Ever felt that the experiments you did at school were a bit lacking? Still think that baking soda volcanoes and potato clocks are the coolest things chemistry can show you? You sir, are in for a treat! What we’re about to show you are some of the coolest science experiments that probably wouldn’t kill you to try (But don’t try them, just in case). So, in no particular order, here we go!
Up first is a classic: Mercury Thiocyanate starts off as a white, powdery, pretty boring solid, but upon heating turns into a terrifying black serpent that wouldn't look out of place being summoned in by Imhotep himself!
Now this made the list for a couple reasons, one, its freakin' cool, and two it used to be a chemistry demonstration that schools would do, because it demonstrates its principles really effectively, and is really reliable. It does however, give off some cyanites as it forms, which are probably not the best of things to breathe in.
Screaming Jelly Babies
Perhaps a little too cathartic for science teachers to demonstrate, the sound of a jelly baby howling as it combusts and breaks down means that this is easily the most metal addition to our list. Especially if you line up all the rest of the jelly babies to watch, but that may have just been my science teacher, who was a little scary to say the least.
This is on this list not only because it's brutal, but because it's pretty safe, so long as you don't stare into the tube as the reaction progresses, and again it shows actual science in a really effective way!
Probably the most recognisable and well-known experiments on this list, and recommended by 80% of elephant dentists, this combines science and fun in a really easy to make package. It’s also an example of ‘'hollywood science', where you just mix two liquids, and boom, instant huge reaction, which is always a plus in our book.
This couldn't not take a place on this list, it's easy, almost impossible to not impress, and is nearly safe from the moment the foam settles!
Explosive Ash Pillar
“I will set wonders in the heavens and the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke”; (Joel 2:30) While blood wouldn’t pass a health and safety review, and fire’s a bit passé, pillars of smoke are still all well and good! For a biblical experiment, the history behind it is very modern; originally formulated as a pyrostat, or solid flame retardant, by NASA, it has since been picked up as a very good example of explosive polymerisation.
Combining suspense and biblical-style awe, this deserved a place on our list, especially as it’s technically NASA level rocket science.
An upgrade to your common or garden variety baking soda and vinegar volcano, this experiment is also known as the gateway to hell. No better way to crank childhood science up to eleven other than throwing yourself into an actual volcano.
As one of the top three ways to summon a demon from the depths of oblivion, this was guaranteed a place on our list.
For those times when you just want to chill, take things ice and snow, this is the experiment for you. The perfect addition to any White Walker themed surprise party, it only takes moments to set up, meaning no one has an excuse to drift away.
Perfect for your Mr Freeze inspired evil lair, this is one of the simplest things to do on this list, but it still looks pretty damn cool. Perhaps even ice cold.
Continuing the theme of wintery goodness, this is probably one of the most counterintuitive examples we’ve seen in a while. Not only does it produce ice beam level ice crystals that any Johnny Snow would be proud of, but these crystals are hot to the touch. Prank your friends into thinking it’s suddenly winter by hosing this mixture onto their door! They’ll appreciate the humour once they open the door and get scalding hot fluids dumped on them!
Not only the strangest thing we’ve seen today, but this can actually be done at home, if you happen to have sodium acetate lying about, and who doesn’t these days.
Detonating Ice Blocks
Ending our swansong of ice and fire is something that could actually kill you. Handily, you can blame the Mythbusters for your horrendous accident, and not us. It’s also scarily easy to set up yourself, but that’s for you to do a four second google about, not us.
Combining the awesome power of lots of thermite with ice cold freshness, this shows how easy it is to build very dangerous things in less than half an hour. (Watch out for that article showing up in the near never)
This article would be remiss if it didn’t mention a man who is often referred to as the father of modern chemistry, a man who related individual chemicals to cures, who promoted a critical rethinking of the secretive and superstitious world of alchemy. A polymath, doctor, astrologist and scientist. This man is Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, or Paracelsus to his friends. So naturally, the experiment we’ll show here is a recipe to make a tiny man in a bottle, using semen, manure, and of course, blood. Feel free to try this one for yourself, but probably best to not do this in the classroom.
The exact recipe is as follows: “Let the semen of a man putrefy by itself in a sealed cucurbite [glass bottle] with the highest putrefaction of the venter equinus [horse manure] for forty days, or until it begins at last to live, move, and be agitated, which can easily be seen…If now, after this, it be everyday nourished and fed cautiously and prudently with [an] arcanum of human blood…it becomes, thenceforth, a true and living infant, having all the members of a child that is born from a woman, but much smaller.” No explanation is given to what you’re meant to do with this tiny child now that you have it, but hey, it’s for science, right?