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Theo Gray's Mad Science: Experiments You Can do At Home - But Probably Shouldn't (Theodore Gray) Paperback – May 25, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1579128753 ISBN-10: 1579128750 Edition: Theodore Gray

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Theo Gray's Mad Science: Experiments You Can do At Home - But Probably Shouldn't (Theodore Gray) + Mad Science 2: Experiments You Can Do At Home, But STILL Probably Shouldn't (Theo Gray's Mad Science) + Fire Bubbles and Exploding Toothpaste: More Unforgettable Experiments that Make Science Fun (Steve Spangler Science)
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Product Details

  • Series: Theodore Gray
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers; Theodore Gray edition (May 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579128750
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579128753
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 8.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“I've spent 22 years working with Theo Gray on creating software, seeing him find simple ways to do the seemingly impossible.  You're in for a treat here when he applies the same creativity and insight to revealing the science of everyday things.”
—Stephen Wolfram, creator of Mathematica® and author of A New Kind of Science


(Stephen Wolfram)

“What a magnificent book. It's gorgeous, playful, and draws you in. Every single photo shows not only a deep love of science in the abstract, but also a tinkerer's love of the STUFF of science; the tools and glass, the clay and metal, and all the things that make science accessible to everyone.”

—Adam Savage, star of MythBusters

(Adam Savage)

What good is this Nobel Prize around my neck if it doesn’t produce admiration for science writers such as Theo Gray, whose skillful work helps convert young students into serious researchers.”

—Leon Lederman, winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics

(Leon Lederman)

“This is a fabulous book, and a real education, too – a beautiful introduction to hands-on chemistry. Theo Gray brings us dozens of experiments in minute, clear, and loving detail, and each one becomes a door onto the marvels of how chemicals react. Whether he is showing us how to make table salt from its violent elements, or, in a quieter vein, to make one’s own nylon thread or “lead” pencils, Gray’s encyclopedic knowledge and contagious enthusiasm transport us to deep intellectual realms, while never sacrificing a sense of wonder and, above all, fun.”

—Oliver Sacks, author of Awakenings, Musicophillia, Uncle Tungsten, and many others

(Oliver Sacks)

“Theo's MAD SCIENCE is destined to inspire and spark the imaginations of the next generation of makers, tinkerers, engineers and mad scientists!”

—Phillip Torrone, Senior Editor of Make magazine

(Phillip Torrone)

“Theodore Gray has attained a level of near superhuman geekery that the rest of us can only mutely admire.”

—Cecil Adams, The Straight Dope

(Cecil Adams)

About the Author

Theodore Gray is the author of The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe; Theo Gray's Mad Science: Experiments You Can Do At Home, But Probably Shouldn't; Mad Science 2: Experiments You Can Do At Home, But Still Probably Shouldn't; and Popular Science magazine's "Gray Matter" column. With his company Touch Press, Gray is the developer of best-selling iPad and iPhone apps, including The Elements, Solar System, Disney Animated, The Orchestra, The Waste Land, and Skulls by Simon Winchester. He lives in Urbana, Illinois.



Theodore Gray is the author of the bestselling book The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe and Theo Gray's Mad Science: Experiments You Can Do At Home, But Probably Shouldn't. He is the author of Popular Science magazine's monthly column, "Gray Matter" and the proprietor of periodictable.com. He is also cofounder of Touch Press, an ebook company that is defining the future of publishing, and the cofounder of Wolfram Research, creators of the world's leading technical software system, Mathematica© and Wolfram ? Alpha™. He lives in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. 


More About the Author

Theodore Gray is the author of Popular Science magazine's "Gray Matter" column, the proprietor of periodictable.com and the creator of the iconic photographic periodic table poster seen in universities, schools, museums and TV shows from "MythBusters" to "Hannah Montana". In his other life he is cofounder of the major software company Wolfram Research, creators of the world's leading technical software system, Mathematica™. He lives in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.

Customer Reviews

Recommended to anyone who loves science.
Crazycat 26
Reading never killed anyone; the only way this book can kill you is from laughing.
SocJan
This book clearly explains a variety of experiments and the danger levels of each.
Chris N

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 126 people found the following review helpful By Babbles on September 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The subtitle of this book is, "Experiments You Can Do At Home But Probably Shouldn't." A better subtitle would be, "Experiments You Would Like to Do At Home But Can't."

The experiments look totally cool, so I bought the book. I wanted to make the proposed Lightning Pattern. But the first item on the supply list is"Van de Graff static electric machine." Oh well, next experiment: "How to Make and Break Glass." Cool! Supply list for this experiment: Glass maker's furnace! Next? "How to Make a Match." Sounds good. Supply list: Red phosphorous, a chemical which, the book warns, is a federal crime to have in private possession.

The few remaining viable experiments are quite cool to quickly read about, so it would make a good book to check out of a library rather than purchase.
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94 of 99 people found the following review helpful By SocJan on April 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Who among us hasn't wanted to blow something up? I lent my copy of this book to a very distinguished 88-year-old who made pioneering measurements of the properties of single crystal metals. A week later I dropped in to see him.

"I read the whole thing," he reported. "Every page. This guy is telling people how to do really DANGEROUS things! It's great! I just hope no one gets killed."

Reminded by Gray's alkali metals explosions, he was eager to tell me about the time he himself threw a chunk of sodium into the stream near his house. He was 12 years old. It was 1933. ("We could get that sort of thing then; kids today can't. I took it from my brother's chemistry set when he was off at college.")

"The explosion was enormous, much bigger than I expected. Glass pieces flew all around my head. I could have been killed." He paused, a big smile on his face. "I never told my mother."

The rest of our conversation focused on how today's kids just don't get to tinker and experiment with materials the way we did in his day, and even in mine. He thinks the best thing about this book is that the excitement gets captured in Theo Gray's words (which are often funny) and the GREAT pictures; maybe reading this book can give kids -- and even adults who missed this part of growing up -- a feel for what those of us who survived those childhoods remember most fondly about them.

Shortly after that conversation I was talking with a woman whose 13-year-old son bought a copy. He, too, read the whole thing. But he got mad when he realized that he couldn't really repeat these experiments in their kitchen. (I guess he'll just have to sign up for chemistry lab, if any school still has one.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Joseph G. Kim on May 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's a great book with great content--lots of large colorful photos and a variety of labs will definitely keep you interested. However, don't get too excited! You're not going to be able to do a majority of these experiments with common household items. Most of the labs require chemicals, metals, and parts that the average family would not possess. So if you're just curious and wanna play with chemistry, this isn't the best book for you. You'll be able to admire the concepts and pictures, but you won't get to carry out the actual experiments without access to some uncommon materials (which can be ordered online of course).

And this book is for those who "know what they're doing".
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Colin Povey on November 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you like learning about science, you may love this book. Adam Savage of Mythbusters calls it "... a magnificent book". If you want to do some simple science by yourself and you don't have a large bankroll, look elsewhere.

Most of the experiments presented are simply impractical for 'normal' people to perform. One experiment shows how to use magnetic force to physically shrink coins. Sounds neat? It is! Unfortunately, it requires 1700 pounds of flash capacitors, a bank of enormous discharge resistors, and a 1/2 thick blast containment enclosure. Not something most people are likely to have laying around. Other experiments require arc welding rigs, plasma cutters, deuterium (heavy water), and other esoterica. In other words, many of the experiments are simply too expensive/impractical for most people to tackle.

Other experiments include the use of such chemicals as white phosphorous and cyanide, chlorine gas, and many other reactive materials. While the experiments can be very dramatic, many of not most of them are extremely, and I mean extremely dangerous. For example, at least two experiments use the thermite reaction. Thermite is simple stuff: Mix rust and aluminum oxide together (in approximate proportions-it's not real picky), and ignite. Simple-you bet. Dangerous? And how! He cautions to have a fire extinguisher around, and while it is generally a good idea, it is almost totally useless in this case, because the thermite reaction cannot-repeat cannot-be stopped once it has started, because it generates it's own Oxygen. Thermite melts through steel quite easily. Railroads use the reaction to weld railroad rails together, and the military uses it to destroy enemy canons and tanks. The Mythbusters used a ton of thermite to literally cut a car in half.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Science Fan on February 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Picked up this book luckily at the library. Great pictures and Theo sure knows his stuff but if you have any hope of actually trying any of his proposed experiments, for the most part, YOU CAN'T. Either items are unavailable (pure platinum coins) or grossly expensive (30 lbs of mercury, anybody?) . I found a couple of experiments that I could probably do but any of the spectacular, wildly-visual stuff is just out of my league. Theo should have called this book something different because it mislead me into thinking I could really do some of these wild experiments. A retitle should be (a)"Mad Science: Crazy Experiments that are really fun to read about" (b) Mad Science: Really wild experiments for Theo Gray to do and you to watch". (c) Mad Science: Experiments you wish you could do, but can't". Enjoy the book for what it is-just get over the fact that most of its undoable.
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