Reaction Regiochemistry – Markovnikov, Zaitsev and Hofmann

This Name Reaction Biography presents the history of empirical rules for addition and elimination reactions.

In previous columns in this series, the focus has been on name reactions in organic chemistry. But two of the oldest synthetic reactions – addition and elimination – are also associated by name with empirical rules proposed by the pioneering chemists who observed their regiochemical and stereochemical outcomes. These named rules are a major part of the teaching of these reactions in introductory organic chemistry courses. The article focusses on Markovnikov’s rule as well as the Zaitsev and Hofmann rules.

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