Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments

by Terry 5/20/2008 4:47:00 PM

I received my copy of Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments last week while I was in Orlando and I just cracked into it this week. I am oddly quite excited about the whole thing. I love lab science. I liked chemistry in college, but I can say the labs were already diluted when I started college in the late ‘80’s. I recall middle-school labs that were more informative and interesting. I have been chomping at the bit since I heard Mr. Thompson was writing this book.

Now I am trying to find excuses to outfit a full lab. About two weeks ago I started discussing with my wife and some friends the possibility of building a home lab in my garage and tutoring local kids in chemistry. Also, I want to have my daughter, Kaitlin, be exposed to true science and be comfortable with lab work by the time she is in high school. That is still a few years away, but I will use the time to get my own skill sharpened.

I remember getting a basic science kit when I was eight or nine. I played with it all the time, until I ran out of chemicals. The problem I had, as a child of divorced parents, was lack of supervision. I had little guidance; so much of the science I could have learned vanished with the corrosive goo of melting my toys. I was smart enough to stay wide of serious trouble growing up and I got lucky as an adult to be where I am today. I feel I have an opportunity to pay-forward to some degree. That first science kit did not get put to the fullest use, but I have the ability to compensate for that in spades today. Robert Bruce Thompson has provided a collective field manual to let me build the chemistry kit I dreamed of owning.

Physics in college was one of my favorite topics; I was often vying for first in my class with another classmate, Chris Bosland if I recall his name correctly. We enjoyed a friendly competition on every exam and lab session. I remember sketching out a plan to build a capacitor out of an oil-filled trash can. On advice from our teacher we scrapped the plan; we did the math on the destructive, explosive, energy could be released had the capacitor discharged violently.

I would have pursued a career in physics but fate and tuition costs changed my path in life. The short story is money; I could not afford to work and put myself through school at the same time. I went with my other favorite subject, eventually finishing my degree in computer science, with honors, by going to school at night. Now I have a stable and generally enjoyable career with enough disposable income to consider going back to the sciences I enjoyed as a young adult.

So, that brings me back to what to do with a decent home chemistry lab. Because of my teaching time with martial arts and the small, close community I live in, I am relatively well known to many parents and children in the area. I also know several people who teach and volunteer at the local elementary school. I hope to use their knowledge and skills to make a plan to create a science club or something along those lines.

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About Terry Losansky

Terry Dee Losansky

I am a software architect, actively practice and teach martial arts and live in Snoqualmie, Washington. I have an amazing daughter who is the jewel of my life.

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