Definition of Walden inversion
: an inversion of configuration of one optically active compound into another that may or may not lead to a change in the direction of optical rotation and that may be of either of two general types: a : inversion involving two reactions in which an optically active compound is changed to another by substitution at its asymmetric center and then regenerated (as dextro-alanine is changed to levo-bromo-propionic acid by nitrosyl bromide and then to levo-alanine by ammonia) but as the optical isomer of the original compound b : inversion involving one reaction of an optically active compound at its asymmetric center with resulting configurational change from d to l or vice versa regardless of change in optical rotation (as from levorotatory l -bromo-propionic acid to levorotatory d -alanine by ammonia but not from dextrorotatory l -alanine to levorotatory l -bromo-propionic acid because no inversion of configuration occurs although optical inversion does)
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Origin and Etymology of walden inversion
after Paul Walden †1957 Latvian organic chemist
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