New book: The Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments


32 Responses to “New book: The Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments”

  1. yer_maw says:

    liability insurance is ruining the world!

    Great idea! As a bench scientist id be happy supervising a kid doing this kind of stuff, never thought about it at all.

  2. lysdexia says:

    Holy Prigoginic Leap Batman!

    One of my favorite scars is the one mostly hidden by my left eyebrow, gotten in my 8th grade science class chemistry section. Our first assignment was to melt a glass tube in the center and pull it apart to make a pair of droppers! I was so interested that I leaned in just a little too closely when pulling and *sst!*

    Mrs. Phillips, checked me out, gently ribbed me for my clumsiness and sent me to the nurse. I was so excited I just took the tube of ointment with me, smeared it on in the hallway. I went back in to finish my droppers.

    We made *lots* of stinky stuff!

  3. Man On Pink Corner says:

    #24: It’s never too late, unless (as noted above), you live in Texas.

  4. UnderRat says:

    23. Breaking Bad:Paying The Bills With Methamphetamine

  5. dcoughli says:

    @16: Thanks Osprey, that is very much what I was looking for. A great start (maybe a little dated, but interesting none-the-less).

  6. Jake0748 says:

    #2 – Nope…”Nor will you find instructions in this book for producing methamphetamine in your home lab or synthesizing other illegal substances. In short, if you plan to break the law, this book is not for you”.

  7. rushkoff says:

    I love it. But the cover irks me for some reason. It’s as if the photo can’t decide if it’s retro or not.

  8. Lord Peter says:

    I’m tempted to get that book for myself – it sounds fantastic.

    I wonder whether Texas has repealed its laboratory equipment law – I went to what seemed to be their official site:

    and couldn’t find 481.040; the code seemed to go from .035 to .061.

  9. jody says:

    You could do a lot of damage with one of those chemistry sets from the ’60s…

  10. UnderRat says:

    #3 – Damn. Guess I’ll just have to use the interwebs.

  11. Osprey101 says:

    Lord Peter: I found it here.

    I have no idea if it’s been repealed or not.

  12. benschomatic says:

    This is a good one to throw in the bin when you’re going through a TSA security checkpoint.

  13. DXMachina says:

    I got my first Lionel-Porter set on Christmas 1963. It wasn’t the biggest one Sears sold, but it was good enough. Later my dad got me one of the top of the line sets second-hand, along with a copy of The Golden Book of Chemical Experiments. Best dad ever!

  14. tishykb says:

    i got an ecology set when i was a kid. i loved it. i would go out and take readings of the pH of the creek behind our house… i can’t at all remember what else was in that kit, i just know i enjoyed it. it pains me to see kids getting ipods and Little Pet Shop (or whatever it is) when they can get something that might actually challenge their brain. i would much rather give art sets or microscope kits than any of that other crap. heck, even sea monkeys are more educational than some of the toys on the market these days! i’m sure this book will make it on my gift-list one of these days, thanks!

  15. dcoughli says:

    I considered pursuing a career as a chemistry professor and the one class that I really wanted to teach was survival chemistry. It would have both explored the chemical reactions behind surviving in the woods (tanning leather, purifying water, extracting antibiotics) to doing real world, i.e. outside the laboratory, experiments.

    So, if anyone knows of any resources along those lines please let me know! I’d love to find a book of experiments of that nature.

  16. Bart says:

    This really makes me happy that someone is making books like this. With all of the scare storied of panicked companies pulling science kits, Oreilly and Make putting out books like this gives me hope that someday my son can do some of the same fun recreational science I did as a kid.

  17. deliciouscheeseburger says:

    Actually, it’s the second DIY Science book in the series! The first is called “Illustrated Guided to Astronomical Wonders” and it’s also authored by the Thompsons.

  18. motookimura says:

    Awesome! I really can’t wait for the rest of the books to be released. For the interested, I speculatively-blogged about the costs involved in home laboratory a few months ago:

  19. Matthew Duarte says:

    This will a nice distraction from my regular lab work. +1 to Make, O’Riley, and Robert Bruce Thompson.

  20. jphilby says:

    @ Airshowfan:

    Aight! When I’m about to be reborn, I’m going to hunt you down!

    So many parents are so worried about their kids being “safe”, there’s no life in their lives … and no education either.

    Yeah, it was sad when Jim’s rocket came back down and his mouse was dead – and we all learned something very important about technology that day.

    Democratic technocultures and ignorants don’t mix. Bravo to the author.

  21. Antinous says:

    It’s as if the photo can’t decide if it’s retro or not.

    I love that photo. Everything looks so poisonous.

  22. Rinchen says:

    Reminds me of a great book The Radioactive Boy Scout, which is a true story. It all started with a Golden Book. In the end he had assembled samples of all the elements on the periodic table, and kept them in a Green House. You should see his messed up face!

  23. vjinterkosmos says:

    #4: Rushkoff, delightfully modern in realistic colour representation and a constructivistic layout to intrigue a young mind.

    What do you mean retro? It’s not backwards, that would be silly.

  24. Man On Pink Corner says:

    Interestingly, about half of the glassware on the cover of that book, never mind the chemicals, is illegal to possess or sell in Texas.

    Thanks, War On Scientific Literacy^W^W Drugs.

  25. airship says:

    My folks – who were not rich – got me the mid-line Gilbert chemistry set when I was about ten years old. I made plastic, created banana flavoring, all kinds of cool stuff. They didn’t even take the set away from me when I stunk up the house with sulfur or started a fire on my desk. Best. Parents. Evar.

    Later on, I was the chem lab assistant my senior year in high school. I prepared the chemicals for the students’ experiments. I only got one wrong. Fortunately, it didn’t explode – it just didn’t work. I thought one bad mix in a year wasn’t bad, but the chem teacher reamed me out for it, anyway.

    Good times.

  26. Tenn says:

    That glassware is illegal?

    My chemistry classroom is in -big- trouble then. Until two days ago, it was -all- on the counters and dusty. McKnight has organization issues. Just the other day we walked in and nearly fainted because the lab was entirely neat.

    I had a chemistry set when I was a kid. It was lame. About two milliliters of things like phenolpthalein (an indicator) and very little ‘real’ things at all. No glassware.

    I think this is brilliant. I would have liked it to come out a year early- I’m in that AP Chemistry class he mentions, and we do a good few amount of labs, but independent ones as well as the information it provides would have been a great aid.

  27. Man On Pink Corner says:

    #22: Yes, it is, but apparently there is a permit process that you can go through to obtain the prohibited legally.

    Texas is well-known for banning various things for no good reason. I believe that selling a vibrator for, um, domestic purposes would get you more jail time than selling a whole crate full of Erlenmeyer flasks and a starter culture of Sudafed.

  28. Jeff says:

    I loved my first chemistry set! My B.Day gift for my 9th. But I caused a little fire that sorta burned up part of the kitchen. Jeff’s chemistry set was history after that :(

  29. Osprey101 says:

    @9: Not exactly what you want, but a copy of “Dick’s Encyclopedia of Practical Receipts and Processes” may be of interest. You’ll get a kick out of it.

  30. Porori says:

    Ah, how I wish I had been allowed to actually make use of the wonderful chemistry set I received as a child. (Early 90s)
    It was a real set, 60 chemicals in the base set, and an additional 40 in an “Even more experiments!” add-on set.

    I was never allowed to do anything other than read the manuals and experiment lists, look at the bottles, and dream.
    I received it as a gift from my grandparents, who were parents in the 50s and 60s. Just after receiving it, living situations changed and my mother decided she suddenly wanted to have me live with her….

    And the set was dangerous. It required supervision, and she was too busy for that. After all, it might involve some real parenting. I was a serious child, and took those warnings about supervision and the like at face value. I was too scared to just secretly pull it out on my own.

    Somewhere along the line, it disappeared. I can only wonder how my life would have been changed had I actually been able to use the thing.

    This book sounds wonderful. I may have to pick it up to make up for that lost childhood opportunity.

  31. airshowfan says:

    I ought to add this book to my list of “Parenting supplies with which to raise a future nerd-let”: “Cosmos” box set, wires and batteries and paper-clips and magnets and light-bulbs and motors, Legos (from Duplos to Mindstorms), microscope, telescope, light microscopy and astronomy books, “The Secret Life of Machines” videos, model rockets, toy dinosaurs, toy airplanes, hot glue gun, science experiment books, Calvin & Hobbes books, Feynman books, video games with level editors… No I don’t have kids yet, but when I do, even if they end up choosing to not follow a technical career, they’ll have a good appreciation for (and no fear of) science and math and engineering.

  32. Tgg161 says:

    I buying this book! It jives with the values I’m trying to impart to my son: Be curious and find truth.

    Of course, he’s 2, so it’ll be a while before I give it to him.

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