Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Making the most out of a failed experiment

The scientific literature is heavily biased towards positive results, and it is therefore a matter of considerable dismay to realize that the experiments one has been doing do not work. Organic letters today has a new paper showing how to snatch victory from the jaws of (experimental) defeat. The title says it all: Unlikeliness of Pd-Free Gold(I)-Catalyzed Sonogashira Coupling Reactions. Most of us would probably sigh, bang the table, and bury these results in a dissertation footnote where they might never be found by anyone. Congratulations to the authors for their perseverance and for teaching us something more about what does not work in Sonogashira couplings!

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