Chemistry Question #1558

Carole Smith, a 40 year old female from Timmins, Ontario Canada asks on September 3, 2003,

My son, age 12 is asking for a chemistry set for Christmas. This is an area that has always interested him and I now feel is a good time to get him his request. I am having a hard time finding a location to buy a good chemistry set in Canada. I would be willing to start with a good top of the line starter set and then build on it. I have examined the Smithsonian Chemistry sets on the web and they are o.k. but I was hoping to purchase a set with a bunsen burner, tubes, etc... Could you please supply me with a place/person/store you know in Canada who could supply me with theses items. Thanks in advance

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on September 29, 2003

Your question was sent to several chemists and the answer may be disappointing. Due to modern day child safety concerns and sensitivity to liability through civil suits, today's chemistry sets are rather bland. Chemists who answered this felt the Smithsonian set was probably a good choice. They also said there was no need for a bunsen burner, which is very hot. An alcohol flame such as that used to heat fondue dishes was suggested, or a candle. In Canada most science centres in large cities sell chemistry sets so you could try there. An alternative is to search for websites about "Amateur Chemistry" and see what you can work out for yourself from things available around the house and at the local drug store. Examples are:

Mad Science

Leeds University Delights of Chemistry

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