Whatever Happened to Kids' Chemistry Sets?
    By Enrico Uva | November 25th 2012 08:04 AM | 9 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    “The death of the chemistry set is almost an unintended consequence of the rise in consumer protection laws.” 
    Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/The-Rise-and-Fall-and-Rise-of-the-Chemistry-Set-173727391.html#ixzz2DF52yWwb

    When I was in my late teens, my younger cousin came to visit us from Italy. From playing with my chemistry set, he had bleached the belly area of his brand new Montreal t-shirt. 

    "Don't panic," I reassured him. "The original dye on your shirt is exactly the kind of blue that I could easily make from ferric ammonium sulfide and potassium ferrocyanide." 

    Indeed, by fluke, it was the perfect match for the rest of his t-shirt and there was no trace of the stain. But within minutes, a tiny hole appeared. It soon grew to the diameter of a cantaloupe!

    Comments

    Hank
    The hyper-nanny state has claimed many victims, the chemistry set is just one. Every year I look for cool stuff to buy for the kids and it is hard to find. It's not like parents were handing children acids and bases and telling them to throw them in a cauldron before our social authoritarian mentality kicked in, but a few dumb kids spoil things for everyone.
    UvaE
    That's right. And those same kids, without, chem sets, will find other ways to hurt themselves.
    John Hasenkam
    That's right. And those same kids, without, chem sets, will find other ways to hurt themselves.


    Damn right, I live on the Gold Coast, Australia. It is Schoolies week, when the school year ends and all the little prats come to the Gold Coast. Alcohol is the biggest threat to their welfare. 


    Surprised to hear about the demise of the chemistry set. I had great fun with the chemistry set and microscope in my childhood. 
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Well there's still plenty of kids chemistry sets in the shops here, only recently I was thinking of buying one for myself to play with!
    Damn right, I live on the Gold Coast, Australia. It is Schoolies week, when the school year ends and all the little prats come to the Gold Coast. Alcohol is the biggest threat to their welfare.
    Actually only about a third go to the Gold Coast, a third come here to Byron Bay and alcohol is only one of the serious threats they face, thanks to criminal chemists selling the illegal products of their methamphetamine laboratories along with the general availability of mind blowing hydroponic marijuana and other non regulated illegal drugs. The other third of schoolies either don't go anywhere or go overseas to places like Japan, Bali and Thailand, as my sons are doing shortly and they risk exposure to AIDs, hepatitis, malaria, Dengue fever, typhoid and possible death sentences if they buy or have drugs planted on them. Welcome to the adult world kids!
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    UvaE
    In Byron Bay, you would think they'd get high on just the surf and sight of fresh faces in the sun!
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Yes true Enrico, I've just returned from a walk on the beach with my sons and their friends and while the blondes are busy working on their tans, the brunettes are busy swimming or sorting out the boys :


    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    UvaE
    Sorry. I wasn't trying to discriminate based on concentration of melanin in hair. I was drawn by their smiles and the scene in the background. But your picture brings back pleasant memories of playing beach volleyball all day with Duke University girls on spring break in the Bahamas. 
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Sorry. I wasn't trying to discriminate based on concentration of melanin in hair.
    Interesting really because often that level of melanin concentration is manipulated by women's chemistry sets aka hair dye kits which are sold in supermarkets in their thousands. It seems that hair that has been artificially dyed blond is much harder to maintain, so this seems to limit the activities that chemistry set blondes can participate in. For example most of my unnaturally or enhanced blond girlfriends never swim in chlorinated water in case their hair turns green, others religiously tie their hair back and smother it in conditioning hair sunscreen on the beach to prevent further bleaching from the sun and sea. Maybe that's why the brunettes on the beach often seem more active, they don't have to worry about these ongoing chemical reactions turning their hair green or dull and dry or even weak and brittle :)
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    blue-green

    In the mid-sixties our family with 4 boys got a pretty cool set. There was a more advanced version from the same company with six or eight foldout panels. Heaven! We moved overseas and that sort of luxury was no longer available …. however …. a twelve year old like myself could go to a local pharmacy and industrial science place to buy whatever I could afford. Saltpeter by the kilogram … pure mercury … hydrofloric acid … HF!