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Published: Sep 19th, 2010
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Jump to: navigation, search Methane is one of the simplest organic compoundsAn organic compound is any member of a large class of chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon. For historical reasons discussed below, a few types of carbon-containing compounds such as carbonates, simple oxides of carbon and cyanides, as well as the allotropes of carbon such as diamond and graphite, are considered inorganic. The distinction between "organic" and "inorganic" carbon compounds, while "useful in organizing the vast subject of chemistry... is somewhat arbitrary".
Organic chemistry is the science concerned with all aspects of organic compounds. Organic synthesis is the methodology of their preparation.
1.2 Modern classification
2.1 Natural compounds
2.2 Synthetic compounds
5 Structure determination
6 See also
8 External links
The name "organic" is historical, dating back to the 1st century. For many centuries, Western alchemists believed in vitalism. This is the theory that certain compounds could only be synthesized from their classical elements — Earth, Water, Air and Fire — by action of a "life-force" (vis vitalis) possessed only by organisms. Vitalism taught that these "organic" compounds were fundamentally different from the "inorganic" compounds that could be obtained from the elements by chemical manipulation.
Vitalism survived for a while even after the rise of modern atomic theory and the replacement of the Aristotelian elements by those we know today. It first came under question in 1824, when Friedrich Wöhler synthesized oxalic acid, a compound known to occur only in living organisms, from cyanogen. A more decisive experiment was Wöhler's 1828 synthesis of urea from the inorganic salts potassium