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The Age of Wonders by Richard Holmes has a section of Humphry Davy, an early chemist and inventor of the safety lamp. I'll try and take a quick look at it over the next few days, to see if that might be suitable for you.

@ollypenrice I had a flick through the book above again, and I don't think it's the most suitable for learning some chemistry from. You might be better off with the Mendeleev book username recommended. I would recommend The Age of Wonders as a book, the sections on James Cook and Tahiti and William and Caroline Herschel were particularly interesting, but it's probably not best suited for your purposes.

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(Chemistry) A FINE subject thoughbut - Much more fun than Physics! Time to revisit those school subjects (teachers) made unattractive. Not the fault of Teachers tho'! For me, early (required) special

Glad I could help. A couple things I took from it: - Be glad for the view through even the meanest of telescopes. At least you don't have to make, form and frequently polish your own speculum mirrors,

It's quite lighthearted but an excellent read : "Uncle Tungsten" by Oliver Sacks. It's hardly heavy on subject matter but is a lovely, if fairly simple, place to start.

The regularity of the Periodic Table appealed significantly to me. The progression of properties up and down... across. A chance purchase of a "bargain basement" book (sadly long lost!) by Glenn T. Seaborg introduced me to electronic structure. Also, the idea that there were trans-Uranic elements (still) being discovered seemed / seems ever cool... :cool:

Rule #1: If they still make "Chemistry Sets", never dump Potassium Permanganate into Mum's sink. :D

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@ollypenrice I had a flick through the book above again, and I don't think it's the most suitable for learning some chemistry from. You might be better off with the Mendeleev book username recommended. I would recommend The Age of Wonders as a book, the sections on James Cook and Tahiti and William and Caroline Herschel were particularly interesting, but it's probably not best suited for your purposes.

Since I don't have any clearly defined purposes and have read fairly widely on south sea exploration, Cooke, Christian, Bligh et al, along with the Herschels, this sounds like the ticket, or one of the tickets! Thanks.

Olly

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Chemistry (at school)...was totally decontextualized. Here are some categries, here's how to write chemical equations. No thought to talk first about the nature of matter, about atoms, then molecules, no, just learn these symbols, learn the periodic table (even if you don't know what it is, why it is or what it refers to...

That, Olly, just about sums my whole experience I ever had with the education system; absolutely dysfunctional and a decontextualised mess. Not only regarding the sciences but also with the languages and humanities. I gave up with that game as soon as I could and left school as soon as possible to get on with properly educating myself.

Anyway, if you have a free ten or fifteen minutes each day, I'd really recommend Khan's Academy. Sign up for free; watch the videos, take notes and do the tests and watch how you progress.

Hope that is of interest.

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Hi Olly, I'm doing an Access to HE Diploma which includes chemistry and we use Khan Academy which Qualia has already recommended, so I'll second that (see this link https://www.khanacademy.org/science/chemistry). Coursera is another site that has been mentioned which I'm told by my fellow students is good but I've never tried it. Have fun, Bob :laugh:

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Since I don't have any clearly defined purposes and have read fairly widely on south sea exploration, Cooke, Christian, Bligh et al, along with the Herschels, this sounds like the ticket, or one of the tickets! Thanks.

Olly

Glad I could help. A couple things I took from it:

- Be glad for the view through even the meanest of telescopes. At least you don't have to make, form and frequently polish your own speculum mirrors, which only reflect 2/3rd of the light which falls on them. William Herschel had to fashion his own, using a mould of mud and horse dung.

- Very clever people can be very, very wrong - when they are missing a crucial piece of information. It's much easier to understand a theory than it is to devise it, and we shouldn't undervalue the scientific legacy we've inherited.

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... and we shouldn't undervalue the scientific legacy we've inherited.

Indeed we shouldn't, which is why I find it dismal that people who are chatting on their mobiles (Quantum theory, Relativity, Maxwell, Faraday, Newton, Hooke, Galileo...) one minute are prattling about the Mayan Long Count and Astrology the next.

I would like to see History of Science as an A level option instead of (or as well as) the tedious history of Kings and Queens on which I feel I wasted so much time.

Olly

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It's quite lighthearted but an excellent read : "Uncle Tungsten" by Oliver Sacks. It's hardly heavy on subject matter but is a lovely, if fairly simple, place to start.

Thanks, I like Oliver Sacks so I'll see if I can Kindle this one...

Olly

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