In a discovery that could have implications for biological research, new calculations show that a basic tenet of chemistry is wrong. At issue is why molecules twist into the shapes they do. The new finding indicates that in some molecules, quantum forces trump the traditional explanation.
The find focuses on ethane, or C2H6, which has two carbon atoms bonded to each other. Each also attaches to three hydrogen atoms. On either end of the carbon-carbon bond, each hydrogen-adorned carbon atom, or methyl group, spins like a three-pronged turnstile, says chemist Frank Weinhold of the University of Wiscons