A new kind of physics envy: all the sites mentioned in this blog post about 14 amazing research facilities are physics/astronomy/engineering-related. Off the top of my head, I’m trying to think of some equally amazing biology research facilities. My list so far includes:
- Biosphere II
- The Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding
- The J. Craig Venter Institute
- The Park Grass Experiments at Rothamsted
- The Royal Botanic Garden, Kew
- The various FACE sites
What makes a biology research facility amazing? Scale, both temporal and spatial, is important (as it is in the physics facilities). Long-term and landscape-scale experiments are key in linking the average small-scale, PhD-length experiment to the real world. Ambition (see Biosphere 2) and ingenuity (see FACE technology) are not essential—the Park Grass Experiment is quite simple in concept—but are, obviously, points in favour.
I imagine there are many good examples out there that I’m missing (there is in fact an entire network of long-term ecological research sites now), and I’m also completely ignorant of biomedical, cell and molecular, and genetics facilities. So…suggestions?
Mind you, the average field station anywhere blows all those physics projects out of the water, in my totally objective view.