The New International Encyclopædia/Laboratory

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LABORATORY. A laboratory is literally a place of labor, a workshop, and the term is still frequently employed in this meaning in connection with the manufacturing of chemicals, drugs, explosives, etc. The word is ordinarily used, however, to designate a room or building equipped with means for conducting experimental investigations in some department of science or art. Research laboratories of chemistry, physics, engineering, biology, etc., are maintained in all the better colleges and universities, in the interest of pure and applied science, and in many hospitals, manufacturing establishments, etc., for the purpose of devising new methods of procedure and conducting tests of various kinds. In addition to these laboratories devoted to research, there are numberless laboratories connected with public and private schools, academies, and colleges, whose function is not the discovery of new truths, but rather the demonstration of facts already well established. Every high school, for example, possesses a chemical laboratory in which experiments are performed by students who are led in this way to a first-hand and therefore better knowledge of the facts and principles of this science.

The history of research laboratories can be best understood in the light of the development of all scientific thinking. There is at first a period of crude observation of the facts under the complicated conditions of practical life. Such observations have given to science many valuable facts, but serious errors have crept in at the same time. This is naturally followed by a period of reaction against observation and in its stead there is an attempt to deduce all knowledge from already given general laws. This is the period of authority and the syllogism. The reaction to this method leads to the third and final stage of science, when the laws and facts of nature are determined by means of observation of phenomena, but now under control and known conditions. The sciences have not advanced with equal speed, so that while some are well along in the third stage of progress and are still growing rapidly through experimental research, other sciences are in the second stage, while a few still remain in the first stage. Laboratories of some sort have existed since the earliest times. The Chinese and Egyptians, as well as the Greeks and Romans, certainly possessed them, but they were in all probability similar to the better known laboratories of the physicians, apothecaries, alchemists, and astrologers of the Middle Ages, given over largely to the search for the philosopher's stone, and to the manufacture of elixirs, drugs, charms, cosmetics, etc. With the fifteenth century came the reaction against Scholasticism; and men began to study nature rather than books, they began to observe rather than to deduce facts and principles, and by the end of the sixteenth century the experimental method was well established.

In 1589 Galileo demonstrated the necessity of the experimental method at Pisa. Climbing the leaning tower, he let fall a weight of one pound and a weight of one hundred pounds; starting simultaneously, the weights struck the ground together, at once and forever disproving the Aristotelian deduction that the speed of falling bodies was proportional to their weights. Francis Bacon, in 1620, and Comenius, in 1630, set forth arguments for the inductive method and the experimental investigation of facts. But prior to the nineteenth century all laboratories were private institutions devoted wholly to research. In 1824 Purkinje established a physiological laboratory in Breslau; in 1825 Liebig established a laboratory of chemistry, medicine, and physiology in Giessen; in 1845 Lord Kelvin—then William Thomson—opened a physical laboratory in the University of Glasgow; in 1849 a pharmacological laboratory was created by Buchheim; in 1856 Virchow opened a pathological laboratory in Berlin. As the work of the laboratories has developed, there has come about a specialization of the problems to be undertaken, and as a result new research laboratories are founded every year.

Laboratories for instruction do not differ materially from research laboratories as far as equipment and method is concerned.

Chemical Laboratories. The appearance of the earliest chemical laboratories is familiar, since they formed attractive subjects for the contemporary artists. Not merely were these laboratories used for experiment, but also for the teaching of pupils and assistants. At present, any well-lit room, supplied with water, gas, electricity, and a hood communicating with a flue to carry off noxious gases, may serve for almost all chemical work. The water-supply operates vacuum-pumps, and can be made to furnish air under pressure by means of a tromp; power can be obtained either from small water or electric motors, and the gas furnishes heat. Much chemical work, both scientific and technical, is carried out in such laboratories, originally built for other purposes. The most important chemical laboratories, however, are buildings, constructed entirely for chemical work, in connection with the great universities and schools of science, and are intended both for investigation on the part of the instructors and advanced students and for the regular instruction of the mass of the students. The wide extension of this class of laboratories began with the famous laboratory erected by Liebig at Giessen in 1825, after which teaching-laboratories, each showing an advance on the preceding, sprang up at almost all the German universities and quickly reached a high degree of excellence.

The laboratory buildings are divided into rooms of varying sizes, each room assigned to one or more branches of chemical science, so that each student passes, during his course, through most of the rooms. In France a less systematic arrangement, avoiding large rooms, is preferred by some chemists. The number of the rooms and the branch of chemistry to which each is dedicated vary with the size of the building and the importance assigned to different subjects and to teaching and investigation respectively. Many laboratories consist of a large lecture-room, a large room for simple inorganic preparations and qualitative analysis; another large room for quantitative analysis and inorganic research; a third large room for organic chemistry; and a number of small rooms to serve as class-rooms, library, balance-rooms, private laboratories and offices for the instructors, for gas and water analysis, for physical chemistry, as furnace-room, combustion-room, hydrogen-sulphide room, storerooms, toilet-rooms, etc. In some cases separate buildings are provided for particular branches of chemistry. For example, the University of Göttingen has a separate building for physical chemistry.

In the larger laboratories almost every branch of chemistry has its separate room. Few general principles can be laid down for the plan of the building and the relation of the rooms to each other. The first consideration is to obtain abundant light. Everything should give way to this. Next the office and private laboratory of each professor should be central with reference to the rooms under his care. However, when permanent and responsible assistants are in immediate charge of the large rooms, this consideration is of less importance. Of course, such rooms as balance-rooms, combustion-rooms, and hydrogen-sulphide rooms, must be close to the large rooms to which they belong. Special considerations will decide the position of various rooms. Thus, a furnace-room is placed on the lowest floor to get the advantage of a high chimney. All chemical laboratories are elaborately piped. There is usually one system for gas used in heating, another for gas used in lighting, and often a third for certain specially protected gas-jets, which are required to burn continuously for long periods. This permits the rest of the gas to be turned off every evening at the close of work. Water is carried, not merely to each room, but commonly to each desk. Where the water is supplied under a strong pressure, injector vacuum-pumps are used, but when this is not the case, the whole building must be supplied with pipes connected with a vacuum steam-pump. In any case such a pump, with connecting pipes to each desk, is almost a necessity in the organic laboratory, for distilling under reduced pressure. Another steam-pump supplies a series of pipes, carrying air under pressure. There are steam or hot-water pipes for heating and pipes for steam at high pressure for heating stills, water-baths, and steam-closets. In addition, in some laboratories distilled water is distributed to the different rooms, by a system of block tin pipes. Formerly oxygen was distributed to several points by pipes, but the introduction into commerce of compressed oxygen in strong steel cylinders has made this system obsolete. Hydrogen-sulphide gas is also carried, in most cases, by pipes to several rooms. The system of pipes for carrying off waste water must be carefully planned. Ordinary plumbing is destroyed in a few years by acids and compounds of mercury. An excellent plan is to carry the waste water by open troughs to the vertical earthenware main pipes, so avoiding leadwork altogether. The system of flues for ventilation of the hoods must be carried over the whole building. This system may be connected with a lofty chimney, or with a rotary fan. Electricity is usually supplied, for scientific purposes, from accumulator batteries.

Each student working in a room has a locked desk for his own use. The desks are usually supplied with gas, water, vacuum-pumps, draught-closets, apparatus, and reagents, so as to reduce to a minimum the cases in which it is necessary for the student to leave his desk. Space is economized in most laboratories, in the rooms set apart for beginners, by dividing the space under each desk into two independent closets, so that two students may use the same desk at different hours or on different days. In the larger laboratories much special apparatus is found, such as a machine for producing liquid air, grinding mills driven by power, working models of chemical industrial works, and apparatus for treating materials on an industrial scale.

The technical laboratories maintained by industrial establishments may be simply for analytical work, in which case they may be modeled after the rooms for quantitative analysis in the teaching laboratories; but in cases where experimental work is carried on, the plan is quite different. Power must be supplied more freely, facilities provided for handling larger quantities of material, and liberal space left free to set up working models of apparatus on a large scale. See section on Engineering Laboratories.

Physical Laboratories. Rooms specially equipped for physical experimentation were not provided until long after well-organized chemical laboratories were in use. Such early experimenters as Boyle, Newton, and Franklin made use of their own living apartments for their experiments, and it was not until well into the nineteenth century that professors of physics obtained separate rooms in which they could carry on work with due convenience. The next step was for these professors to admit students to their own laboratories, and to direct their research. At Heidelberg the first physical laboratory was opened in 1846, two rooms being devoted to instruction in practical physics. The laboratory at the University of Glasgow where original research was carried on by students under the direction of Lord Kelvin was also one of the earliest of these Laboratories. In France, in spite of the brilliant work done in private laboratories in the first half of the nineteenth century, the facilities for systematic work by students were hardly as ample as in Germany, but by 1868 it was realized that additional accommodations for students and research laboratories for professors and skilled investigators were essential. One result of this movement was the foundation, in the Sorbonne in Paris, of a physical laboratory, of which Jamin was made director, and which has been celebrated not only for his researches, but also for those of Lippman. This laboratory was placed under the direction of the faculty of science in 1894 and was then remodeled. King's College, London, also adopted regular laboratory training as part of its work in physics about this time, and three rooms in its building were used as a laboratory. The first building in England specially designed for the study of experimental physics was constructed at Oxford, under plans of Prof. Robert B. Clifton. This was followed by the Cavendish laboratory at Cambridge, built in 1874 by Prof. James Clerk-Maxwell, who incorporated in it many of Professor Clifton's ideas. In the United States the progress was naturally slower than in Europe, but it is asserted that the first institution to make laboratory physics a part of its regular educational work was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Boston. The systematic work begun at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in practical physics furnished an example which was soon followed by other American colleges, including Cornell and Harvard, and even by many high schools, and so rapid was the progress made that in 1886 Harvard required experimental work in physics in its entrance examinations.

In elementary laboratory work in physics, the apparatus is simple and the results demanded are qualitative rather than quantitative. A laboratory for this purpose would be merely one or more rooms provided with suitable tables. The simple apparatus used should, where possible, be constructed by the student himself, the use of tools for the making, adjusting, and repair of apparatus forming not the least valuable part of the training. The ordinary manipulation of glass tubes, and the use of the more common wood-working tools, as well as of a few implements for cutting and shaping metal, must be learned by the student at an early stage.

The entrance requirements for the colleges have set the standard for the physical work to be done in preparatory schools. No elaborate instruments are required for such courses, and it is considered better practice to have the student work as accurately as possible with somewhat crude apparatus. In the college laboratory the equipment is of a much higher grade, and should be as extensive as the means of the institution will permit. The student here begins to work quantitatively, and accuracy of observation and measurement is the prime essential of his work. The usual method of instruction is to have an elementary course which covers the essential features of physics. That is, a student will begin with the ordinary measurements of length, mass, and time. He will perform quantitative experiments in sound, heat, light, and electricity. There must be at his disposal measures of length and micrometers of various forms which will enable him to determine length or thickness to one-hundredth of a millimeter, or even less. He will also have analytical balances for determining the mass of substances with an accuracy of the one-hundredth of a milligram, and such other instruments as accurately calibrated thermometers, standards of electrical resistance carefully determined, and optical apparatus in which the graduated circles and other parts used for measurement are of high precision. As the construction of this apparatus involves considerable mechanical skill, it is, of course, impossible for the student to make it; but its test and calibration is one of his first tasks. He is taught the necessity of correcting his observations and looking for and compensating for such causes of error as can be detected, and, in short, to attain as great accuracy as the apparatus he uses is capable of.

For elementary laboratories no extensive and peculiar structural features are required in the building. Suitable brackets firmly fastened to brick walls furnish supports for the more sensitive apparatus, and convenient sinks and water and gas piping and electric fittings are provided, in most colleges and universities, however, these elementary laboratories are in the same building as research laboratories for the staff and advanced students, and as a result they contain many features not absolutely essential for work of this description. In building physical laboratories for research work, every other consideration is, or should be, sacrificed to direct utility. Stone piers on which such instruments as galvanometers are set are independently founded and carried up through one or more floors, without any connection whatsoever with other parts of the building. Stone tables or slabs for similar purposes are built in the brick structural walls of the building. High towers for experiments with pendulums, pressures of liquids, and falling bodies are another feature of a modern laboratory, and in most cases they, too, are built on an independent foundation. The building is usually arranged so that it has the best possible light, especially as regards direct sunlight. For certain work electrical or other power is desirable, and a system of pipes, wiring, and shafting is carried about the building. Another feature is a constant-temperature room in the cellar, usually where the astronomical clocks and other instruments which must be maintained at or near the same temperature the year around are installed. In short, the greatest care is observed in adapting the building for its use as a place of research, and every convenience is placed at the disposal of the student. It must be stated, however, that many physicists do not altogether approve of such refinements of laboratory construction, and think that the ability to overcome difficulties is a valuable part of the training. Furthermore, the very nature of the refinements may in some cases constitute serious causes of error. For example, an independent tower or pier may act as an inverted pendulum and have a period of vibration of its own. But be this as it may, it is undoubtedly true that at the German universities, where the greatest facilities have been introduced into the buildings and are put at the disposal of the students, the best work is carried on. The laboratory belonging to the University at Strassburg, and that of the Polytechnikum at Zurich, are typical of the best progress in modern laboratory construction, although Berlin and a number of other German universities are not far behind.

But important physical research has also been carried on in laboratories outside of educational institutions, and the more celebrated of these deserve brief mention. The laboratory of the Royal Institution in London was founded in 1800 by Count Rumford, and although the original intention of its founder was the furtherance of applied science, it soon became the home of the most brilliant and original investigations in the realm of pure science, carried on by such men as Sir Humphry Davy, Faraday, Tyndall, Rayleigh, and Dewar. In 1896 the research facilities of the Royal Institution were increased by the opening of the Davy-Faraday Research Laboratory, which has been most successfully conducted by Lord Rayleigh and Prof. James Dewar. In Germany the most important work has been carried on at the Reichsanstalt, or physico-technical institution, at Charlottenburg, near Berlin. Through the munificence of Werner Siemens, who in 1884 gave about $125,000 to the institution, and through appropriations by the Reichstag, suitable buildings were erected, and from 1888 to 1894 the laboratory was directed by Helmholtz. The influence of the Reichsanstalt on industrial conditions in Germany has been most valuable. Various standards are here made, instruments are calibrated, and certificates which have a worldwide acceptance are given to the apparatus which complies with the standards of the bureau. Technical research is also carried on, and many valuable papers are published from time to time from the bureau. Various instruments of glass are examined, and the work of the Germans in this field has been raised to a high degree of excellence, with the result that the manufacture of optical instruments has greatly increased. The same holds true in the case of electrical apparatus, and the standards of resistance and other apparatus also have been made of a high grade of precision. In Paris there is the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers. With the purchase of a physical cabinet, a department of physics was organized in 1829, which has since been increased and developed, and furnished a home for important researches. Perhaps the most celebrated laboratory in France is the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, organized in 1875 by the cooperation of eighteen different nations. Here are prepared for distribution to the subscribing nations the various metric standards of length and mass; the meter and kilogram of the archives with which the secondary or natural standards have been compared are preserved. In this laboratory are carried on the most elaborate comparisons of standards and instruments, and the work of this bureau has been invaluable to workers in science in many departments. A national physical laboratory was established in Great Britain during the closing years of the nineteenth century, and to it in 1900 was given a building and site near London, its control being given to the Royal Society. Here a beginning has been made of supplying means for important physical investigations, and the equipment is being rapidly increased. In the United States, in 1901, the National Bureau of Standards was established by act of Congress, approved March 3, 1901; it is designed to possess a similar function to the Reichsanstalt and the National Physical Laboratory of England. In 1903 a building was being erected for the laboratory of this bureau, and active plans had been made for its investigations. By law it is given the custody of the national standards, and will issue secondary standards for the use of industrial and scientific workers. So valuable and important has been the work of similar institutions in Europe that the National Bureau of Standards was demanded by united scientific and manufacturing interests.

Engineering Laboratories. The success which has attended chemical, physical, and other laboratories organized either for instruction or research has led to the establishment of engineering laboratories in which the student is taught to apply himself particularly to such problems as he would encounter in the actual practice of his profession. Such laboratories are also used by advanced workers to study experimentally such difficulties as are encountered in daily life, with the hope of finding simpler and more economical methods. Accordingly, there are laboratories for mechanical engineering, hydraulic engineering, mining engineering, electrical engineering, and chemical engineering, in which are installed machinery and apparatus similar to that found in actual practice. Such laboratories have been found essential for the best professional and technical education, and are a distinct feature of well-equipped technical schools and universities in Europe and America. A mechanical engineering laboratory contains machinery for studying different forms of motors and power transmission and for determining their most economical operation. This would include the ascertaining of friction losses, the study of various kinds of lubricants, etc. In order to carry on this work as successfully as possible, machinery of such size as will be found in a small plant is necessary, and the students are taught its actual operation and maintenance. In some schools there may be an independent steam-engineering laboratory, while in others it may be a part of the laboratory of mechanical engineering. Here the students are taught to use steam-engines of different types under varying conditions of service. In the important schools of mines are usually found the various machines used in mining and the preparation and reduction of ore. Locomotive engineering is now taught in the laboratory, and at least two universities in the United States, as well as several manufacturing works, are supplied with testing locomotives in which full friction, draught, and other tests can be made on a large scale. Electrical-engineering laboratories were perhaps the first to be carried on on an extensive scale, as in the laboratory method of instruction machinery of more than model size was early found necessary for the student. In the best electrical-enginering laboratories are to be found motors and dynamos for direct and alternating current-transformers, storage batteries, etc., and the various problems involved in the generation of the electrical power and its transmission are studied under conditions approaching actual practice as nearly as possible. In chemical engineering the growth of large manufacturing establishments has led to a demand for practical chemists, and it is now considered that these can best he trained by having students carry out preparations on a considerable scale by using actual machinery. In the most modern of laboratories for the study of applied chemistry, such processes as dyeing, the manufacture of sugar, the manufacture of sulphuric acid, electrolytic methods of preparing chemical substances, distillation, etc., are all carried on on a practical scale.

In engineering laboratories the practice will vary widely in different institutions and with different instructors, depending on adequacy of equipment and number of students. The machinery and apparatus at the disposal of the students and instructors will often influence the work done, and will cause students desiring to follow a particular branch to select an institution where such facilities are the best. Engineering laboratories usually follow adequate manual training and work in chemical and physical laboratories, and the best results are secured when the work is properly coördinated. They have a distinct bearing on technical education, and have played their part in the industrial development of the United States.

Biological Laboratories. An enormous impulse was given to the purely scientific advancement of biological science by the early foundation of laboratories for research in connection with the chief German universities in the third quarter of the last century. In the United States, the first zoölogical laboratory, or, indeed, any in general biology in this country, was established by Louis Agassiz at Harvard College, at the middle of the nineteenth century, when Wyman also taught to special students comparative anatomy. Agassiz gathered about him and trained specialists in zoölogy, most of whom became teachers and perpetuated his methods of instruction. In Europe, Johannes Müller established a laboratory at Berlin (1857-58), and trained many students, who afterwards filled chairs in different universities. The impetus he gave to comparative anatomy, physiology, and embryology through his laboratory methods was deep and lasting. He was perhaps the father of modern morphological investigations and of laboratory methods. Other zoölogists who exerted an influence which was felt by a later generation, and led the way to the establishment of marine biological laboratories, were the Norwegian naturalist Sars (1805-69), who carried on deep-sea dredgings and embryological researches on the coast of Norway: Rathke of Dorpat; and Forbes of Great Britain. During this period H. Milne-Edwards and De Quatrefages worked in temporary private laboratories on the French coast and in the Mediterranean.

The third quarter of the nineteenth century was a period of the installation of biological laboratories in connection with the leading universities, especially in Germany. The workrooms were fairly large and well lighted; but the furniture was simple, tables, dissecting implements, microscopes, aquaria, and in the basement perhaps a vivarium for mammals, forming the greater part of the furniture. Such a laboratory was that of R. Leuckart at Leipzig, who trained a large number of German, Swiss, American, English, and Dutch zoölogists and morphologists. With the rise of more modern modes of investigation in comparative embryology and morphology, involving methods of cutting their sections for the microscope, of staining and mounting them, the use of various reagents and preservative fluids, the equipment of biological laboratories became more and more elaborate and costly.

Our modern bacteriological laboratories took their rise from the researches of Pasteur in France (1866-90). His studies led finally to the establishment of the great Pasteur Institute in Paris, which was followed by the installation of bacteriological laboratories in Germany, Italy, and other European countries, as well as in the United States and Canada—institutes either directly connected with universities and medical schools, or independent. In such laboratories as these, and other temporary laboratories established in Italy, West Africa, India, and Cuba, have been worked out the causes and preventives of the filth diseases, of yellow fever and tuberculosis.

Marine laboratories have exerted a profound influence on biological science, besides training science teachers and aiding investigators. Müller in Germany spent his summers by the seaside, studying the anatomy, and especially the development, of the lower animals; and so in France and on the shores of the Mediterranean did H. Milne-Edwards and De Quatrefages, and Gosse on the English coast. We owe, however, to Louis Agassiz the idea of the foundation of the modern seaside or marine laboratory, which has resulted in the establishment of the great zoölogical station at Naples, those of France and other countries. Agassiz and his students had for many years dredged and collected along the coast of New England, and had spent several winters at Charleston, S. C., to study the marine fauna. In 1873, aided financially by a generous friend of science, he founded the Anderson School of Natural History at Penikese, an island situated at the mouth of Buzzard's Bay. Though, owing to Agassiz's death, it flourished only two years, its work was most important in itself, and because it led to the formation of similar laboratories. It led to the foundation of the Chesapeake Zoölogical Laboratory of the Johns Hopkins University, under the direction of Prof. W. K. Brooks, which was succeeded by temporary laboratories at Beaufort, N. C., and the Bahamas; also to the summer school which was maintained at Annisquam for several years by the late Professor A. Hyatt, and to a summer school carried on by the Peabody Academy of Science at Salem, Mass., in 1876-81, and to others, such as the summer school held under the auspices of the Brooklyn Institute at Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island; the Hopkins Seaside Laboratory of the Leland Stanford, Junior, University, in California; and the Tufts College Laboratory at Harpswell, Maine, under the direction of Professor J. S. Kingsley, and that at Beaufort, N. C., connected with Columbia University. Mr. A. Agassiz has for many years maintained a well-appointed private laboratory at Newport, where a number of investigators have worked through the summer months.

Led by Louis Agassiz's example. Dr. Anton Dohrn in 1872 began to build, and in the following year opened, a costly zoölogical station at Naples, where gather zoölogists of different countries, whose researches, carried on under the most favorable auspices, have had a manifest influence on systematic, and more especially embryrological and morphological, studies. This is a permanent institution established in a handsome structure built for the purpose near the sea, with a director and staff of assistants, and open to investigators throughout the year. Tables are offered to investigators of different countries, the expenses or rent being paid in some cases by the British, American, and other associations, universities, and other institutions. The basement is occupied by a series of large, well-stocked aquaria, and is open to the public. There are a large library, separate workrooms for investigators, steamers for dredging, collection, and preparation, while the institution issues several publications of importance to zoölogists.

This great establishment has been the parent or forerunner of similar laboratories. The late distinguished French zoölogist Baron H. Laeaze-Duthiers founded and built at his own expense two well-equipped seaside laboratories, one at Roscoff, in Northwestern France, and the other on the Mediterranean, near the Spanish line, at Banyuls-sur-Mer. These have been utilized not only by French, Swiss, American, and English investigators, but by a large number of French students of the Sorbonne and the Collège de France. There is also a laboratory at Concarneau, under the auspices of the Collège de France, and still another at Areachon, maintained by the University of Bordeaux. The city of Paris supports a Laboratoire d'évolution des êtres organisés, 3 Rue d'Ulm, directed by Prof. A. Giard, who has a private laboratory at Wimpereau, near Calais. These were followed by the Plymouth Laboratory, on the English Channel, at which work a small number of investigators, while in the summer season classes from Oxford, Cambridge, and Eton study under an instructor, one of the officers in charge. Other smaller seaside laboratories have been established by Professor Herdman near Liverpool, at Millport; one at Port Erin, on the Isle of Man; one near Bristol; another near Aberdeen, on the North Sea coast; and one near Dublin, on the Irish coast. These are associated together, and controlled by the ‘Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom,’ and in part are supported by grants from the British Association, the Royal Society, etc. The Germans largely patronize the Naples station, but have a small one at Helgoland, while the university at Vienna sustains a well-appointed one at Triest. The Russians have one at Sebastopol, and also at Ville Franche, on the Mediterranean; the Dutch on the coast of Holland; the Danes on their coast; while the University of Tokio maintains one on the Japanese coast.

Floating marine laboratories, as they may be called (i.e. those on shipboard), were established on the British exploring ship Challenger during her five years' voyage around the world, and fully equipped laboratories have been furnished on the various exploring oceanic expeditions, including the five recently sent out to the Antarctic seas by the German, Swedish, English, and Dutch governments.

The laboratories in connection with the fisheries commissions of the United States, Germany, Norway, and Great Britain have been productive of excellent results, both scientific and practical. Early in the seventies of the nineteenth century, Professor S. F. Baird, the founder of the United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries, and its first commissioner, was wont to establish at his summer headquarters, in different seasons, at various points along the coast of New England, from Woods Hole to Harpswell, Maine, temporary laboratories, at which students were hospitably entertained. This led to the permanent establishment of two institutions at Woods Hole. The Woods Hole Laboratory has exerted much influence. To this school large numbers of investigators and college students have flocked, and it has been a most important means of training science teachers. The laboratory of the United States Fish Commission at Woods Hole is a permanent institution, open winter and summer to experts. It is well equipped, and frequented by a large number of investigators and advanced students. Its official organs are the reports and bulletins of the United States Fisheries Commission, and the entire plant is probably the most elaborate and extensive in the world. The marine laboratory established in 1902 at Beaufort, N. C., by the United States Fish Commission is still larger, and promises to be the leading one in this country. The floating laboratory of the Rhode Island Commission of Inland Fisheries has carried on important work on the development and artificial culture of the clam and lobster, and the results have been published by the State.

Several summer laboratories for the study of aquatic life, insects, fishes, etc., as well as for educational purposes, have been established in the Central United States. Of these, the first to be founded, and the one which has been the most productive of results advantageous to science, is that at Havana, Ill., founded by Professor S. A. Forbes. It has published a bulletin, and has from the first shown great activity. In Europe, a well-known fresh-water laboratory has for several years been maintained by Professor Dr. O. Zacharias, at Plön in Germany.

All botanical laboratories equipped for elementary instruction are practically the same. It may be assumed that such establishments provide equipment for fundamental courses in morphology, physiology, ecology, and perhaps taxonomy. In provision for research work, however, botanical laboratories vary widely. There is probably no complete botanical laboratory in the world, in the sense that it provides for every phase of botanical investigation. Each prominent laboratory is strong in one, or perhaps a few, of the many phases of botanical research, and this is recognized by graduate students in selecting a laboratory for definite work. Since the chief opportunity of any botanical laboratory is the staff of men in charge of the work, every laboratory has developed about certain men rather than along theoretical lines. While worthy morphological and physiological laboratories can be developed in connection with any university that has money enough to employ suitable men and furnish them equipment, worthy taxonomic equipment is a matter of historical development. It involves the accumulation of large collections, whose chief value lies in sets of plants that are not in the open market. For example, while there are possibly ten botanical laboratories in the United States in which the opportunities for research in morphology, physiology, and ecology may be regarded from fair to excellent, there are only three, or at most four, points where great historical collections of plants have made valuable research work in taxonomy possible. See Botanic Garden.

Psychological Laboratories. The first laboratory for the pursuit of researches in psycho-physics and experimental psychology (qq.v.) was founded by Wilhelm Wundt at Leipzig in 1879. Laboratories have now been established at most of the leading German universities. The first laboratory in the United States was founded at the Johns Hopkins University in 1881 by G. S. Hall, but laboratories are now the rule rather than the exception in American universities and colleges.

France has an excellent laboratory at the Sorbonne, Paris. England has small laboratories at Cambridge and London, but has so far done little for the cause of experimental psychology. Valuable investigations have also come from Denmark (Copenhagen), Sweden (Upsala), Norway (Christiania), Belgium (Liège), Holland (Groningen and Utrecht), Austria (Vienna and Gratz), Russia (Saint Petersburg and Moscow), and Japan (Tokio), some of them from psychological laboratories proper, and some from laboratories of physiology.

The recent development of psychology as a science, the multiplicity of problems that crowd upon the investigator, the varied training of the men who have devoted themselves to psychological experiment, and the makeshifts to which psychologists are forced by inadequate laboratory accommodation, render it exceedingly difficult to give any typical description of the arrangement and furnishing of the psychological laboratory. We may, however, say, without much fear of contradiction, that the ‘ideal’ laboratory would present at least the following features: There should be (1) a large lecture-room or auditorium, capable of seating some 300 hearers, with a good demonstration table and arrangements for lantern projection. Behind the lecture-room, and opening into it, should be (2) a museum or storeroom, in which are displayed not only all the demonstration instruments required for a general lecture course, but also series of standard pieces illustrating the historical development of experimental method. (3) For work in optics, there should be two dark rooms, adjoining and connected, and it would be well if the larger of the two, the anteroom, should have a window opening into the general lecture-room. This anteroom is necessary for the demonstration of certain phenomena of contrast (q.v.), for work on visual adaptation, on association of ideas, etc., etc.; while the inner room is useful for more refined investigation—e.g. for spectrometric research. The window in the side of the lecture-room gives the lecturer a black background against which certain demonstrations can be made, without darkening the lecture-room itself, far more effectually than against a black screen. (4) For acoustics, there should be available a suite of three rooms, one of which should be made, as far as possible, sound-proof, as well as light-proof, and all of which should be connected by acoustic tubes for the transmission of auditory stimuli. (5) For work upon the sense of smell, there should be a special room, with tiled floor and glazed walls and especial ventilating arrangements. The rest of the laboratory proper should be taken up with large rooms, well aired and lighted, for class work in the practice courses; a set of small, closet-like rooms, occupied by advanced students; a series of rooms devoted to observations upon the lower animals; a centrally situated room, containing the measuring instruments (chronoscopes, chronographs, etc.), upon which a call may be made from any part of the laboratory; the private laboratories of the instructing staff; and a library and writing-room. The only other feature of the laboratory that demands separate mention is (6) the workshop, which should be adequately fitted with the tools needed for wood and metal work, and should have an abundant power supply.

The instrumental outfit of the laboratory is described under the heading Psychological Apparatus. A few points as regards furniture and fixtures may be noticed here. Every room should be supplied with gas and electricity, and certain rooms (for which absolute quiet is not essential) with water. The rooms employed for class work should have small, low tables, accommodating each a pair of students, and shallow, glass-fronted wall cases to contain the instruments when not in use. Comfort on the part of the observer is essential to good introspection; for this reason there should be special narrow tables for experiments upon smell and taste; couches or reclining chairs for work upon the cutaneous sensations; and high desks for certain experiments upon visual contrast and after-images. The whole laboratory must be wired for telephone or bell signals, so that any two available rooms may be connected together for a particular investigation without disturbance to other workers by passage to and fro between them.

Literature. Holman, "The Functions of the Laboratory," in Technology Review for 1899; Welch, Evolution of the Modern Laboratory (Smithsonian Report for 1895); Das chemische Laboratorium der Ludwigs-Universität zu Giessen, nebst einem Vorwort von Liebig (Heidelberg, 1842); Lang, Das chemische Laboratorium an der Universität Heidelberg (Karlsruhe, 1858); Kolbe, Das neue chemische Laboratorium der Universität Leipzig (Leipzig, 1868); Fischer and Gruth, Der Neubau des ersten chemischen Instituts der Universität Berlin (Berlin, 1901); Chandler, The Construction of Chemical Laboratories (Washington, D. C., 1893); "Les laboratoires de chimie," in Encyclopédie chimique (Paris, 1882); Arendt, Technik der Experimentalchemie (Hamburg, 1900). Minot, in vol. xiii. of Science (1901), advocates small rooms of uniform size for laboratories in secondary schools. Smith and Hall, Teaching of Chemistry and Physics (New York, 1902); Cajori, History of Physics (New York, 1899); Davis, Handbook of Chemical Engineering (Manchester, 1901); Delabarre, L'année psychologique, vol. i. (Paris, 1895); Münsterberg, The Psychological Laboratory of Harvard University (Boston, 1893); Titchener, in Mind, n. s. vol. vii. (London, 1898), which gives a bibliography; id., in American Journal of Psychology, vol. xi. (Worcester, 1900); id., Experimental Psychology (New York, 1901); Sanford, Experimental Psychology (Boston, 1898); id., in American Journal of Psychology, vol. v. (Worcester, 1892-93). See also Observatory.


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