The Death of the chemistry set

Published on: 2007-11-2

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The Death of the chemistry set


Check out Endangered Species - the chemistry set Read the comments, they are interesting! Are such chemistry kits available in India? I don't think so. I used to play with chemicals a lot - with material sourced from the medical store and from a chemicals dealer nearby who was unwilling to believe that my requirements were for purely scientific and peaceful purposes. I don't remember how I made my father accompany me to the `Vidyarthymithram' store near the municipal stand to purchase concentrated H2SO4 and HCL - but he did come with me, and the dealer reluctantly gave me the stuff. My first experiment was to find out whether sulphuric acid can *really* burn you - it was a great success - the scar from the experiment remains to this day! Experiments to create fire and boil liquids were extremely satisfying - concentrated acids, bits of cotton, potassium permanganate, small aluminium pieces etc were the usual ingredients. The most exciting thing about Pre-Degree (plus-two) was that for the first time, I had access to a good chemistry lab. Small amounts of chemicals were smuggled on lab-days from the college lab to my `home lab' so that I could concentrate on my `research' better! I was (and still am) a big fan of Sherlock Holmes; the fact that Holmes too was a great chemist provided further motivation. Children learn a lot during play - in fact, we can safely say that they learn only when they play. The western world has utilized this knowledge very creatively - the modern Lego robots and the Basic Stamp controllers and the old chemistry and `erector' sets all came out of this understanding that great scientists and engineers are NOT built by stupid B.Tech/BSc/Msc/PhD courses but by instilling the spirit of experimentation and discovery in students at a very young age through the medium of play. It would be interesting to hear some of my reader's experiments in science during their school days ... Update: Check out this link! Instituitions like Jodo Gyan are truly doing great work.


Fri Nov 30 06:34:20 2007

my experiments were never in chemistry i hated the subject then and still do.But i liked physics.and sherlock did inpire me on that count.Predicting theories based on reasonable assumptions and deducting observable conclusions came tome via sherlock.I was never the daring type to do experiments involving fire or injury.But i had intutive grasp of vectors and their behaviour even before they were taught at school.

vimal kumar patel

Mon Sep 1 20:24:28 2008

hi! i am one of your newest reader from SCET,surat,gujarat, came to know about this site through A.Sreeraj , at GEC trissur 4th yr. After reading above blog i too recall my 11th class experiment. I wanted to make a fundoo project for Nehru National Science Fair & started bugging my physics teacher with different ideas that came to me, then few days later she came up with a xerox of some science magazine .The scheme was to amplitude modulated laser light & use it to send music over to other end where it was received on an LDR . She had given it out to many students previously but none dared to make it, may be coz no one had knowledge of things used in the proj & lasers too were new things in Gujarat. some how i did managed to make it,demonstrated it to our principal & other students, & even went to participate in the science fair in Vadodra . I think why i was able to complete it was because I didn't took it as a home work handed out by teacher, I took it as an experiment that we used to do in our regular physics lab (It was really fun), even I didn't knew whether i would actually do it.


Sun Oct 26 17:34:20 2008

Good to hear about Chemistry and Sherlock and Linux in one breath. I think I have all of them in me. I am looking to get the Beagleboard and/or ATNGW100 . Can u give me some pointers ? Shoot me a mail. I work at Nortel.