My dad was a scientist, and when we were little, we enjoyed the benefits of being the children of a scientist. You see, Dad had a science lab in the house and he would teach us all about the chemicals and do experiments with us. The lab, which also doubled as a darkroom, smelled of all sorts of amazing things and we got to learn about chemicals, magnets, electrolysis, test tubes, Bunsen burners and other fabulous and fascinating things. We grew up calling things by their chemical names (Pass the Sodium Chloride and Acetic Acid, please) and our nursery rhymes included “Poor Old Smith is dead, Poor old Smith no more, for what he thought was H20 was H2S04.” Dad told us about decimal points and pi before we went to school. He explained algebra before we could read properly. We didn’t understand many of the things he taught us until many years later. He worked for the Royal Physics Laboratory in England, he worked on the math for the Minute Man Missiles, he worked as a stress engineer for aircraft and many other things. He was a great man.
He was a scientist when he was young, but not quite as accomplished. He once caught his science lab on fire and slept through the fireman who came to put it out.
He was famous for blowing up a tree when he was a teenager. He was removing a dead tree and used a little too much dynamite!
Growing up, we sometimes had chemistry students staying with us. They were interesting!
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