Science

Forget Dull White Coats: Laboratory Life Is Fascinating

If you don’t work inside one, you might expect laboratory work to be humdrum. But throughout history, some spectacular scenes have occurred in labs across the world. LIFE brings us a gallery of these moments – from the impressive to the strange.

This shot, of endless specimens in a 1950 cancer lab, is simply dizzying – though it’s not as if research in the field has become any less complex.

What’s a great lab without a great experiment? And what’s a great experiment without monkeys? And what’s a monkey without a robot monkey to be affectionate with?

We aren’t entirely sure what’s happening in the above scene, which took place at Underwriter Laboratories in 1943, other than the manipulation of extremely high voltages by an extremely intrepid lab worker. Don’t ever let anyone tell you lab work is safe work.

Check out the rest of the fantastic photographs at LIFE.