CHEM 125a - Lecture 25 - Models in 3D Space (1869-1877); Optical Isomers

Lecture 25 - Models in 3D Space (1869-1877); Optical Isomers


Despite cautions from their conservative elders, young chemists like Paternó and van't Hoff began interpreting molecular graphs in terms of the arrangement of a molecule's atoms in 3-dimensional space. Benzene was one such case, but still more significant was the prediction, based on puzzling isomerism involving "optical activity," that molecules could be "chiral," that is, right- or left-handed. Louis Pasteur effected the first artificial separation of racemic acid into tartaric acid and its mirror-image.


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