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Teen Arrested For Home Chemistry Lab

Lewis Casey, an 18-year-old college student living at home in Saskatchewan, has been arrested for studying chemistry at home. Two weeks ago, police raided his home lab, which he built over his parent's garage, and declared that it was a meth lab.


(Saskatoon police looking for illegal labs)

Several days later, police admitted that Casey's lab was not being used to make illegal drugs, nor was it being used for any other illegal purpose. However, a trial is pending to determine whether or not he was using his lab to build what police are calling "improvised explosive devices."

Casey is now living at home; he is forbidden to learn about chemistry via experimentation, other than under formal supervision at school.

As a science-oriented child growing up in the 1960's, I of course had my share of chemistry sets. I think the largest one offered more than 100 different chemicals; I remember going to local hobby shops for replacement supplies. Would my son be arrested for using a similar set today?

I find myself wondering what Homeland Security would think of this nifty Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab from the 1950's.


(Gilbert atomic energy kit)

It offered these contents:

1. U-239 Geiger radiation counter.
2. Electroscope to measure radioactivity of different substances.
3. Spinthariscope to watch "live" radioactive disintegration.
4. Wilson Cloud Chamber to see paths of electrons & alpha particles at 10k mps
5. Three very low-level radioactive sources (Alpha, Beta, Gamma).
6. Four samples of Uranium-bearing ores
7. Nuclear Spheres (used to visual build models of molecules)
8. The book "Prospecting for Uranium"
9. The "Gilbert Atomic Energy Manual"
10. The comic book "Learn How Dagwood Splits the Atom"
11. Three "Winchester" Batteries (size "C")

Also, take a look at the recent story Biohackers and its comments for more on the topic of whether or not our nation's young people should just play video games and watch TV - is science too dangerous?

From Clandestine lab.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/28/2008)

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