Unlearn everything you thought you knew about selectivity and the Wacker oxidation. Grubbs comes out of the Nobel closet and gives us the anti-Markovnikov Wacker. Awesome!
Org. Lett. Article ASAP (DOI: 10.1021/ol301240g)
Under strikingly simple conditions, Grubbs and co-workers are able to oxidize styrenes to give the aldehydes and not the ketones with astonishing selectivity (or shall we say specificity?), and in many cases in OK to great yields.
Who would have thought such a simple variation using everyday reagents, catalysts and solvents would turn things so drastically around? I am impressed. Really, really impressed.
Tutors and text book authors – you have work to do. Meth cooks – so do you.