The Historical Virtual Laboratory

There is nothing new about Henning Schmidgen’s “Virtual Laboratory,” but it deserves to be highlighted on this blog nevertheless. The website, hosted by the the Max Plank Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, contains a wide range of materials relevant not only to the history psychology, but the histories of medicine and physiology as well.

The focus is on the life sciences between 1830 and 1930. The site is divided into two broad sections — an “archive” and a “laboratory.” The “archive” contains reproductions of historical scientific reports on topics such as nerve conduction, reaction time, and speech & hearing, as well as historical images of a wide range of equipment and apparatus used in these studies. There are also biographical sketches of dozens of the scientists who conducted this research, as well as descriptions of the institutes in which the studies were carried out. The “laboratory” contains short essays by modern historians of science about the archival materials contained on the site. Dr. Schmidgen, who founded the site, is a leading expert on the history of reaction time experiments and the equipment used for such studies.

About Christopher Green

Professor of Psychology at York University (Toronto). Former editor of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. Creator of the "Classics in the History of Psychology" website and of the "This Week in the History of Psychology" podcast series.