Sergey Semyonovich Namyotkin worked on Theoretical chemistry of hydrocarbon

Sergey Semyonovich Namyotkin – discoverer of camphene rearrangement

Article on Sergey Semyonovich Namyotkin

Biography & contributions

Sergey Semyonovich Namyotkin, a Russian chemist was born on July 03, 1876 – died on August 05, 1950. Namyotkin was best known for his great contributions in chemistry like research work on terpenes rearrangement mechanism of camphenes/ Nametkin rearrangements.

Namyotkin’s other important works include explained theoretical chemistry of hydrocarbon, scientific and applied problems in petrochemistry and studied mainly on synthesis of odoriferous substances, metallo-organic compounds.


Camphene is bicyclic monoterpene compound. Camphene is sparingly soluble in water, but very soluble in common organic solvents. Camphene volatilizes readily at room temperature and has a pungent smell. It is a minor constituent of many essential oils such as turpentine, cypress oil, camphor oil, citronella oil, neroli, ginger oil, and valerian.

It is produced industrially by catalytic isomerisation of the alpha-pinene. Camphene is used as an intermediate for the preparation of flavor and fragrance chemicals and other organic chemicals such as camphor, toxaphene and isobornyl acetate.

Nametkin rearrangements

Nametkin rearrangement is nothing but a special case of carbonium ion rearrangement in camphene hydrochloride derivatives involving the migration of a methyl group. The shift or migration of the ring bond is actually a standard Wagner-Meerwein shift.

Wagner–Meerwein rearrangement

The Wagner-Meerwein rearrangement is an organic reaction used to convert an alcohol to an olefin using an acid catalyst. The rearrangement was also discovered in bicyclic terpenes for example the conversion of isoborneol to camphene.

The Wagner-Meerwein rearrangement begins with protonation of the alcohol by the acid which is then released as water to forms a carbocation. A 1,2-shift then occurs to form a more substituted and stabilized carbo-cation. A final deprotonation with water produces the final olefin product and regenerates the acid catalyst.

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