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He was able to study the norbornyl cation directly with NMR spectroscopy.
Winstein claimed that the norbornyl cation had a structure containing a penta-coordinated carbon i.e. that it was a carbonium ion.
Brown on the other hand concluded that the norbornyl cation was a tri-coordinated cation (carbenium ion) that rapidly rearranged into an identical tri-coordinated ion in which the positive charge had moved to another carbon.
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