Mobile Chemistry: Named Reactions Apps

Imagine that you are in a bus and that you feel the urgent need to learn about the Baeyer-Villiger oxidation, the Julia olefination, or the Favorskii rearrangement, or that you are at the airport trying to remember the mechanism of the Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling. Of course, you could also imagine that you are a student at IU Chemistry Department trying to find a new way to learn about name reactions. Name reactions apps for smartphones and iPads come in handy for these situations.

There are several named reactions apps available at the iTunes store. They all give basic and mechanistic information, but differ in the number of reactions, price, interface, and additional information (quizzes, examples from the literature, background information, etc.).

Organic Named Reactions. This app was created by undergraduates at Indiana University under the guidance of Prof. Silas Cook of our own IU Chemistry Department. It now contains 15 name reactions which will hopefully be expanding in the future. The app has a flash-card type design. One can explore reactions by name (reaction to name, name to reaction), by mechanism, or by missing reagents or products.

Organic Named Reactions is available at the iTunes store for iPhone, and it is free.

ReactionFlash was developed by Reaxys and contains information on 245 named reactions. For each reaction, a brief description is provided, as well as mechanistic information and many examples from the literature (this is a great addition). One can explore the list of reactions, or search for a particular reaction using the search tab. Also, it is possible to filter reactions by reaction type (e.g. oxidation, elimination, fragmentation, etc.) or by level of knowledge (basic, advanced, or master). One can also test one’s knowledge with a quiz in which one is required to select the right combination of reactants, conditions and products for each reaction. This app has a great interface.

ReactionFlash is available for iPhone. The free version contains 10 reactions. The complete version (245 reactions) currently costs $1.99 in the iTunes store.

Named Reactions. There are more than 300 named reactions included in this app. Each named reaction contains mechanistic information and a short reaction description (including the year of discovery and the discoverer of the reaction). Links to additional internet resources (Wikipedia, Organic Chemistry Portal, ChemSpider)  are also provided, but obviously there is no off-line access for those. One can explore the list of reactions or search for a particular reaction. Also, reactions are tagged with reactans and functional groups, so one can quickly find, for instance, what reactions involve a ketone or a hydroxyl group.

This app is available for iPhone and iPad. The free version (Named Reactions Lite) contains over 25 named reactions. The price of Name Reactions Pro is currently $9.99 for iPhone and $12.99 for iPad.

To sum up, named reactions apps may be a good way of learning about named reactions for the mobile chemistry student. Remember that there are also websites and books devoted to this topic — we have already talked about Jie Jack Li’s “Name Reactions” here, but you may also be interested in “Name Reactions for Carbocyclic Ring Formation“, “Name Reactions for Homologations“, “Organic Name Reactions” or “Strategic Applications of Organic Named Reactions“.


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