Grignard reactions are proving my love, and SN2 my undoing. And yes, I did just write that in all seriousness. How can one derail SN2 synthesis? I have no earthly idea, short of using old HBr, which appears to have been our problem. We ran the reaction four flipping times! Alcohol + sulfuric acid + hydrobromic acid in clean glasswear should NOT turn pink! And on initiation, I’m certain it should be gold, not brown with a black top layer, and surely not bright silver! I did it perfectly last semester, and the substitution is so straightforward that my eyes now tic whenever I think about drawing up yet another lab report citing aged/contaminated reagents as a reason for failure. Is it not enough that we have to clean the glassware that other labs have left filthy? Or that we have to stand for hours on end monitoring a reflux?Can we please, even for just the final projects, have decent materials, so that we have a chance at success?

Pardon, that was a silly question.

In entirely unrelated and belated news, Nelson Mandela is my hero.