Kende's 20 Points

Contributed by A.S. Kende
University of Rochester

Not Voodoo Home / Always and Never / Comments?


  1. Before set up, think how to monitor reaction (ie. TLC, UV, NMR, color)
  2. Set up controls or parallel reactions when appropriate
  3. Repeat literature procedure before doing the real thing
  4. Do not always believe TLC's: a) non-quantitative b) Rf's vary
  5. Think about properties of product when planning work-up: a) acidity b) basicity c) volatility
  6. Run NMR's on crude reaction products
  7. If compound is unstable, or polar, do not use all on one purification method
  8. Get m.p.'s of things, analyses, save samples
  9. Report yields, dates, key spectra in notebook, spectra notebooks can get lost or often be hard to find
  10. Distinguish between observations and conclusions
  11. Write clear and reproduceable experimental and give conclusions
  12. Look for main by-products
  13. Be skeptical of conclusions - confirm or try to disprove them
  14. Plan your research day in advance
  15. Work efficiently by running 2 or 3 reactions at same time, rather than in series
  16. Always plan ahead - how would you overcome an unsuccessful reaction or proceed in successful case
  18. Finish an approach before shifting completely to another
  19. Don't keep your chemistry a secret; talk to people and ask questions
  20. Plan your schedule around demands of chemistry