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May 23, 2004
I've just spent some time shoveling out piles of spam in the comments of my posts, so this will be a short one tonight. Tomorrow I'll head into the lab and take a look at an unusual setup, something I haven't done in quite a while.
I have about thirty small (20 mg) reactions going, all with the same starting materials. They differ only in the metal catalyst I've added, and I went for the most wide-ranging bunch I could find. I have elements in there that I've never even contemplated using before - stuff like indium, tantalum, ytterbium, and praseodymium. It's quite a sight.
Clearly, I have no idea of what I'm doing. Actually, I know the reaction that I'm trying to accelerate, and I have a rough idea of how it might happen. But beyond that, I don't know enough to guess what might work, so I'm just trying everything that looked reasonable (and a few that didn't, frankly, like the tantalum.) You can come across some interesting things this way, but, truth be told, you usually have to run a lot more than thirty variations to find it.
But it's a start, and I'm looking forward to seeing if anything has happened. I feel like a fisherman going off to check his trot lines. What's it going to be? Empty hooks? Tasty fish? Ugly snapping turtle? I'll report back in the next post.
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