The Geneva Rules are the rules established by the International Chemistry Committee in 1892. These rules were the beginning of international cooperation for organic chemistry nomenclature.[1] They were decided upon by a group of 34 of leading chemists from 9 different European nations. Their goal was to provide rules for the naming of aliphatic compounds, some of which are still in place today such as the longest chain provides the parent name and a functional group is indicated by a suffix. They also intended to extend the rules to include naming schemes for cyclic compounds however this did not occur.

The rules

The Geneva rules for nomenclature were described in 62 paragraphs.[2] Some of these rules were:

  • Saturated hydrocarbons would have names ending in -ane.
  • The traditional names of the first 4 in the series was to be kept (methane, ethane, propane and butane)
  • Longer chains were to have their names derived from the appropriate greek numeral e.g pent (pentane), hex (hexane) etc.
  • When naming compounds with side chains the name would be determined by the longest straight chain with a substituted group e.g methyl propane (CH3CH(CH3)CH3)
  • The endings ene and ine were indicative of the presence of a double and triple bond respectively.
  • For closed chain hydrocarbons the term "cyclo" was to be used meaning what was known as hexamethylene (C6H12) would now be called cyclohexane[3]

Attendees

(incomplete) list of attendees[2]
Name City
Ph. Barbier Lyons
E.Paterno Palermo
C.Graebe Geneva
A Von Baeyer Munich
S. Cannizzaro Rome
Ch.Friedel Paris
A. Lieben Vienna
J.Gladstone London
A.Cossa Turin
W. M. Ramsay London
H.Armstron London
A.Haller Nancy
P.Cazeneuve Lyons
E. Fischer Wurzburg
A. Le Bel Paris

Further reading

Evieux, E. A. (1954-06-01). "The Geneva Congress on Organic Nomenclature, 1892". Journal of Chemical Education. 31 (6): 326. Bibcode:1954JChEd..31..326E. doi:10.1021/ed031p326. ISSN 0021-9584.

Hepler-Smith, Evan (2015-02-01). ""Just as the Structural Formula Does": Names, Diagrams, and the Structure of Organic Chemistry at the 1892 Geneva Nomenclature Congress". Ambix. 62 (1): 1–28. doi:10.1179/1745823414y.0000000006. ISSN 0002-6980. PMID 26173340. S2CID 910247.

References

  1. ^ "Origin and Evolution of Organic Nomenclature". Nomenclature of Organic Compounds. Advances in Chemistry. Vol. 126. AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY. 1974-06-01. pp. 1–5. doi:10.1021/ba-1974-0126.ch001. ISBN 978-0841201910.
  2. ^ a b Evieux, E. A. (1954). "The Geneva Congress on Organic Nomenclature, 1892". Journal of Chemical Education. 31 (6): 326. Bibcode:1954JChEd..31..326E. doi:10.1021/ed031p326.
  3. ^ Crosland, Maurice P. (2004). Historical Studies in the Language of Chemistry. Courier Corporation. ISBN 9780486438023.