The last two decades have seen a rapid growth in the synthetic processing of both simple and complex molecules, aimed at meeting the needs of society in all aspects of life. Many efforts have been devoted to the development of new biologically active compounds, new materials with innovative properties such as bio-compatibility, new catalysts that allow highly selective transformations, and technologies that facilitate the synthetic pro cesses. This book is a compendium of recent progress in all these aspects of synthetic chemistry. It collects the lectures of the XII International Conference on Organic Synthesis, held in Venice from June 28 to July 2, 1998, in which the present state of art of this discipline has been reported. The topics covered include: combinatorial chemistry, new synthetic methods, stereo selective synthesis, metal-mediated synthesis, and target oriented synthesis. The book collects the contributions, in the mentioned topics, of 43 scientists from 19 different countries. The contributions presented in the Conference as plenary lectures are reported in the first section of the book. Particular attention has been dedicated to combinatorial chemistry, a new and promising methodology for the synthesis of libraries of pharmaco logically interesting compounds in order to allow the automatic pharmacological screening of thousands of compounds. The Conference has dedicated to combinatorial chemistry a mini-symposium in which scientists from academy and companies have described the current trends of this very new technology.