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1. Laboratory Manual for Principles
$10.50 $1.75 list($14.00)
2. Failure Is Not an Option: Mission
$11.53 $11.30 list($16.95)
3. Gonzo Gizmos: Projects & Devices
$11.86 $11.65 list($16.95)
4. Backyard Ballistics
$289.95
5. Atlas of Mouse Development
$10.46 $8.90 list($13.95)
6. The Evolution of Useful Things:
$11.20 $3.28 list($14.00)
7. When Things Start to Think
$71.95 $51.80
8. Standard and Microscale Experiments
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9. Quantum Physics (Essential Science
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10. Science Play!: Beginning Discoveries
$58.95 $56.25
11. Plant Tissue Culture : Techniques
$145.00 $142.10
12. Colour Atlas Of the Anatomy Of
$20.40 $19.01 list($30.00)
13. The Book of Inventions
$16.47 $8.00 list($24.95)
14. Homemade Lightning:Creative Experiments
$95.00 $75.00
15. Designing Experiments and Analyzing
$4.95 $3.22
16. 47 Easy-to-Do Classic Science
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17. The Mad Scientist Handbook: The
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18. Vacuum Bazookas, Electric Rainbow
$19.95
19. Earth Shelter Technology
$75.95 $64.95
20. Laboratory Experiments for General

1. Laboratory Manual for Principles of General Chemistry, 6th Edition
by Jo AllanBeran
list price: $73.95
our price: $73.95
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Asin: 0471314528
Catlog: Book (1999-11-03)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 501012
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Book Description

This flexible lab manual-appropriate for use with a wide range of general chemistry books-offers a wealth of practical chemistry experiments. It includes pertinent information on rules and safety in the lab. Preparation of the new edition was guided by specific feedback from users. ... Read more


2. Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond (Thorndike Paperback Bestsellers)
by Gene Kranz
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
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Asin: 0425179877
Catlog: Book (2001-05-01)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 10591
Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A breathtaking, first-hand account of the early days of the NASA space program, through the eyes of the man who held it all together... ... Read more

Reviews (73)

5-0 out of 5 stars THIS BOOK ROCKED
I first learned about this book after I saw Apollo 13. I was inspired by Kranz's (Ed Harris in the movie) zealousness to bring our asronaughts home. I then purchased this book. As I got into it I found that I could not put the book down.. There is NEVER A DULL MOMENT.. somthing always seems to go haywire.. and when it does, The good ol boys at mission control with the skill of the astronaughts do their damnest to fix it. a Truly awe inspireing book not only for space buffs but for any one who needs a good pick er upper. A true tribute to our Space Program. Kranz inspired by Kennedy's words "ask not what your country can do for you .. ask you can do for your country" and "We choose to go to the moon - in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard." A true Patriot Kranz is. I wish there were more people like Gene Kranz out there. I salute you Gene Kranz!

4-0 out of 5 stars Tour de Space
Using his extensive files (over 7 file cabinets) and numerous sources, Gene Kranz reviews each launch and narrates his participation in the space program from Mercury through Apollo. An amazing amount of detail is given for the numerous difficulties that were encountered in each phase of the space program. The recognition of problems, troubleshooting them and quick resolution is the driving force in this text. Readers remember Apollo 13's fuel cell crisis and the excellent job done by both Mission Control and the crew to safely return the space craft home. However, while not as dramatic as Apollo 13's potential for astronauts being lost in space, several other incidents that could have resulted in tragedy are detailed along with the actions taken to overcome each difficulty.

The text is an account of Gene Kranz's career from procedure writer to Flight Director and details the history of the development of NASA's Mission Control organization. There being no previous experience, the book outlines how the Mission Control organization was developed from scratch. The text illustrates that in space, team work and training was mandatory to be able to evaluate a problem and initiate action often within 60 seconds. This required a high degree of commitment and competence for all persons involved.

Kranz's accounts of training through simulation is fascinating. Malfunctions were programmed into the training without prior knowledge of the persons in the training session. In one case the simulated collapse of the mission doctor was so real that after the training session others had to be told the doctor was fine. Such detailed and stressful training and the actual mission performance required a detailed knowledge of systems by each person for their area of responsibility plus knowledge of adjoining areas. This training frequently revealed problems where such knowledge later paid off in successful missions.

The author briefly outlines the background of each person as they appeared in the narration. They were basically a mix of young engineers and aviators some having test pilot experience. All parties had to live by a time line whether it was during planning, training, launch, flight or recovery. The text clearly states that participation in the space program demanded discipline, commitment and risk. Some readers may criticize Gene Kranz for his strict military attitude, discipline and unwavering commitment but the question must be asked what other alternatives would have worked in situations where decisions had to be made in seconds for malfunctions involving life and death? I am reminded of the old saying "A camel is a race horse designed by a committee." As the author clearly illustrates, in space there was no margin for error or time for debate.

Also covered are several non-flight activities such as upper management, debriefings and press conferences. Each debriefing was critical to the success of the next mission especially if critical malfunctions had to be addressed. The text states that the space program was covered by a dedicated, well-informed, and highly professional press corps who "....knew the difference between objective reporting of news and hyping things up to entertain the audience...." Kranz notes that "The press conference was almost as much of an ordeal as the mission" and further states "They asked the tough questions, but they respected us and the work we did as long as we didn't try to mislead them."

Flight directors worked rotating shifts. Gene Kranz was a flight director for Apollo 11 during the actual first lunar landing and later led the team that developed the program to recover Apollo 13 after it suffered the fuel cell explosion. The text gives much interesting information about both flights. The last moon landing was Apollo 17 where once again Kranz was a flight director.

The book concludes with the usual chapter Where They Are giving an update of the history for the major players.

The book provides a tremendous amount of information. Readability may be a minor weakness of this work, but a most helpful appendix Glossary of Terms defines the many acronyms used in the text and helps the reader to move ahead. While not difficult to read, at times it is slow reading unless the reader is just skimming.

While some may take issue with Gene Kranz's stern, disciplined, military approach to the challenges faced, the results confirm the effectiveness of this approach to life and death situations where decisions must be made in seconds and there is no turning back once a decision was made.

A must read for those interested in a time when the United States successfully met a major challenge.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must read after reading all the astronauts' books.
Gene Kranz's book tells a similar story, as told in books by Eugene Cerman, Scott Carpenter, and Chris Kraft, without being dominated by the author's ego. The others wrote good books. But Kranz avoids using personal attacks to tell his tale. The antidotes differ from those in other stories, as Kranz does not have a Boy Scout image to preserve. However, Kranz covers mission control only through Apollo 17.

This book is an excellent story of the space race from the ground.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mercury to Apollo: the inside scoop on the US space program
In my boyhoood, I collected news clippings of space flights like some others collected stamps. While I knew of the the complete or near-disasters of Apollo 1 and 13 which never escaped media attention, I could not imagine how many more instances of nervous questions there were on the ground at Mission Control Center (MCC) during many of the celebrated successful space shots.

Gene Kranz's book provides an insider's view into the inner workings of MCC, all the way from the Mercury program to the final Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Probably better suited than almost any one else to tell this story on how things looked from the ground, Kranz worked his career in NASA up to Flight Director, including for the memorable Apollo 11 and 13 flights which provide some of the most dramatic passages in the book. While the world savored the euphoria of the first men landing on the moon, Kranz tells of how he and his team were worrying about near fatal computer problems with the lunar lander. Most readers will be familiar with the Apollo 13 episode which was well enacted on the big screen with Tom Hanks , but Kranz's book provides some of the finer detail that the movie misses.

The book not only provides flight details of the manned spaced shots, but discuss some of the important management and technical issues which need to be resolved to move from Mercury through Gemini and Apollo. Kranz's epilogue concludes with some of his broader observatons and recommendations for future space policy.

Readers will be struck by the authoritarian and disciplined management style in the program, which Kranz does not easily hide. The author would probably have done well to use a ghostwriter or good editor. But apart from its prose which lacks elegance and an easy flow, this book provides an illuminating insight into how such a complex management feat was accomplished.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I consider myself an afficianado of the U.S. space program of the 1960s and early '70s, so I eagerly anticipated the arrival of Kranz's book.

Kranz has always seemed to be a man of the utmost integrity, dedication and competence. But a page-turning writer he is not. If he used a ghost writer on this book he was ripped off, seeing as how the prose is dry as dust.

The book is likely a valuable contribution to history, but it will probably be more referenced in future books than it will be read in its entirety. ... Read more


3. Gonzo Gizmos: Projects & Devices to Channel Your Inner Geek
by Simon Field, Simon Quellen Field
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
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Asin: 1556525206
Catlog: Book (2003-12)
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Sales Rank: 1600
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Step-by-step instructions to building more than 30 fascinating devices are included in this book for workbench warriors and grown-up geeks. Detailed illustrations and diagrams explain how to construct a simple radio with a soldering iron, a few basic circuits, and three shiny pennies. Instructions are included for a rotary steam engine that requires a candle, a soda can, a length of copper tubing, and just 15 minutes. To use optics to roast a hot dog, no electricity or stove is required, just a flexible plastic mirror, a wooden box, a little algebra, and a sunny day. Also included are experiments most science teachers probably never demonstrated, such as magnets that levitate in midair, metals that melt in hot water, a Van de Graaff generator made from a pair of empty soda cans, and lasers that transmit radio signals. Every experiment is followed by an explanation of the applicable physics or chemistry. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars How kids can have fun with parents and get educated too!
I have looked at a number of similar books that provide interesting science activities that are cool enough to hold a childs interest. However, most of them have moderately good things to create that take a lot of hands on time from parents. By the time the fun science project is done, the kids have lost interest. Not so with Simon Field's "Gonzo Gizmos".

The first project I attempted was a simple candle powered steamboat with my 6 y.o. daughter. After purchasing a bit of flexible 1/8 inch copper tubing at the hardware store (the hard part) we created a great working steamboat in about 15 minutes, and my daughter did most of the work. She took several baths with it putting around the tub, brought it to school for her "Show and Tell", and can even tell you how it works. I then went onto the "Gauss Rifle" with my 9 y.o. son. Wow!!!

Most of the projects take only a little time, and if you can't find the materials, he gives you a nice website to purchase them. This is a really fun book that you can dive into and get kids engaged in a few minutes with a project that will teach them real science, and will be cool enough to brag about with their friends. Moreover the layout is great. A description of the project and what it does, including great titles; then a cookbook list of materials, and where to get them; a recipe; and then a darn good description of the science behind the project. Believe me, with project titles like "The Hydrogen Bomb" (A battery powered H2O dialysis machine that after separating the Oxygen and Hydrogen is ignited with a piezo electric sparker, causes a small explosion that squirts water several feet into the air!), how could any kid resist! Moreover, how could a parent resist. Buy this and try it. It is really great. ... Read more


4. Backyard Ballistics
by William Gurstelle
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.86
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Asin: 1556523750
Catlog: Book (2001-06-01)
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Sales Rank: 451
Average Customer Review: 4.76 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Ordinary folks can construct 13 awesome ballistic devices in their garage or basement workshops using inexpensive household or hardware store materials and this step-by-step guide. Clear instructions, diagrams, and photographs show how to build projects ranging from the simple-a match-powered rocket-to the more complex-a scale-model, table-top catapult-to the offbeat-a tennis ball cannon. With a strong emphasis on safety, the book also gives tips on troubleshooting, explains the physics behind the projects, and profiles scientists and extraordinary experimenters such as Alfred Nobel, Robert Goddard, and Isaac Newton. This book will be indispensable for the legions of backyard toy-rocket launchers and fireworks fanatics who wish every day was the fourth of July. ... Read more

Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Parents, Dont be scared
This is a great book. Just from skimming through it you can tell that a lot of thought and precaution went into it's construction. Parents may be scared seeing a book like this in the hands of their child, but don't be frightened. Most of the projects in here are pretty innocuous and saftey is paramount. The book and author STRESS proper precautions and advise saftey gear for any dangerous experiments. If you have a kid who has been playing with fire, been showing a disturbing interest in explosives or such, then buy them this book and do these projects with them! It will give kids a productive, educational and supervised outlet for these curiosities and fascinations and will give you a chance to teach them a bit about physics and further bond with them. Some young pyros grow into arsonists, others grow into firemen and physicists... you make the choice! Instead of punishing them and trying to curb their interest in such things, channel this energy into something positive.

From the perspective of an adult or adolesent this book is still great. Fun projects and lots of information make for a fun read, and an even more fun summer project. Science teachers and the like will love this book as some of these projects could prove wonderful classroom demonstrations to aid in teaching and more importantly, in getting kids' attention and perhaps sparking an interest.

Great book. more stuff like this might help the curb effects of all the negative stuff out there like the Anarchist's Cookbook and all those [explosive] websites.

A big five stars!

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and great fun
This is one of those ultimate guy books, fun for boys 8 to 80. It brought back memories of building similar devices in my youth, although I never built anything close to the diverse collection the author has brought together and describes in this interesting book. The book contains instructions and even troubleshooting suggestions for 12 different projects, ranging from a potato canon to Greek fire to the dry-cleaner bag balloon. I remember using a compound called Bangsite 40 years ago when I was a boy that was probably calcium carbide to build a primitive canon, and he was a similar one here.

In addition to all the projects, the author does a fine job of providing a little education on the fine points of the history of many of these devices, and on some of the most important inventors in history. There are briref but very readable articles on Archimedes, Robert H. Goddard (the "father of rocketry"), Alfred Nobel, and others.

A particularly interesting section is the one on the history of the catapult. The author details its use from 400 B.C. to the 15th century. For example, we learn that last successful use of the catapult (before it was replaced by canon) was at the Battle of Rhodes in 1480, and that 500 A.D. is the earliest recorded use of gravity-powered catapults or trebouchets in the Middle East. In 1191 Richard I (the "Lion-Hearted") participated in a hard-fought battle between the Franks and the Turks in which they battered each other with 300 catapults. And torsion engines were in widespread use in the Roman army by 50 A.D. In 1450, the canon supplanted the catapult throughout Europe and its long use in warfare came to an end.

There are also interesting articles on The Roman Candle, the Medieval Crossbow, and Secret Weapons (such as missiles and rockets). At 170 pages in medium-size format, there are a lot of interesting historical facts and information in addition to all the material on the projects. This is a great idea for a book and I'm surprised no-one has ever done it before.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lots of fun
Definitely fun projects for guys! If you feel like blowing something up, but still want to be safe, this is for you!

5-0 out of 5 stars Pleasing men of all ages!
Being an avid potato gunner, I picked this book up at the local library, and after reading it over, I just had to to get it. The book will please everyone thats into building fun projects during the lazy summer days & will provide enjoyment for hours! The book goes into very good detail with each project & stresses safety as a key thing, which is good because the projects in this book can be somewhat dangeroeus ONLY if you don't follow instructions & use common sense. I recommended this book to anyone in need for a good project to work on or just for fun! Definitly on my top 10 list.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book for kids of all ages.
I bought this book for my boyfriend, and he practicaly sleeps with it. Not only does this book help you build the projects step-by-step, but it also provides the mechanics behind WHY it works in language easy enough for a ten year old to understand (with a little help on some of the vocabulary.) Would be valueable in science fairs and scouting projects as well. ... Read more


5. Atlas of Mouse Development
by Matthew H. Kaufman
list price: $289.95
our price: $289.95
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Asin: 0124020356
Catlog: Book (1992-01-15)
Publisher: Academic Press
Sales Rank: 127520
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Book Description

Not since the early 1970s has there been an attempt to describe and illustrate the anatomy of the developing mouse embryo. More than ever such material is needed by biologists as they begin to unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying development and differentiation. After more than ten years of painstaking work, Matt Kaufman has completed The Atlas of Mouse Development--the definitive account of mouse embryology and development.
For all those researching or studying mammalian development, The Atlas of Mouse Development will be the standard reference work for many years to come.

Key Features
* Provides a comprehensive sequential account of the development of the mouse from pre-implantation to term
* Contains clear and concise descriptions of the anatomical features relevant to each stage of development
* Large format for easy use
* Contains explanatory notes and legends, and more than 180 meticulously labeled plates, 1,300 photographs of individual histological sections, and 200 electron micrographs, illustrating:
* Intermittent serial histological sections through embryos throughout embryogenesis and organogenesis
* Differentiation of specific organs and organ systems, including the spinal cord, eyes, gonads, kidneys, lungs and skeletal system
* External appearance of intact embryos throughout development
... Read more


6. The Evolution of Useful Things: How Everyday Artifacts-From Forks and Pins to Paper Clips and Zippers-Came to be as They are
by HENRY PETROSKI
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
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Asin: 0679740392
Catlog: Book (1994-02-01)
Publisher: Vintage
Average Customer Review: 3.17 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

This surprising book may appear to be about the simple things of life--forks, paper clips, zippers--but in fact it is a far-flung historical adventure on the evolution of common culture. To trace the fork's history, Duke University professor of civil engineering Henry Petroski travels from prehistoric times to Texas barbecue to Cardinal Richelieu to England's Industrial Revolution to the American Civil War--and beyond. Each item described offers a cultural history lesson, plus there's plenty of engineering detail for those so inclined. ... Read more

Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Tech History book
This is a scholarly look at the history of invention. Henry Petroski is a Professor of Civil Engineering at Duke and has written several books of this genre. The book is well written, has many footnotes, and an eight page bibliography. While the book is not technical per se, it would probably be most enjoyable by other engineers and fans of technological history.
The author tracks the engineering and development of several common devices of everyday life. Two that he spends a lot of time on are the fork and the paper clip. There are several full chapters examining issues such as the first historical records of use, patents, and the development of companies and industries as these items became incredibly popular. Other items receiving lesser treatment include wheelbarrows, tin cans, and McDonalds hamburger containers.
This book will give you an appreciation of the time frame that great inventions occupy. Most of the items discussed here are developed over several lifetimes, or at least several working lifetimes. This alone should be very instructive to anyone trying to get a feel for the history of invention. The histories given are very detailed with names, dates, addresses, patent numbers and drawings, and the economic data (manufacturing costs, prices, etc.). If you find intriguing the question of where and how did we get all of the modern devices that we use everyday, you will enjoy this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars An interesting look at the development of everyday objects
Things get improved because in their current form, they do not work properly. Henry Petroski's book, The Evolution of Useful Things, traces the development of objects in our everyday life, including detailed histories of the development of the staple, the zipper, silverware, and hand tools. The book is interesting, although Petroski does tend to shy away from offering a theory of development, and instead offers a conjectures about how things might have developed. He explains, but he does not offer a theory or an argument that explains everything. Overall, though, a goos book, well researched, well illustrated, and interesting on many levels.

4-0 out of 5 stars Form follows failure
This book is an extended essay about the process of invention. In it, Petroski takes the viewpoint that the form of manufactured items is the result of an evolutionary-like process. He stresses that for any specific item, the form it has is only an arbitrary choice from many possible solutions that the inventor could have come up with. And the driving force behind invention, according to Petroski is failure- -each change in form that an invention takes is the result of trying to address some failure in what was done previously.

Petroski introduces the book with an item that very aptly demonstrates his thesis: the fork. He details the history of the development of the fork, starting with the table manners of the Middle Ages, when people were in the habit of using knives to both spear bits of food and convey them to their mouths. But in order to chop off bits of food from larger pieces, it was handy to have a second knife to hold the larger piece steady. Of course, the second knife was also like to put a hole in the larger piece, and wasn't well adapted to holding things, not until someone had the brilliant idea of making a stabilizing knife with two prongs instead of one. Eventually, this stabilizing knife began to be used for conveying food to the mouth instead of just holding food steady while cutting, and it was found that four prongs were much better suited for this task than two. Each step of the way through the history of the fork, Petroski points out how when the implement of the time failed to accomplish its intended task satisfactorily, its form was modified, until the fork took its present customary form. At the same time, however, Petroski also stresses that the current form of the fork is only one possible solution to the food conveyance problem. He compares its development to that of chopsticks, which are equally well suited to the same task, but take a very different form.

Other objects given a detailed examination in this book include paper clips, zippers, and cans for food, as well as openers for cans. In this last topic, Petroski brings out the point that objects are often developed and brought into use long before their supporting technology is even conceived of. Although tin cans came into general use during the first half of the Nineteenth Century, it was to be another 50 years before the first can opener was finally developed. Until then, producers of canned foods expected their customers to open their cans by stabbing them with hammer and chisel and (miraculously) come back for more!

Overall, I found the book somewhat interesting, and certainly illuminating. While I agree that form does follow failure in many cases, I think that Petroski is too quick to dismiss aesthetic influences in the evolution of form. He notes that some forks in modern tableware sets have only 3 tines out of a desire to look different or special, even though they aren't as efficient at conveying food as 4-tined forks. But he dismisses this as being a minor factor, unimportant for the general evolution of the fork. Perhaps he is right in the case of forks, but there are a number of other items where fashion plays a larger role. High-heeled shoes, for instance, are certainly an evolutionary wrong-turn in foot attire, but not a dead end. Colored cars are wasteful in the mass production process, as Henry Ford was quick to point out, but he learned that color options are also a selling point. Indeed, many times a better solution for achieving a task can be invented, but then never brought to market because of economics. Or the form that finally does become standard is a less than optimal solution for the task, but cheaper to manufacture than a better one. Petroski points to tableware sets with over 200 individual items, each with a separate task. He argues that each item was developed in response to some perceived failure of another form at doing the stated task, and dismisses the idea that it was simply manufacturers trying to develop new things for consumers to buy so that they would have a complete set. Personally, I'm not so sure that the manufacturers really depended entirely on failure to develop the forms of their tableware. I find it easy to imagine an artist being asked to come up with some more fancy designs that could be created in silver so that customers would have more items to purchase. Perhaps some of these new silver utensils received their titles only after they were actually created and tested to see what they might be good at. In short, I think that economics may have a stronger influence on the form of things than Petroski seems willing to grant in this book. But in any case, the book is very well researched and documented. It is amply illustrated with black-and-white photos and drawings. The text itself flows smoothly and is quite clear for general and technical readers alike although it can be a bit dry at times.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Lucid Primer on Industrial Design for Everyday Folks
How does everyday discontent lead to material progres? Does form follow function? What are some common mistakes in patent writing? The Evolution of Everyday Objects, explores the hidden history of axes, spoons, paperclips, garbage bags,tin cans, and zippers for a general audience. Henry Petroski, a professor of industrial design at Duke University, also introduces unlikely heroes like Walter Hunt (the safety pin) Richard Drew (Scotch tape), and Jacob Rabinow (pick-proof lock) while celebrating the marvels of engineering and industrial design.
This lucid primer weaves a weird and wonderful tale of techincal evolution and expanding consumerism. Petroski argues that disappointment with available choices inspires inventors, engineers, and industrial designers to continually expand our consumer choices. Form, contrary to rumors, follows failure. Edison's edict seems more apt than ever.
Petroski focuses on the telling details behind both familiar success stories and the far more frequent failures of consumer objects and modern artifacts. Although this 288-page paperback lacks illustrations and might seem a bit repeative and/or simplistic to specialists, Petroski's book should appeal to aspiring inventors, engineering students, and curious readers seeking a better understanding of our modern consumer culture. You might even look at your cluttered desk, a crowded department store, and your crammed tool shed with more appreciation.

3-0 out of 5 stars A little dry, but worthwhile
Petroski's field is design, but his take on it is the history of design rather than the "science" of design as Donald Norman (of The Design of Everyday Things fame). Although their approach is different, the two men share some of the same insights into how and why objects are the way they were. But where Norman's philosophy is that an object can be designed to be "better," Petroski feels that an object will always be less than perfect. His theory, in part, is that because most objects have multiple purposes, the object can not perform any single task perfectly. This idea of the competition of purposes is best illustrated from the book by Petroski's examination of eating utensils. The perfect utensil would be one that could cut and lift food to the mouth for eating. But knifes that cut have difficulty in lifting, forks are almost useless with a soup, and a spoon doesn't cut well. By showing us the evolution of the flatware selection (which remains imperfect), Petroski gives weight to his theory.

But I'm not wholly convinced. Perhaps it's because I read Norman first that I want to defend him. I want to believe that objects can be bettered--an interface can be easier to use, etc. The difference between Norman and Petroski is also one of style. Norman's prose is almost light weight compared to the dense, multi-syllabic approach used by Petroski, and Norman wasn't afraid to use terms and ideas that were not in lay usage. It could be that Norman's short columnar structure breaks up the duty of trying to convey so much information that his is more readable prose. It could also be that Petroski likes the language of academia, even when it begins to obfuscate. From the design standpoint, both authors are worthwhile. It is important to see specific examples of real world solutions to design problems to come up with ideas for our own designs, be it a fork, a building, or software. ... Read more


7. When Things Start to Think
by Gershenfeld Neil
list price: $14.00
our price: $11.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 080505880X
Catlog: Book (2000-02-15)
Publisher: Owl Books
Sales Rank: 94352
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This is a book for people who want to know what the future is going to look like and for people who want to know how to create the future. Gershenfeld offers a glimpse at the brave new post-computerized world, where microchips work for us instead of against us. He argues that we waste the potential of the microchip when we confine it to a box on our desk: the real electronic revolution will come when computers have all but disappeared into the walls around us. Imagine a digital book that looks like a traditional book printed on paper and is pleasant to read in bed but has all the mutability of a screen display. How about a personal fabricator that can organize digitized atoms into anything you want, or a musical keyboard that can be woven into a denim jacket? Gershenfeld tells the story of his Things that Think group at MIT's Media Lab, the group of innovative scientists and researchers dedicated to integrating digital technology into the fabric of our lives.
... Read more

Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars Easy General Overall Read
When Things Start To Think
By Neil Gershenfeld

When Things Start To Think was a very interesting overview from the authors personal point of view on of what happens when technology meets the traditional social world that we live in. Much of it is derived from Gershenfields own knowledge as he explores the world of new technology. He admits to discussing thoughout the book about his ground breaking experience with Yo-yo Ma, and how much of his experience is derived around his years in the Media Lab. Emerging from these detailed stories, such as how marries music with technology, we start to understand that his efforts is a vision of a future that is much more "accessible, connected, expressive, and responsive."

Gershenfield touches on many various areas of technology from wearable computers, to The Big Blue chess playing super computer, to the future of money. He attempts to cover massive amounts of ground on this huge topic of progressive and intelligent technology that some might not consider this book a very in-depth read. However, I would consider it a wonderful overview for those who are interested about the development and evolution of unique technologies that have inspired us to dream about the future. These dreams help us to envision what possibilities can be done when science, curiosity, and desire to create collide.

I don't think that Gershenfield meant this book to be a scholarly one at all, but it was a more causal, easy, and fun read for all to enjoy on a low- tech level. Overall I thought it was a enlightening story on Gresherfield's experiences, and he does drive home the idea that as technology develops out of it's "adolescence" it's important to bring it closer to people so that it's less obtrusive and more useful.

3-0 out of 5 stars Bossy Refridgerators?
An excellent book for the layperson to understand where computing is headed and where the lines between life sciences and technology blur. Gershenfeld makes it easy to understand how our lives will be affected by the incredible advances we are making in all fields of science. This book belongs on the shelf right along side Kurzweil, Norman and Metcalfe. It will round out our comprehension of the future, both near and farther out on the horizon. I learned about PEM three-dimensional printers and how they will help us model our ideas. I learned about the all too easy use of buzzwords such as "fuzzy logic" to confuse the public into thinking something "new" is happening. I learned a great new definition for religion-"Beliefs about our existence that are not falsifiable have a central place in human experience-they're called religion." And I learned about a great place for students of all backgrounds to work together for fun and maybe even profit-the Media labs at MIT. And I found an answer to a question that has long been bothering me. "Marvin Minsky believes that the study of artificial intelligence failed to live up to its promise, not because of any lack of intelligence in the programs or the programmers, but because of the limited life experience of a computer that can't see, or hear, or move." Anyone with even a hint of questions about the future and what it might hold for us should pick up this book. It is marvelous reading, despite the weight of the subject matter!

4-0 out of 5 stars Do things have rights, too? Oh, Yeah!!!
Can you imagine books that can change into other books so all you need is one book or a pair of computerized shoes that communicates through your body network? "When Things Start to Think" is a book written by Neil Gershenfeld, director of the Media Lab at MIT that will let you get a head start for people who are interested in future technology development. The book gives a really good discussion on the digital evolution and answers three hard-to-answer questions: what are things that think, why should things think, and how will things that think be developed? Gershenfeld starts each chapter (idea) with a brief introduction and history background of the idea (technology). Then he discusses further into the development and current issues that are relatively close to the topic and maybe transforming it into a new concept with a little brainstorming.

Gershenfeld not only focuses on future technology development, but he also criticizes the perception that people have toward computers today. He suggests that people need attitude adjustment since the technology development is growing at an incredible rate. Digital money or smart money is an excellent example since everyone now does digital money transactions on-line. How do we adjust our attitude since we are rapidly changing from atom-money to bit-money? Gershenfeld has a very unique point of view. He also gives a fascinating opinion on why things should think, especially he proposes three rights for things: "have an identity, access other objects, and detect the nature of their environment" (Gershenfeld, 1999, p. 104).

"When Things Start to Think" is an easy-read book for people who not only looking for possible future technology development, but also are interested exploring the concepts and algorithms behind them. I found this book is very interesting and inspired me to explore further on the idea of "the personal fabricator" and the three rights for things. Some ideas he talks about in the book are very interesting, such as the wearable computer and the books that can change into other books. Some idea reminds me of another science fiction book "He, She and It." People might be excited and fascinated by these new ideas, but at the same time there is also one question we should ask ourselves: Are we ready? I would love to hear updated information of news experiments or ideas from Gershenfeld.

5-0 out of 5 stars A tour of the future....
When I first read the book, I was astonished at how intuitive everything was - well explained, well thought out, and extremely well written.

I still look at the newspaper on my coffee table and wait for the day that it can do the tricks that the author suggested! If you're into technology, and are even remotely involved with the internet, this book is for you...

And it will be for your children.

4-0 out of 5 stars Computers are for people...not the other way around.
The author of this book is clearly of the opinion that the "Digital Revolution" is more of what he calls a 'disinformation campaign'. His arguments are to the effect that computers and gadgets need to be responsive to human needs, this not being the case to this date. Computers should be a suit of clothes a person can wear (literally!!) and not a straightjacket, the author seems to say. We should expect more from computers, and the Digital Revolution should be for people, not computers.

The author is definitely correct in saying this, as computers are still difficult to use for most people. The author's book is an attempt to propose remedies for this state of affairs, and some of these are highly creative, making the book very interesting to read. Some of the more clever ideas include smart paper, wearable computers, and smart money. He also overviews more exotic notions of computation, such as DNA and quantum computation. These ideas and developments are all very exciting, and no doubt most of them will come about....and soon. ... Read more


8. Standard and Microscale Experiments in General Chemistry
by Carl B. Bishop, Muriel B. Bishop, Kenneth W. Whitten
list price: $71.95
our price: $71.95
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Asin: 0534424570
Catlog: Book (2003-05-08)
Publisher: Brooks Cole
Sales Rank: 868945
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This comprehensive lab manual contains a wide array of experiments without sacrificing organizational clarity and includes categories on Energy, Kinetics, and Equilibrium. All experiments have undergone significant testing before being finalized, and many microscale experiments have been added to allow for more efficient and cost-effective means of conducting experiments. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Nice lab mannual, lot experiments
this manual is highly recommended if you bought Whitten's General Chemistry text,by the way, that's really a nice textbook.
This manual is also very good. Lot of experiments organized in to many categories. But i think it will be better if it has more information on the lab instruments. ... Read more


9. Quantum Physics (Essential Science Series)
by John R. Gribbin, John Gribbin
list price: $7.00
our price: $6.30
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Asin: 0789489236
Catlog: Book (2002-11-01)
Publisher: DK Publishing Inc
Sales Rank: 69090
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Making science more accessible than ever before!

The Essential Science series makes the difficult and fascinating world of cutting-edge science accessible to everyone with a stimulating mix of lively illustrations and jargon-free text. Important scientific theories are explained clearly in these authoritative guides that feature cross-references, glossaries, and thorough indexes. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars So little and so much
I have read several books on Quantum physics and I have never come accross such clear explanations on some strange concepts ranging from black body radiation to QED and Quantum teleportation. And in only 70 pages! I think Gribbin's strength is in its ability to explain advanced concepts from the layman's point of view. ... Read more


10. Science Play!: Beginning Discoveries for 2-To 6-Year-Olds (Williamson Little Hands Series)
by Jill Frankel Hauser, Michael P. Kline
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
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Asin: 1885593201
Catlog: Book (1998-08-01)
Publisher: Williamson Publishing Company (VT)
Sales Rank: 25439
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding resource
My kids loved these fun learning activities. Enough to keep them busy through early childhood. Nothing canned here. . . all creative and discovery-focused. Makes biology and even physics accessable to very young children. You can't go wrong with this outstanding guide.

5-0 out of 5 stars This series is GREAT
This is really handy for the budding scientist in your preschooler. Experiements are written so that the early reader can understand and do the experiments on their own (it lets the reader know when a parent needs to help or supervise, such as when scissors are involved) and has question that the parent can use to further expand on projects. Also check this whole series, such as math play, arts and crafts from around the world, rainy day play, weather, shapes, etc. My son loves these activies. Plus for the price, you can't beat it. (...)

3-0 out of 5 stars Dissatisfied in Annandale
This book had some neat ideas and experiments, but not enough explanations for them. I have a very inquisitive 4 year old and this book just didn't satisfy his curiosity or my expectations.

5-0 out of 5 stars You can't find a better book for Early Childhood Science
As a science teacher who specializes in Early Childhood Science, you can't find a better book than this. It has good simple activities. It has different questions you can ask the children to stimulate their thinking. It has short explanations for grown-ups. It even has literature (read-aloud) suggestions. I've read a lot of science books, those published by educational publishers, those with fancy titles etc... and this is the one I recommend to our teachers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Preschoolers will love these fun "science" activities.
We bought "Science Play" not knowing the joy it wouldbring to our three year old. She LOVES this book! We enjoy doing theactivities with her and like that most "supplies needed" are items we have around the house. The activities are easy, fast and interactive so toddlers are kept interested. Another Bonus: No TV or Computer needed -- just Mom or Dads time. ... Read more


11. Plant Tissue Culture : Techniques and Experiments
by Roberta Smith
list price: $58.95
our price: $58.95
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Asin: 0126503427
Catlog: Book (2000-02-04)
Publisher: Academic Press
Sales Rank: 523295
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Book Description

Plant Tissue Culture, Second Edition provides laboratory exercises in plant tissue culture that demonstrate major educational concepts. The experiments can be conducted with a variety of plant materials that are available year round from easily accessible sources. This course book will give students diverse learning experiences in a semester course. New and experienced plant scientists in agriculture, university, and industry settings will also find this concise manual to be of great value.

Key Features
* Presents unique laboratory exercises using a variety of plant materials and step-by-step protocols
* Provides detailed line drawings that complement both introductions and experiments
* Includes supplementary sections
* Scheduling and interrelationships of exercises for teachers
* Tissue culture laboratory setup
* Supplies, media, and explant preparation
* Measurements
* Glossary of terms
* Exercises rigorously tested for practicality through years of course use
* Contains two new chapters
* History of Plant Cell Culture by Trevor Thorpe
* Woody Plants and Shrubs by Brent McCown
* Adaptable by teachers, students, researchers, and technicians
... Read more


12. Colour Atlas Of the Anatomy Of Small Laboratory Animals: Rat, Mouse, Golden Hamster
by Peter Popesko, Viera Rajtova, Jindrich Horak
list price: $145.00
our price: $145.00
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Asin: 0702027030
Catlog: Book (2003-01-14)
Publisher: W.B. Saunders Company
Sales Rank: 168000
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13. The Book of Inventions
by Ian Harrison
list price: $30.00
our price: $20.40
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Asin: 0792282965
Catlog: Book (2004-11-01)
Publisher: National Geographic
Sales Rank: 7317
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Book Description

This extremely lively-and intricately researched-book is a rousing romp through the history of inventions and their inventors through time, from the tiny paperclip-coined "the world's most valuable invention"-to the massive jet engine; from mastermind Leonardo DaVinci, to quirky, colorful, dual-cyclone-vacuum-cleaner inventor James Dyson.It could be called an "Encyclopedia of Inventions," but it feels like too much fun for this kind of appellation. Far from a stodgy compendium, this book provides the dates, details, and stories of how some of the most interesting and useful objects have been invented through time, presented in a colorful retro format and with a lively sense of humor. It fills a much-needed niche in the series of National Geographic reference books: consider it the pause that refreshes. The information is as equally authoritative as our other reference titles, but in this title you get another angle on the technical stuff-heavy on history and anecdote that accompanies the science of invention. Nine chapters are divided thematically and reveal how gadgets and gizmos have affected all aspects of our daily lives.They are: Around the House, In the Office, At the Doctor's, Getting Around, Cutting Edge, Eating and Drinking, Spare Time, Inventions Without Wings, and Patent Numbers.Entries include objects as diverse as the disposable diaper, zipper, hair dryer, photocopier, artificial heart, disposable syringe, intelligence test, hub gears, collapsible scooters for the handicapped, beta blockers, Viagrar, and the traffic light. The subjects covered range from the absurd to the life-saving, from the high-tech based on years of research and testing to the accident. The Post-it note, a product of the genius of Arthur Fry in 1974, was the lemonade of a failed attempt at making a strong glue. Fry succeeded in making a glue that didn't stick, and an invention that did. Percy Shaw's 1930s invention of road safety reflectors, called cat's eyes, was the product of a late night drive in Halifax where he was alerted to his veering off the road by the reflection of his headlights in a cat's eyes. The book's compelling and colorful layout-which mixes fun facts called "did you know", timelines, and photographs-offers a discrete entry with each spread, breaking down the scores of information into bite-sized bits for easy digestion. This reference book succeeds in making learning entertaining and fun. ... Read more


14. Homemade Lightning:Creative Experiments in Electricity
by R. A. Ford, Richard A. Ford
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 0071373233
Catlog: Book (2001-08-08)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics
Sales Rank: 227115
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

One of the best books on electrostatics for the hobbyists, inventor, or experimenter is updated and expanded to include newly uncovered information on electrostatic generators and complete instructions for building various types, including Wimshurst and Van de Graaff generators. Throughout the book, the author provides hard-to-find information on electrical anomalies, which represent the frontier of electrostatic research.

Covering theory and presenting electroscope and other construction projects and experiments, this handbook also includes experiments with electrohorticulture, gravitation and electricity, cold light, and electric tornadoes. Homemade Lightning is both an excellent first book for the building electrical experimenter and a superb book for accomplished experimenters who haven't spent much time with electrostatics. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Home Made Lightning
This book is eye opening in that it awakens you to the fact that many traditional explanations of electricity do not explain all of the properties of electricity. A wonderful reference work. The illustrations are old, perhaps because the research seemed to stop around the 1930's. His chapter 6 on "Theories of generator operation" is excellent. His statement that "It is fair to say that there are as many theories as there are inventors of original generator designs." inspirers you to learn about all of the other designs. The book is packed with extensive references and I have recently acquired many of them. Although his references concerning Nikola Tesla are not pronounced, at least he mentions him in chapter 21 "Some philosophical conclusions and insights". Final answer: If I lose the book, I'll buy another!

2-0 out of 5 stars Where's the Originality
There is an old saying to the effect: If you steal from one, it is plagiarism. If you steal from many, it is research.

On that basis, this is a well-researched book.

Without actually counting pages, my impression is that roughly a third of the book consists of facsimile reproductions of 100-150 year old news releases, advertisements, and journal reports. Most of the illustrations and pictures are of similar age.

The author does go into loving detail with regards to the construction of his machines -- essentially a copy of a Wimshurst with a modern drive system (dual axle-mounted motors vs one motor/crank driving a straight and a crossed belt).

The chapter on theory is only 5 pages long, and 3.5 of those are facsimile reproductions. I'm also surprised the author managed to get any output from his version of Kelvin's water drop generator -- his illustration shows the drops formed inches above the induction rings. A working device needs the drops to break loose from the water source just at the point of induction. In order for the drop to retain the charge as it falls into the collector it has to have the "repelled" charge pass from one-side, which means a continuous circuit from nozzle through source to other nozzle.

If deciding between this book, and A. D. Moore's "Electrostatics" (which was finally reprinted in 1997, 30 years after the original release), I recommend one consider "Electrostatics"

5-0 out of 5 stars Packed with info, could use more on dangers, yes, dangers
The book has great info, but read a lot more then this before implementing. Dangers exist with Hi Pressure, DC voltages. Science can be fun but a fully charged 1 quart Lyden Jar, or a 2 liter plastic soda bottle Lyden Jar will knock you down. It can be lethal. Read, then read again, don't experiment alone and make sure everyone can do CPR(having number for EMTS is good too). When they tell you make your own lightening, remember the dangers of lightening. Other then that, there are process' that are downright dangerous just to make, (electrophorus). The finished product is safe enough(maybe), but the process of manufacture is tricky and dangerous.

Other then that 5 stars, great, you will develope respect for that "Humble" foot dragging on the rug static snap you give the dog on his nose. You will understand why they ground your car at toll booths, before you hand the person at the booth.

Finally this book IS NOT for children. High Schooler Seniors maybe. BUT WITH SUPERVISION, CLOSE SUPERVISION, a Lab setting is preferential, with fire extinguishers, First Aiders and people who can tell if you are about to reach X-Ray Potentials.

5-0 out of 5 stars Modern, detailed view of mysterious subject
This is an area of science that seems neglected, hidden in the back room of the "mad scientist". however, this book details both traditional and moderns means of obtaining, using, measuring & studying aspects of static electricity, including history. Several projects containing relatively common materials compliment the theory. The author is very open minded about science in general, although sometimes to the extreme. All in all, a very informative, even enjoyable read for anyone interested in high voltage electrostatics.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wimshurst Machine and other wonderful information
This is a must buy book for the electrical experimenter and science/physics educator. Very well written with unusual and unexpected material. Beautifully illustrated. Great plans for Wimshurst machine to make 14 inch sparks! Kinetic gravity and countergravitation experiments/information and more! ... Read more


15. Designing Experiments and Analyzing Data: A Model Comparison Perspective
by Scott E. Maxwell, Harold D. Delaney
list price: $95.00
our price: $95.00
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Asin: 080583706X
Catlog: Book (1999-12-01)
Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Sales Rank: 301106
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Book Description

Rather than presenting each experimental design in terms of a set of computational formulas to be used only for that design, the authors use a model comparison approach to present a few basic formulas that can be applied with the same underlying logic to every experimental design. ... Read more


16. 47 Easy-to-Do Classic Science Experiments
by Eugene F. Provenzo, Asterie Baker Provenzo
list price: $4.95
our price: $4.95
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Asin: 0486258564
Catlog: Book (1989-03-01)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Sales Rank: 25187
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Book Description

Simple but enjoyable experiments teach youngsters principles of light, elasticity, perspective, gravity, air pressure, optics, more. Instructions, illus.
... Read more

17. The Mad Scientist Handbook: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Making Your Own Rock Candy, Anti-Gravity Machine, Edible Glass, Rubber Eggs, Fake Blood, Green Slime, and Much Much More
by Joey Green
list price: $11.95
our price: $8.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0399525939
Catlog: Book (2000-04-01)
Publisher: Perigee Books
Sales Rank: 15398
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Hey, Einstein! You don't have to be a genius to entertain and educate kids at the same time. Just give 'em The Mad Scientist Handbook--the greatest collection of creepy crafts, insane inventions, and freaky experiments ever devised. Packed with easy-to-understand instructions and simple illustrations, this engaging activity book will show kids how to:

Make oozing green slime
Build a high-speed balloon car
Cook up delicious edible glass
Create a tornado machine
Build an exploding volcano
Pass an egg through the neck of a bottle without breaking it
and much more!

Plus, they'll learn lots of weird facts along the way, like how every experiment in this book works and who figured it out first. It's the perfect handbook for every budding mad scientist.
... Read more

Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Science Teacher Recommendation
Smokebombs, stink bombs, slime and other gross interesting things fill this book. There are litterally hundred of interesting facts that go with each experiment. Don't worry about not doing well in chemistry, the directions are simple and the experiments are safe when the directions are followed.

3-0 out of 5 stars Some good ideas...
I liked some of the ideas. I like the interesting facts, and found the science explanations are accurate and very complete. I like the choice of experiments, and most of them are fun. (although I'm not sure all of them are especially safe for the younger mad scientist set), but I was disappointed that a decent number of the experiments simply don't work. I understand there's a margin of error, but as an adult (and a science teacher), When I can't make experiments work, I pity the poor children with the book.

2-0 out of 5 stars How to Cause Mayhem and Get in Trouble
Some of these "science experiments" are simple and relatively harmless. Others provide unsupervised children with recipes for disaster. The book should come with a child-proof cover or a trigger-lock. Not that it contains plans for thermonuclear devices, but several of the projects can damage property or cause injury if not properly carried out.

While each project has a set of fascinating "scientific" tidbits & trivia to go with it, the book is almost entirely lacking in helping children understand or use the scientific method or understand much of the basis for what they are doing. This is a "Mad Scientists' Club" handbook, just a several steps short of the Anarchists' Cookbook, but headed in that general direction.

On the other hand, parents may find themselves reliving their own nerdy & awkward years helping their children be "mad scientists." It could be great fun. But keep the book locked up. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing!

5-0 out of 5 stars Start with a batch of Green Slime..........
...and add one unruly First Grade class.

Okay, so first graders are a little young to use this book.

Maybe.

My son needed a Show and Tell project. He was anxious to do "science", since a classmate had demonstrated a vinegar and soda "bomb" just recently.

Enter The Mad Scientist Handbook. I accompanied him (as parents often do in his class) and assisted with the preparation. The Green Slime was a huge hit. Even better, my son is interested enough in science to want to do a Science Fair project this year. (We may make a lava lamp, for which instructions are included in this book.)

I can't recommend letting younger kids loose with this book and no supervision. But I can recommend several projects in this book as parent/child projects, or for demonstrations in a classroom full of younger children. The first graders we made Green Slime for now have a little different view of science. (Their wonderful teacher, who is so good at so many things, is uncomfortable with science -- she's convinced she's not able to teach it well, and she's not terribly inspiring in that one realm.) Maybe some of these children will keep on thinking science is fun for years to come.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rubber chicken bones...sparking lifesavers??!!
This is the most fun you can have with science without someone getting hurt. I have amuzed even adults with experiments from this book. The one that always gets them "ooing" and "aaing" are the sparking wintergreen lifesaver trick and the firecracker steel wool pad. THere are so many fun things to do in this book. If you know anyone who thinks that science is boring then you need to get this book and get them interested. I can't say enough good things about this book! Get it! ... Read more


18. Vacuum Bazookas, Electric Rainbow Jelly, and 27 Other Saturday Science Projects.
by Neil A. Downie
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691009864
Catlog: Book (2001-11-01)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 10498
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

How do you crack nuts with a piece of string? Reverse gravity? Cobble together a clock out of a coffee cup, a soda bottle, and some water? Use a vacuum cleaner and nineteenth-century railroad technology to fashion a makeshift bazooka that can launch paper projectiles? Create a rainbow in a block of Jello? This is a one-volume romp through a whole array of counterintuitive science experiments that require little more than common household items and a sense of curiosity. Prepare to have your surprise sensors on overload as Neil Downie stretches math, physics, and chemistry to do what they have never done before.

This book describes twenty-nine unusual but practical experiments, detailing how they are done and the math and physics behind them. It will delight both casual and inveterate tinkerers. Of varying levels of complexity, the experiments are grouped in sections covering a wide field of physics and the borders of chemistry, ranging from dynamic mechanics (''Kinetic Curiosities'') to electricity (''Antediluvian Electronics'') and combustion (''Infernal Inventions''). The chapters are titillatingly titled, from ''Twisted Sinews'' and ''Mole Radio'' to ''A Symphony of Siphons'' and ''Tornado Transistor.'' More-detailed explanations, along with simple mathematical models using high-school level math, are given in boxes accompanying each experiment.

Armchair scientists will welcome this edifying and entertaining alternative to idleness, not least for the buoyant prose, enriched by historical and literary anecdotes introducing each topic. With this book in hand, tinkerers, whether dabblers in science or devotees, students or teachers, need never again wonder how to impress friends, the judges at the science fair, and, not least, themselves.

... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars The bazooka is a good experiment
I enjoyed the book, but so far the only experiment we've done is the vacuum bazooka, for which I recommend using a wet vac and small water balloons as ammo.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Book
I've only had this book for a few days, but have found the projects unusual and offbeat. For the most part, they are not a rehash of old science projects. They are well described and each one has a good description of the science and math behind them. The illustrations are not overly detailed, but they do the job quite well. I found it a little odd that the description of what the project is about is separated from the chapter on the project. The summaries of what is interesting about the projects and simply what they do is in the front of the book. If you open to a project within the book, you'll wonder what the real appeal of the project is until you go to the front of the book.

The author is quite a tinkerer and at least one of the project toys is patented. I believe a few others are heading toward patents.

Several projects require access to a small amount of Mecanno (or Erector) set parts. These companies almost do not exist it the U.S. any longer. However, Brio recently started distributing Erector sets again. I'm sure one could find substitutes for the Mecanno parts at a local hardware store or maybe even make them. ... Read more


19. Earth Shelter Technology
by Lester L. Boyer, Walter T. Grondzik
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0890963029
Catlog: Book (1987-03-01)
Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
Sales Rank: 155513
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great but not for the novice
This is a comprehensive "high end overview" of the things you need to consider if you're going to design and build an underground house. It is not specific to a particular location or house design. As an engineer this book has provided me with a lot of insight into what I need to think about for my house. If you're looking for finished designs and building instructions this is not the book for you. It has been a great introduction for a house I'll be building in the Sierra foothills in the next few years.

2-0 out of 5 stars Long on concepts; short on formulas
(Rating should be about 2.5 stars)

"Earth Shelter Technology" reads more like a very long abstract than a technical reference itself. There are many (262) references for the 194 pages of text and figures. The book covers the basic ideas of earth sheltering pretty thoroughly, but unless you dig into the references, you're left with very little practical information that you'd need to design an earth-sheltered building.

I thought that I'd hit real meat with a formula for soil temperature as a function of depth underground and day of the year. Plug in mean temperature and annual temperature swing amplitude, and you're almost there. But this formula includes a constant for thermal diffusivity of the soil. Well, there's a table with thermal and other properties of various materials; BUT the authors left some blanks: the thermal properties for rock, heavy dry soil, or concrete -- precisely the materials of interest when constructing an earth-sheltered structure in dry areas -- are missing.

There are also many figures with axes labeled but not dimensioned; you can get a qualitative idea of how things relate, but nothing like a quantitative relationship.

The book is dated (copyright 1987); the references are of course even older, going back to 1949. The book reads as if written a decade earlier, though. The dated impression is partly due to the technology used in the book itself. There are no photographs; instead, there are hand-drawn ink illustrations that surely took quite a long time to produce, but lose much of the detail that a decent photograph would show (example: "Aerial view of the University of Minnesota Bookstore"). Also, the text refers to simulation programs for handheld calculators and for mainframes -- there's nary a mention of a PC.

There are very few alternative books on this subject, so I'd recommend it for a conceptual overview. But you won't find enough information here to design an earth-sheltered building.

4-0 out of 5 stars It's all here folks.
This is probably the only book that shows you how to engineer a underground house properly from start to finish. A must for anyone interested in underground building. Lots of illustrations, but no photos.

4-0 out of 5 stars Textbook pulling the underground neccesities together

Boyer & Grondzik have pulled together all of the disparate sources of information required to properly design an underground facility.

Although the book was written in 1987, there are no other books which have pulled together all of the design issues and formulas required to properly design a structure, including heating & ventilation, waterproofing techniques and studies of existing structures.

While people have been building and using underground housing for thousands of years, most of the published material consists of "how we did it" or analysis of ancient buildings. This is the first book I've found which brings the material required to properly engineer a design into one place.

The focus of the book is on the engineering aspects, so don't expect much in the line of architectural design. Site selection, including soil types and proper detailing for passive solar heating, load balancing for heating & cooling systems, drainage system design and proper daylighting design are all covered very well.

This is not the ideal resource, I would like to see a more current book, which would give analysis of exiting structures over a longer time-frame (many of the structures analyzed were built during the "energy crisis" of the 70's & early 80's, and thus only had a decade or so of occupation.)

Overall, if you are interested in designing an underground home which will provide a safe, secure and low maintenance facility, this is a good reference. Oh, you might find you can easily design a "no-power" dwelling, at least as far as heating/cooling costs. Unless you like paying utility bills....

This is a technical book, some engineering knowledge is desirable when reading it, but it is not beyond the level of a high school student with some physics. ... Read more


20. Laboratory Experiments for General Chemistry
by Harold R. Hunt, Toby F. Block, George M. McKelvy
list price: $75.95
our price: $75.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 003032906X
Catlog: Book (2001-09-10)
Publisher: Brooks Cole
Sales Rank: 872696
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Book Description

This established manual focuses on using non-hazardous materials to teach the experimental nature of general chemistry. Experiments are written to address students of various academic backgrounds, and differing interests and abilities in chemistry. While most experiments can be conducted in a single three-hour period, some have been designed to be completed over an extended time to illustrate that chemical systems do not work at an arbitrary schedule. Suggestions are provided for combining experiments of shorter length and similar pedagogy. ... Read more


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