20 Years of Science of Synthesis

We transform synthesis! For over 100 years, Thieme Chemistry has been providing reviews of the best synthetic methods and for 20 years, Science of Synthesis (SOS) has been available online, providing a curated overview of a topic, written by chemists for chemists.

What do you get from SOS?

  • A logically organized overview of organic transformations at a glance
  • Comprehensive reviews of organic and organometallic synthetic methods
  • A focus on the best synthetic methods, selected by experts, saving you time when planning your synthesis and giving you a better chance of success when you come to carry it out.
  • Practical experimental procedures that are immediately applicable in the lab

Learn more about Science of Synthesis here.

In 2020, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of SOS and made a selection of SOS reviews freely available to everyone throughout the year:

Articles about Fluorination

Incorporation of a fluorine atom or fluoroalkyl group into a molecule can have a huge effect on its biological properties. For this reason, fluorination has been one of the hot topics in organic and medicinal chemistry for years.

Asymmetric Fluorination, Monofluoromethylation, Difluoromethylation (V. Gouverneur, O. Lozano)

C—F Bond-Forming Reactions (K. McMurtrey, M. Sanford)

Benzylic Fluorides (P. A. Champagne, M. Drouin, J.-F. Paquin)

Articles from Women in Chemistry

SOS is proud to sponsor the Dr Margaret Faul Women in Chemistry Award. Nominations for the 2021 award are open now! Of course, we’re also happy to report and promote the science of many other female chemists, whether in academia or industry. Our free articles SOS this month come from women in the USA, the UK, and Japan.

Photocatalysis in the Pharmaceutical Industry (Daniel DiRocco, Dani Schultz)

Halogenases (Sabine Grüschow, Duncan Smith, Danai Gkotsi, Rebecca Goss)

Hydroformylation of Epoxides (Kohei Takahashi, Kyoko Nozaki)

Articles about Nickel

As one of the less expensive transition metals, nickel is very attractive as a catalyst. This month’s free SOS articles chart the progress of nickel chemistry in recent years.
John Montgomery’s review on organometallic complexes of nickel was the first chapter of the first volume of SOS! Ryan Stolley and Janis Louie later provided an update, showing how much nickel chemistry had advanced in recent years. Bringing things right up to date, Christopher Kelly, Jennifer Matsui, James Phelan, Alvaro Gutiérrez Bonet, Simon Lang, and Gary Molander reviewed the uses of nickel in photocatalysis.

Organometallic Complexes of Nickel (John Montgomery)

Organometallic Complexes of Nickel - Update 2013 (Ryan Stolley, Janis Louie)

Nickel in Photocatalysis (C. Kelly, J. Matsui, J. Phelan, A. Gutiérrez Bonet, S., G. Molander)

Articles in honor of Prof. Barry Trost

We had planned to hold a special symposium in honor of Barry Trost, one of the founding members of the SOS Editorial Board, at the ACS Fall Meeting in San Francisco this month. Due to COVID-19, the symposium has been postponed until next year, but we’re still celebrating with a cluster in Synlett. Many of Prof. Trost’s former students and co-workers have gone on to great careers in chemistry and some of them have contributed to the cluster and also to SOS. This month’s free SOS articles are by Stephen Hashmi, Jean-Philip Lumb, and Tobias Ritter – all of whom worked with Prof. Trost.

Palladium(III) Containing Complexes (David Powers,Tobias Ritter)

Catalytic Oxidation of Phenols (Kenneth Esguerra, Jean-Philip Lumb)

Monofunctionalized Allenes and Higher Cumulenes (Stephen Hashmi)


See also the SYNLETT Cluster “The Power of Transition Metals - In Honor of Prof. Barry Trost and 20 Years SOS"

Articles about Chemistry from Tokyo

We would have loved to be in Tokyo this month enjoying the Olympics - but as we can’t, we thought we’d share some great chemistry from Tokyo with you instead.

Polyamides (Tomoya Higashihara and Mitsuru Ueda)

Radialenes (Masahiko Iyoda)

Metal-Catalyzed (2 + 2 + 2) Cycloadditions (Yu Shibata and Ken Tanaka)

Articles about Coupling

Cross-coupling chemistry has been a revolution in synthesis over recent decades, earning some of its pioneers the Nobel Prize, and we’ve got three whole volumes on it. In addition, there are many other great SOS reviews covering various aspects of this ever-evolving area – it was hard for us to choose just 3 to give you for free!

Gold-Catalyzed Coupling Reactions (Matt Hopkinson and Veronique Gouverneur)

Synthesis by Metal-Mediated Coupling Reactions (Ei-ichi Negishi and Guangwei Wang)

Intramolecular Heck Reactions (Suribabu Jammi, Christopher Nottingham, Pat Guiry)

Articles about Palladium

Palladium catalysis has completely changed how we do organic synthesis. As well as making known reactions much more efficient, it has also opened access to a huge number of new transformations. This month’s free articles are just three of the many in SOS covering palladium catalysis.

Palladium- Mediated Domino Reactions (Ed Anderson)

Palladium in Photocatalysis (Min Wang, Pinhua Li, Lei Wang)

Radical-Based Palladium-Catalyzed Bond Constructions (Yiming Li, Weisi Xie, Xuefeng Jiang)

Articles about Hetarenes

Aromatic heterocycles are ubiquitous in nature, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, and many other areas. SOS provides a great overview of the synthesis of almost any aromatic heterocyclic system you can think of – from small rings to large; with one heteroatom or many; nitrogen, sulfur, oxygen, phosphorus, selenium, and even tellurium….they’re all included in SOS.

1H-Azirines (K.-P. Zeller)

1,3-Dihydroazaindol-2-ones (Jean-Yves Mérour, Benoît Joseph)

Benzimidazoles (Francis M. Irudayanathan, Sunwoo Lee)

Articles by the SOS Original Editorial Board

SOS was founded in 2000, with an international Editorial Board consisting of some of the world’s most renowned organic chemists. As well as being on the Editorial Board, guiding the direction of the project, many of the board members contributed their personal expertise in reviews for SOS. Here we’re giving you free access to reviews by Steven Ley, Eric Jacobsen, and Manfred Regitz – all members of the original SOS Editorial Board.

Spiroketals (Steven Ley, Lech-Gustav Milroy, Rebecca Myers)

Mannich Reaction (Noah Burns, Eric Jacobsen)

Four-Membered Rings with One or More Heteroatoms (Manfred Regitz, Uwe Bergsträsser)

Articles by new Editorial Board Members

Over the years, new chemists have joined the SOS Editorial Board, maintaining its dynamic nature and bringing new ideas and experience. The links below give you free access to reviews by some of the newer members of the board – Shu Kobayashi, Cristina Nevado, and Shu-li You.

Perspective: The New World of Organic Chemistry Using Water as Solvent (Shu Kobayashi)

Gold-Catalyzed Reactions of Alkenes (Teresa de Haro, David Garayalde, Cristina Nevado)

C—C Bond Formation by Double C—H Activation (Jibao Xia, Shuli You)

Articles about Silicon Chemistry

The original Science of Synthesis volume on organosilicon chemistry was edited by Ian Fleming (who else could do it?). His natural successor for the Knowledge Updates was Martin Oestreich. The links below give you free taster of some of the excellent recent reviews on organosilicon chemistry in SOS.

Silylboron Reagents (Lukas Delvos, Martin Oestreich)

β-Silyl Carbonyl Compounds (Fady Nahra, Olivier Riant)

Silyl Sulfides and Selenides (Thomas Wirth, Alistair Baker)

Many great birthday wishes have reached us during the last year. We are very happy! Here you can find all of them at a glance.

Please post your birthday wishes on social media using #SOS20Years or #WeTransformSynthesis!

This is how the online version of Science of Synthesis developed over the years:

Explore SOS now Science of Synthesis
Institutional trial to access Science of Synthesis

Prof. Phil Baran about SOS 

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