October 1, 2017 (Vol. 37, No. 17)
Strong Points: Lots of space to explore, very open ended
Weak Points: AirMix feature inoperable
Free (in-app purchase)
Combine equal parts fascination and bewilderment and you get the Beaker app. This enigmatic app—in which the screen of your mobile device represents a chemistry beaker—is accompanied by no instructions other than those to tell the user how to heat or cover the beaker and how to ignite one’s chemical mixture with a match. Users are left to their own devices to explore the vast chemical stockroom of the app, adding different compounds to the beaker and observing what happens when they interact. The chemical concoctions can, for example, ignite, change color, bubble, and emit gas. When such reactions occur, the formulas for the corresponding chemical reactions are displayed on the screen. For an additional cost, app users can supplement their heating element and match with other tools like a blender or separator. In theory, users can pair their devices and combine chemicals across them.