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Welcome to Crash Course Organic Chemistry hosted by Deboki Chakravarti! Starting next week, we'll be tackling the notoriously complicated subject of organic chemistry, and hopefully having some fun along the way!

Series Sources:
Brown, W. H., Iverson, B. L., Ansyln, E. V., Foote, C., Organic Chemistry; 8th ed.; Cengage Learning, Boston, 2018.
Bruice, P. Y., Organic Chemistry, 7th ed.; Pearson Education, Inc., United States, 2014.
Clayden, J., Greeves, N., Warren., S., Organic Chemistry, 2nd ed.; Oxford University Press, New York, 2012.
Jones Jr., M.; Fleming, S. A., Organic Chemistry, 5th ed.; W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 2014.
Klein., D., Organic Chemistry; 1st ed.; John Wiley & Sons, United States, 2012.
Louden M., Organic Chemistry; 5th ed.; Roberts and Company Publishers, Colorado, 2009.
McMurry, J., Organic Chemistry, 9th ed.; Cengage Learning, Boston, 2016.
Smith, J. G., Organic chemistry; 6th ed.; McGraw-Hill Education, New York, 2020.
Wade., L. G., Organic Chemistry; 8th ed.; Pearson Education, Inc., United States, 2013.



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Hi!

I’m Deboki Chakravarti and welcome to Crash Course Organic Chemistry! Organic Chemistry takes everything you know and love from general chemistry to the next level, from electrons to acid-base reactions.

Except the organic means we’re specifically dealing with the chemistry of carbon—from the interesting structures that it makes, to the reactions that carbon-containing compounds do. This subject is notorious for being complicated because there are so many types of organic compounds with unique properties and reactivity. From the caffeine in your morning tea that kickstarts your brain, to the circuitry that makes your cell phone lightweight and portable, organic chemistry is practically everywhere.

There are actually over 16 million known organic molecules! So, yes, it can seem overwhelming, but there are patterns! Using basic tools, some practice, and by taking things a step at a time, I hope you’ll grow to like it as much as I do.

And before I get too deep into the chemistry, I should introduce myself. I’m Deboki Chakravarti and trust me, I have experienced the highs and lows of Organic Chemistry! I have a Ph.

D. in Biomedical Engineering from spending 7 years making cancer-fighting immune cells, and my favorite thing about biomedical engineering was learning how the tiniest bits of our cells come together to make our bodies work. So much of that is rooted in the chemistry of molecules, from what they look like to how they interact with each other. Now I’m a science writer/communicator because I love to talk about all the cool science I’ve learned, and I’m excited to dive into organic chemistry with you.

The first part of this series is about the tools that help us understand organic chemistry—things like bonding, structure, and naming molecules. Molecules like (3S, 8S, 9S, 10R, 13R, 14S,17R)-10, 13 dimethyl-17-[(2R)-6-methylheptan-2-yl]-2,3,4,7,8,9,11,12,14,15,16,17-dodecahydro-1H-cyclopenta[alpha]phenanthren-3-ol. Otherwise known as cholesterol!

Since we can’t actually see these atoms and molecules that we’re talking about, we’ll discover how chemists make observations, do experiments, and propose theories to understand the chemical and physical properties of the molecules that make the universe tick. Once we have a basic toolbox, we’ll start building molecules—from small molecules like ethanol to giant macromolecules like high-density polyethylene, aka the plastic in milk jugs and soda bottles. We’ll look into the logic behind elimination reactions, substitution reactions, pericyclic reactions, and more!

And just as a heads up: you will have to do some practice yourself to really master them. In the second half of the course, we’ll get into the multi-step synthesis of larger molecules and learn about a cornerstone drug in the fight against infection: penicillin. We’ll also look at other important developments in the pharmaceutical industry, because you need organic chemistry to understand health, medicine, and the biochemistry of how your body works.

So, yes, organic chemistry can be complicated, and sometimes it can feel like you’re randomly pushing around electrons and hoping for the best. But together we’re going to make sense of the chaos, and hopefully have some fun along the way! If you want to get really ready before Crash Course Organic Chemistry starts, you can rewatch episode 24 from our general chemistry series which is all about Lewis Structures.

Though, uh, by the way: Hank says there are no quadruple covalent bonds. But there are. We just need a metal center to make them happen!

See you in the first episode!