Laboratories used for scientific research take many forms because of the differing requirements of specialists in the various fields of science and engineering. Early scientific laboratory of «laboratories» recorded in English involved alchemy and the preparation of medicines.
The emergence of Big Science during World War II increased the size of laboratories and scientific equipment, introducing particle accelerators and similar devices. The earliest laboratory according to the present evidence is a home laboratory of Pythagoras of Samos, the well-known Greek philosopher and scientist. This laboratory was created when Pythagoras conducted an experiment about tones of sound and vibration of string. In the painting of Louis Pasteur by Albert Edelfelt in 1885, Louis Pasteur is shown comparing a note in his left hand with a bottle filled with a solid in his right hand, and not wearing any personal protective equipment. Researching in teams started in the 19th century, and many new kinds of equipment were developed in the 20th century. A 16th century underground alchemical laboratory was accidentally discovered in the year 2002. Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor was believed to be the owner.
The laboratory is called Speculum Alchemiae and is preserved as a museum in Prague. Laboratory equipment is generally used to either perform an experiment or to take measurements and gather data. Larger or more sophisticated equipment is generally called a scientific instrument. The title of laboratory is also used for certain other facilities where the processes or equipment used are similar to those in scientific laboratories.