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Representation in Chemistry

Authors

  • Prof. Roald Hoffmann,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemistry, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850 (USA)
    • Department of Chemistry, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850 (USA)
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  • Prof. Pierre Laszlo

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratoire de Chimie, Ecole Polytechnique, F-91128 Palaiseau Cedex (France)
    • Laboratoire de Chimie, Ecole Polytechnique, F-91128 Palaiseau Cedex (France)
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Abstract

original image

Just like glass flasks, beakers, and distillation columns, chemical structures are an integral part of our profession. We are easily identified as chemists by how we draw formulas. Nonetheless, the simplicity of these formulas—whether mere sketches or glossies fit for publication—is misleading. They pose numerous questions on the ways we represent chemical structures. The picture on the right shows one way of portraying a camphor molecule.

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