You've long heard it spoken of in hushed whispers. Not just a book of kids' chemistry experiments, but THE book of kids' chemistry experiments. Supposedly, according to utterly unsubstantiated rumor, the experiments contained therein are so dangerous that the book has been banned by the government and removed from America's libraries.
Granted, this is a book that encourages young people to play around with things like hydrogen sulfide. But even on a quick read-though, The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments is far less giddily homicidal than its reputation would have you believe. (For instance, children are warned, in bold red letters, to only play with said hydrogen sulfide outdoors, and to not breathe in the fumes. Also, judging by illustrations, the book seems to be clearly aimed at young teenagers or 'tweens. And it appears to support adult supervision in some circumstances. Yes, even the legendary Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments does not seem to advocate setting a bunch of 7-year-olds loose with toxic, flammable gas.)
Mark has posted about this book before, as has guest blogger Bill Gurstelle. Unfortunately, while it may not be formally banned, The Golden Book is out of print and rather difficult to obtain. Fortunately, there is the Internet. Last week, Cliff Pickover pointed me towards a full scan of this classic tome of DIY science ready to be downloaded from Scribd. Enjoy!
NOTE: A couple of people have pointed out that there is a paywall of sorts here, at least for downloads. Reading the book online is free. But if you want to own the PDF, you'll have to either upload a document to Scribd yourself, or pay for a $5 day pass.
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.