CoverTime: may the cubane be with you

Another beautiful cover (frontispiece) from Angewandte Chemie….. And another proof (if you really need more) that chemists are huge nerds….

anie201681161-toc-0001-mThis time is a beautiful homage to the last Star Wars movie…… No, not talking about Jar Jar… and not even about a new fluorescent detectors for Midi-chlorians. Force sensors? Not even close…
But let’s go with some order:
I don’t know if you paid attention to it, but there are 25 authorsĀ on this paper… 26…. This should already give you the complexity of the research done in there…. 26….
7 Students
9 Doctors
10 Professors
Simply impressive, but in such huge work I would like they use the style of Natures where at the end of the paper there is also the “Author contributions”.

EDIT: Thanks to the power of internet, the firs author of the paper pointed out that the “author contribution” was under my eyes all the time in the supplementary information… So here we go (and again, pretty impressive):

Author Contributions: C.M.W., G.P.S. and J.T. conceived the project. C.M.W., B.A.C., H.X. and S.D.H. chose the cubane targets. B.A.C., H.X. and S.D.H. undertook the synthetic preparation of all cubane analogues and obtained the respective characterisation data. C.M.W. and B.A.C. wrote the paper with assistance from all authors. C.E.J.C. and H.M.C. designed the leteprinim study and analysed results. S.G. and M.T.S undertook the Phase I and II leteprinim metabolism study and analysed the results. A.K. and M.T.S. designed the benzocaine study and analysed results. B.C., A.R., D.W., and S.K.N. designed the SAHA mouse study and analysed results. C.-E.M. and G.H.W. designed the diflubenzuron study and analysed results. J.S. and J.D.V. designed the t-butylbenzene metabolism study and analysed results. G.M.B., C.J.P., and P.G.P. designed the SAHA cell line study and analysed results. S.W.L. performed the LogP analysis. P.V.B. performed the X-ray crystallographic structure determination for compounds 4 and 12. C.P. and J.Mc. designed the scabies study and analysed results.


Anyway, cubanes. I have always loved theĀ cubane synthesis, mainly because the cubane molecule is so nicely perfect. There are also some beautiful pieces on the cubane by Roald Hoffman “in praise of synthesis” and in his book “on the Philosophy, Art, and Science of Chemistry”. Such beautiful, yet complex to synthesize, molecules….

And that’s naturally not the first time, most probably not the last one, that Star Wars enters the world of chemistry….

The classical example is “A supramolecular Star Wars Tie Fighter Ship” where Star Wars is even in the title. And this figure in the paper is just pure bliss:

star wars chemistry

Fun with chemical structures as well here.

Tie Fighter

And what about you, poor trekkies???? Worry not, almost any smartphone based analysis is called tricorder nowadays…..


Other CoverTime: the power of the metal, Robots, 80s vs 90s.


  1. Ben

    Hey mate, thanks for your kind words on the paper. The author contributions for the paper are given in the SI. Hope you enjoy the content. There are also some really nice cubane related papers by KC Nicolaou (JACS 2016) and J Burton (Org Lett 2014) that you might enjoy. ;)

      • Ben

        Needless to say with synthesis of compounds and biological testing it was a long process. It would be nice to say 6 weeks start to finish but it was a lot longer. For example, two weeks in front of a PrepGC purifying t-butyl cubane (isolated in the range of 10-50mg) to get sufficient amounts to assess P450 viability.

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