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bismuthate
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[*] posted on 28-9-2013 at 09:07
chem haters


all of my friends think chemistry is stupid they say that they hate it. is it the same with your friends?
p.s. this saddens me
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bismuthate
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[*] posted on 28-9-2013 at 14:14


please tell me how yor friends view science



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[*] posted on 28-9-2013 at 14:34


In high school I knew a couple people who thought this way. Usually about math, too. In that case, I think those people were too lazy or unintelligent (in a technical manner, at least; there are many types of intelligence) to understand or even try to do so. It is "too hard," so they cop out by declaring that which they are incompetent at as "stupid."

Most of my friends know that chemistry is good and useful, even if it is somewhat beyond them. Maybe you should show your friends a neat demonstration and prove to them just how not-stupid it actually is!
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bismuthate
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[*] posted on 28-9-2013 at 14:51


good to know it's just me:) however no matter what i show them they think that the only interesting things are sports and video games but i converted two friends and a third that i know loved science already



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elementcollector1
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[*] posted on 28-9-2013 at 22:14


A lot of them watch Breaking Bad, so you can all guess what they think of home chemistry. One guy even asked me to make a bomb for him.



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[*] posted on 28-9-2013 at 22:19


Even though I have my pyro moments (controlled, may I assure you), friends of mine seem to like that I just home and "Blow shit UPPPPPP!!!1!!". Whereas really its more like an occasional SNAP! or maybe a small smoke cloud.

People also ask if I know how to cook meth, and I reply with 'No.' and sigh, one gets this alot at high school. I've learnt that this is generally the best approach.




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MichiganMadScientist
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[*] posted on 29-9-2013 at 11:04


Knowledge is useless to useless people. In a society that places tremendous value of frankly useless pursuits (like sports), I find that it is refreshing to know that there are still some of us out there that dabble in a hobby whose practice actually makes one "smarter." I should have been an English major. I could have easily 4-pointed a degree in that. However, I'll have to accept a 2.5 GPA in Chemistry by the time I graduate. I'm just not that smart. But dammit, I try. And I teach myself stuff far beyond what is fed to me at the university. Chemistry is a passion and a hobby. Not just a future occupation...

In days of old, prior to electronics and sophisticated machinery, mankind passed time by LEARNING new things. Books, which were tangible vessels of knowledge were prized possessions. I am entirely fascinated when I think of how people living in the 1800's developed such a tremendous working knowledge of Organic Chemistry (for example). They had no spectroscopic machinery back then, and yet they correctly deduced some of our most fundamental chemical concepts that still hold true today. These people were genuinely intelligent and they demonstrated that they could think for themselves.

Today, everything is organized around: "will it make money?" I understand this is the nature of a Capitalist society, but at some point, mankind has to practice chemistry for the sake of chemistry. I'm a firm believer that universities should place greater emphasis of lab-time and spend less time on lectures. And while it is essential to teach modern analytic equipment to students in order to prepare them for the working world, I also think a great emphasis needs to be put back on teaching basic wet-lab techniques....

Just my two cents anyways....
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AndersHoveland
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[*] posted on 29-9-2013 at 19:46


Quote: Originally posted by MichiganMadScientist  
I am entirely fascinated when I think of how people living in the 1800's developed such a tremendous working knowledge of Organic Chemistry (for example). They had no spectroscopic machinery back then,

But the chemistry books were better and written in much more practical experimental detail back then.

Quote: Originally posted by MichiganMadScientist  

Today, everything is organized around: "will it make money?" I understand this is the nature of a Capitalist society, but at some point, mankind has to practice chemistry for the sake of chemistry.

Traditionally, those who pursued an interest in science were individuals who were fairly wealthy through other means, and just pursued an interest in science. It was only later that science became patronized by courts and governments.

[Edited on 30-9-2013 by AndersHoveland]
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Antiswat
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[*] posted on 30-9-2013 at 08:50


they never get it, or well.. if you show something very fancy such as hydrogen burning in a flask with CuCl2 aerosol, and the more times its repeated becomes more green, then you might have their attention..
im not entirely sure why theyre not fascinated by it, i really dont get it, but thats just one of many things, neither do i get how people can be childish and have cognitive dissonance, and ironically enough deny having it..

if i went out tomorrow and told people that i have been observing crystals of 99.9% pure potassium chlorate drop out of solution for +15 minutes, i would be locked up and have my daily rations of food replaced with drugs, different shapes colours and consequences 'for the better of the society'

what is even more saddening to me sometimes is that some people are more fascinated by something as a fireball, or just a big fire, rather than feeling a shockwave throughout their entire nerve system

report back if you ever manage to find the explanation to why people dont see the interesting part in chemistry


also seeing the infamous k3wl word ''bomb'' its just.. damn how many times havent i heard that, good thing my country isnt that deep in breaking bad, i would probably have to send +50 strangers away from my door daily..




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Chemosynthesis
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[*] posted on 30-9-2013 at 10:15


Am I the only one here who loves Breaking Bad? Perhaps ironically, a never-filmed scene written for the final episode had the protagonist run into a former student and ask if he was a good teacher, what he remembered of class, etc. The student recalled a Season 1 scene where various aerosols were sprayed into a burner flame, generating various colors depending on the salt. The student mentioned the scene, but when asked what it taught him... his response was something to the effect of "fire can burn different colors." Amusingly, that seems to capture the very sentiment you lament.


Jesse's character early in the show was the same way. No interest in the science, whereas Walt originally went on a DEA ride along curious about the labs, methods, and eager to explain each step of synthesis.

[Edited on 30-9-2013 by Chemosynthesis]
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sonogashira
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[*] posted on 30-9-2013 at 10:24


Quote: Originally posted by AndersHoveland  
Traditionally, those who pursued an interest in science were individuals who were fairly wealthy through other means, and just pursued an interest in science. It was only later that science became patronized by courts and governments.

Don't forget those Bronze Age copper smelters! :D
Money, money, money!
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Pyro
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[*] posted on 30-9-2013 at 10:27


the trick is to interest them in something simple, then they can get interested. but most people just think its a boring activity.



all above information is intellectual property of Pyro. :D
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bismuthate
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[*] posted on 30-9-2013 at 11:26


i showed a few friends a piece of lithium which i droped in water, a few of them were interested.



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MichiganMadScientist
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[*] posted on 30-9-2013 at 15:00


I honestly think that the underlying lack of chemistry appreciation by the general masses can be summed up in the following:

"People don't know what they don't know."

Meaning, the next Linus Pauling or Einstein lurking is an impoverished Kenyan 8 year old boy who will never have access or exposure to the baseline chemistry education that would spark his interest and change the world. Likewise, A person that managed to graduate high school or college without ever having taken a chemistry course is highly unlikely to ever pick up chemistry as a hobby or career later in his/her life time. It happens, but without exposure, one does not know what one is missing.

The Chernobyl disaster was what sparked my interest in Chemistry, and caused me to pursue a career in it. Prior, I was a computer science major. I would never have guessed that chemistry would ever interest me. In a day and age dominated by ever-increasing govt scrutiny and law-suit happy lawyers, chemistry is being portrayed more and more to the general public as a hazardous pursuit outside of a Professor's lab at a university.

My BIGGEST complaint against humanity today is that we have stopped the practice of continually teaching ourselves new things for the sake of learning new things. In today's busy society, we are only driven to learn something new if it has an immediate payoff. I am just know beginning to read through a biology textbook. I have no plans to do anything career-wise with biology, but I want to learn more about it.
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[*] posted on 10-10-2013 at 09:20


My first year teaching high school chemistry, I made the mistake of responding to a kid's question of, "Do you know how to make meth?" with a "Yes." I was thinking, "Duh, I'm a chemist, I can make anything," but what they got out of it was, "Whoa, my teacher's TOTALLY A DRUG DEALER!" ...it's not so much Breaking Bad's fault as another manifestation of the "fire can burn different colors" syndrome.

While he wasn't a chemist, Richard Feynman has some interesting anecdotes about peoples' reactions to his trying to do things in a different, better way than they were used to, which I think is pretty universal for scientists everywhere (and which I get all the time from 'civilians'). For example, while working for a hotel kitchen when he was a teenager, he found that it was much quicker to cut green beans if he stuck the knife in the table and pushed the green beans against the knife than the usual way... his boss startled him, causing him to cut his finger, and the boss concluded that the method was flawed (rather than the obvious truth that Feynman had been startled) and forbid him from doing it that way. How many times have people given you flack for doing safe, legal chemistry that could help you in some way (for example, make an application-specific adhesive) because some idiot blew up a bathtub full of ether in his meth lab?

Also @MichiganMadScientist, you do bring up an interesting point - and I believe that's a culture that still exists in other countries. You specifically mention Kenya, which I've heard prizes education above all else, as Kenyans see it as a way out of poverty.
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Antiswat
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[*] posted on 10-10-2013 at 12:56


perhaps many chemists just have an idea of being smarter, finding solutions..
thats one thing that really pisses me off, people who search to jump the tallest part of the fence then fall right back down and break their neck
it can all be done so damn simply, but sadly simplicity is seldomly seen as a good thing




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Truth is ever growing - but without context theres barely any such.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solubility_table
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Pyro
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[*] posted on 10-10-2013 at 13:05


I agree completely.
This causes WWIII at home, my mother, who seems unable of doing anything the simple way, doesn't like my flippant attitude of doing things the very simplest way :)

Kids at school tell me to make meth all the time, I should really sell them baggies of Na2S2O3 which even a cop mistook for meth :) I'd make lots of money!




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bismuthate
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[*] posted on 10-10-2013 at 13:22


Once before getting on an airplane I realized that I had cesium carbonate and copper chloride in my pocket.:o
that would have been hard to explain.




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[*] posted on 10-10-2013 at 16:10


I dug through my references and found this quote by J. H. Gladstone (The Chemical News 1875, Vol. XXXII. No. 830). He had just detailed the results of his chemical manipulations using the zinc-copper couple:

"Sometimes we are asked the question, 'What is the good of these enquiries?' Well, the good is very various. That is generally the last question that we ask in experimenting."

The paragraph is quite a long one, but I can paraphrase the main thought: "Is there a practical value to all of these experiments? That is a good question... Yes...that is a very good question... Hmm... Well, ummm...maybe there isn't. But that's not important, anyway. What's important, is...look! Zinc and copper can make hydrogen in water! It can make pyrophoric organic compounds! Isn't that so neat!?!"

I think that illustrates the spirit of experimentalism from that time. Unfortunately it's not as common anymore.
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[*] posted on 10-10-2013 at 18:48


Here's an anecdote about Michael Faraday relating to the question of "what good is experimentalism?":

"The usual form of the stories is that some dignitary or public official, usually the Prime Minister himself, visited Faraday at the Royal Institution and, on being given a demonstration of the phenomenon of induced currents, inquired: “What good is it?” One of the stories has it that Faraday replied: “What good is a new-born baby?” The other has it that he replied: “Soon you will be able to tax it”."




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[*] posted on 11-10-2013 at 17:45


In my plain old HighSchool chemistry class just about everybody except me and one of my friends completely despised chemistry and called it useless but in my AP chemistry class around 1/3rd of the class actually found it interesting and went a little above and beyond to actually get some use out of the things they learned in class. But unfortunately chemistry wasnt cool to any of my friends unless it went boom, killed people, or got you high so yeah chemistry has seen better days as far as support from new generations goes :x and then my one friend who did like chemistry was too worried about the law to go out and try anything more than simple reactions that involved anything more than mixing two chemicals together x.x but fortunatley he still is pursuing a degree in pharmaceutical chemistry so hes found a nice legal way to do his thing.



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[*] posted on 16-10-2013 at 01:19


I've got only nerd friends here. One of them spent $80+ on stuff to make a power crystal he saw in a video to see if it worked. they did and when he showed a friend and I the video, we saw a man in a dress making bad jokes every 5 minutes
"why did you think this guy wasn't full of crap?" we asked. "I wanted to see if they would work. I didn't care how it was presented." he replied.




I seem to have difficulty referencing my hobbies as "safe".
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[*] posted on 23-10-2013 at 13:53


Quote: Originally posted by PeeWee2000  
. . .degree in pharmaceutical chemistry so hes found a nice legal way to do his thing.


Implying that home chemistry is illegal? I think not, unless he wants to deal with substances that are illegal for an amateur.

In my high school, people know that I'm a home chemist, and I'm proud of my hobby. I try not to be a suck-up to my science teacher (he's new at the school) but he's also heard that I'm a chemist.

I've shown my home lab to several friends, and they think it's really awesome. I have received several comments regarding the legality, and as far as I know, I'm not violating any laws.

Do you think it would be appropriate to contact my city hall for more information on legality?




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[*] posted on 23-10-2013 at 14:15


@Awesomeness:
I would first find out what you can about legality without bringing yourself to the attention of the authorities.

At my school, the kids are reasonably chemically literate, although very much influenced by "Breaking Bad". After being pestered constantly, I have gotten the point across that even though I know how to make meth in theory, I have never done so and do not want to. Also, I have gotten requests to sell isopropyl nitrite (which I have in fact made for the production of azides) in the form of "poppers", but I have not obliged.




As below, so above.
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[*] posted on 24-10-2013 at 19:19


You know, I talked to my school counselor today (standard meeting for planning a culminating project). First thing she said to do a presentation on? Home chemistry. My, how word gets around...
The greatest thing is that by being so up-front about it, and demonstrating knowledge of the subject, people not only don't question it but actually trust me - the school loans me reagents when I ask for them, and I can't thank them enough for that.

I have gotten a lot of people asking if I watch 'Breaking Bad', though. I made the same point as Cheddite Cheese, though without the anecdote on isopropyl nitrite.

Awesomeness: Absolutely, go for it. Be careful, though - they might think you're a particularly clueless meth cook otherwise.




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