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Origins of Modern Science Rev Editionby Herbert Butterfield
Synopses & Reviews
White coats, Bunsen burners, beakers, flasks, and pipettesand#151;the furnishings of the chemistry laboratory are familiar to most of us from our school days, but just how did these items come to be the crucial tools of science? Examining the history of the laboratory, Peter J. T. Morris offers a unique way to look at the history of chemistry itself, showing how the development of the laboratory helped shape modern chemistry.
Chemists, Morris shows, are one of the leading drivers of innovation in laboratory design and technology. He tells of fascinating lineages of invention and innovation, for instance, how the introduction of coal gas into Robert Wilhelm Bunsenand#8217;s laboratory led to the eponymous burner, which in turn led to the development of atomic spectroscopy. Comparing laboratories across eras, from the furnace-centered labs that survived until the late eighteenth century to the cleanrooms of today, he shows how the overlooked aspects of scienceand#151;the architectural design and innovative tools that have facilitated its practiceand#151;have had a profound impact on what science has been able to do and, ultimately, what we have been able to understand. and#160;
From white coats to Bunsen burners, the laboratory is a controlled space of experimentation, research, and invention. But how have the desired functions of the laboratory influenced the way that the laboratory was constructed, laid out, equipped, and operated? And how have developments in chemical practice or theory changed the laboratory and the way it is used? By examining the history of the laboratory this book offers a novel approach to the history of chemistry, which shows how the development of the laboratory also helped to shape modern chemistry.
By acting as consumers of leading-edge technology, chemists have driven innovation in laboratory design and the provision of utilities and equipment. For example, the introduction of coal gas into Bunsenand#8217;s laboratory led to the development of the Bunsen burner, which in turn allowed the development of atomic spectroscopy. Is the construction of new laboratoriesand#8212;and the provision of new utilities and equipmentand#8212;an important element in the development of these novel areas of chemistry? Peter J. T. Morris tackles these questions by looking at a series of shifts in laboratory design: from furnace-centered examples that survived until the late eighteenth century, to the classical laboratory created in Germany (and London) in the mid-nineteenth century, to the rise of industrial research laboratory in the late nineteenth century, and finally the creation of the modern laboratory at the end of the twentieth.
About the Author
Peter J. T. Morris is Keeper of Research Projects at the Science Museum, London and an Honorary Research Associate in the Science and Technology Studies Department at University College in London. He is the editor of Science for the Nation: Perspectives on the History of the Science Museum.
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