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Flexibility or Inexactitude? The “Lab 60” at Karolinska Institutet: From Medical Disciplines towards the Modern Biomedical Complex
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History, Science and Technology Studies Center.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3509-097X
2015 (English)In: Ambix, ISSN 0002-6980, E-ISSN 1745-8234, Vol. 62, no 2, 167-188 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In 1960, a new laboratory ("Lab 60") was built on the premises of Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm. This paper describes how the laboratory was envisioned. While planners and builders strove to optimise a generic laboratory, researchers argued for specialisation. The compromise was to enhance the reorganisation capability of the interior (flexibility) while simultaneously creating a "movable" institution consisting of researchers temporarily working in the laboratory for periods of three to five years, regardless of their disciplinary affiliation. Even though flexibility was not a novelty, the building succeeded as an organisational experiment and encouraged the abandonment of the model of one discipline, one professor, and one building in favour of a "movable" institution conducting temporary research. While the credibility of laboratories was established by their "placelessness" (anywhere), Lab 60 imitated multiple, heterogeneous sites (anything) in order to maintain credibility. As such, the lab embodied many sites between the disciplines of chemistry and medicine.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 62, no 2, 167-188 p.
National Category
History of Ideas Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology) History of Technology
Research subject
History of Sciences and Ideas
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-271216DOI: 10.1179/0002698015Z.00000000078OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-271216DiVA: diva2:891405
Available from: 2016-01-07 Created: 2016-01-07 Last updated: 2016-01-07

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Normark, Daniel
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