Why are there so many organic chemists?

1 Answer
Jan 22, 2016

Because carbon chemistry, organic chemistry, is the chemistry of biology, of life in fact. Its chemistry can also be further extended.


Carbon readily forms bonds with hydrogen, to form hydrocarbons. Carbon can also form unsaturated bonds, olefins, and alkynes. Carbon also readily forms bonds with nitrogen, with oxygen, and with halogens.

So to what else can it form bonds? Carbon can also bind to itself; that is it can readily form #C-C# bonds (and #C=C#, and #C-=C# bonds); that is carbon can catenate to form long chains. With long carbon chains and the ability to bind to common heteroatoms, the chemistry of carbon should become very rich, and indeed it is very rich; so much so that carbon chemistry supports swathes of natural products chemists (chemists who seek to investigate biological chemistry), of synthetic and mechanistic chemists, and also organometallic chemists, who deal with the chemistry of carbon directly bound to a transition metal.

So much of carbon's importance can be traced to its quadrivalency; its ability to form up to 4 four bonds, present in long chains, and sometimes bound to atoms such as nitrogen, oxygen, halogens etc. along the chain. So carbon is also the basis of both protein and carbohydrate chemistry. Carbon is a very reactive customer, and opportunities for its chemistry are endless.