Assigning Configuration to a Chirality Center
Orient each of the following drawings so that the lowest-ranked group is toward the rear, and then assign R or S configuration:
S t r a t e g y
It takes practice to be able to visualize and orient a chirality center in three dimensions. You might start by indicating where the observer must be located—180° opposite the lowest-ranked group. Then imagine yourself in the position of the observer, and redraw what you would see.
In (a), you would be located in front of the page toward the top right of the molecule, and you would see group 2 to your left, group 3 to your right, and group 1 below you. This corresponds to an R configuration.
In (b), you would be located behind the page toward the top left of the molecule from your point of view, and you would see group 3 to your left, group 1 to your right, and group 2 below you. This also corresponds to an R configuration.