Dr. Phyllis Leber and Dr. John Baldwin, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor of Science at Syracuse University, have been collaborating since the summer of 2000. Although the focus of their research has been the elucidation of the mechanism of the [1,3] sigmatropic rearrangement of vinylcyclobutanes, they have also conducted mechanistic studies involving [1,5] hydrogen shifts and cyclobutene electrocyclic ring openings. In all of these cases the aim of collaboration is to understand the extent and limits of application of the Woodward-Hoffman theory of conservation of orbital symmetry. Our collaborative efforts suggest that the vinylcyclobutane rearrangement traverses a shallow potential energy surface that yields a short-lived diradical intermediate. To date, the collaboration has yielded a total of 11 publications including one review article. A total of six students have appeared as coauthors on 8 of these publications.
Phyllis Leber, Anthony Nocket, '09, Matt Wipperman '11