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November 12, 2012
Unknown Heterocyles: Destined to Remain That Way?
Here's a general organic chemistry question for the crowd, inspired by a recent discussion among colleagues. We were whiteboarding around some structures, and the statement was made that "By this time in the history of organic chemistry, unknown heterocycles are probably unknown for a very good reason". So, true or false? Are the rings that we haven't made yet mostly unmade because they're very hard (or impossible), or mostly because no one's ever cared about them (or realized that they'd made them at all)?
Note that this problem was the subject of some thorough theme-and-variations work a few years ago. That paper would suggest that that as many as 90% of the unknown heterocycles are simply not feasible to make, but that still leaves you with three thousand or so that are. So the answer to the question above might turn out to be "Both at the same time. . ."
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