About RetroSynthetiX

Retrosynthetic analysis is a useful tool used by organic chemists to plan the synthesis of a molecule. In this method you start from the target molecule and you work backwards to get simpler and easy-to-obtain molecules.

Using this wisdom, I created this website hoping to teach various topics in organic chemistry by deconstructing the complicated topics and explaining them using simpler and, more importantly, easy-to-understand language!

Why, you ask? Throughout my journey in learning chemistry (from high school up to my PhD), I only encountered two main problems that really hampered my progress:

  • The use of formal, often technical, and complicated lingoes in textbooks
  • The lack of proper pictures to illustrate a point (yeah, they give us a large picture with millions of things in it and assume we know which part of that picture they’re pointing out in the explanations)

Honestly, I was bad at imagining the things that happened in a mechanism; and it took me several months to understand how to picture a molecule in 3D and be able to assign the stereochemical configuration of a chiral molecule!

Also, you know how sometimes there are things that are quite obvious, but students often can’t see them? Lecturers and textbooks often assume that students will get them because they are so obvious, but sometimes they are just not that easy to see! When students are then pointed out about it, they go “Oh yes! That is so obvious!” or “I wish I was told about that in class!”

So my mission here is to use simple language to explain stuffs in the way that I would, if I were explaining it directly to you face-to-face. I also use lots of pictures to show what I really want to point out. As the old saying goes, “a picture paints a thousand words”.

I also try to point out the little things that are sometimes ignored by textbooks, but I reckon are important, to understand the concept as a whole no matter how trivial they are.

One last thing, I also cover practical techniques that organic chemists commonly use. I hope this can prepare new students for the actual thing and help experienced students/chemists remembering the basic concepts.

I am hoping that more people can understand how fun organic chemistry really is and will be interested in learning it even further. And frankly, it only benefits the world if more and more people are involved in science!