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I thought I should let you know about a new application that recently appeared in the iTunes App Store called iMoleBuilder (iTunes link). It is a $12.99 molecular visualizer that also lets you construct molecules and save them to the device or an available FTP site.

It has many of the features that Molecules lacks, including some that I doubt I will ever implement. These include the aforementioned molecular construction tools, the ability to load files from FTP sites (I may borrow that), visualization of surfaces, and generation of carbon nanotube and crystal structures.

The user interface is a little hard to navigate, but such is the problem with complex applications on the iPhone (and why I probably will never add some of the capabilities this has to Molecules). The price could also be a turnoff to some, but you can tell it took some serious effort to implement this. Have we really lowered our price threshold so far that $13 is too much to pay for an application?

Unfortunately, the author's website leaves a lot to be desired, and is all in Korean, so I don't know how serious he is about supporting this application. If I could, I'd like to encourage him to keep up the good work. We certainly need more quality scientific applications like this in the App Store.


I'm wondering whether molecules can do mechanisms and other things I'm trying to work out in orgo. Especially going into the second semester.

Yes, 13.00 isn't that much but as a student there are a lot of things that cost money and a limited budget. So I'm figuring I can ask questions here before finding out I've bought a useful program for someone else's application.




If you're asking whether iMoleBuilder or Molecules can express reaction mechanisms, no they cannot. These applications are meant for 3-D visualization of molecular structures. iMoleBuilder (again, which I'm not the author of) adds the ability to build your own molecules and does a better job with small molecules.

For organic chemistry, you probably won't need 3-D representations of the molecules, and you'll be doing a lot of memorization of 2-D structures and mechanisms. Might I recommend an excellent flash card application by Drew McCormack called Mental Case? The iPhone client seems like just the thing that I could have used back when I was taking organic chemistry.

Uuuuh, clearly you have never taken organic chemistry. 3-d structure is VERY important to organic chemistry, something you would realize if you took the class.

When was the last time you saw a fully interactive 3-D display in an organic chemistry book? The small molecules that you deal with in organic chemistry can almost always be described in 2-D drawings, including any 3-D elements. My point is that for rote memorization of these small molecules, you don't need a rotatable 3-D representation, but you can get away with the 2-D representations that you'd find in any textbook. When your professor asks you to draw out a structure on an exam, you'll be doing it on a 2-D sheet of paper anyway.

And yes, since my B.S. was in Chemical Engineering and my M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science, I've had every single chemistry course offered as part of these degree programs (organic, physical, analytical, polymer, biochemistry, reaction kinetics, etc.). I'd say I have a pretty solid grounding in the subject matter.

Well it's a unique little feature I must admit ,

The most practical application I can think for this is that it will be a good practice software for students or those interested in molecular structures , though I must admit I am intrigued on how this feature works.

-Dino Delellis

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