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Washing my socks with conkers ? Bonkers!
on 11 August 2009
I've never been much of scientist, but I have to admit that dating a physics geek has made me want to know a little more. But I don't want boring texts books - I want things I can actually see being done, and that are, more importantly, fun .
So, for my birthday, treated myself to a selection of books published by New Scientist magazine, including 'Does anything eat wasps' , 'Do polar bears get lonely' and this one, 'How to fossilise your hamster'.
While the first two are books answering various questions, this book actually contains lots of experiments , of the type that can be easily and safely performed in your own home using easily obtained ingredients. These experiments are divided up into categories depending on which room would be the best room to perform them in, and each experiment takes about a page and a half to explain, so there's nothing too heavy going . Some experiments are accompanied with easy to understand diagrams that illustrate the results or how to set things up correctly .
Experiments range from turning eggs green using the water from cooking red cabbage, measuring the speed of light using a chocolate bar and a microwave, washing your clothes with conkers, and of course fossilising your hamster (although you should make sure it's dead first!)
Over the last couple of days my daughter and myself have done a few of the experiments - such as leaving dirty coins in cola to clean them, and testing out the theories that hot water freezes faster than cold water, and that a snapped strand of spaghetti will always snap into 3 pieces .
We plan to go shopping on tuesday to get a few items needed for some of the others - we're both particularly keen to try the coke and mentos experiment, having watched it on youtube .
We've had fun with the book so far, and we plan to have much more . Some of the experiments can be a little messy (which of course will delight the youngsters but leave the oldies with plenty of cleaning to do).
I like the range of experiments, and especially like the fact that no special equipment is required . The explanation of the results of some of the experiments can be a little basic - but then this book does claim to be aimed at the 'armchair scientist' so I wasn't really expecting too much detail - and I can always supplement the information with a quick web search.
I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone with an interest in science who wants something uncomplicated and fun . I'd also very much recommend this to parents, as it seems a great way to encourage a child's interest in science .
Overall, a great fun book, highly recommended.