Caltech Undergraduate Research Journal

CURJ is Caltech's award-winning undergraduate research journal, dedicated to highlighting the accomplishments of the numerous undergraduates conducting research at Caltech during the SURF program and throughout the academic year.

Featured Article

The Basis of Acidity

Paul J. Choi, Krag Petterson, and John D. Roberts

An image for the article on display.

ORGANIC ACIDS DRAMATICALLY EXHIBIT THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN structure and function. Swivel a bond twenty degrees or push two atoms an Angstrom closer together, and the acidity may increase by a factor of a million. Now change the solvent, and the acidity may increase by another factor of a million. Clearly, anyone wanting to engineer molecules with acidic properties would need to grapple with the problems and grab the opportunities that arise because acids are extremely sensitive to their local environment. If we were, however, able to successfully and efficiently design molecules with target properties, there would be incredible consequences. The periodic table would become a collection of building materials used to make our nanoscale wishes come true. Chemical engineering would take on a new meaning...