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The Museum of Natural Sciences and Technology presents a treasured collection of more than 10,000 scientific instruments. The Museum was hosted under the roof of the “Old Chemistry Laboratory” of the University of Athens located in 104 Solonos Str (Fig. 1). The building’s foundation ceremony was held on June 6, 1887 and in the foundations a glass cylinder was placed containing a gold Greek coin and a membrane with the writing: “Dedicated to scientific work, which should be further dedicated to the country”.

Figure 1: The Old Chemistry Laboratory in 1917 

The “Old Chemistry” building was built according to the plans of the German architect Ernst Ziller with the approval of the famous chemist August Wilhelm von Hofmann. Many great professors of sciences have taught there, such as the man who founded the Chemistry Laboratory Anastasios Christomanos, the great mathematician Konstantinos Karatheodori who was Einstein’s scientific collaborator and pioneer in the organisation of the University of Smyrna. Additionally George Athanasiadis taught there, the man who started the new Physics Laboratory and, after requests to the German Government, achieved to secure thousands of natural sciences instruments as part of the “German Restoration Funds” of WWI. To the list of those that have taught in the Great Ampitheater it would be worth adding Sommerfeld’s partner Dimitrios Hondros, Fisher’s partner fellow researcher Leonidas Zervas and professor Caesar Alexopoulos.

This building besides its educative role, gave roof to:

  • The National Chemistry laboratory. The General Chemistry Laboratory of the State. The National Bureau of Standards. The Land Surveying Committee. The Sea Scaping Company. The Physiodiphic Company. The Botanic Museum.  The Hellenic Astronautical Society The research centre of the international program “Nestor” that studies neutrinos in the deep sea area of Pylos and The Athens University’s Museum of Natural Sciences and Technology.

The building of the Museum was also an important place for national and democratic struggles.

In the Museum one can find apparatuses of the National Bureau of Standards, standard measures, the first X-ray generator in Greece dating back to 1897, the secret transmitters that were used during the German Occupation, a Ramsden machine and thousands of other instruments of physics and chemistry, as well as the archive of the University of Smyrna which was saved by Konstantinos Karatheodori.

Figure 2: Collection of telegraphy instruments by Telefunken

  • The library of the Museum with more than 25,000 books and journals from the last two centuries. We have to emphasize that among these instruments, books and other documents, some of them came from the University of Smyrna;

German factories have made the greatest number of instruments in this Museum.

The Museum collections have contributed to education for more than 50 graduate studies research theses and 400 undergraduate projects.

Knowing the historical significance of the building of the Museum, the Ministry of Civilization characterised the building itself and all the collections of instruments as historic monuments deserving protection. The Ministry of Environment has also characterised the use of this building as a Museum. For the protection and setting up of the “Old Chemistry Laboratory” as a Museum, the Association of Friends of the Natural Sciences and Technology Museum was founded.

Figure 3: First artificial heart made in Greece (personal photographic collection of Dr Symeonidis)

At the beginning of the year 2007, restoration work started on the building, and all the instruments were transferred to the University campus, where the conditions are not safe.

The Natural Sciences and Technology Museum, under the roof of the Old Chemistry Laboratory is a well-known landmark of Athens. It is harmonically connected to its scientific history and will continue to be a jewel for the University, a pole of attraction for the city of Athens, as well as an national achievement for Greece.

Figure 4: Voice Analyzer with Gas and Mirrors


Address: Solonos 104, Athens 10680