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Read more tips — from a blind actor!

Meet Henry "Hoby" Wedler, a computational organic chemist who received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis.

Hoby's natural curiosity, inquisitiveness, and problem solving skills led him to become not only a chemist, but also a home chef, woodworker, teacher, and mentor. If you are the kind of person who likes to know the "how" and "why" of how things work, you too might be a budding scientist.

Hoby says, "the truth is that we can do science just as well as sighted people; we just need slightly different tools in order to do so. Have fun. Explore. Embrace the fact that you can adapt science to make it accessible to you."

To hear more from Hoby, watch this video he made especially for you!

Chemistry Camp

Hoby founded an innovative science program called Chemistry Camp. It was created especially for blind and visually impaired high school students to explore science in a hands-on way. If you ever thought science was out of reach for you, think again!

Read all about how changes in smell (versus visual changes) can indicate chemical transformations; how heat can be used to feel a chemical reaction taking place; and how molecular models can help blind scientists visualize the bonds being broken or formed during a chemical reaction.

bowls of brightly colored ice cream

Ziploc Ice Cream

Adapted from Out-of-Sight Science Experiments, by Dr. Lillian A. Rankel and Marilyn D. Winograd, a book with 32 step-by-step experiments for blind youngsters to do at home with family and friends, or as part of a science fair project. Grades 2-5.


What You'll Need

Note: 1 cup of soy milk can be substituted for the milk and cream. If you use soy milk, add 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

What's Happening?

To turn this liquid mixture into ice cream, salt was used to lower the freezing point — just enough to harden the liquid inside the bag into ice cream.

Why so much shaking? It's time to learn another term: emulsion. The reason you had to do so much shaking is because there were two ingredients in the mixture that don't mix well: fat (in the milk and cream) and water (in the milk). There is a saying in science that "like dissolves like." Fat and water are not alike, so they don't mix well. Ice cream is an emulsion where the creamy fat and watery milk are suspended within each other rather than being chemically bonded together. Store-bought ice cream has stabilizers like gelatin to keep the ice cream airy and smooth.

Many salad dressings are also emulsions that need to be shaken right before use.

This activity was created by Melissa Riccobono for Great Expectations.

The Tactile Caliper

photo of the tactile caliper

Check out the Tactile Caliper from National Braille Press and Squirrel Devices! It's a simple to use, accurate, low-cost measuring ruler for the blind and visually impaired that provides a braille output to 1/16th of an inch.

And don't miss our list of accessible measuring tools — from clocks and scales to beakers and graduated cylinders!

SAVI/SELPH beakers, graduated cylinders, syringes, and volume measurement tools

Graph It!

Bar graph made with legos and braille

Once you've finished your experiments, you'll need to know what to do with the information you've collected. Find out how to graph your data in accessible, meaningful — and unexpected — ways!

Tips from a Blind Architect

Tips from a Blind Actor

photo of George Ashiotis

Meet George Ashiotis, a blind actor working in New York City.

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