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ERIC Number: EJ814856
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Percy Julian, Robert Robinson, and the Identity of Eserethole
Ault, Addison
Journal of Chemical Education, v85 n11 p1524-1530 Nov 2008
The Nova production "Percy Julian--Forgotten Genius" included the very public disagreement between Percy Julian, an unknown American chemist, and Robert Robinson, possibly the best known organic chemist of the day, as to the identity of "eserethole", the key intermediate for the synthesis of the alkaloid physostigmine. The Nova production, however, left three important chemical questions left unanswered. The first unanswered question was: How was it possible that "eserethole" could be misidentified? Since Julian's eserethole was the "real eserethole", the second unanswered question was: What was the true identity of Robinson's "false eserethole"? The third unanswered question was: How could the "false eserethole" have been formed in Robinson's experiments? In this article I present the answers to the first two questions, and I offer a possible explanation for the third. (Contains 1 figure and 1 note.)
Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society. Subscription Department, P.O. Box 1267, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-1267. Tel: 800-691-9846; Tel: 856-931-5825; Fax: 856-931-4115; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A