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UC Berkeley Constructs New High-Tech Chemistry Lab

University of California, Berkeley has begun construction of its redesigned chemistry and chemical engineering laboratories in Latimer Hall as part of the Chemical Science Laboratories for the 21st Century project. The new chemistry labs will provide students with daily access to advanced lab equipment using the latest technologies, along with a revised curriculum and new methods of teaching and learning.

Prior to this $30 million project, UC Berkeley's undergraduate chemistry labs had not been upgraded for nearly 50 years. The project involves redesigning and rebuilding the 22,000 square feet of undergraduate teaching labs and stocking them with a comprehensive collection of the latest high-performance chromatography and molecular spectroscopy instruments and software available from Agilent Technologies. The College of Chemistry has 15 labs, plus three associated instrument rooms. The college will renovate one-third of the labs at a time to minimize course disruption.

Key components of the new lab equipment include automated instrumentation and software to efficiently process large volumes of experiments and Agilent's latest GC/MS, GC, LC, FT-IR and MP-AES technologies.

"This redevelopment campaign integrates modern laboratory infrastructure with a complete rethinking of our curriculum and methods for delivering instruction," said professor Richard A. Mathies, dean of UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry, in a prepared statement. "We set out to create a facility that will enhance learning for all our undergrads — not just the chemistry and science majors — and empower a new generation of scientists and industry leaders. These new instruments make up the foundation of our new instructional core facility, which will help facilitate interactive learning and promote the latest analytical measurement practices and processes for generations to come."

According to Agilent, the company will continue to provide ongoing support and collaboration after the implementation is complete.

The UC Berkeley College of Chemistry is located on the UC Berkeley campus in Berkeley, CA and is home to the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. The college serves nearly 1,500 undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students and employs nearly 100 faculty members.

Further information about Agilent Technologies' chromatography and molecular spectroscopy equipment and software can be found at agilent.com.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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