Could you introduce yourself?
I am Samuel, a 19-year old student in the UK who just finished A level, having studied biology, chemistry and mathematics, and am currently on the first year of my Masters of Chemistry degree at the University of Warwick with the aim to eventually become an academic and public speaker in the field. I have a deep passion for a variety of hobbies, including writing, ant keeping, growing plants, and, of course, home chemistry and science communication!
Sooo, what is this blog about?
Welcome to my blog ’18thTimeLucky – Amateur Experimentalism’, or just 18thTimeLucky! It is where I can write to my heart’s content about chemistry without the restrictive format of exams. Hopefully capturing both the serious and fun side, I aim to report on my chemical endeavours at home including my inevitable mistakes, although I will always try to end the post with a success. I roughly try to use the format of a scientific paper as this acts as a good layout for my posts.
The ability of some experiments to constantly keep the desired result out of your reach forms the basis of my name ’18thTimeLucky’, an obvious play on the common phrase ‘3rd time lucky’. It describes the patience and perseverance of the chemist as despite an experiment failing repeatedly, they continue regardless due to the combination of their stubbornness and the slightest chance of the pleasure of a success.
I will try to cover topics on this blog such as extractions of chemicals from everyday products, synthesis of both inorganic and organic compounds, as well as popular chemistry demonstrations, with the possibility of branching out to other areas such as crystal growing. As I mentioned, I am no expert in chemistry, but this provides the chance for both of us to learn together through the progression of this blog.
Huh, so why Chemistry?
Chemistry is, literally, everywhere, and I love the heightened ability it provides to understand and appreciate the world around us, especially with skills to manipulate all the chemicals that we constantly use and surround ourselves with at a domestic level. Extremely strange to me is that ‘Chemical’ is often seen as a negative term – mostly associated with substances put in our food, or weapons used in war – but as a chemist, which absolutely anyone can be if they open to it, you realise the beauty in them.
Nothing can compare to the extraordinary blue of a copper(II) sulfate crystal; nothing comes close to the pure awe of various metal salts climbing like plants at visible speed during the Crystal Garden demonstration; nothing nears the emotions and personalities many chemicals seem to possess.
Some obviously wield dangerous properties, yet they never seem antisocial, or against the chemist, just that they demand extra respect from you. Coming from someone who has been victimised by bullying in the past, I can say how many of the substances almost feel like friends with their individual characters; for instance, I feel quite a close connection with copper(II) sulfate, never-failing to lift my mood and provide me with a smile on the rare occasion its name is mentioned.
I will note though that I may be using these confusing large chemical names, but I assure you they are not there to bar the inexperienced, only a means of classifying the endless supply of infinitely unique compounds ready for you to explore – even common table salt, having the scientific name of sodium chloride, produces dazzling, perfect cubic crystals as seen further below which are extremely easy to grow.
Very interesting! I’ll definitely have a look around!
I’m glad, I hope you enjoy your stay!
All of the pictures on this blog, unless stated otherwise, are my photographs which I have taken during my experiments. I will leave you with a few sodium chloride crystals, and my iconic copper(II) sulfate crystal below, for your pleasure; all lovingly home-grown.