Hints for Beginners in Amateur Chemistry
Join in the Fun of Experimenting at Home! This Article Tells How Easy It Is to Start
By RAYMOND B. WAILES
IF YOU have been following this series of articles for some time, you probably have already set up a more or less complete chemical workshop in which to carry on your experiments. However, there is always a new crop of beginners coming alongâ€”newcomers who would like to join the fun and who need some simple advice on equipment and working methods. Old-timers surely won’t begrudge this space to help others get started in the fascinating pastime of amateur chemistryâ€”and perhaps their own memories will be refreshed with a pointer or two.
Queer Machine Checks Up on Ether Drift
SCIENTISTS at Jena, Germany, have constructed one of the most amazing and odd-appearing measuring devices on record. It is an apparatus to measure the drift of the ether, that impalpable substance which, according to one school of thought, fills the space in which the universe swims. Theoretically the motion of the earth, passing through this ether, should set up a drift comparable to the breeze generated by the motion of an automobile through the air.
How can you not love an article with quotes like this:
“By the time you get down near Absolute Zero everything in the world is frozen harder than a pawnbroker’s heart…”
When this article was written the record low temperature achieved by scientists was .0015 K. The current record is 0.00000000045 K.
So You Think THIS Is Cold?
Teeth chattering? Fingers numb? Well it’s warm compared to what the lab boys call Absolute Zero.
By Lawrence Sanders
“Tis IS BITTER cold and I am sick at heart,” quoth Hamlet. And right now most citizens are hunching along, swaddled to the ears against the cold and muttering, “You said a mouthful, Bard.”
Is it cold enough for you?
As a matter of fact, it probably is cold enough for youâ€”whether you live in Weeping Water, Neb. or Hiram, Ga. One man’s heat wave is another man’s cold snap and a Key Wester can be just as uncomfortable at 40Â° F as a Bald Eagle, Minn, resident when the mercury goofs off toâ€”40 Â°F.
How TO CONVERT OLD ELECTRIC LIGHT BULBS INTO CHEMICAL GLASSWARE
By Earl D Hay
EXPERIMENTS in an amateur chemical laboratory are much more interesting when they are made with the same kind of apparatus as that used in professional laboratories. As a rule, however, the home chemist experiences a great – shortage of flasks and endeavors to use various kinds of bottles as makeshifts, little realizing that he may make from burned-out electric light bulbs a great variety of useful flasks like those sold by chemical supply houses at from 20 to 75 cents each. The lamps used in the average home vary in size from 25 to 200 watts and are suitable for small Florence or boiling flasks. Larger flasks are made from 300-, 500-, and 1,000-watt lamps, which can be obtained from the janitors of stores and linemen of the city lighting companies.
Dry ice is very interesting stuff! Get yourself a chunk (handling it with gloves) and perform the simple experiments illustrated here.
DRY ice is solid carbon dioxide. It’s very interesting stuff. For one thing, it sublimes at room temperature; that is, although a solid, it evaporates to form a gas without passing through the liquid state. The mist you see formed by dry ice is water “squeezed” out of the air because it has been chilled below the dewpoint.
Glass Making Easy for Home Chemist
By Raymond B. Wailes
BECAUSE of its importance in glass making and other industries, silicon opens a particularly interesting experimental field to the home chemist. In nature, silicon is almost as plentiful as oxygen. Yet, it hides itself well in its compounds. It never is found free and uncom-bined and can be separated from its associates only through clever chemical thievery in the laboratory.
Industrially, silicon is obtained by heating sandâ€”a compound of silicon and oxygenâ€”and coke to a high temperature in an electric furnace. The white-hot coke steals the oxygen from the sand to form carbon monoxide and frees the silicon. Although the amateur chemist will have no electric furnace in which to duplicate this process, he can obtain a similar result by heating sand and powdered magnesium over his ordinary laboratory gas burner.
Scientific Experiments with Toys
By Raymond B. Wailes
Many Novelty, Toy and “Jokers” Supply Stores sell small glass “meters” or “thermometers.” as they are called, attached to a card supposed to represent the quantity of intoxicating liquor the individual can consume, a state of health, denote a fortune, etc. The items are designed to provoke mirth and hilarity, but they operate on a scientific principle and can be used admirably for demonstrating some physical laws. What to do and how to conduct the experiments are details covered in the accompanying text.
Eclipse to Check Einstein
Astronomers Journey Halfway Around the World to Study Five-Minute Spectacle, as the Moon Blots the Sun’s Face
By GEORGE LEE DOWD, JR.
EINSTEIN’S theory of relativity receives a new test in the wilds of Sumatra in the Dutch East Indies on May 9, when leading astronomers of Europe and America study and photograph a remarkable five-minute total eclipse of the sun, for which they will have journeyed halfway around the world. The duration of the eclipse, and the fact that this island off the Malay Peninsula lies directly in its path, offer an unusual opportunity for scientific observation. The average eclipse lasts only from one to four minutes, and the longest possible duration of a total eclipse for a single observer is seven minutes and fifty-eight seconds.
Weird Stunts with Aluminum in the Home Laboratory
Electrical Experiments You Can Perform with This Most Useful Metalâ€”An Easy Way to Purify Water Containing Sediment
By Raymond B. Wailes
OUTWARDLY aluminum is one of the least spectacular elements of the earth. Yet in the home laboratory, weird stunts reveal the strange properties that make it one of the world’s most useful metals.
Although at one time worth its weight in silver, chemistry has made aluminum one of our commonest metals. According to leading scientists, its uses will continue to grow. Even now railroads, steamships, and airplanes make use of its physical qualities for lightness combined with strength.
Most important of its chemical properties is its unquenchable thirst for oxygen. Pure aluminum left in the air soon becomes coated with an oxide. It is this characteristic that makes its impossible to obtain the metal in its free state and also forms the basis of thermit welding (P.S.M., Aug. ’33, p. 50) and many other modern processes in industry.
To the home chemist, this fast-forming oxide of aluminum offers the means of performing two novel electrical experiments. For the first, immerse two sheets of aluminum foil in a small jar or beaker containing a solution of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Connect one sheet directly to one side of the house lighting circuit and the other sheet through a series-connected lamp to the other side.
Crime-Detection Tests FOR THE Home Chemist
How Hidden Fingerprints May Be Found by Using Iodine Vapor â€” Forgeries Also Are Revealed by This Remarkable Element
By Raymond B. Wailes
NEW thrills await the home chemist who experiments with iodine. Besides its queer properties and varied uses, it serves as the gateway to a new branch of chemistryâ€”the mysterious and interesting art of scientific crime detection.
With iodine, the amateur experimenter can transform his home laboratory into a miniature crime bureau. In a few hours, he can master some of the chemical tricks that aid the modern sleuth in his search for hidden fingerprints, clever check alterations, and forgeries.
First, however, the amateur must learn how to obtain this active element in its free state. For years, it was recovered commercially from a giant type of seaweed called kelp. Now it is obtained from the solutions left behind when Chile saltpeter is crystallized in large quantities.