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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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March 26, 2010

Try It At Home

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Posted by Derek

Technical book author (and occasional commenter here) Robert Bruce Thompson has a channel on YouTube called "The Home Scientist" that's quite interesting. Many of these seem to be companion videos for his book, The Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments. This is real, well-done chemistry with reagents that can be easily purchased and manipulated by a competent non-chemist. Well worth sending on to people who would like to get a feel for what the science is like!

Comments (8) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: General Scientific News


1. Wavefunction on March 26, 2010 1:07 PM writes...

The book is marvelous but the author does not have a trace of emotion in his voice when he speaks.

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2. Robert Bruce Thompson on March 26, 2010 3:55 PM writes...

Yeah, I always thought Spock was too excitable.

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3. Matt on March 26, 2010 10:33 PM writes...

Fantastic! I'd love to try some of these with my nieces and nephews.

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4. BCP on March 26, 2010 11:52 PM writes...

I love the presentation style and enjoyed the link, but think I'll stop short of demonstrating to my kids how to make napalm. (video #5)

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5. Wavefunction on March 27, 2010 9:18 AM writes...

Mr. Thompson, I was just joking about the style! I actually enormously enjoyed your no-nonsense, matter of fact tone. Although I think kids may enjoy a more fun sort of presentation.

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6. Robert Bruce Thompson on March 27, 2010 9:36 AM writes...

Oh, I wasn't offended. The last time someone offended me was 30 years ago, and he used a 2X4 to do it, literally.

I do take your point about kids. What I'm doing right now is focused on DIY science enthusiasts (many of whom want me to show them how to blow things up). I'll be doing a full series in the future that targets first-year and AP high school chemistry, primarily for home schoolers but also for public schoolers who have only lecture chemistry classes. I'm also planning to do videos that cover the lab portion of other middle/high school sciences, including biology, earth science, physics, and forensics. My goal is to get people involved again in doing hands-on home science.

And, eventually, I plan to start doing videos aimed at younger kids.

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7. John David Galt on March 29, 2010 1:46 AM writes...

I used to belong to an amateur rocket club, and one of my friends was brewing up some rocket fuel in the bathtub when a pressure-relief valve stuck, causing the boiler he was using to explode.

Result: the Fire Department showed up with a hazmat cleanup team, followed a few minutes later by a large squad of drug police, and they tore his home apart. Apparently these people assume that if you do chemistry experiments in the house, you MUST be making drugs or something equally evil. There wasn't anything incriminating in the house, but by the time the cops were done, most of his possessions (and most of that rented house) had been torn to bits and neither the police nor his insurance would pay for any of it. He was lucky not to be thrown out in the street.

So I will never again suggest that anybody try even the most basic, grade-school chemistry at home, or bring home any lab gear, even a beaker. *Someone* will call it probable cause, and you will be hosed. And the police aren't answerable to anybody.

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8. Bleyfuss on March 29, 2010 5:08 AM writes...

An amateur licensing scheme with required exams on legal, technical, and safety topics has worked for HAM radio for decades. It might be just as appropriate to consider here....

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