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When coined, the term 'organic' was used to refer to compounds which were made by a 'driving force' found only in nature. No way had been found to synthesise organic compounds in a laboratory.

This changed when Victor Grignard heated a mixture of magnesium turnings, isobutyl iodide, and added dry ethyl ether to the mixture. The product, known as a Grignard reagent, reacted readily with a number of organic compounds to make their respective alcohols – with a high yield.

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