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Organized by Tai-Shan Fang, For Special Advance Physical Organic Chemistry. "click chemistry".

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click chemistry
"click chemistry"

In the "click chemistry" strategy developed recently at Scripps Research Institute, reactive molecular building blocks are designed to "click" together selectively and covalently. The Scripps researchers are now extending the idea by using protein binding sites, supramolecular complexes, or functionalized surfaces as reaction vessels to direct the in situ formation of potentially functional click chemistry products. The products might be biological inhibitors, molecular-electronics components, sensor probes, nonlinear optical materials, light-harvesting compounds, or compounds with any number of other useful properties.

PERFECT FITModel of acetylcholinesterase inhibitor.

out of control

Out of Control

1990- 1994   Researched and wrote Out of Control, the Rise of Neo-Biological Civilization. Reviewed in Fortune magazine as "A book that should be required reading for all executives....As entertaining as it is insightful."

1987   Married Gia-Miin Fuh, a biochemist.

1952   Born, in Pennsylvania, USA


The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World

Read it online »

Available from Amazon



  • Equilibrium is death
  • What came first, stability or diversity?
  • Ecosystems: between a superorganism and an identity workshop
  • The origins of variation
  • Life immortal, ineradicable
  • Negentropy
  • The fourth discontinuity: the circle of becoming
  • In ancient Greece the first artificial self
  • Maturing of mechanical selfhood
  • The toilet: archetype of tautology
  • Self-causing agencies
  • Chapter 8: CLOSED SYSTEMS
  • Bottled life, sealed with clasp
  • Mail-order Gaia
  • Man breathes into algae, algae breathes into man
  • The very big ecotechnic terrarium
  • An experiment in sustained chaos
  • Another synthetic ecosystem, like California
  • Co-pilots of the 100 million dollar glass ark
  • Migrating to urban weed
  • The deployment of intentional seasons
  • A cyclotron for the life sciences
  • The ultimate technology
  • Pervasive round-the-clock plug in
  • Invisible intelligence
  • Bad-dog rooms vs. nice-dog rooms
  • Programming a commonwealth
  • Closed-loop manufacturing
  • Technologies of adaptation
  • Chapter 1: THE MADE AND THE BORN
  • Neo-biological civilization
  • The triumph of the bio-logic
  • Learning to surrender our creations
  • Chapter 2: HIVE MIND
  • Bees do it: distributed governance
  • The collective intelligence of a mob
  • Asymmetrical invisible hands
  • Decentralized remembering as an act of perception
  • More is more than more, it's different
  • Advantages and disadvantages of swarms
  • The network is the icon of the 21st century
  • Entertaining machines with bodies
  • Fast, cheap and out of control
  • Getting smart from dumb things
  • The virtues of nested hierarchies
  • Using the real world to communicate
  • No intelligence without bodies
  • Mind/body black patch psychosis
  • Biology: the future of machines
  • Restoring a prairie with fire and oozy seeds
  • Random paths to a stable ecosystem
  • How to do everything at once
  • The Humpty Dumpty challenge
  • Chapter 5: COEVOLUTION
  • What color is a chameleon on a mirror?
  • The unreasonable point of life
  • Poised in the persistent state of almost falling
  • Rocks are slow life
  • Cooperation without friendship or foresight


  • Cartoon physics in toy worlds
  • Birthing a synthespian
  • Robots without hard bodies
  • The agents of ethnological architecture
  • Imposing destiny upon free will
  • Mickey Mouse rebooted after clobbering Donald
  • Searching for co-control
  • Chapter 17: AN OPEN UNIVERSE
  • To enlarge the space of being
  • Primitives of visual possibilities
  • How to program happy accidents
  • All survive by hacking the rules
  • The handy-dandy tool of evolution
  • Hang-gliding into the game of life
  • Life verbs
  • Homesteading hyperlife territory
  • The revolution of daily evolution
  • Bypassing the central dogma
  • The difference, if any, between learning and evololution
  • The evolution of evolution
  • The explanation of everything
  • Chapter 19: POSTDARWINISM
  • The incompleteness of Darwinian theory
  • Natural selection is not enough
  • Intersecting lines on the tree of life
  • The premise of non-random mutations
  • Even monsters follow rules
  • When the abstract is embodied
  • The essential clustering of life
  • DNA can't code for everything
  • An uncertain density of biological search space
  • Mathematics of natural selection
  • Order for free
  • Net math: a counter-intuitive style of math
  • Lap games, jets, and auto-catalytic sets
  • A question worth asking
  • Self-tuning vivisystems
  • Having your everything amputated
  • Instead of crunching, connecting
  • Factories of information
  • Your job: managing error
  • Connecting everything to everything
  • Chapter 12: E-MONEY
  • Crypto-anarchy: encryption always wins
  • The fax effect and the law of increasing returns
  • Superdistribution
  • Anything holding an electric charge w ill hold a fiscal charge
  • Peer-to-peer finance with nanobucks
  • Fear of underwire economies
  • Chapter 13: GOD GAMES
  • Electronic godhood
  • Theories with an interface
  • A god descends into his polygonal creation
  • The transmission of simulacra
  • Memorex warfare
  • Seamless distributed armies
  • A 10,000 piece hyperreality
  • The consensual ascii superorganism
  • Letting go to win
  • Chapter 14: IN THE LIBRARY OF FORM
  • An outing to the universal library
  • The space of all possible pictures
  • Travels in biomorph land
  • Harnessing the mutator
  • Sex in the library
  • Breeding art masterpieces in three easy steps
  • Tunnelling through randomness
  • Tom Ray's electric-powered evolution machine
  • What you can't engineer, evolution can
  • Mindless acts performed in parallel
  • Computational arms race
  • Taming wild evolution
  • Stupid scientists evolving smart molecules
  • Death is the best teacher
  • The algorithmic genius of ants
  • The end of engineering's hegemony
Chapter 21: RISING FLOW
  • A 4 billion year ponzi scheme
  • What evolution wants
  • Seven trends of hyper-evolution
  • Coyote trickster self-evolver
  • Brains that catch baseballs
  • The flip side of chaos
  • Positive myopia
  • Making a fortune from the pockets of predictability
  • Operation Internal Look, Ahead
  • Varieties of prediction
  • Change in the service of non-change
  • Telling the future is what the systems are for
  • The many problems with global models
  • We are all steering
  • What ever happened to cybernetics?
  • The holes in the web of scientific knowledge
  • To be astonished by the trivial
  • Hypertext: the end of authority
  • A new thinking space
  • Chapter 24: THE NINE LAWS OF GOD
  • How to make something from nothing
  • Hijacking the universe
the nobel prize in chemistry 2001

"for his work on chirally catalysed

oxidation reactions"

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2001

"for their work on chirally catalysed

hydrogenation reactions“

mirror image catalysis
Mirror Image Catalysis
  • Many molecules appear in two forms that mirror each other – just as our hands mirror each other. Such molecules are called chiral. In nature one of these forms is often dominant, so in our cells one of these mirror images of a molecule fits "like a glove", in contrast to the other one which may even be harmful. Pharmaceutical products often consist of chiral molecules, and the difference between the two forms can be a matter of life and death – as was the case, for example, in the thalidomide disaster in the 1960s. That is why it is vital to be able to produce the two chiral forms separately.
  • This year's Nobel Laureates in Chemistry have developed molecules that can catalyse important reactions so that only one of the two mirror image forms is produced. The catalyst molecule, which itself is chiral, speeds up the reaction without being consumed. Just one of these molecules can produce millions of molecules of the desired mirror image form.
  • William S. Knowles discovered that it was possible to use transition metals to make chiral catalysts for an important type of reaction called hydrogenation, thereby obtaining the desired mirror image form as the final product. His research quickly led to an industrial process for the production of the L-DOPA drug which is used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Ryoji Noyori has led the further development of this process to today's general chiral catalysts for hydrogenation.
  • K. Barry Sharpless, on the other hand, is awarded half of the Prize for developing chiral catalysts for another important type of reaction – oxidation.
  • The Laureates have opened up a completely new field of research in which it is possible to synthesise molecules and material with new properties. Today the results of their basic research are being used in a number of industrial syntheses of pharmaceutical products such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs and heart medicines.
illustrated presentation http nobelprize org nobel prizes chemistry laureates 2001 illpres
Illustrated Presentation
thalidomide disaster
thalidomide disaster


Thalidomide (α-phthalimidoglutarimide)

has a chiral centre and was dispensed as a racemate (1:1 mixture) of dextrorotatory (R)- and levorotatory (S)-thalidomide. Initial animal studies indicated that the enantiomers have different biological properties: Calming and sleep-inducing effects are associated with the R-enantiomer, whereas teratogenic effects are more closely associated with the S-enantiomer. Under physiological conditions, both enantiomers undergo rapid interconversion making a total separation of their clinical effects unfeasible.

  • Thalidomide (Contergan) - Annotated Collection of Links Annotated collection of English and German web resources providing information on the drug's physico-chemical properties, effects, side effects, the German Contergan disaster in the early 1960s, and the current use of thalidomide.






2001 Nobel Laureate Prof. K. Berry Sharpless visited the Chemistry Department and was conferred an Honorary Doctorate degree from our University on Nov. 17, 2004.(Dec. 10, 2004)