When you have been in graduate school for two or three years, it's a good question to ask which are the important lessons you have learnt from your time there. These are not the "lessons of life" I am talking about- they are perhaps even more important- but technical lessons which spring to your mind. In my case, three lessons strikingly come to my mind. All of them are related to work that our group has done, but also to other people's work and general thought. All of them deal with material published in the literature that is unfortunately "fiction", and articles in journals don't seem to acknowledge this fact. Here they are:
1. Oxidation states for transition metals greater than 1 (eg. Au3+, Cu2+) are fictional and non-existent (related post and references)
2. Single "average" structures derived from NMR for flexible molecules are fictional and "virtual" (related post and references)
3. 3-fluoropiperidines exist in solution almost exclusively as the axial-F conformer. (related post and references)
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