The 4th of July is a holiday in the United States because it's the day a group of British citizens decided to throw off the shackles of tyranny and go out on their own, and they inspired a nation to join them.   Or, if you are one of those self-loathing cynical Americans who don't realize how lucky you are to be born in a wealthy western country, it is a day when a bunch of rich guys decided they didn't want to pay their taxes(1).

But the 4th of July is not just history, it's also apple pie, motherhood and ... chemistry.   

But there is always time for science so here are some things to check out.   If you are near Tucson, and not going to a baseball game, you can visit the coolest graveyard ever.  If you are more Flower Power than military power, you can check out these patriotic lilacs.

Of course, military power is what decides conflicts, not flowers, but the cultural motivation, the will to be free in the classic sense (not the annoying progressive hijacking of the word liberal) comes from somewhere else, and that is where scientific achievement comes from too - they feed on each other and make each stronger, so check out Like Freedom? Thank A Scientist - How Science Made America Possible.   However, Science 2.0 is all about inclusion so if you are so progressive you can't even enjoy regular fireworks, here is how to make greener ones.

But beyond the chemistry of fireworks I also mentioned apple pie and motherhood as iconic aspects of Independence Day in America.  I am a cherry pie guy, not apple, so I will leave that to someone else.   But celebrating motherhood is a good idea every day of the year:

Back to the chemistry, here are a few resources to getting to learn more about fireworks, including making some of your own.

How Fireworks Work
How to Make Fireworks

How to make a smoke bomb:

Happy 4th of July.  Now get out there and celebrate the independent spirit in all of us.   Independence and community are what Science 2.0 are all about.


(1) In fairness to those men and because cynics who are cynical just to be contrarian bother me, here is an oft-seen, and mostly accurate (though somewhat embellished) account of what happened to some of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence:

5 signers were captured by the British, who regarded them not as prisoners of war but rather as traitors.  12 had their homes ransacked and burned. 2 lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army, another had 2 sons captured. 9 of the 56 fought and died from wounds or from hardship related to the Revolutionary War.

24 were lawyers and jurists, 11 were merchants, 9 were farmers and large plantation owners, which makes them men of means and well educated, so these British citizens signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty for treason against the Crown could be death if they were captured.

Completely accurate or not, this was not a trivial matter.   And so appreciating them is not a trivial matter either.