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“Vladimir Markovnikov,a chemist and political progressive, was outmaneuvered by the crafty and conservative Aleksandr Zaitsev. Both men would go on to fame as discoverers of signiﬁcant trends in chemical reactivity and organic chemistry students today still learn “Zaitsev’s Rule” and “Markovnikov’s Rule.”
“So, organic chemistry has come a long way from its early days. It might have reached its peak,in a certain sense, around 1972, when Robert Woodward of Harvard and Albert Eschenmoser of the Swiss Institute of Technology synthesized the very complex molecule we know as vitamin B-12. Ever since, it has been widely accepted that organic chemists can make pretty much any molecule that occurs in nature. That is really something!”