Molecular shape, form, and symmetry play a central role in organic chemistry, and this text presents a brief introduction to the conceptual basis of stereochemistry. Its focus lies in the fundamentals of structural stereochemistry, rather than the dynamic aspects that are more relevant to reaction mechanisms. The three-part treatment deals with structure and symmetry, stereoisomerism, and the separation and configuration of stereoisomers.
The first section reviews molecular architecture, relating empirical bonding geometries to the hybridization of the central carbon atom. Students receive a nonrigorous treatment of symmetry elements and point groups, with particular focus on the presence or absence of reflection symmetry. The second section classifies stereoisomers according to symmetry properties and to the nature of their barriers; it also discusses the dependence of optical activity on structure and concludes with an examination of topological isomerism. The third and final section explores the conceptual basis of asymmetric syntheses and kinetic resolutions. Each of the major sections features a series of exercises that reinforce and extend the preceding material, and answers are provided. Preface to the Dover edition. Answers to Exercises. Bibliography. Index.