Steve Ley’s latest total synthesis triumph is a whopper – the 22-year, 64-step synthesis of azadirachtin. Nature’s news story attempted to tackle the subject of total synthesis as a whole, and see where it might be headed, as there are many mutterings, in quiet corridors, that the field is not what it once was. The article has prompted some discussion on Derek Lowe’s blog, whereas synthesis fans can get their azadirachtin fix over at Totally Synthetic.
Reactions on the piece have dribbled into my ears with opinion falling strongly on both the pro- and anti- total synthesis sides. It would be interesting to hear what others think… I might add that the motivation for the news piece was not to rubbish the field, rather to explore a geniune debate within the community.