Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Your introduction to chemistry

szuko03 - 27-8-2015 at 05:11

What was the first thing that got you into science and chemistry? Ever since I was little, and I mean like 5, my parents fostered my love for science. I come to realize now that if not for them I wouldn't have turned into the person I am. They bought me a chemistry set, telescope, little weather station, rock tumbler, basically anything you could buy at the "discovery store" or whatever where they sell science things for kids.

When I was in 4th grade I took out books from the library on matter and energy on radioactivity and the universe regardless of my ability to understand them I knew I wanted to understand it. My friends would get into fireworks and what not because we were teenage boys and I made a lot of cool stuff happen through that.

I don't mind sharing that as a teenager I discovered marijuana and that basically solidified everything. The fact that a single compound to radically change though processes astounded me I needed to know why this happened. I have spent over a decade "trying to figure it out" as it were, and I don't mean by smoking weed I mean by observing chemical structure reading pharmacological activity reports etc. The fact that amines can be so active in the human mind, its fascinating.

I completed 3 years at UConn as a chemistry major my lifes dedication to chemistry providing a massive backbone of understanding everything from what makes an acid or base to some of the functional groups in o-chem. I knew it because I had been seeing it since I was 8.

I was just curious how did other people start? When did you find a love for chemistry (or science in general) and did it have actual application in your life?

ave369 - 27-8-2015 at 05:21

When I was about 7 or 8 years old, I've found an old Soviet school chemistry textbook that belonged to my grandfather. Everything started from there.

MrHomeScientist - 27-8-2015 at 06:21

My parents also really encouraged science when I was little. I became a physics major and am currently a physicist largely because of their influence (especially my dad's).
I think element collecting was what got me into chemistry specifically. I bought a small amount of gallium a long time ago because it sounded cool, and had that in a film canister for many years. Then, years later, I found Theodore Grey's awesome website on his periodic table and read through every element many times. When I got to gallium it reminded me of my sample! I've always been into collecting stuff, and so I started with my own periodic table. I started with the easy ones (iron nails, copper wire, aluminum foil, etc.) and soon decided I wanted more interesting samples. Thermite reactions were my first intro to chemistry, to produce transition metals for the collection. From there a general interest in inorganic chemistry grew. Now my periodic table has a fancy display case and houses almost every collectible element - only about 10 to go! Throughout my life hobbies tend to come and go frequently, but this one has really stuck with me and has given me a lot of great times.

Keith Fletcher - 27-8-2015 at 06:31

I when't to a after school science lab at school when i was in fourth grade and we did the elephant toothpaste reaction and have loved chemistry and science since

Bert - 27-8-2015 at 06:51

I was about 7 or 8- Someone did a chemistry demo for us. I recall vinegar/baking soda for CO2 production, then putting out a candle flame by pouring the collected gas over it. Sucking a whole peeled hard boiled egg into a milk jug by dropping a burning scrap of paper into the jug and setting the egg on top. A very basic "kitchen chemistry" and physics demonstrations to show 2nd or 3rd grade school kids, they certainly got MY attention.

So I went to the school library and started to read whatever I could find- When I connected it all to rocketry, explosives and pyrotechnics, it became an obsession.

aga - 27-8-2015 at 07:31

Gunpowder was fun when around 12~13 years old.

Nothing after that until a foolhardy attempt to stop drinking a year or two ago caused the mind to leap into overdrive, and Chemistry somehow jumped in to fill the gap.

(the difference between 'addled' and 'overdrive' is very much a Relative term)

neptunium - 27-8-2015 at 07:41

at about the same age (7 or 8) my mom wanted me to read more and I came across an article about voyager 2 and the up coming Neptune encounter (1989) I was hooked! I got into astronomy which lead to the stars and their formation which involve nuclear fusion so I really was into nuclear physics . but then fusion generate the elements and I started to look at chemistry , I wanted a live periodic table and reached out to university and various lab to make it happen . Believe it or not before 9/11 I was handed all kinds of chemicals and elements on good faith!!
after high school I took a 2 year program to be a chemical plant control operator , then another 2 years for radio active de-contamination, then 2 more years as a lab tech, and 2 more in physics. In 1999 I visited New York city and loved it, so I decided to move to the US, struggled a few years, drove a truck, finally became a US citizen, signed up on and trying to go back to college now ..

fluorescence - 27-8-2015 at 08:53

Wow, an interesting question. I never really did anything with chemistry. I liked stuff like
archaelogy, old legends and myths and cultures. My mother was a chemical assistant for
paints and varnishes and stuff like that. So some experience in handling stuff like benzene
but not really good in chemistry. But she expected that I'd know quite much about chemistry
because of her career which ended in having an E- in my first chemistry class test.

I then had to improve and built my first home lab, worked with stuff and just tried to understand
how chemicals reacted. Later I learned about organic chemistry and the basic stuff till
I was the best in class and had my own research project that I was allowed to do in school.

Over the years I got to work with many famous chemists from the internet most of them later
won competetion. And so I learned how to work with stuff from experienced hobby chemists.
I joined Versuchschemie like 5 or 6 years ago, I dunno and got to know most of the people there.

And over the years I got a quite big collection of chemicals, glassware and so on.

But the theory came from university, so really understanding what is happening in a reaction
is what I learned at university. Today I know many chemists from the net. We exchange
ideas and help each other and I got accsess to mostly any chemical I'd need for my

[Edited on 27-8-2015 by fluorescence]

byko3y - 27-8-2015 at 16:20

ave369, you is me. Same age, same old soviet book.
It feels like when you are born - it's your destiny to become a chemist, but you don't realize it. Then you become acquainted with your passion, and slowly you start to understand it's your lifework.

kecskesajt - 27-8-2015 at 23:41

My started at 6 y/o.I must have go to bed,but I started watching Brainiac.
At 11-12, I started to get more and more reagents.My first experiments started with black powder and TATP(what a lil faggit was I :o ).
After this, I started nitrating and so on.Now

Firmware21 - 28-8-2015 at 05:41

It was back at school, when I was 13. For some reason the biology teacher wanted to do small chemistry experiments, which was nothing more than just dumping some salt in water and watching it dissolve...
Then a few years later I had my first "interesting" chemistry session in which I made Isoamyl Acetate (Banana scented ester ;) ). That was the experiment that made me like chemistry.

Concerning home chemistry, it started when I tried to make some Iron oxide for obvious thermite purposes. Since I hadn't any chemistry dedicated glassware, I decided to purchase my very first beakers and reagents (nothing fancy).
In the first place, I wanted to see how far I could go with only household stuff, but it quickly turned into an obsession.

szuko03 - 28-8-2015 at 09:43

I would kill to get an old soviet chemistry text book! Also I am very happy that i never tried experimenting legitimately before it was time and I mean when i was in college. I had done some simple extractions when i was 16 but i didnt actually try to synthesis anything, I was too young to have the trust of my parents sure i was smart but I was still a teenager. They were not comfortable with it until recently and i am almost 30. For years I would play "hide the lab" with them where i would have a duffle bag full of makeshift beakers and store bought chemicals. They would yell at me and individually remove them through hazardous waste removal places as they were all home based reagents.

But with all of the theory I dont fully support doing reactions when you are young, especially creating explosives. It may seem cool or it may seem like you are learning but why not oxidize some iron or make asprin or something? I spent many years reading theory before i tried anything :) I like it that way read read read, fail once get it right the second time. Thats usually how it goes for me

Atrum - 1-9-2015 at 06:31

My love for chemistry was sparked around the age of 8 when my class went to a science show at the Hansen Planetarium in salt lake city utah. The first time I saw this magical substance call liquid nitrogen turn a pot of water into solid ice. I just had to know everything about it. Once I had a taste it was all over, I was hooked and now have my own lab.