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First Experiments

Reading the Introduction of The Disappearing Spoon and the author’s childhood memories about mercury and thermometers made me think about my own experiences with science and chemistry as a child. I would spend a lot of time at my grandmother’s sink mixing various liquids (water, milk, pop, dishwashing liquid) with other things like ketchup and mustard and spices, all to be sealed in a bottle and sent to the basement to see what happens. I’m not sure that I ever looked back at those “experiements” but it was fun to mix them up and see what happened. I did have a chemistry set a little later but it wasn’t until college that I got more interested in science and chemistry again. Reading the introduction made me think about my first experiences with science and wondered what others first brushes with science or chemistry were like? -Professor Bruce King

Category: The Disappearing Spoon

5 Responses to First Experiments

  1. Angela King says:

    Robert Langer won the American Chemical Society’s Priestly Medal this year. In his address, he noted that when he was 11 his parents got him a chemistry set and he’d mix solutions in the basement and hope for color changes.

    Can’t our society figure out that we are turning our upper elementary/middle school students away from science by taking all the fun and exploration out of science and doing rote memorization in preparation for standardized tests?

  2. Mary Beth says:

    I have just started reading the book and couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the comment about those poor children with mother’s who were so afraid of mercury that they didn’t allow their children to eat tuna. Certainly as I grew up, the link between mercury and tuna wasn’t established, but I still was thrilled that my mom let us play with the mercury that came from a broken thermometer. Not quite liquid, not solid, not like ANYTHING ELSE in my little world. I found it fascinating and wonderful and that curiosity about how the world worked stays with me still.

  3. Molly says:

    Like Sarah, I also lived near a children’s science museum, and I loved going! The touch pool and seashells were my favorites. My family enjoyed hiking, so I was constantly on the lookout for neat rocks and leaves to pick up. I got a prism when I was 8, and I spent hours studying how different types of light (e.g., sunlight vs. flashlight), and different sized beams of light, changed the size and intensity of the rainbows created. Unfortunately, though, I struggled with high school science classes, as the principles just didn’t come as easily for me as did those of math or the ability to recall history, so while I remain fascinated by science, I don’t know as much as I sometimes wish!

  4. Hu Womack says:

    I remember when we got our first microwave oven! It didn’t take long for some peeps to end up in there! It was not unlike this video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PG3OkQYI3o0&feature=related

    I was far more likely to take things apart. I took apart anything that was broken and even managed for fix a few things! I’ve always been fascinated by how things work.

  5. Sarah Jeong says:

    When I was a kid, I lived near a children’s science museum. I loved visiting the science museum and was fascinated with different types of rocks and especially quartz. My interest in science was renewed when I took chemistry and biology courses in high school.

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