Organic chemistry is a general requirement for students pursuing degrees in engineering and the life sciences. Consequently, many students study organic chemistry out of obligations to required curricula rather than a genuine interest in the subject. Alternatively, many students are intrigued with the potential application of organic chemistry to fields including pharmaceuticals, polymers, pesticides, food science, and energy. However, whichever group represents the individual students, there is always a common subset of each that tenuously approaches the study of organic chemistry due to rumors or preconceived notions that the subject is extremely difficult and requires extensive memorization. This is, in fact, NOT THE CASE!
The presumption that introductory organic chemistry entails very little memorization is valid and simplifies the subject provided the student adheres to the philosophy that the study of organic chemistry can be reduced to the study of interactions between organic acids and bases. From this perspective, organic chemistry students can learn to determine the most acidic proton in a given molecule, determine the most reactive site, determine the best reactants, and how to predict reaction products.
Through the principles of this book, students will be able to deduce reasonable routes from starting materials to products using the basic mechanistic types presented in introductory organic chemistry. Furthermore, through an understanding of how electrons move, extrapolations from ionic or heterolytic mechanisms can be used to explain free radical and electrocyclic processes. Finally, using arrow pushing, students will gain a better understanding of how to approach the more advanced reaction types discussed as courses progress.
The goal of this book is not to present a comprehensive treatment of organic chemistry. Nor is this book intended to replace organic chemistry texts or to serve as a stand-alone presentation of the subject. This book is intended to supplement organic chemistry textbooks by presenting a simplified strategy to the study of organic chemistry. Through application of the principles presented herein, including new chapters covering free radicals, carbenes and pericyclic reactions, the beginning student will be able to approach organic chemistry with little memorization and much understanding.