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Theo Gray's Mad Science: Experiments You Can Do at Home - But Probably Shouldn't Hardcover – March 25, 2009
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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?Stephen Wolfram, creator of Mathematica® and author of A New Kind of Science
"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
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
"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
"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
"Theodore Gray has attained a level of near superhuman geekery that the rest of us can only mutely admire."
?Cecil Adams, The Straight Dope
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.
Top customer reviews
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.
So, if you like watching Mythbusters, this book is for you. If you want to DO some science, plan on finding another book, unless you have lots of space and money. And NEVER let a kid who has access to some money see this book.