Scientists unravel the mysteries of benzene.
By Caroline Delbert
Mar 9, 2020
Scientists have used computing power and clever modeling to solve a 200-year-old chemistry and math puzzle. For all these years, the question at play has been how to plot the electron structure of a really complicated molecule. And it turns out the secret is to do what all our math teachers have touted for centuries: simplify first, then solve.
Benzene is an aromatic compound, which is a retrofitted, non-odorous term for a family of molecules with a specific, stable structure in common. In fact, benzene, which scientist Michael Faraday discovered in 1825, is the boss of the aromatics.
“Benzene is the best-known aromatic compound and the parent to which numerous other aromatic compounds are related,” Britannica explains. “The six carbons of benzene are joined in a ring, having the planar geometry of a regular hexagon in which all of the C—C bond distances are equal.”
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