Garage Chemistry and Do-It-Yourself Science Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

) Hydrochloric acid, formic acid, nitric acid, hexanes, and toluene are all available in ACS grade through Carolina, which, with a bit of imagination, could turn into some spectacular experiments. (Toluene is, of course, a component in the production of TNT -- talk about an exothermic reaction.)

Laboratory equipment is also widely available. A simple search of the popular site Shopwiki.com reveals hundreds of beakers, pipettes, test tubes, alcohol burners, syringes, etc. More advanced items are also available, such as hot plates which automatically stir the contents of a flask placed on them, and a wealth of thermodynamic devices for pressure, temperature, and volume control.

Perhaps the best route for a truly interested young chemist to take is to begin with the CHEM 3000, working through its experiments and gaining insight, then proceed to a regime of self-education using the internet and libraries, and supplementing the capabilities of the CHEM 3000 with individually purchased chemicals and equipment. It is, apparently, still possible to burn one's house down and scare the wits out of one's mother while captivated by the wonders of chemistry; it is just not legal to sell a toy that provides the tools.

Empirically, it must be said that the progress of chemistry has not altogether halted for lack of chemistry sets to capture the minds of aspiring scientists. However, it is logical that increasing regulation has stifled the progress of science in many areas, and has reached even into a scientist's childhood years. Regulation is important, certainly, but must be balanced by the need to foster the environment of free thought which made this country great in the first place. It was precisely this environment and attitude which allowed the leaps and bounds of social, political, and scientific development of the early and mid-20th century, and its opposite paradigm which hampered Soviet scientists throughout the cold war. To continue the streak of progression long enjoyed, the United States will one day have to return to those ideals; a prospect for which the advent of the CHEM 3000 gives at least some hope. After all, where would the world be if many prominent chemists had been unable to singe their own eyebrows off in the safety of a garage?

Bibliography

1. Cook, Rosie "Chemistry at Play." Chemical Heritage Magazine 28.1 (2010) Web 11 April 2010

2. Nicholls, Henry "The Chemistry Set Generation." Chemistry World (December 2007) Web 11 April 2010

3. Salter, Rose "Chemistry sets safer, boring." Chicago Sun Times (20 December 1987) Web 11…

Sources Used in Document:

Bibliography

1. Cook, Rosie "Chemistry at Play." Chemical Heritage Magazine 28.1 (2010) Web 11 April 2010

2. Nicholls, Henry "The Chemistry Set Generation." Chemistry World (December 2007) Web 11 April 2010

3. Salter, Rose "Chemistry sets safer, boring." Chicago Sun Times (20 December 1987) Web 11 April 2010

4. "Thames and Kosmos | Science Kits." Thames and Kosmos Home Page. Thames and Kosmos 2010. 11 April 2010

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