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MacBeth's Chemistry Opinion

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New!  The Joy of Chemistry (Warning:  This is a  wonderful new book, with labs included...easy to understand, and uses common and familiar items...but, you might need to take a black marker to the preface and introduction, as the authors compare this book briefly to The Joy of...something else.)

  • Stories of the Invisible

  • Bright Earth  Find out about the chemistry, history, and language of color!

  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (reference "must have")

  • Molecules at an Exhibition : Portraits of Intriguing Materials in Everyday Life by John Emsley  This is such a fun book that the one objectionable chapter is excused (see end of review).  Chemicals are grouped in "galleries" of similar molecules, and the author gives us a neat story of the history of the stuff and its use or effect on the body or the world.  The first gallery includes chocolate, cola, garlic, and selenium.  Other chapters include the metals we need in the body, chemicals in the home, harmful chemicals (including some drugs), plastics, common elements, radioactive elements, and more.  I do wish that the author had included a diagram of the molecules he lists, and he makes the unsupported assertion that the world is overpopulated by humans during a chapter on chemicals and sex.  So skip chapter three, or talk about it, but the rest of the book is fascinating.

  • The Chemical History of a Candle by Michael Faraday was written as a series of lectures by the famous scientist himself.  The science is clear, and you can follow the experiments along with Faraday.

  •   The Mystery of the Periodic Table

  • The Periodic Kingdom by P. W. Atkins follows CM's suggestion for science of a literary character.  The periodic table of elements is treated as a geographical place, with each element being a different country, similar to the countries surrounding it, but with subtle differences.  This is an excellent introduction to the elements.  

  • Camelot Chemistry Primer (from Shekinah Curriculum Cellar) is the best work/text for chemistry I have seen.  It is literary and fun, but includes the mathematical chemistry that a serious science student needs.  This book will help quantify all of the qualitative information he has learned through years of nature study.

  • Life's Matrix: A Biography of Water by Philip Ball tells us all about water, from the moment of creation (Big Bang) to the present.  Water, a common molecule, is unique!

  • Mendeleyev's Dream : The Quest For the Elements by Paul Strathern (history of the periodic table of elements)

  • The 13th Element : The Sordid Tale of Murder, Fire, and Phosphorus by John Emsley (real life drama about phosphorus--engaging!)

  • The Chemical Tree: A History of Chemistry by William Brock (history of this science in 744 pages!)

  • Chemical Magic by Leonard Ford (old-fashioned demonstration book--dove-tails nicely with history of chemistry, but some of the experiments are dangerous!)

  • Radioactive Substances by Marie Curie (Madame Curie's thesis; great for physics and chemistry students)


Laboratory Manuals and Equipment

Much of the following material is available off-site, from sources other than Amazon.  To keep things simple, I have used as few suppliers as possible.  You may find other sources for these materials, but these links are provided to give you a place to start.

The following lab manual is from Castle Heights Press.  Written by Kathleen and Mark Julicher, these manuals  are meant for use in small schools or the homeschool.  The labs contain clear instructions and are simple to do in the home, yet provide the student with solid high school laboratory experience.

Experiences in Chemistry

Equipment and supplies available from:  


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