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        NOVA: Percy Julian: Forgotten Genius | Synthesizing an Alkaloid

        Learn how chemist Percy Julian revolutionized chemistry with the first total synthesis of a chemical compound, physostigmine, an alkaloid derived from the Calabar bean that could be used in the treatment of glaucoma. Julian began with very simple substances and, through a series of precise chemical reactions, arrived at the complex final natural product. Also learn how purification and analysis are used to confirm the pathway, and how melting point can be used to provide evidence that synthesized and natural compounds are chemically the same. Explore more about this topic, from the NOVA program Percy Julian: Forgotten Genius.

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