• Question: what is the best thing youve made

    Asked by dylanandjon to laurenceharwood on 14 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Laurence Harwood

      Laurence Harwood answered on 14 Mar 2012:

      I think a molecule called “chrysanthemic acid”. It is found in – wait for it – chrysanthemums and is a constituent of “derris” a natural insecticide (but not a good one as it kills beneficial insects and fish – not all “natural” compounds are good). It is not a very big molecule but the way we synthesised it proved our proposal about how the plant makes it naturally and paved the way for making lots of modified versions.