Macmillan Lab: Serendipity Pays Off
[From Princeton Journal Watch] Mar 29, 2013. Serendipity – the act of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it – can sometimes pay off. Now Princeton University chemistry researchers report that this non-specific type of searching has yielded a new method of building molecules for use in new drugs, new agricultural chemicals and even new perfumes.
In a paper published today in the journal Science, Princeton’s David MacMillan and his team describe the discovery of a new chemical reaction – not noted before in nature or in any lab – that could assist pharmaceutical chemists and others who routinely create new chemicals for a variety of industries.
Until now, no one realized this chemical reaction – which involves adding atoms to a specific carbon atom on a molecule – could occur, according to MacMillan, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry at Princeton. “If you show this chemical reaction to most chemists, they immediately say ‘that’s impossible,’” MacMillan said.
In this case, the team discovered this “impossible” reaction using an approach MacMillan pioneered that he calls “accelerated serendipity.”... Read the full article here...