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Science of Synthesis: Access at UC Berkeley

What is Science of Synthesis?

Science of Synthesis, Houben-Weyl Methods of Molecular Transformations (2000–2010) is the 5th edition of Houben-Weyl – Methoden der Organischen Chemie, a standard reference work for chemists working in organic synthesis, published by Thieme. The original series comprises 48 volumes covering 28,000 generally applicable synthetic methods and 250,000 for more than 2,700 kinds of organic compounds. 

Science of Synthesis is also available as a searchable electronic reference database (including structure searching), but UC Berkeley Library no longer licenses full-text access to the database.

Series overview

Original Edition

SOS is organized into 6 categories:

  1. Organometallics (vol. 1–8b + index)
  2. Hetarenes & Related Ring Systems (vol. 9–17 + index)
  3. Compounds with Four and Three Carbon-Heteroatom Bonds (vol. 18–24 + index)
  4. Compounds with Two Carbon-Heteroatom Bonds (vol. 25–33 + index)
  5. Compounds with One-Heteroatom Bond (vol. 34–42)
  6. Compounds with All-Carbon Functions (vol. 43–48)

Each volume in the series covers a class or subclass of compounds, usually based on the product or target compound of the synthesis (eg. vol. 26: ketones). Further information on each volume, including a preface and table of contents, is available from Thieme.

Knowledge Updates

Since 2010, SOS has been updated through the regular publication of Knowledge Updates. A current list of all updates, including tables of contents, abstracts, and a complete list of updated chapters from the Original Edition (arranged by volume), is available from Thieme.

Reference Library

SOS Reference Library covers special topics in organic chemistry, with six main classifications: 1. classical, 2. advances, 3. transformations, 4. applications, 5. structures, and 6. techniques. Further information for each volume is available from Thieme.

Finding full text

Once you have located an article or volume of interest using eSOS or the online tables of contents, use UC Library Search to request individual volumes for pickup at any UC Berkeley library location, or to request a chapter or article for scanning and electronic delivery.

UC Berkeley Library has all 48 volumes of Science of Synthesis in print at NRLF: 

The Library also has the Knowledge Updates from 2010, vol.1 to 2016, vol. 2 in print at NRLF:

Select titles from the SOS Reference Library are available in print at the Chemistry, Astronomy & Physics Library, NRLF, or other UC libraries. Using the Advanced Search in UC Library Search, search for Series contains "Science of Synthesis" AND Reference.

If a particular volume is not available at UC Berkeley, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan using UCLS, complete the purchase request form, or reach out to the Chemistry Librarian for assistance.