Through the looking glass

Through the looking glass

A series of major local, national and international events will be on display in a most unusual way at Satrosphere from 2 December, courtesy of the University of Aberdeen’s Chemistry Department.

The Department’s “glass library”, which dates back to 1855, will take up residence in Satrosphere as part of their “Passing Time” theme. This will be the first time the unique collection has been on show to the general public. It consists of over 80 etched glass plates which record events as seen through the eyes of a class of Chemistry students and their lecturers over the past 150 years.

The collection will be presented formally by the Principal of Aberdeen, C. Duncan Rice at 12.45pm Thursday 2 December at Satrosphere, 19 Justice Mill Lane

The idea of the plates date back to a lecture demonstration introduced to the first year chemistry course given at Marischal College by James Brazier in 1852 then Deputy Head of the Department of Chemistry. Each year, a plate of glass was etched by hydrofluoric acid and this was used as an opportunity to record an event or to make a comment.

Events covered range from a reference to the marriage of the Prince of Wales in 1863 to Princess Alexandria of Denmark, through to the Tay Bridge Disaster in 1879, Europe at War in 1914, the election of Margaret Thatcher( a chemist) in 1979 and the 200th anniversary of Chemistry at Aberdeen in 1993.

Dr Geoff McQuillan, Head of the Department of Chemistry said: “I am very pleased that this very special collection will now have a much wider audience. We consider it to be something of a treasure, not only because of the link which it symbolises to generations of students and lecturers in the Department but because of its historical significance.”

The general public has also been asked to suggest an appropriate event and message for the 1999 slide and this will take its place alongside all the others on 31 December. Sponsorship for mounting the display and an explanatory brochure has been made available by Bon Accord Glass and AC Yule.

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