The most important are π orbitals as they are lower in energy than σ orbitals and the carbonyl group (C=O) is the most important of these—indeed it is the most important functional group of all. ~Clayden, Chapter 5

Why is it that Carbonyl Groups in organic chemistry are given so much importance? I am still in highschool, and at this level every book (like Peter Sykes, Solomon, Clayden) or my teachers, all talk about how Carbonyl compounds are the most important. But why is it? Why are they given so much importance?


closed as primarily opinion-based by Todd Minehardt, Tyberius, Nilay Ghosh, A.K., Mithoron Jul 3 at 18:43

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  • $\begingroup$ Carbonyl compounds are the bridging for the synthesis of almost all functional groups in organic chemistry via one or the other organic reaction $\endgroup$ – YUSUF HASAN Jul 2 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think there's a definitive answer to this, apart from @YUSUF's comment. Why don't you complete your high school organic course and self-realise its due (or undue) importance? $\endgroup$ – William R. Ebenezer Jul 2 at 15:29
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    $\begingroup$ @DivMit — Actually, all chemical moieties are important in organic chemistry (OC), and that is the base of OC. The carbonyl group (found in ketones or aldehydes) is especially reactive because of the difference in electronegativity between C and O. But to be honest, your point of view will change when you learn more about phosphorus or silicium! $\endgroup$ – SteffX Jul 2 at 16:02
  • $\begingroup$ Carbonyl groups participate in many (the majority?) of biochemical reactions $\endgroup$ – electronpusher Jul 2 at 16:10
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    $\begingroup$ Many ancient cities rose to prominence as important crossroad points. Same thing here. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Jul 2 at 18:13