Interior view of one of the chemistry laboratories with instruments, c.1913

A selection of laboratory instruments


This on-line exhibition highlights the history of the University’s Department of Chemistry Old Chemistry building, and suggests the extent to which science and technology have changed in the years since the Old Chemistry building at Arts Centre site was home to the department.

This is made particularly apparent by laboratory instruments, and all of the pieces displayed here were first used in the Old Chemistry building. These pieces of equipment once reflected up-to-date technologies, but now symbolise how scientific practices themselves have histories, and the relationships between shifts in scientific understanding and the material objects used in experiments and analyses.

Displaying this selection of old laboratory instruments also created the opportunity for a group of the University’s current Chemistry students to develop their skills in the increasingly valuable area of science communication. As part of their assessment for the course CHEM421: Advanced Topics in Chemistry I (2018), fourth-year students conducted research into each of the instruments displayed here, and wrote the labels that accompany these objects.


The Instruments