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Named Reactions in Organic Synthesis


named reactions in organic chemistry

Discover the most important named reactions

Today, named chemical reactions play a crucial role in organic chemistry, which continues to grow in its ability to construct ever more complex and diverse chemical molecules.

The first named reaction in organic synthesis, the Lieben Haloform Reaction, had its origin in 1822 when Serullas found that iodine crystals dissolved in a mixture of alkali and ethanol yielded a yellow precipitate which he called “hydroiodide of carbon”, today we know this as iodoform (CHI3).

In 1870, A. Lieben studied the reaction of many carbonyl compounds with iodine and alkali, and postulated rules that formed the basis for the iodoform test. Before spectroscopic methods became widely available for structural identification, the iodoform test helped identify the structure of many organic molecules.

To this day, many new chemical reactions are being reported and named after their discoverers in recognition of their valuable contribution to synthetic organic chemistry.



Pericyclic and Photochemical Reactions
Eschenmoser-Claisen rearrangement, Mislow-Evans rearrangement, Overman rearrangement, Nazarov cyclization, Paterno-Buchi reaction


Which is your favorite named reaction?   Vote now


Visit our reaction categories pages for details on the history, applications, and mechanisms of key named reactions, and don’t forget to vote for your favorite.

  • Electrophilic aromatic substitution reactions
    • Friedel-Crafts akylation and acylation, Fries rearrangement, Gattermann-Gattermann-Koch formylation, and Houben-Hoesch synthesis
  • Nucleophilic substitution reactions
    • Gabriel synthesis, Mitsunobu reaction, Baeyer-Villiger oxidation, Swern oxidation, and Tishchenko reaction
  • Heterocycle formation
    • Fischer indole synthesis, Hantzsch dihydropyridine synthesis, Knorr pyrrole synthesis, Pictet-Spengler tetrahydroisoquinoline synthesis, Pomeranz-Fritsch reaction
  • Oxidation
    • Dess-Martin oxidation, Jones oxidation, Oppenauer oxidation, Rubottom oxidation, Sharpless asymmetric epoxidation


Which is your favorite named reaction?   Vote now


Upcoming organic synthesis reaction categories:

Pericyclic reactions
Photochemical reactions

Other reaction categories include: Carbocycle formation, Cyclo-aromatization, Degradation, Elimination reactions, Fragmentation reactions,  and reactions involving Carbenes.



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