Letter | Published:

Conception of Synthesis in Organic Chemistry

Naturevolume 134page700 (1934) | Download Citation



IT is perhaps ungrateful to take exception even in part to so appreciative a note as that on “The Male Sex Hormone” which appeared in NATURE of October 13 (p. 563). However, it contains the following sentence: “It is unfortunate that this conversion of cholesterol into androsterone should be described as a synthesis.” Now, the elimination of water from ethyl alcohol is designated as a synthesis of ethylene, and the pyrogenetie decomposition of dipentene is a synthesis of isoprene. These partial syntheses become complete when the starting materials, ethyl alcohol, dipentene, and, in the case of the male sex hormone, epidihydrochplesterol, can be built up from the elements. Naturally, the term synthesis should not be too freely used, but we are nevertheless of the opinion that the first artificial preparation of a sex hormone from a compound with a different number of carbon atoms merits this designation, particularly as we clearly stated in the title of our paper: “Synthese durch Abbau “

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  1. Laboratory for Organic Chemistry, Technical High School, Zurich

    • L. RUZICKA


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