: New: Book Report: Excuse Me Sir, Would You Like to Buy a Kilo of Isopropyl Bromide?

Try to stay awake through the short description, because it gets better after: autobiography of a bench chemist. Max Gergel learned practical chemistry: someone wants some quantity of some substance X, Max is pretty good at making it. Some folks think they can figure that stuff out on paper, but Max did it for real, and has harrowing stories of brushes with fire, suffocation, poisoning, and other hazards. He also ran a chemical company and has small-businessman stories. When you read about a business idea for a new medicine they sold after testing it on just two people for a short while, you gain a new appreciation for the FDA. Max's company made chemicals for exterminators, and you get to learn some exterminator scams. E.g., if you're hired to eliminate termites in a building, remember to stash some mice in there while you work so you'll have more business later. Plus it's a story of being in the USA during World War II. Oh, and breaking and entering and... It's a good read. It's out of print now; since I'm in California, I could use LINK+ to borrow it. Thanks to Robert Bowdidge for pointing me at this book that I wouldn't have heard of otherwise.

Tags: book mad science link

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