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Author: Subject: Need images for new home chemistry book
RBT
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[*] posted on 30-1-2007 at 07:05
Need images for new home chemistry book


I've just started work on a new book for O'Reilly Media, who are best known for their computer books. The working title of the new book is _Home Chemistry Lab Handbook_. It will be published by the Make division, which also does Make Magazine.

I'm building my own full-scale home chemistry lab, having gotten planning permission from my wife to convert the kitchen in our guest suite into a full-time lab. Obviously, that lab will be used for most of the images in the book, but I'd also like to include images of other home chem labs from the most basic setup in the corner to the labs of those of you who are seriously into home chemistry.

The images don't need to be professional-quality, but they do need to be sharp and well-lit. Ideally, I'd like images that show the overall lab rather than particular equipment setups and so on. In particular, I'd like images that show clever ways of dealing with limited space and so on. (If your "lab" consists of storage boxes that you set up in the kitchen or wherever when needed, that would be of interest.)

If we choose to use your image, you decide how it will be credited--by your actual name, your handle, or anonymous. We can't offer direct payment for images, but anyone whose image(s) is/are used in the book will receive a free copy of the book.

If you'd like us to consider using your images, please email them to me at thompson (at) homechemlab (decimal point) com. For now, I don't even need to know who you are. If we decide to use the image, we will need a signed release that grants O'Reilly the non-exclusive right to use the image. If an identifiable person is visible in the image, we'll also need a model release signed by that person. If the person is under 18 years old, we'll also need the signature of a parent or guardian.

If you want to verify my credentials, just search oreilly.com or amazon.com for the many books I've written as Robert Bruce Thompson. You can also visit my daily journal page, which I've been keeping since 1998, at < http://www.ttgnet.com/thisweek.html >.

Robert Bruce Thompson




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[*] posted on 31-1-2007 at 04:53


Hi there Robert.

Sounds very interesting. I must warn you though that you'll be under severe scrutiny on this board, as we've got quite some people here who are pretty paranoid about this kind of stuff (that includes me). Don't take it personal. It's just that when there's a witchhunt and you're looking for witches...you get the idea.

Maybe you could tell something about why a computer enthousiast (or blogger) like you suddenly gets interested in home chemistry?

[Edited on 31-1-2007 by vulture]




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[*] posted on 31-1-2007 at 05:21


Quote:
Originally posted by RBT
I'm building my own full-scale home chemistry lab, having gotten planning permission from my wife to convert the kitchen in our guest suite into a full-time lab.


Isn't this sort of like saying 'even though I've never actually played basketball in my life, I decided to install a full-sized court in the front yard to see what its like.'

Maybe he doesn't realize- there's only two people two do a lot of the chemistry we discuss. Namely, people who are insane and willing to go to any length to make a buck, despite the hazards to life, limb, and genetic potential involved, and people are who insane and do it because they love it.




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[*] posted on 31-1-2007 at 05:46


I understand, and I told my editors that many or most of the folks here would be leery, and rightly so.

Home chemistry isn't a new thing for me. I'm 53 years old, and I built my first home chem lab more than 40 years ago in my parent's basement. I did all the traditional stuff like making nitroglycerine, RDX, and so on. I also had a home darkroom, where I worked with most obsolete photographic processes, including Daguerreotype and platinum printing. I majored in chemistry in college and made it most of the way through a masters in photographic chemistry at RIT, although I didn't get my masters degree.

This book isn't targeted at insane people. It's targeted at hobbyists who want to learn chemistry, home schoolers, and public schoolers whose schools have a poor chemistry program or none at all, which is to say most of them.

O'Reilly, with its hacks series and Make Magazine, is expanding beyond its traditional focus on computer books to encompass the hands-on hacking culture. This book, along with many others on other hacking-related topics, is a part of that expansion.




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[*] posted on 31-1-2007 at 06:20


I don't believe there is a need for suspicion provided that the person posting is, indeed, Robert Bruce Thompson. His registration date and online notes--which document his interest in setting up a home chemlab for the purposes of publishing a book and date back to Nov of last year--lend credibility to his story. A quick google search for "robert bruce thompson" yields some 155,000 hits and from the results, it's obvious he's a well published author. If this is some sort of ruse it's quite elaborate.



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[*] posted on 31-1-2007 at 10:32


Mr Thompson:

I find it exciting and a bit incredible that an established publisher would take on home chemistry. I say this because of all the negative prejudice the media and general public have shown for some time now. If you read through the several threads in this forum dealing with this prejudice, restriction of chemicals & supplies, etc, you will see why.

I would very much like to see our hobby get favorable acceptance in the media and general public. At the same time I am wary of too much exposure of this forum, and me in particular, because of the aforementioned prejudice.




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[*] posted on 31-1-2007 at 14:47
you're not the first


you won't be the last

http://www.destructve.com/bromicacid/bookprogress.htm
.

[Edited on 31-1-2007 by franklyn]
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[*] posted on 31-1-2007 at 16:46


Ah, but that's more for us here, and more so for free distribution. I'm not sure which direction Mr. Thompson plans on pursuing, but I think that he will not likely discuss some of the topics we do (i.e. oleum production, sodium electrolysis). In Bromic_acid's method, it's geared more towards the people here who are, well mad scientists. I'm keen to hear more about it Mr. Thompson and delighted that you'd take on such a project.


Perhaps we could even be consulted as reference for various setups :P

I suppose I could send some photos your way, as I'm not involved in anything nefarious and merely do this because, to quote iamthewaffler, I "am insane and do it because I love it."

What type of photos are you looking for? Woelen might be the person to ask if you want to do a section on microscale chemistry, as his website is superb.

http://www.oelen.net/science

[Edited on 1-2-2007 by Fleaker]




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[*] posted on 1-2-2007 at 06:13


Quote:
Originally posted by Fleaker.
I suppose I could send some photos your way, as I'm not involved in anything nefarious and merely do this because, to quote iamthewaffler, I "am insane and do it because I love it."

Not even nefarious possession of glassware? You don't have to do something "wrong" to be guilty of a crime...
"It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong"--Voltaire

Perhaps you can devote a chapter in your book to the persecution of chemists, RBT. It would be great to get a little positive exposure although I must say that I'm against the mention of this forum by name.




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[*] posted on 1-2-2007 at 06:35


Don't worry about mentioning this forum by name. Of course it is known by all official agencies and without doubt they will be lurking it on a regular basis. But this forum is not illegal and nothing unlawful or criminal is discussed over here.
So, let them please keep on lurking, that is the best way to see that most home chemists are just interested in chemistry and/or science in general and have nothing to do with criminal affairs, drug-making, bomb-making or terrorism.
The only thing they could bring in against some of us are the chemical storage and disposal regulations. That is something which we have to take care of in a responsible and safe way, nothing more, nothing less.




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[*] posted on 1-2-2007 at 07:24


Quote:
Originally posted by Magpie
I find it exciting and a bit incredible that an established publisher would take on home chemistry. I say this because of all the negative prejudice the media and general public have shown for some time now. If you read through the several threads in this forum dealing with this prejudice, restriction of chemicals & supplies, etc, you will see why.


O'Reilly is definitely a mainstream publisher, but its corporate culture from Tim O'Reilly on down is definitely oriented towards hands-on hacking. I'd be willing to bet that more that a few employees at corporate headquarters had chem labs in the basement when they were teenagers. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if some still do.

Quote:
I would very much like to see our hobby get favorable acceptance in the media and general public. At the same time I am wary of too much exposure of this forum, and me in particular, because of the aforementioned prejudice.


You and me both. As I wrote on my journal page this morning, this persecution of home chemists has to stop, or we'll eventually realize that we have no new generation of chemists. And without chemists, we're sunk.




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[*] posted on 1-2-2007 at 07:29


Quote:
Originally posted by Fleaker
Ah, but that's more for us here, and more so for free distribution. I'm not sure which direction Mr. Thompson plans on pursuing, but I think that he will not likely discuss some of the topics we do (i.e. oleum production, sodium electrolysis). In Bromic_acid's method, it's geared more towards the people here who are, well mad scientists. I'm keen to hear more about it Mr. Thompson and delighted that you'd take on such a project.


You're right. Much of what goes on here is much more advanced than the topics I plan to cover in the book (although there's always a possibility of a second volume to cover more advanced stuff.) I plan to cover the range from basic stuff suitable for early middle school students through more advanced stuff like what is covered in a high school AP chem lab course.

As far as images, I'm really just looking for a few images that show overall views of other people's home labs. In particular, any clever workarounds to deal with limited workspace and storage, lack of running water, etc.




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[*] posted on 1-2-2007 at 07:34


Quote:
Originally posted by Levi
Perhaps you can devote a chapter in your book to the persecution of chemists, RBT. It would be great to get a little positive exposure although I must say that I'm against the mention of this forum by name.


Not a chapter, but it'll certainly appear in the book. I completely understand why most home chemists maintain as low a profile as possible, but there is strength in numbers. This book is just my small effort to "mainstream" home chemistry, to make it a "normal" thing to do. It may end up being just a drop in the ocean, but all any of us can do is the best we can do.




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[*] posted on 1-2-2007 at 07:38


Quote:
Originally posted by woelen
Don't worry about mentioning this forum by name. Of course it is known by all official agencies and without doubt they will be lurking it on a regular basis. But this forum is not illegal and nothing unlawful or criminal is discussed over here.
So, let them please keep on lurking, that is the best way to see that most home chemists are just interested in chemistry and/or science in general and have nothing to do with criminal affairs, drug-making, bomb-making or terrorism.
The only thing they could bring in against some of us are the chemical storage and disposal regulations. That is something which we have to take care of in a responsible and safe way, nothing more, nothing less.


Absolutely. When I built my first home chem lab back in about 1963, everybody just dumped waste chemicals down the drain. I'm writing the chapter on chemicals right now, and I'm placing a great deal of emphasis on general safety, safe storage, and proper disposal.

In fact, although there are some really neat things one can do with them, I've pretty much ruled out using mercury or cadmium compounds because of the disposal issue. I was going to use them anyway, but two of my technical advisors, both Ph.D. chemists, convinced me not to do it.




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[*] posted on 1-4-2008 at 12:05


It's taken longer than expected--I had to stop what I was doing and write another astronomy book in the interim--but the Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments book is scheduled for publication this month.

< http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/9780596514921/ >

It's a bit elementary for most of the participants on these forums, but it's intended for beginning hobbyists and home school students at the late middle school through high school level, including coverage of the recommended labs for AP chemistry.

No stuff that goes boom, although I did manage to sneak in a lab session on making super napalm in the chapter on colloids and suspensions.

And now I'm hard at work on the next book in the MAKE Magazine DIY Science series: Illustrated Guide to Home Forensics Experiments.




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[*] posted on 1-4-2008 at 12:17


Looks nice!
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[*] posted on 1-4-2008 at 12:54


Good luck with the book --- I hope it succeeds in putting more
people onto home chemistry. As I said in another thread, it
would be good for home chemists to reach out to the hacker
types who hang out around Make magazine and such places,
a book by O'Reilly looks like exactly the way to do this.


[Edited on 1-4-2008 by microcosmicus]
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[*] posted on 1-4-2008 at 13:04


Thanks. We hope to pull a lot of people into the hobby. I'll be at Maker Faire in California over the weekend of May 3/4, doing chemistry demonstrations and speaking about home chemistry in general. Not to mention astronomy, which is the book I did in the middle of writing this one.

As far as the cover, they haven't shot it yet, but instead of an animal it'll be a lab setup of some sort with beakers and flasks and test tubes and colored water. I'm pretty sure they already used the vulture for another title, anyway. Sorry.




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[*] posted on 1-4-2008 at 13:52


Yes, good luck RBT with your new book and I also hope it helps a lot of young people get hooked on home chemistry. We really need a broad base of support to re-legitimize this hobby in the eyes of the media and the public.

Below is a copy your book's contents from the above website:

Separating Mixtures
Solubility and Solutions
Colligative Properties of Solutions
Introduction to Chemical Reactions & Stoichiometry
Reduction-Oxidation (Redox) Reactions
Acid-Base Chemistry
Chemical Kinetics
Chemical Equilibrium and Le Chatelier's Principle
Gas Chemistry
Thermochemistry and Calorimetry
Electrochemistry
Photochemistry
Colloids and Suspensions
Qualitative Analysis
Quantitative Analysis
Synthesis of Useful Compounds
Forensic Chemistry

This is all good fundamental chemistry and very interesting in it's own right. I'm just curious to know if there is anyting truly exciting (pulse-racing) in it. Say like making bromine or nitric acid? (With due safety instructions, of course.) Or would this be too much of a liability for your publisher? Maybe you are considering such experiments for a future book on "AP home chemistry." :D
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[*] posted on 2-4-2008 at 04:29


Quote:
Originally posted by Magpie
This is all good fundamental chemistry and very interesting in it's own right. I'm just curious to know if there is anyting truly exciting (pulse-racing) in it. Say like making bromine or nitric acid? (With due safety instructions, of course.) Or would this be too much of a liability for your publisher? Maybe you are considering such experiments for a future book on "AP home chemistry." :D


I think we have some pretty neat stuff in there, but nothing that'll get the readers of these forums pulses racing. No dangerous syntheses, for example. We do use concentrated nitric acid in two or three lab sessions, including one on presumptive drug testing with Marquis Reagent, ferric chloride, and nitric acid.

As to a follow-on chem lab book, it'll depend largely on how well this one sells. If it sells in big numbers, I think O'Reilly will be interested in doing a more advanced chem lab book. If I do that one, it'll probably focus on organic synthesis, coordination chemistry, and similar stuff. But I have to get the home forensics lab book finished first.




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[*] posted on 13-7-2008 at 13:27


What, you never updated us?:(
http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/07/robert_bruce_thomps...




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[*] posted on 13-7-2008 at 17:40


Hehe. I'd be interested in a book that describes the basic elements on our periodic table, but also describes experiments to isolate them outside of the chemical industry. E.G. how to extract sodium metal at home. How to create bromine liquid, etc. etc. That would be a neat little book to have by the bedside.



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[*] posted on 13-7-2008 at 20:38


Thanks Davster for posting this. I needed something to boost my spirits after hearing of the apparently random raids on home chemists in Europe.

With more of this kind of publicity we just might make progress toward convincing the general public that just because you have a home lab you should not be under suspicion for doing something iilegal.

I hope Robert's book sells millions of copies and that he gets a presentation on "Book TV."
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[*] posted on 13-7-2008 at 23:54


Fantastic! way to go RBT! ;)



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[*] posted on 14-7-2008 at 06:27


I missed this thread, but I've read chapter 4 of this book (free online, see link above) and it is amazing to see that such good stuff is written in this era of paranoia.

Robert, keep up the good work!




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