Stretching topology

Chemists have stretched the meaning of topology to cover situations never imagined by their mathematical colleagues. Michelle Francl wonders if we have reached breaking point?

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Figure 1: The fifty words most frequently found in the titles and abstracts of journal articles that contained the terms 'topology' or 'topological' appearing in the chemical literature in 2008.


  1. 1

    Chaucer, G. 'The Canon Yeoman's Tale' in The Canterbury Tales.

  2. 2

    Lewis, G. N. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 35, 1448–1455 (1913).

  3. 3

  4. 4

    Liang, C. & Mislow, K. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 116, 11189–11190 (1994).

  5. 5

    Calladine, C. R., Drew, H. R., Luisi, B. F. & Travers, A. A. Understanding DNA: The Molecule and How It Works 3rd edn (Elsevier, 2004).

  6. 6

    White, J. H. Am. J. Math. 91, 693–728 (1969).

  7. 7

    Sawicki, E. & Ray, F. E. J. Org. Chem. 18, 946–951 (1953).

  8. 8

    Yoon, Z. S., Osuka, A. & Kim, D. Nature Chem. 1, 113–122 (2009).

  9. 9

    Lavoisier, A.-L. (trans. Kerr, R.) Elements of Chemistry 4th edn, xiv (William Creech, Edinburgh, 1799).

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Francl, M. Stretching topology. Nature Chem 1, 334–335 (2009).

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