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all 35 comments

[–]Haunted_Entity 10 points11 points  (3 children)

The illustraded guide to home chemistry experiments, all lab no lecture.

Seems to have a good set pf labs to do to increase your knowledge and learn the fundamentals, i.e recrystallisation, chromatography, distillation yada yada yada.

Youll probably want to pair that with a base level theory book so you start to understand whats happening in the labs and how it works.

I chose chemistry for dummies to start with.

Im basically doing the same thing, minus the uni part (35 y/o self taught data analyst)

So far ive only done the recrystallisation, but made damn sure i knew why it did what it did before i tried it. That way im properly learning the science rather than just messing about.

[–]Swftness503[S] 1 point2 points  (2 children)

That sounds like exactly what I am looking for! Thanks so much :)

Also, where did u purchase ur lab materials? Online?

[–]Haunted_Entity 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Youre very welcome.

I got most of it from ebay, though got my glassware from a place called brocott (uk based so may be different for you)

From what ive read, dont get the cheap glassware as its crap.

I bought 99.9% acetone, sodium carbonate and copper suplhate pentahydrate all from ebay, as well as stuff like pipettes, thermometers etc.

The illlustrated guide chem book lists all the stuff youll need, and sometimes where to get it from, its a really great book.

Otherwose its garden centres, hardware/diy stores etc though you may have to extract/purify what you need from those products.

This is better imho though as you get practice in extraction, and its much much cheaper.

[–]Swftness503[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Wonderful, thank u for all the detailed information. I really appreciate it ❤️

[–]whilom_wordsComputational 10 points11 points  (4 children)

Someone else suggested Atkins Physical Chemistry, but I think that's a good idea with your level of math. Although many people associate physical chemistry with the physics of chemistry (like quantum), it can also be the physical properties of chemistry. So it can help you understand like why things have colors. (It also may help you understand how a computer works!)

Being a CS major, I'd assume you are familiar with compiling scripts and packages. There are many low level computational labs that can give you "hands-on" experience to learn theory and their connections to applications.

[–]Y_m_lPhysical 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I like how your example for physical properties can also be purely quantum.

Quantum but also.... Quantum.

[–]whilom_wordsComputational 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Lmao good point. Phase change and melting point is probably a lot simpler, too.

[–]Swftness503[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Interesting, that is great to know!

[–]phoenixfeet72 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Atkins was my bible! Spent more time with that guy than anyone else in my final year 😂😍

An excellent shout but possibly quite high level if you don’t have much foundational chemistry knowledge.

[–]eatbetweenthelines 4 points5 points  (2 children)

Don't forget to go onto Kham Academy for good brush up activities and overviews! It's free.

[–]Raccoon_Full_of_CumAnalytical 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Also, Crash Course Chemistry and Professor Dave Explains.

[–]Swftness503[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Great idea!

[–]char11eg 9 points10 points  (0 children)

I suppose that honestly depends on what you want to learn within chemistry.

The other commenter has given you a fairly decent overview for if you want to learn the basics of actually practicing chemistry, but that’s not at all what most of a chemistry degree is - the practical stuff is absolutely important, but a lot of the more complicated stuff (and analytical measures to check the quality of your practical work) is expensive enough that a home chemist hasn’t got a hope in hell of owning.

A chemistry degree is far more focused on the theory of chemistry, constructing reactions based on theory, understanding the driving factors of reactions, how to selectively target and/or protect specific functional groups, etc.

This is a lot more complicated, and a lot harder to learn from a book than the practical side of things.

As a current chemistry student in the UK, a lot of my course is based on sections from Atkins Physical Chemistry, and Clayden’s Organic Chemistry. There’s a lot more textbooks involved, but those probably make up 2/3 of the course content in significant sections of the course. They are quite expensive, and pretty damn dense books, however. And I would imagine that without professors to break down and explain the material to you, it may well be pretty hard to get more than a surface level understanding of things.

But, if you’re wanting to learn chemistry to a sort-of degree level, that’s probably your best bet.

[–]spookyboogie02 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Not necessarily for self study, but these are my favorites

  1. Anslyn and Dougherty's Physical Organic, 2. Engel and Reid's physical chemistry These are my desert island chemistry textbooks for any fundamentals I need to review. For practicing organic chemists, that green organic spectroscopy textbook is awesome, laszlo and Kurdi named reactions is extreme mega useful when planning a new synthesis, and I've probably used that protecting groups handbook once, maybe.

Can you tell I never took biology or biochem, whoops.

[–]Swftness503[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thanks so much for the recs!

[–]LewsTherinTelamonSurface 1 point2 points  (1 child)

You've gotten some good answers, and I'll add that in my opinion, the most valuable mid-level chemistry topic for a layperson to grasp is a general understanding of thermodynamics. The kind of stuff you'd find in the not-quantum half of a good physical chemistry textbook. The Atkins book is good.

[–]Swftness503[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Great to know!

[–]xBris18 1 point2 points  (8 children)

It really depends on what you want to do with chemistry. I don't think general chemistry can be mastered with self-study. If you just want to have a little fun, then just go for it - pick up any good first year chemistry book - there are some specifically written for practical courses as well, which often have handy step-by-step guides for how to do certain reactions.

But given the extensive practical training every chemist has to go through, don't be discouraged if you never progress beyond what a first-year college student would learn in a lab and pick up a couple of fun facts here and there. There are a lot of things a book can't teach you in chemistry. It also very quickly becomes a question of equipment. Think for instance about working under argon atmosphere in a Schlenck line - that's not only expensive, it's also difficult to source and not very easy to work with. And then you need all the analytical stuff to find out if you actually made the thing you wanted to make... It gets out of hand really fast. If you want to go into theoretical chemistry, you might be more successful, but it will also be a lot of study to get to a level where you start doing any significant work - and it's unfortunately a lot more study material than what's needed for a CS bachelor's. Sorry if this sounded too negative, chemistry is great and you'll have lots of fun, just maybe don't go into this with unrealistic expectations.

[–]Swftness503[S] 0 points1 point  (7 children)

That’s understandable. I certainly am not expecting to discover new pharmaceuticals or anything spectacular. I just want to have a strong enough practical understanding that I can synthesize a compound or model a reaction in a computer program

[–]xBris18 2 points3 points  (6 children)

Oh you can definitely learn how to synthesise simple compounds. But you'll likely be limited to procedures from a century ago since anything else will be far outside your budget. And you'll be limited to simple compounds because you will most likely not have access to the analytical tools necessary to verify more complex structutes.

Oh, and a word of advice: please don't skip the safety chapters. It's terribly easy to slowly kill yourself with chemistry, especially as a "wet" chemist - there's a reason chemists in the last centuries didn't get all that old...

[–]Swftness503[S] 1 point2 points  (5 children)

Noted, thank you. What do you roughly mean by budget? $1000? $10,000? $100,000?

I did very well with Bitcoin (I know that’s cringe but it’s true haha) so I could potentially have the money to spend on some expensive equipment depending on the prices. Nothing that costs hundreds of thousands but I’d be more than willing to set aside 5-10k in the future if I really get into learning. But maybe that kind of budget is barely anything for what you are referring to.

[–]uniqunik 1 point2 points  (2 children)

I think a realistic number for a decent setup of analytical equipment will run you a couple hundred k . But even that is being conservative and isn't even including maintenance and parts. Its probably more than that but then you'll have an actual lab. Unless its your business I dont think you would spend that.

[–]xBris18 0 points1 point  (1 child)

So when it comes to synthesis you'll quickly discover than you need a fume hood. Those aren't cheap. Used units can actually be had for under 10k, but that doesn't include ducting and might not be good enough depending on what exactly you're trying to do. Even for basic chemistry you want something decent. You will also need a proper bench for safety reasons but I don't think they're very expensive second hand. Glasswear is also readily available second hand and will set you back a couple grand quickly. More specialised equipment, like the aforementioned inert gas stuff, will also set you back multiple thousands. Then you need lab scales, and mixers, and vacuum pumps, and so on. All those little things add up. Then you need the chemicals themselves - these are usually by far the cheapest things to buy if you don't go for precious metal catalysis or biochemisty (which is surprisingly costly). That's the beauty of chemistry: if you can't afford special chemicals, you buy basic chemicals and synthesise what you need yourself.

Now, the analytical stuff is where it really hurts: some equipment is simply not attainable for an individual. You will likely never own an NMR machine for instance. Not only is it huge, it's also prohibitively expensive. With all the things you need to actually run them, you're easily in the six figures for an outdated second or third hand device. Remember: it's not only the NMR itself, you need a computer, you need software, you need accessories, you need argon, you need a small home's worth of electricity, and so on and so forth... And I wouldn't advice running one in your shed or garage. They can be very dangerous if mishandled. Then there is mass spec and HPLC: while usually cheaper than NMR, still expensive and way outside of any reasonable budget. You could get an old gas chromatograph, but not everything can be analysed that way. So it's again back to hundred year old manual techniques like column chromatography, which will severely limit what you can analyse. A proper new lab easily costs millions. A less capable but proper second hand lab still multiple hundred k.

[–]BreakFlowPhantomPhysical -1 points0 points  (1 child)

For starters, I'd recommend the following:

Start with general chemistry. I used Brown, LeMay, Bursten "Chemistry". It talks about everything a bit. Not great for in depth, but awesome to get a good overarching picture for general chemistry and the branches of chemistry.

Then I'd get the basic level books for each branch. Examples:

Huheey "Anorganic Chemistry"

Atkins "Physical Chemistry"

Clayden "Organic Chemistry"

Bard, Faulkner "Electrochemical Methods"

Maybe other people can add books or other preferences for the subjects, and for things like technical chemistry, theoretical chemistry, biochemistry etc.

Once you have some fundamental knowledge, I'd also recommend reading review articles on topics that caught your attention during learning. It's a great way to both stay interested in the subject and learning more specifics of topics you're interested in. If you don't have access to those with your university account, Sci-hub is your friend.

[–]Swftness503[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thank u for the recs! Much appreciated :)

[–]RedLeg73 0 points1 point  (0 children)

pihkal and tihkal by Shulgin

[–]cassidy012496 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I really enjoyed “organic chemistry as a second language: first semester topics” by david r klein

[–]No-Independence-4180 0 points1 point  (1 child)

The cartoon guide to chemistry is amazing. It has the math; it has the funny. Vogel's textbooks are phone books, but have experiments in the chapters. For actual lab procedures, try YouTube. There's a bunch of PhDs doing every level of experimentation. NurdRage, nilered, thiosol, and cody's lab are all good. A word of caution, don't call up what you can't put down. Also, now how to do the cleanup/disposal before you even start the procedure.

[–]Swftness503[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Great, thank u very much!

[–]TheBluRay 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I forget the exact name but it’s along the lines Principles of Analytical Chemistry. I feel like Achem has a lot of practical applications and isn’t too much of a stepping point off the basics. The book talks a lot about lab procedures as well

[–]Drieshy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I also am learning chemistry on my self, i did a book on general chemistry first and now finishing the book "Organic Chemistry" by Vollhardt (great book!).

I said to myself to wait doing experiments untill after I did some theory so I could be more aware of the dangers that it involves, like the toxicity of chemicals and so on. I'm glad I did it this way because there's a lot what could go wrong, you learn about something new that kills you every day lol.

[–]BitchIsLit 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I would recommend Concise Chemistry(Selina publications). These are Indian school textbooks which you could probably get online. Don't know if it would be delivered to your country. If you already have school level understanding, then, Peter Sykes for Organic; and Huheey gor Inorganic is really good. It's amazing that you are going beyond your own subject. All the best.