Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2007 08:17:35 -0400
Reply-To: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Subject: In Search of an Old-Fashioned Chemistry Experience

DCHAS members may be interested in this PBS story on the risks of  
home chemistry...

FIWI, I can't say my childhood chemistry set experience was either  
"fun" or "educational".

- Ralph

In Search of an Old-Fashioned Chemistry Experience

FIFTY YEARS AGO, YOU'D BE HARD-PRESSED to find an American family  
without a chemistry set lurking somewhere in the house. It was one of  
those rare toys that was both fun and educational, helping kids  
equate science with excitement—after all, building an exploding  
volcano in the living room never gets old.

But say "chemistry set" to a kid today and you're likely to get a  
blank stare or a snicker in response. While the sets still  
technically exist, they rarely contain any real "chemicals," thanks  
to safety and liability fears; they also characterize scientists as  
crazy and eccentric rather than respectable and intelligent. This may  
be fueling kids’ declining interest in science, as evidenced by the  
fact that the percentage of students pursuing college chemistry  
degrees today is down by two-thirds since the 1960s. Could the  
disappearance of the old chemistry sets be somewhat to blame? A lot  
of scientists say yes.

Join host Adam Rogers as he mourns the disappearance of the  
ubiquitous home chemistry set, explores the decline of America's  
science climate, and contaminates himself with radioactive uranium.  
Check out our sidebar story and discover what some long-distance  
learning teachers are doing to combat the problem using little more  
than a penny and a head of cabbage.

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