The Info List - Laboratory

A laboratory (British English: /ləˈbɒrətəri/ or /ləˈbɒrətri/, American English: /ˈlæbərətɔːri/ or /ˈlæbrətɔːri/; informally, lab) is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which scientific or technological research, experiments, and measurement may be performed.


1 Overview 2 History

2.1 The early laboratories

3 Techniques 4 Equipment and supplies 5 Specialized types 6 Safety 7 See also 8 References 9 External links

Overview[edit] Laboratories used for scientific research take many forms because of the differing requirements of specialists in the various fields of science and engineering. A physics laboratory might contain a particle accelerator or vacuum chamber, while a metallurgy laboratory could have apparatus for casting or refining metals or for testing their strength. A chemist or biologist might use a wet laboratory, while a psychologist's laboratory might be a room with one-way mirrors and hidden cameras in which to observe behavior. In some laboratories, such as those commonly used by computer scientists, computers (sometimes supercomputers) are used for either simulations or the analysis of data. Scientists in other fields will use still other types of laboratories. Engineers
use laboratories as well to design, build, and test technological devices. Scientific laboratories can be found as research room and learning spaces in schools and universities, industry, government, or military facilities, and even aboard ships and spacecraft. Despite the underlying notion of the lab as a confined space for experts[1], the term "laboratory" is also increasingly applied to workshop spaces such as Living Labs, Fab Labs, or Hackerspaces, in which people meet to work on societal problems or make prototypes, working collaboratively or sharing resources.[2][3][4] This development is inspired by new, participatory approaches to science and innovation and relies on user-centred design methods[5] and concepts like Open innovation or User innovation,[6][7]. One distinctive feature of work in Open Labs is phenomena of translation, driven by the different backgrounds and levels of expertise of the people involved[8]. History[edit] Early instances of "laboratories" recorded in English involved alchemy and the preparation of medicines.[9] The emergence of Big Science
during World War II
World War II
increased the size of laboratories and scientific equipment, introducing particle accelerators and similar devices. The early laboratories[edit] The earliest laboratory according to the present evidence is a home laboratory of Pythagoras
of Samos, the well-known Greek philosopher and scientist. This laboratory was created when Pythagoras
conducted an experiment about tones of sound and vibration of string. [10] In the painting of Louis Pasteur
Louis Pasteur
by Albert Edelfelt
Albert Edelfelt
in 1885, Louis Pasteur is the shown comparing a note in his left hand with a bottle filled with a solid in his right hand, and not wearing an personal protective equipment.[11] Researching in teams started in the 19th century, and many new kinds of equipment were developed in the 20th century. [12] A 16th century underground alchemical laboratory was accidentally discovered in the year 2002. Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor
Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor
was believed to be the owner. The laboratory is called Speculum Alchemiae and is preserved as a museum in Prague. [13]

laboratory of the 18th century, of the sort used by Antoine Lavoisier and his contemporaries

Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
in his laboratory, 1901

A laboratory in the 1970s

Chemical laboratory in Mahidol University
International College since 2009

Early 2000s style of counter in Chemical Laboratory, Mahidol University
International College, Thailand

Techniques[edit] Laboratory
techniques are the set of procedures used on natural sciences such as chemistry, biology, physics in order to conduct an experiment, all of them follow the scientific method; while some of them involve the use of complex laboratory equipment from laboratory glassware to electrical devices, and others require more specific or expensive supplies.

Equipment and supplies[edit]

Three beakers, an Erlenmeyer flask, a graduated cylinder and a volumetric flask

equipment refers to the various tools and equipment used by scientists working in a laboratory: The classical equipment includes tools such as Bunsen burners and microscopes as well as specialty equipment such as operant conditioning chambers, spectrophotometers and calorimeters.

Chemical laboratories

laboratory glassware such as the beaker or reagent bottle Analytical devices as HPLC or spectrophotometers

Molecular biology laboratories + Life science laboratories

Autoclavable bench-top laboratory bioreactor and fermenter

autoclave microscope Centrifuges Shakers & mixers Pipette Thermal cyclers
Thermal cyclers
(PCR) Photometer Refrigerators and Freezers Universal testing machine ULT Freezers Incubators bioreactor Biological safety cabinets Sequencing instruments fume hoods Environmental chamber Humidifier weighing scale Reagents
(supply) Pipettes tips (supply) Polymer
(supply) consumables for small volumes (µL and mL scale), mainly sterile

equipment is generally used to either perform an experiment or to take measurements and gather data. Larger or more sophisticated equipment is generally called a scientific instrument. Specialized types[edit] The title of laboratory is also used for certain other facilities where the processes or equipment used are similar to those in scientific laboratories. These notably include:

Film laboratory or Darkroom Clandestine lab for the production of illegal drugs Computer
lab Crime lab
Crime lab
used to process crime scene evidence Language laboratory Medical laboratory
Medical laboratory
(involves handling of chemical compounds) Public health laboratory Industrial laboratory

Safety[edit] Main article: Laboratory

An eyewash station in a laboratory.

Geneticist Riin Tamm
Riin Tamm
wearing protective lab coat

In many laboratories, hazards are present. Laboratory
hazards might include poisons; infectious agents; flammable, explosive, or radioactive materials; moving machinery; extreme temperatures; lasers, strong magnetic fields or high voltage. Therefore, safety precautions are vitally important. Rules exist to minimize the individual's risk, and safety equipment is used to protect the lab users from injury or to assist in responding to an emergency. The Occupational Safety
and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States, recognizing the unique characteristics of the laboratory workplace, has tailored a standard for occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals in laboratories. This standard is often referred to as the " Laboratory
Standard". Under this standard, a laboratory is required to produce a Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) which addresses the specific hazards found in its location, and its approach to them. In determining the proper Chemical Hygiene Plan for a particular business or laboratory, it is necessary to understand the requirements of the standard, evaluation of the current safety, health and environmental practices and assessment of the hazards. The CHP must be reviewed annually. Many schools and businesses employ safety, health, and environmental specialists, such as a Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO) to develop, manage, and evaluate their CHP. Additionally, third party review is also used to provide an objective "outside view" which provides a fresh look at areas and problems that may be taken for granted or overlooked due to habit. Inspections and audits like also be conducted on a regular basis to assess hazards due to chemical handling and storage, electrical equipment, biohazards, hazardous waste management, chemical waste, housekeeping and emergency preparedness, radiation safety, ventilation as well as respiratory testing and indoor air quality. An important element of such audits is the review of regulatory compliance and the training of individuals who have access to and/or work in the laboratory. Training is critical to the ongoing safe operation of the laboratory facility. Educators, staff and management must be engaged in working to reduce the likelihood of accidents, injuries and potential litigation. Efforts are made to ensure laboratory safety videos are both relevant and engaging.[14] See also[edit]

Cargo cult science Chemical accident Contamination control Controlled lab reactor Environmental health Fume hood Hackspace ISO/IEC 17025 Lab website Laboratory
automation Laboratory
safety Standard conditions for temperature and pressure Workshop


^ Latour, Bruno (1987). Science
in action: How to follow scientists and engineers through society. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.  ^ Flaherty, Joe (May 14, 2012). "Ford + TechShop: Getting Employees to Tinker". Wired.  ^ Burress, Charles (December 22, 1997). "A Tinkerer's Paradise in Berkeley / Young, old inventors are offered tools, techniques and inspiration". SF Chronicle.  ^ Carlson, Adam (September 5, 2013). "Top 8 Tools for Building a Personal Prototyping Laboratory". EE Times.  ^ ISO 13407:(1999), titled Human-centred design processes for interactive systems, is an ISO Standard providing Guidance on human-centred design activities throughout the life cycle of interactive computer-based systems. ^ Von Hippel, E. (1986). Lead users: a source of novel product concepts. Management Science
32, 791–805. ^ Chesbrough, H.W. (2003). Open Innovation: The new imperative for creating and profiting from technology. Boston: Harvard Business School
Press. ^ Fritzsche, A (2017). "Corporate Foresight in Open Laboratories - A Translational Approach". Technology Analysis & Strategic Management. doi:10.1080/09537325.2017.1380180.  ^ "laboratory". Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
(3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.): "Originally: a room or building for the practice of alchemy and the preparation of medicines. Later: one equipped for carrying out scientific experiments or procedures, esp. for the purposes of research, teaching, or analysis; (also) one in which chemicals or drugs are manufactured." ^ "World's Oldest Laboratory". Analytical Chemistry. 62 (13): 701A–701A. 30 May 2012. doi:10.1021/ac00212a716.  ^ Schummer, Joachim; Spector, Tami I (July 2007). "The Visual Image of Chemistry: Perspectives from the History of Art and Science". HYLE International Journal for Philosophy of Chemistry
(1): 3–41.  ^ Lowe, Derek (27 May 2015). " Laboratory
history: The chemistry chronicles". Nature. 521 (7553): 422–422. Bibcode:2015Natur.521..422L. doi:10.1038/521422a.  ^ "Museum of Alchemy". Speculum Alchemiae.  ^ Michael L. Matson; Jeffrey P. Fitzgerald; Shirley Lin (October 1, 2007). "Creating Customized, Relevant, and Engaging Laboratory
Safety Videos". Journal of Chemical Education. 84 (10): 1727. Bibcode:2007JChEd..84.1727M. doi:10.1021/ed084p1727. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 

External links[edit]

has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Laboratory.

The dictionary definition of laboratory at Wiktionary Media related to Laboratory
at Wikimedia Commons Nobel Laureates Interactive 360° Laboratories

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Heaters Dryers

Alcohol burner Bunsen burner Desiccator Heating mantle Hot plate Lab oven Kiln Meker-Fisher burner Striker Teclu burner Water bath Vacuum dry box

Mixers Shakers

Chemostat Homogenizer Liquid whistle Magnetic stirrer Mortar and pestle Shaker Sonicator Static mixer Stirring rod Vortex mixer Wash bottle

Stands Clamps Holders

Beaker clamp Clamp holder Tripod Burette
clamp Extension clamp Flask clamp Funnel support Iron ring Pinch clamp Retort
stand Screw clamp Test tube
Test tube
holder Test tube
Test tube
rack Wire gauze Lab drying rack

Containers Storage

Agar plate Cryogenic storage dewar Incubator Laminar flow cabinet Microtiter plate Petri dish Picotiter plate Refrigerator Weighing boat Weighing dish

Other items

Aspirator Autoclave Balance brush Cork borer Crucible Filter paper File Forceps Centrifuge Microscope Pipeclay triangle Spectrophotometer Splint Stopper Scoopula Spatula Test tube
Test tube
brush Wire brush Inoculation needle Inoculation loop



Dean-Stark Soxhlet extractor Kipp's


Boston round Pycnometer


Cold finger Liebig


Evaporating Petri Watch glass


Büchner Vacuum (Dewar) Erlenmeyer Fernbach Fleaker Florence Retort Round-bottom Schlenk Volumetric


Büchner Hirsch Dropping Separatory

Measuring devices

Burette Conical measure Cuvette Eudiometer Graduated cylinder Ostwald viscometer Pipette Pipette


Boiling Drying Cragie Ignition Nuclear magnetic resonance
Nuclear magnetic resonance
(NMR) Test Thiele Thistle

Other items

Beaker Gas syringe Vial

Analytical chemistry


AutoAnalyzer CHN analyzer Colorimeter Inductively coupled plasma
Inductively coupled plasma
(ICP) device Gas chromatograph (GC) Liquid Chromatograph (LC) Mass spectrometer (MS) pH indicator pH meter


Scanning electron microscope
Scanning electron microscope
(SEM) Transmission electron microscope (TEM)



differential scanning

Melting point apparatus Thermometer Thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA)

Other items

Analytical balance Colony counter Spiral plater Nuclear magnetic resonance
Nuclear magnetic resonance
(NMR) instrument Plate reader


Ammeter Current source Function generator Galvanostat Multimeter Network analyzer Oscilloscope Pulse generator Potentiostat Spectrum analyzer Time-domain reflectometer Voltage source Voltmeter


Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Lab coat Face shield Respirator Rubber apron Safety

Eye and hand

Acid-resistant gloves Eyewash
station Glove
box Medical gloves Nitrile gloves Safety
glasses Safety

Other items

Acid (solvent) cabinet Biosafety cabinet Fire blanket Fire extinguisher Fume hood

Instruments used in medical laboratories

Authority control