8 Jul 2009

Theo Gray's Mad Science: Experiments You Can Do at Home--But Probably Shouldn't


Submitted by Hilary Eppley, DePauw University

Theo Gray has compiled some of his Popular Science columns into a beautiful book of sometimes dangerous experiments, many of them with particular relevance to inorganic chemistry! With chapter names like "Experimental Cuisine", "Doomsday DIY", and "Twisted Shop Class", you know you in for a wild ride. Some particularly intriguing experiments include electroplating a copper design on your iPod, making glass and elemental silicon out of sand, making a burning Mg/dry ice sculpture, anodizing Ti for cool color effects, and creating a "hill billy hot tub" using 600 lbs of quicklime. While you are not likely to do all the experiments, this is a great book for conveying the wonder (and the riskiness!) of chemistry.

Implementation Notes: 

If anyone has any good implementation ideas, I'd be interested in hearing about them! Many of the experiments would make good demos, a few are easy enough to turn into lab experiments.

Creative Commons License: 
Creative Commons Licence


I bought, er, Santa BROUGHT, this book to my house for Christmas this year and my son loves it.  Especially the description of the discovery of phosphorous.  "You mean he collected his pee???"  Great 8-year-old stuff.  Photos are good, text is good.  I haven't included any of it in my real life yet, but someday...

Wow!  Santa brought this to our house, too!  What a bright guy.  He knows exactly what kids of chemistry professors like!

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