Friday, March 13, 2015

WWWTP? Cover Art Conformations

Like everyone else in the chemblogosphere, I spent a fair amount of time mulling over what the new Burke Science paper holds in store for synthetic chemistry. Did anyone check out the cover art?

Images, from top R, clockwise: Heathcock, JACS 1995;
Burke, Science Supporting Information; Chris Brown Photography

I've stared at that picture a looong time. Funny - the Lego blocks seem intended to symbolize how Burke's new system renders synthesis highly modular...perhaps that it's even child's play. 

The asterisk in each line drawing (at right) represents where the artist holds the secodaphnane core. The entire structure, as pictured, is "flipped" such that it the two syn methyl groups (red and green in Burke's representation) should be touching the table. That conformation gives me twitches; nothing's quite where it should be in 3D space! I almost wonder if it's not hooked up quite right...

Sometimes, molecules make for capricious photo subjects. But I can't grok the way that one looks. Anyone else agree?


  1. Just made a model and and it looks pretty much the same from that angle. I think it just looks weird because so many bonds/atoms are obscuring each other that it's hard to process and 'see' the rings.

  2. Here's a projection of the compound from the angle the model is held at and coloured the same as in the SI: