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Theo Gray, in his element, in a book

From humble elements (nature’s own) did Theo Gray make a nifty book, just published, called Mad Science, chock full of experiments you should absolutely not do unless you are sure you can do them safely and have extremely good reason for your certainty, in which case you will wear good safety goggles and all other sensible safety equipment, and take all the precautions Theo advises and also any other precautions that ought to be taken, and you will enjoy the experiments and so will everyone who observes them while themselves taking all sensible safety measures that ought to be taken by any observer.

Theo was awarded the 2002 Ig Nobel chemistry prize, for gathering many elements of the periodic table, and assembling them into the form of a four-legged periodic table table. That led, indirectly, to Theo writing a monthly Popular Science column, and that column grew into this book, presumably the first of a series. If you came to the Improbable Research session at the AAAS meeting in Chicago this past February, you saw and heard Theo describing all this with elemental glee.

Theo’s latest video (of a series springing, so to speak, from the book) shows how one can use ham to cut steel.

[NOTE: This is a golden age for the writing of good books about so-called “mad science,” a phrase that has, in other times, somehow inspired the writing of many less-than-admirable reports. If you enjoy Theo Gray’s book, chances are exceedingly high you will also be enthralled by Reto Schneider’s similarly named and just-as-strongly-yet-very-differently wonderful book—The Mad Science Book. The pair of books, together, are a combination even more pleasing than its delightful constituent parts.]

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