There’s a lot they don’t teach you while you’re an undergrad. How do you keep water from setting your pyrophoric reagents on fire? How do you keep your reaction at a constant -41°C? And most of all, what do you do when your reaction just doesn’t work.
“Advanced Practical Organic Chemistry” was written with those questions in mind. The product of former post-docs from the Stork lab, it seeks to guide prospective researchers from the bulletproof synthesis of early undergraduate labs to the more free form world of reaction design. The explanations are clear and straightforward, systemically moving from proper safety techniques and record keeping through to setting up crystallizing in the microscale and troubleshooting challenging reactions.
Unfortunately, like Not Voodoo the book “Advanced Practical Organic Chemistry” is starting to show its age. The last edition was released in 1994, and its final sections on searching the chemical literature and the “World Wide Web” are… somewhat archaic. A much needed third edition is due this September, but even in its outdated form the book remains one of the most useful resources an organic chemist can have. It was the first purchase I made (with lab funds) when I started graduate school, and it remains the first thing I ask new students to read.