In point of fact, I have some empathy for the makers of this Chemistry 60 educational laboratory kit. They are, after all, just responding to the demands of the market, and we at MAKE actually have some first-hand experience of how hard it is, these days, to manufacture, market, and/or distribute chemistry sets that don’t, for lack of a better word, suck. So I post this not so much in the spirit of “shame on such-and-so” for creating this astounding oxymoron of a product, but rather to lament the general state of affairs we have come to thanks to litigiousness, chemophobia, and flagging scientific literacy. There has got to be a way back. [via C&E News]

Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

  • Edmonton Euler
  • Scott Estes

    Sad. There’s more ‘chemistry’ in the easter eggs my daughters and I dyed yesterday.

  • Stuart Anderson

    We see open source hardware kits all the time. Would it really be so difficult to make an open source chemistry set? That’s an effort that I would certainly be willing to get behind.

    • Anonymous

      This is a great idea. Write up a book that has all the experiments and sell that, and in the book have guidelines and sources to acquire all the chemicals and equipment needed.

      • Mark

        You mean something like the book that Make published? The Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments?

        • Anonymous

          Perfect, I must have missed or forgot about that one.

      • Lee Falin
        • Stuart Anderson

          Make needs to learn about doing an upsell ;-)

          The business model for information/software + hardware already exists in several forms (eg. Arduino, et al.), so I don’t see why this couldn’t be applied to chemistry sets. This is a doable proposition as a business concern (which I consider important for a tangible good like a kit – not everyone is going to want to assemble their own kit, some will want to buy).

  • JAmes

    How can it have no chemicals in it, if the components and tools are made of plastic? LOL!!!

  • Anonymous

    The ultimate in “dumbing down”… how dare we … even countenance a chemistry set with “active chemicals” in it. What would the right wing Christian, republican, climate change deniers do to us. By God … don’t let there be another Einstein, Galilao, Capurnicus…let alone intelligent, literate and articulate President in the White House or other Americans with with a ounce of nouse… Heaven forbid!

    • Anonymous

      That’s right, down with Christians and Republicans… THEY have taken the chemicals out of chemistry.

      And I thought only really smart people visited MAKE…

    • Forrest Higgs

      Seems to me that it’s the left and their legions of lawyers that making everything illegal that might possibly give some lawsuit-for-profit prone peasant a reason to file a suit. :-D

    • Adam Lucas

      Absolutely right. We wouldn’t want the Church producing another Newton, Mendel, or Gauss. We don’t want people learning virtues like ‘Industry’, ‘Frugality’, or ‘Humility’ (like Jesus or Socrates no less!) from whacked-out hyper-religious Republican Puritans like Ben Franklin. Not here at Make Magazine. A morally void state that fines and imprisons people for not following Lysenkoism is the way to go.

  • Anonymous

    Just realised… looking at the picture…. it’s all hydrocarbons (plastics, paper and cardboard!!!)! OMG!!! I’s an “organic chemistry set” That’s all right then… standard American fare (much like everything else you eat in America.)… Gotta be good!!!

  • Timothy Gray

    There is. Be a good parent and buy from a scientific supply house the stuff needed to make a REAL chemistry set. and get them real chemistry set books and sit down with them and perform real experiments.

  • Elliott Fackler

    Where do we cross the barrier from living to just being alive?

    • Rahere

      You already did: ever look on the packet for the ingredients?

  • Greg Corson

    The one thing I’m loving…the product page has a big “WARNING this product contains magnets” label….

  • JustAGuy

    They just need to rebrand it as a Homeopathic ( C60 ) Chemistry Set. That way, it will be merely moronic rather than oxymoronic.


    • Paco R

      But then you’d be de-oxydizing it. That’s chemistry, and chemistry is bad, mmmmmkay?

  • Daniel Kim
  • Anonymous

    They’re not responding to the market. They’re responding to regulators.

    • Rahere

      Regulators get fitted to scuba tanks before disappearing underwater for an hour or so.

  • Anonymous

    Is that a bubble wand?

  • AndrewS

    dont like it? dont buy it.

  • David

    You can’t even buy potassium permanganate now at a chemists or any solvents
    whatsoever. It’s all about the dumbing down of science especially chemistry.