Kevin Kelly reviews our home chemistry book

Kevin Kelly reviews our home chemistry book

Over on Cool Tool, Kevin Kelly has written a great review of the Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments. In the piece, Kevin also talks about the amazing and long out of print Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments (1960), which many of us remember from our youth. He writes:

The Golden Book encouraged playing around with molecules, with no agenda beyond demonstrating the power, principles, and diversity of chemical reactions. The Illustrated Guide on the other hand is a basement laboratory manual meant to teach you the basic working principles of chemistry. How to mix a molar solution. How to titrate. How to do quantitative sleuthing. It claims that if you go through all the chapters you’ll be prepared to pass the college-level AP Chem Lab test. You would also be able to work in most laboratories. And of course, you would probably be able to follow most chemistry recipes from the internet, or at least to figure out what you need to make something chemistry-wise.

At the very least, this book should help cure any hysteria you — or your kids — might have about CHEMICALS. Sure, they can be dangerous, like your car. But we are surrounded by chemicals, and the only way to understand their real risks is to mess around with them.

Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments is a fantastic teacher for chemical literacy. It will show you or your kids how to work with chemicals, and why they are fun. Some of the experiments are visually entertaining. Others are scientifically important. It’s got wise advice about the few bits of equipment you’ll need for your lab. The Illustrated Guide very handily provides substitutions for ingredients whenever possible, so you can work around harder to acquire or expensive chemicals and gear. And it very conscientiously gives proper disposal instructions for substances at the end (the first I’ve ever seen in a chem book). The author is thrifty, using no more stuff then necessary, and always suggesting ways to purchase the minimum equipment.

Best home chemistry lab book

Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments
Our Price: $29.99

For students, DIY hobbyists, and science buffs, who can no longer get real chemistry sets, this one-of-a-kind guide explains how to set up and use a home chemistry lab, with step-by-step instructions for conducting experiments in basic chemistry. Learn how to smelt copper, purify alcohol, synthesize rayon, test for drugs and poisons, and much more. The book includes lessons on how to equip your home chemistry lab, master laboratory skills, and work safely in your lab, along with 17 hands-on chapters that include multiple laboratory sessions.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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