The chapter discusses the wide-ranging chiral asymmetry in nature that has given rise to a multi-disciplinary interest in chirality. It is remarkable that nature does not exhibit left-right symmetry at any level; morphological, molecular or even at the most fundamental level of elementary particle interaction. At the astronomical level, circularly polarized light has been found in the Orion Nebula, indicating the existence of large regions of space with asymmetry. Chiral asymmetry in biomolecules has a predominance of L-amino acids, and D-sugars have profound consequences for pharmaceutical and agricultural chemistry. It necessitates a developing theoretical framework in which we can quantitatively study chirality and the processes that generate chiral asymmetry. In this chapter, we discuss the basic definitions and nomenclature used to describe chiral systems. This is followed by a brief survey of the known chiral asymmetries in nature and questions they raise.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Chemistry