Kids, keep away from chemistry: Bob Glasgow

“To criminalize the necessary materials of discovery is one of the worst things you can do in a free society,” says Shawn Carlson, a 1999 MacArthur fellow and founder of the Society for Amateur Scientists. “The Mr. Coffee machine that every Texas legislator has near his desk has three violations of the law built into it: a filter funnel, a Pyrex beaker, and a heating element. The laws against meth should be the deterrent to making it – not criminalizing activities that train young people to appreciate science.”

So says a June 2006 Wired magazine article about the widespread political crackdown on kids doing any actual science. The illegal activities in Texas are illegal thanks to the leadership of former Texas state senator Bob Glasgow, who crusaded against beakers and test tubes. For his efforts, Mr. Glasgow was awarded the 1994 Ig Nobel Prize in chemistry “for sponsoring the 1989 drug control law which make it illegal to purchase beakers, flasks, test tubes, or other laboratory glassware without a permit.”

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