I'm interested in learning organic chemistry, and am following a text (Organic Chemistry by Clayden) and an online course. I also have access to ChemBio3D.

I feel as though the way chemistry is taught conventionally is more difficult than it needs to be. Some online courses utilize industry software when teaching things (such as using MatLab in engineering), which makes visualizing and understanding a lot of the theories and concepts taught in books much more intuitive, since you can replicate the theory directly into a program.

Does a similar course exist somewhere for chemistry? I'm not talking about the little java applets that are available everywhere that mimic certain reactions or visualize concepts, I mean a course that utilizes a powerful software suite such as ChemBio in order to teach organic chemistry? Something that will teach both organic chemistry at a proper undergrad level and a good piece of industry software at the same time?

  • $\begingroup$ So what do you want exactly? You want a software "which makes visualizing and understanding a lot of the theories and concepts" but not " little java applets ... that visualize concepts"? What is powerful about ChemBio3D you want to use? It is mostly for drawing, property prediction, nothing about concepts.. $\endgroup$
    – Greg
    Jul 12, 2016 at 4:12

1 Answer 1


Do your chair parade. See what the Kahn Academy has to offer. Have more than one texbook. If organic is not the best thing in the world pursued clothed, consider other options. Employment at the bench will be under management that has other goals. Grant funding considers discovery to be unacceptable risk. Remember what they called the first designed degenerate Cope rearrangement - BULLVALENE. It worked. So did its two-step synthesis using no reagents.

LCAO for hybridization, geometry, resonance, and 1,3-shifts. Nomenclature and chirality. Woodward-Hoffmann comes later. Carbocations, carbanions, radicals. Carbonyl condensations. Hard and soft acids and bases, Lewis and Brønsted acids and bases. Reductants and oxidants; reagents in general. Name reactions (that you already know as pedagogy). Practice looking into stereograms.

NMR, IR, UV-Vis (not so much now), mass spec with database and software. You should have some glassblowing under your belt - Schlenkware; T-, butt, and ring seals; making an ampoule. Own your own didymium glasses and Kennametal cutter. Burn a pencil for its "lead."

Synthesis. Work backwards via the synthon approach. We used to read the new Aldrich catalog, and Fieser and Fieser, but both have has gotten out of hand. Spend a weekend/month skimming the main journals - JACS, Angew. Chemie, JOC, Tetrahedron - and what interests you. Never fill a reaction flask more than half full, because the universe hates you. COTTON lab coats, because they don't melt onto your flesh. Don't do anything stupid twice. When in doubt - palladium.

Buy HyperChem Lite, oh yes indeed. Remember to add hydrogens, assign atom types, then minimize well below the recommended cutoff for 10 times the recommended iterations, at least. Note how the software is boggled when minimizing high symmetry cage ketones

If it isn't fun, you might be a theorist. There is no shame in that - but you don't get to make crystals.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.