand in our chemical comprehension of the fascinating relationship between chemical structure and biological processes, how we got here, and what the future might hold.


  1. Prologue: The Gold-Mine Parable (Albert Eschenmoser).

  2. Looking Backwards, Glancing Sideways: Half a Century of Chemical Crystallography (Jack D. Dunitz).

  3. NMR Spectroscopy as a Tool for the Determination of Structure and Dynamics of Molecules (Christian Griesinger).

  4. New Methods in Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectroscopy for Structure and Function Determination in Biological Systems (Thomas F. Prisner).

  5. Reactivity Concepts for Oxidation Catalysis: Spin and Stoichiometry Problems in Dioxygen Activation (Detlef Schröder & Helmut Schwarz).

  6. Femtosecond Activation of Reactions: The Concepts of Nonergodicon Behavior and Reduced-Space Dynamics (Klaus B. Møller & Ahmed H. Zewail).

  7. Photochemistry Meets Natural-Product Synthesis (Gerhard Quinkert & Knut Eis).

  8. TADDOL and Its Derivatives — Our Dream of Universal Chiral Auxiliaries (Dieter Seebach, et al.).

  9. Dynamic Combinatorial Chemistry and Virtual Combinatorial Libraries (Jean-Marie Lehn).

  10. The Importance of β-Alanine for Recognition of the Minor Groove of DNA (Peter B. Dervan & Adam R. Urbach).

  11. Generating New Molecular Function: A Lesson from Nature (David R. Liu & Peter G. Schultz).

  12. Ethical Limits to 'Molecular Medicine' (Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker).

  13. Epilogue: Synthesis of the Coenzyme B12: A Vehicle for the Teaching of Organic Synthesis (Albert Eschenmoser).