On Sunday night, we had dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant in our town with Dr. Arduengo, Dr. Opatz, and Stefan. This was my first experience at a German restaurant. The waiter was very patient with my attempt to order in German, and the food was delicious. One thing that was largely different in Germany was that when you order water, it is assumed that you want sparkling water. In order to get still water to drink at a restaurant, you must ask for it specifically.
On our first Monday in Germany, we went to JGU and met the rest of the lab members and toured the lab. Alex, who became my partner for the entire semester, and Stephan helped us get our lunch cards and introduced us to the notorious Mensa, which is the university’s dining hall. The food was of decent quality, but there was a great salad bar. Most days during the week I ate there. Only occasionally did I pack my lunch and eat in the break room.
The lab group was awesome. All of the members were so welcoming, friendly, and smart. I had the amazing opportunity to work with Alex Lipp, as I mentioned before. Alex’s project was to synthesize thebaine, which is a precursor to morphine. The synthetic process is 12 steps, and we spent most of our time working on the 9th step. We were testing various protective groups. We found that a combination of an ether and a butyl group was the best.