A Set of Memories
I very much enjoyed James M. Schmidts article Yesterdays Toy in the September 2000 issue of Todays Chemist at Work [p 42]. I had several chemistry sets when I was growing up and the fun that I had with them certainly was a major factor in my decision to pursue a career in chemistry. Interestingly, I was given my first chemistry set, made by Gilbert, about 1949 by a girl friend in my 5th grade class, who had gotten it for Christmas but didnt find it very interesting. I later had a Senior Chemcraft set and an advanced Gilbert set. Its unfortunate that chemistry sets are considered too dangerous for children in todays society.
Robert G. Lewis
Research Triangle Park, NC
When I was a Cub Scout in Westchester, NY, Don Herberts wife was our den mother. I have vivid memories of various dramatic demonstrations by Mr. and Mrs. Wizard at our den meetings, some of which involved chemistry the volcano eruption, for example. I, too, had the Gilbert Chemistry Kit, but I remember augmenting some of the supplies with materials obtained from the hardware and drug stores, anywhere I could find interesting chemicals. I had a bottle of muriatic acid (32% HCl) and, looking back, I was lucky I didnt hurt or maim myself permanently.
Your September 2000 article in Todays Chemist At Work, entitled Yesterdays Toy Becomes Tomorrows Trade, really brought back some important memories for me. As a youngster in the 50s and 60s, who finally received a Gilbert Chemistry Set after many years of yearning, I truly enjoyed and appreciated James Schmidts article about the history and personal impacts of chemistry sets on Americas youth.
Its a darned shame that they dont make em like they used to.
I can honestly admit that that wondrous Christmas morning, when I was finally presented with a Gilbert Chemistry Set, was a major turning point in my scientific development.
More on IR
In his October 2000 article (Expanding the Scope of Forensic Science, p 44), William Atkinson omitted one of the largest suppliers of FT-IR microscopes from his list. Bio-Rad Spectroscopy Division, formerly the Digilab Division, introduced the first FT-IR microscope in 1983. This product, developed in conjunction with Spectra-Tech, revolutionized the area of infrared spectroscopy. A magazine with as large a circulation as Todays Chemist at Work, which is a resource for all chemists from the technician to the researcher, should have included this information in its article.
Ellen V. Miseo
Technical Product Manager
Bio-Rad Spectroscopy Division
Authors Reply: Dr. Miseo is welcome to make her observations, but she must appreciate that in 2000 words it is impossible to offer a compendium of all products and all manufacturers in the rapidly growing field of infrared microspectroscopy.
William Illsey Atkinson
North Vancouver, Canada
Editors Note: The table of suppliers in the above-mentioned article was compiled by the Todays Chemist at Work editorial staff. We regret that we were unable to include all IMS suppliers.
Thanks for an excellent Why I got in this business editorial in the September 2000 issue of Todays Chemist at Work [p 7]. What I miss now is the smell of chemistry, which for me was part of the exotic allure. I know it wasnt good for us to be gassing ourselves with Aitch-2-Ess generators on open benchtops, but it smelled like chemistry. Now everything is instruments.
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