Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Amateur chemistry is putting billions at risk!

Heptylene - 16-9-2020 at 13:00

The r/chemistry subreddit is a dumpster fire in my opinion. People talking about things they don't know anything about, shitting on amateur chemistry, etc...

Apparently somebody created a parody subreddit, r/chemistrycirclejerk with this pearl of a post on it.

The post is 4 years old and it's satire, of course. Still I got a good laugh out of it so I thought I would share.

monolithic - 16-9-2020 at 13:16

There's a few older chemists on there who respect amateur chemistry because they did experiments in their garage as a kid. The general consensus on there, however, is that amateur chemists are drug cooks or fools who poison the environment for no purpose, because we all know it's literally impossible to learn anything new or do something novel outside the confines of a university or business laboratory. Kind of sad but not unexpected, I guess.

arkoma - 16-9-2020 at 16:13

That satire is by SM's very own Brain& Force. He must still be stumbling around the "F" Block these days.

*edit* yeah the /chemistry reddit looks like a really classy place. Think I'll stick to the much trashier reddit.

[Edited on 9-17-2020 by arkoma]

Syn the Sizer - 16-9-2020 at 18:50

There is also a secret message in the post, the 1st letter of each paragraph spells "IF YOU SEE THIS PLS UPVOTE". So as he was writing this satire he made sure each paragraph started with a specific word.

DraconicAcid - 16-9-2020 at 19:01

I showed this to my son, telling him it was a serious article with good points. He's still pissed off at me.

Cou - 16-9-2020 at 19:54

If they think I shouldn't be doing experiments in my garage, I'll ask them what professor in their right mind would let me use their university lab to make dozens of esters for the hell of it. None.

University labs have their place. I'm about to start researching purification of esters of long-chain aliphatic alcohols, for my undergrad research class. But sometimes I just want to dick around for chemicals for the hell of it, even if there's nothing novel and no obvious real world application, and that would be frivolous use of university facilities.

Quote: Originally posted by arkoma  
*edit* yeah the /chemistry reddit looks like a really classy place. Think I'll stick to the much trashier reddit.

You joke, but /r/theehive is actually very welcoming of amateur chemists who don't make illegal drugs.

[Edited on 9-17-2020 by Cou]

arkoma - 16-9-2020 at 20:08

@Cou--I have a smart ass sense of humor. I'm not a stranger the /thehive nor /babybees. And yes, very welcoming,both.

draculic acid69 - 17-9-2020 at 07:35

I was looking at the r/chemistry yesterday and it was shit.not interesting at all

Metacelsus - 17-9-2020 at 08:43

On the other hand, amateur bio-engineering may *actually* put billions at risk . . .

Herr Haber - 17-9-2020 at 09:35

Why make something new when there's plenty of anthrax spores out there to collect ?

macckone - 17-9-2020 at 10:30

Not everyone is interested in drugs or poisoning the environment.
Blowing up (explosives) and poisoning humans (nerve agents) is much more interesting.
The places where garage chemists are likely to make discoveries are shrinking but not zero.

AOC did research on bacteria in her garage that was actually ground breaking.
The chemistry part is extracting what the bacteria produce.
Organic semiconductors and novel superconductors have a lot of room for exploration.
Explosives do as well. The current holy grail in explosives is replacing lead styphanate in primers.
Nurdrage developed a novel method of producing sodium as well as an easy method for producing a critical drug.
I am sure there are other examples and avenues of study.

Yes, we can make a difference but it is getting harder.

teodor - 18-9-2020 at 02:05

As somebody pointed it out, the great difference with academic research is motivation & direction.
There are different interests in the main science, in applied science (making a breakthrough in industry) and having a first-hand experience in exploring the world.
The amateur chemist can use some knowledge from main & applied science but always has its own goals, free from money & main needs influence.
The most important is to keep this culture of free interest in life & science. Otherwise everything will be ruled by money, getting positions in society etc. etc. which is not the main goal of science as we, amateurs, understand it.

I can compare it with "free software development" movement which had a great success in IT. At the time it was started few people believed it is possible to build something by amateur way which is better than IBM or something fat and big. Now hundred millions use it and nobody says "those guy put them on risk" - because software errors really matter today and free software is used everywhere, including devices which are used in chemical and biological labs and space.

Well, it is not necessary amateur chemistry will go this way which requires some social activity also. But it is just example that amateurs matter and could be accepted by society with confidence.

[Edited on 18-9-2020 by teodor]