I have heard that total synthesis is painstaking. Barry Trost should know; he seems to have devoted his life to master the art.

I have heard that getting a paper published in JACS is tough.

I assume that devising and performing a jaw-dropping total synthesis of enantiopure morphine, the Holy Grail of all natural products, and distilling down all the years of work behind it into a shining communication results in a warm fuzzy feeling when the manuscipt is finally submitted, peer reviewed and accepted for publication in one of the finest journals.


The paper entitled “Enantioselective Synthesis of (-)-Codeine and (-)-Morphine” I am talking about is this: J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2002, 124, 14542-14543 (DOI: 10.1021/ja0283394). Apparently, the manuscript was received on August 29, 2002.

I am just guessing now, but I think that another paper called – drum roll – “Synthesis of (-)-Morphine”, curiosly appearing in the same journal, received on July 26, 2002 (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2002, 124, 12416-12417. DOI: 10.1021/ja027882h) by Douglass Taber and co-workers, and thus made public just a month or so before Trost’s, must have stirred up some emotions with the latter. Ouch.

Tripping on the finish line is not funny.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *