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A medical laboratory run by the Graduate Institute of Cancer Biology of China Medical University (Taiwan)
Molecular Biology Technics Laboratory at Faculty of Biology of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan
A workbench in a chemistry laboratory
The Schuster Laboratory, University of Manchester (a physics laboratory)

A laboratory (/ləˈbɒrətəri/ or /ˈlæbərətri/; informally, lab) is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which scientific or technological research, experiments, and measurement may be performed.

Labs used for scientific research take many forms because of the differing requirements of specialists in the various fields of science and engineering. A physics lab might contain a particle accelerator or vacuum chamber, while a metallurgy lab 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 lab 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 collected elsewhere. Scientists in other fields will use still other types of laboratories. Engineers use labs as well to design, build, and test technological devices.

Despite the great differences among laboratories, some features are common. The use of workbenches or countertops at which scientists may choose to either sit or stand is a common way to ensure comfortable working conditions. Cabinets for the storage of laboratory equipment are also found in laboratories. It is traditional for a scientist to record an experiment's progress in a laboratory notebook, but modern labs almost always contain at least one computer workstation for data collection and analysis.

Scientific laboratories can be found in schools and universities, in industry, in government or military facilities, and even aboard ships and spacecraft. A laboratory might offer work space for just one to more than thirty researchers depending on its size and purpose. Recently, a new type of laboratory called Open Laboratory has emerged.[when?] Its format allows the sharing of space, equipment, support staff between different research groups and also fosters information exchange through communications across fields. There is also an open source lab, which is a lab that is made up of open source scientific hardware.

History[edit]

Techniques[edit]

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

Equipment[edit]

Laboratory equipment refers to the various tools and equipment used by scientists working in a laboratory. These include tools such as Bunsen burners, and microscopes as well as specialty equipment such as operant conditioning chambers, spectrophotometers and calorimeters. Another important type of laboratory equipment is laboratory glassware such as the beaker or reagent bottle, or even a thermometer.

Laboratory 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.

Specialised 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:

In recent years government and private centers for innovation in learning, leadership and organization have adopted "lab" in their name to emphasize the experimental and research-oriented nature of their work.

Safety[edit]

An eyewash station in a laboratory.

In some laboratories, the conditions are no more dangerous than in any other room. In many labs, though, hazards are present. Laboratory hazards are as varied as the subjects of study in laboratories, and might include poisons; infectious agents; flammable, explosive, or radioactive materials; moving machinery; extreme temperatures; lasers, strong magnetic fields or high voltage. In laboratories where dangerous conditions might exist, safety precautions are important. Rules exist to minimize the individual's risk, and safety equipment is used to protect the lab user 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.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laboratory — Please support Wikipedia.
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NPR
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 12:30:00 -0700

Lice that had been infected with typhus bacteria would be allowed to feed on human volunteers, says Arthur Allen, who wrote the new book The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl. "And then, after about five days," Allen tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies,"[the ...
 
taosnews
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 23:00:00 -0700

Los Alamos National Laboratory recently launched its new student mobile app students and postdoctoral candidates can use to learn about employment opportunities, science research, education programs and more. The Los Alamos Students mobile app is ...
 
Washington Post
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:56:15 -0700

The title, featuring as it does “Fantastic,” suggests something over the top, and the subtitle suggests that the two scientists were in cahoots to bamboozle the Nazis. But there was nothing science-fictional about the laboratory in which Rudolf Weigl ...
 
Motley Fool
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:33:45 -0700

Laboratory Corp (NYSE: LH ) is the second largest laboratory testing company in the U.S. and during the company's second-quarter earnings conference call, the company's CEO outlined five goals critical to LabCorp's future. Source: LabCorp. In the ...

Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 12:52:30 -0700

This is graphically illustrated in "The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl," which is about societies—particularly Poland and what is now Ukraine—rendered hellish by the Third Reich. It is also about two complex, gifted scientists, Rudolf Weigl and ...
 
The Trentonian
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 19:26:15 -0700

PRINCETON —According to a federal complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Institutes of Health's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have accused Princeton ...
 
News-Medical.net
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 22:48:45 -0700

NuAire® LabGard® ES and CellGard™ ES (Energy Saver) brand of Class II Biological Safety Cabinets offer the proper ergonomics, reduce energy, and improve laboratory safety. Experience Ergonomics™. Work comfortably with NuAire Biosafety Cabinets.
 
JD Supra (press release)
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 14:11:15 -0700

The Fiscal Year 2015 budget for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which was signed into law earlier in the week, included a broad prohibition on clinical laboratory self-referrals. This legislation (the “Bill”) originally proposed by the Attorney ...
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