5
$\begingroup$

Spoiler warning: Be aware that this page contains a lot of MathJax, so it will probably need quite a while to load completely.

Sandbox II has become as clogged as Sandbox I was (and is), especially for users with 10,000 reputation or above. So, here is a new new post...

Before you delete a post here, please reduce it to one line without MathJax.


Old formatting sandboxes:

| |
$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Excellent! Many thanks for this new Sandbox! $\endgroup$ – Ed V Jun 2 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ Why do we have to reduce it to one line without MathJax? $\endgroup$ – Micelle Jun 19 at 14:53
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @Micelle deleted posts are viewable by users with >10,000 reputation, so it's just a courtesy thing. Long mathjax posts make the page load slowly. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Jun 19 at 14:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I totally forgot to thank you for making a new one. :D $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Jul 9 at 16:21
3
$\begingroup$

This is just a dead end for now.

| |
$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

Somebody complained that the reaction I asked about doesn't exist. Why is this a problem?

Chemistry is an experimental science first and foremost, and this is especially true of synthetic chemistry, whether organic or inorganic.

What this means is that: we don't come up with theories from first principles, then use them to predict reactions. [We're getting better at doing this using quantum mechanics, but it's still very early days.] Instead, we find out that a reaction happens, and then we work backwards to come up with a model that explains it.

The ultimate source of "truth" in chemistry is not defined by our theories, but rather by our experimental observations. The theories only exist because they can explain experimental evidence.

[Incidentally, that's why there are so many exceptions to the theories. Many of them have a limited range of validity, in that they can only explain a certain subset of the experimental observations we have. A simple example is the octet rule. It works for quite a lot of organic molecules, but can completely fall apart in other contexts.]

So, asking "why does this reaction occur?" is only sensible if that reaction has actually occurred!

If nobody has done it before in real life, then we have no way of knowing whether it would actually occur. And secondly, if it doesn't actually occur and we come up with a theory to explain it, then there is no guarantee that that theory would be correct.

| |
$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

A more intuitive and specific to question explanation would follow here.

| |
$\endgroup$

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .