Monthly Archives: August 2013

A Case of the Benz. Part III

The second step of the benzaldehyde to benzilic acid synthesis is the oxidation of a benzylic alcohol to a ketone. This oxidation could likely be effected by dozens of different reagents. Some of the early experiments do this step with nitric acid. This seems like overkill. An alcohol in that position should be easily oxidized. […]

A Case of the Benz. Part II

The so-called condensation of benzaldehyde to benzoin was originally performed with a cyanide catalyst. The origins of this reaction go back as far as an 1832 report by W√∂hler and Liebig. The reaction can be performed in a biomimetic manner with thiamine as a catalyst under basic conditions as proposed by Ronald Breslow in a […]