I’ve previously posted on the importance of accomplishing science with MacGyveresque inventiveness, but even McGyver needed the right tools to get the job done. My own experiments would never be possible without the UC Berkeley College of Chemistry’s student machine shop. Phil Simon, head of the college’s Liquid Air Plant, is kind enough to train graduate students and postdocs in the skills necessary to form metals and plastics into whatever an apparatus demands. After passing the machine shop class, I had full access to the incredible array of tools within. Though the student shop once took up an entire floor of Gilman Hall (what is now the Pitzer Center), it is now squeezed into an annex to the main machine shop in the basement of Tan Hall. Still, new tools are still being added (all thanks to the attention of Phil Simon) and the shop gets significant use from the school’s physical chemists.
I want this post to serve as a tour of some of the amazing machines in the shop and the ways that I use them; to facilitate that, I’ll use some of my own photographs.