Tag Archives: tinkertoys

You gotta love this structure

Science vol. 352 pp. 1555 – 1559 has a structure you have to love. It is a molecular knot containing a mere 30 pyridines and 10 benzenes all tied together in a knot which looks like a five pointed star. The tying was done by metathesis of benzenes with CH2 CH2 CH = CH2 dangling from them. To think of what needed to be tied to what was extremely clever.

Surprisingly with all this going on the knot coordinates just a single halogen atom. This shows why you must build a model of a complicated organic compound to see what it really looks like, something I learned with adamantane years ago — you can draw all the chairs you want, making it look rather spiky, but the damn thing is actually spherical. Well, no model was built, but the structure was determined using Xray crystallography (figure 3) Anyone playing with tinkertoys back in the day (or Legos now) and loving it will have a natural affinity for organic chemistry