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Theo Gray's Mad Science: Experiments You Can Do At Home - But Probably Shouldn't

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  218 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Author of the best-selling book The Elements Theodore Gray demonstrates essential scientific principles through thrilling daredevil experiments.

"What a magnificent book. It's gorgeous, playful, and draws you in." —Adam Savage, cohost of Mythbusters

"Theodore Gray…has attained a level of near superhuman geekery that the rest of us can only mutely admire." —Cecil Adams, "The
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published March 25th 2009 by Black Dog & Leventhal
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Nov 29, 2009 Heather rated it liked it
Shelves: science, non-fiction
Theodore Gray has an encyclopedic knowledge of chemistry and the elements and his knowledge and passion just ooze out of the pages in this thrilling science experiment book. What's in here? Making ice cream with liquid nitrogen, casting real silver bullets, preserving a snowflake for decades, electroplating your iPod and lots of things that burn or go BOOM!

But wait .. don't get too excited. Most of these experiments, as cool and mind stimulating as they are, have a high danger/explosive/toxicit
May 31, 2016 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
There's no vinegar and baking soda reactions in this book! It's stuffed with madcap experiments that generally outpace the average household. Science geek that I am, I would be unable / unwilling to do many of these experiments without my lab or local facilities yard.

That said, I love the way the book is written. The photographs are fantastic; more than once I caught someone reading this book over my shoulder on the train. I also appreciate the author maintaining a website ( with up
Thanks to Goodreads and the publisher for a free copy of Theodore Gray's Completely Mad Science!

This book is exactly what it says on the tin: science experiments that you should try out -- at least without serious amounts of safety equipment -- because wow, could they ever go wrong.

Really, this speaks to the beautiful curiousity of humans. (Why would you want to charge your iPhone using fruit? Especially when you're risking shocking yourself or frying your phone? The better question is why would
Sep 26, 2016 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Received this book via Goodreads Giveaway. -- What an interesting book. You can open up to any page and read about an experiment. Maybe some people can do some of these at home, but I doubt that I could. Just to name a few; BUILD YOUR OWN LIGHTBULB, MAKE ART WITH A PLASMA TORCH, and SAVE A SNOWFLAKE FOR DECADES. It's a great book to leave out and flip through when sitting around. Would also be great to show kids how cool science can be!
Mar 22, 2016 Skyler rated it it was amazing
Patricia P
Sep 26, 2016 Patricia P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: won-on-goodreads
This was great. Really enjoyed it.
Michael Roop
Apr 16, 2011 Michael Roop rated it it was amazing
Shelves: diy-books
Okay. I know. I just picked this book up today, how could I have read it that quickly? Then answer is simple. I haven't. It's a DIY book full of projects you can do all on your own with detailed instructions on how to do it and a bunch of fluff to fill it out. This book is impressive. There are few projects in here that are elementary to Jr. high level, while others are freakin hardcore bordering on the insane. I have already made a list of all the projects in this book that I plan on busting ...more
Martyn Lovell
Feb 09, 2013 Martyn Lovell rated it really liked it
Mad science is an anthology of Gray's columns from Popular Science - in which he does relatively dangerous, but nonetheless fun experiments in his home with a mixture of everyday materials and obscure elements. The book is beautifully illustrated, but unless you are confident and a little crazy you won't be trying most of these at home - the copious frank safety warnings tell you why to steer clear.

Each experiment is only a few hundred words, so the coverage is naturally shallow. The writing sty
Frederick Bingham
Oct 22, 2013 Frederick Bingham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was better than the second edition of the book. I especially liked the description of what happens when you combine sodium metal and chlorine gas: "Combining them borders on lunacy". I also enjoyed his description of how to handle gold leaf: "Brushes known as gliders' tips, made of red squirrel hair (none of that gray squirrel crap mind you) are used to pick up the sheets by static electricity." Unfortunately none of the experiments he describes are way beyond what us ordinary people are ...more
Oct 18, 2013 Alex rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
Another great book from Theo Gray. I don't think I liked it as much as his The Elements, but still a good read. I was expected it to contain more experiments that you could actually (practically and safely) do at home in hopes of using them in my chemistry classroom, but it was more of an FYI kind of read. There were a few that I think I could pull off, but most are too dangerous or too expensive. However, the pictures and explanations and history are FANTASTIC as always, and I will certainly ...more
Jun 18, 2010 Gord rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reference, technology
I've been waiting to get my hands on this one. Theo Gray has the temerity to show you how to do some experiments that must have given the publisher's lawyers fits.

Making salt? Sure. Sugar rockets? Check. Thermite?!? You betcha.

I'm really liking this movement back to giving readers a bit of credit. We're capable of thinking for ourselves and following directions and it's refreshing to be treated like an adult.
Aug 23, 2009 Vanessa rated it it was amazing
Such a neat concept with lots of awesome experiments, cool results, and info about the elements. The only downside is that many of the experiments require very specialized equipment. Still, definitely fun for the armchair scientist.
Aug 30, 2016 Tiffany rated it really liked it
It read much more like an actual book compared to "Elements" and "Molecules". This one is not jam packed of gorgeous photos. I have really enjoyed reading about the variety of reactions, some simple and some complex.
Dec 07, 2014 Lafcadio rated it really liked it
Shelves: honeydew, classy, hall
The subtitle says it all. These experiments are dangerous and fascinating... and possible to do at home.
Sep 13, 2015 Dean rated it it was ok
Mad Science Experiments was o.k. In looking for things I could and might try, this book wasn't too helpful. However, some of the experiments were very creative and interesting.
Jun 06, 2016 Ed rated it liked it
Fun to read but I wouldn't recommend trying many if any of the experiment that are shows. Most of them are dangerous to very dangerous. But fun to read.
Stephen Chuang
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Theodore Gray is the author of 'The Elements' and 'Mad Science: Experiments You Can Do at Home-But Probably Shouldn't', and of Popular Science magazine's 'Gray Matter' column. He is the proprietor of and the creator of the iconic photographic periodic table poster seen in universities, schools, museums, and on TV shows from 'MythBusters' to 'Hannah Montana'. In his other life, he ...more
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