Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Alpha Chi Sigma

This boingboing post brings back memories. My dad gave me my first chemistry set as a Christmas present when I was in Primary 5. There were 6 chemicals in it, stored in opaque plastic bottles that had child-proof anti-tampering caps, along with two test tubes, a test-tube holder, a pair of tongs for handling the test-tubes and an alcohol lamp. (The alcohol was not provided, and I had no idea how to get it - the addresses of the vendors listed were all in the USA, and this was the pre-internet age). In the end, I resorted to sneaking into the kitchen late at night to use the gas stove to heat up my chemicals, and got an earful from my mum when I was found out.

Of the 6 chemicals, I remember cobalt(II) chloride, copper(II) sulfate, sodium carbonate and potassium ferricyanide. I wonder if that particular set was from the same company as that referred to by Thompson, even though this was already the late 80s. The upper primary Science syllabus given in school was very basic, and much of it devoted to botany. (Remember the Angsana tree?) It was very boring; then these chemicals fascinated me. They listed the chemical formulae, and the 11-year-old I was then couldn't fathom the combination of letters and numbers in one word. K3[Fe(CN)6]. It looked so alien, and algebra was only taught from secondary school (still into the future) onwards. But it got me hooked, and started me on my still-not-so-long association with the Central Science.

ACS recruitment letter


SM said...

Did the chemistry set you had provide distilled/deionized water? Just curious.

takchek said...

No, I wish! haha.

bubblene said...



i could never, never ever fully comprehend nor appreciate chemistry...

maybe that explains why i'm not in that field! :p

SM said...

Oh so it was the fire-burning type :)