Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/274

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

largest and best equipped in the United States, are known as the Kidder chemical laboratories, having been so named in recognition of the generosity of the late Jerome S. Kidder. They comprise twenty-two separate laboratories, three lecture-rooms, a reading-room and library, two balance-rooms, offices and supply-rooms, making forty rooms in all, with accommodation for seven hundred students. Besides the large laboratories for general chemistry and analytical chemistry, there are smaller laboratories for volumetric analysis, for organic chemistry, for sanitary chemistry with special reference to the analysis of water and air, for oil and gas analysis, for the optical and chemical examination of sugars, starches, etc., for the determination of molecular weights, and so on. In the industrial laboratories, the students are taught how to manufacture chemicals with due regard to emonomy of material, space and time. There is also a special laboratory for textile coloring, with printing machines and all the necessary equipment of baths, dryers, etc., for experimental dyeing and coloring. In this laboratory the preparation and use of coloring matters are taught with the object of fitting young men for positions in dye works. A course of lectures in textile coloring was first introduced in 1888 and the laboratory course in 1889.

A large amount of original work is accomplished each year in these laboratories, both by students and professors. During the year 1897-98, for instance, four books and sixteen articles on chemical subjects came from them. In the development of sanitary chemistry the Institute has been particularly prominent. Beginning with the careful and thorough investigations made by Professor Nichols for the State Board of Health, the reputation of the institute in this direction has been still further increased by the recent extensive investigations of Professor Drown and Mrs. Ellen H. Richards, made for the same board in connection with the examination of the purity of the water supplies of the State, and the experiments at Lawrence relating to the best methods for purifying water and disposing of the sewage of inland towns.

An illustration of the policy of the school in separating out a subject whenever it is found capable of complete theoretical and practical treatment and putting it into the hands of some assistant professor for development, is found in the laboratory for gas and oil analysis, which for some years has been in charge of Dr. Gill. In this laboratory, investigations are made relating to chimney gases, as well as questions of fuel, furnaces, gas firing, etc., while oils are tested and analyzed with reference to specific gravity, viscosity, friction, flashing and firing points, and liability to spontaneous combustion. The same policy is further illustrated in the establishment in 1894 of a well equipped laboratory devoted entirely to physical chemistry; that is to say, to the relations between chemical changes and heat, light and electricity.