Check Out the Four Most Extraordinary Science Labs in the World

Scientist working in a laboratory

(DGIwire) — When most of us hear the phrase “science lab,” what comes to mind are images of Bunsen burners and half-dissected frogs in a classroom. These days, however, high-school laboratories have far more advanced technology than your fifth-period chemistry teacher had to drill into you. And on the professional lab front—well, it seems the sky’s the limit—or perhaps, limitless.

Though we can’t promise they provide cute lab partners, these four insanely high-tech laboratories from around the globe are enough to make any James Bond-style spy green with envy.

1. Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso, Italy
Deep beneath an Italian mountain range is one of the world’s largest underground research centers. The scientists here are busy studying supernovas and dark matter in their own high-tech version of the Bat Cave. The rock walls that surround the testing chambers are more than 4,500 feet thick, to ensure no gamma rays—or anything else for that matter—will disrupt the experiments.

2. Lick Observatory, San Jose, California
This stargazer’s paradise will touch the heart of any amateur astronomer. The observatory, which sits atop Mount Hamilton, is the site where hundreds upon hundreds of new planets, moons and stars have been discovered. Its massive telescope provides a portal into other worlds and a window back to the beginning of time. Even cooler: visitors are allowed to tour the facilities; you can even get married there. (We guess that nerd-centric wedding might give out pocket-protectors as party favors.)

3. Aquarius Reef Base, Florida Keys
Have you ever imagined staying underwater for a week at a time? That’s just a normal workweek for the team at Florida International University’s underwater research center. The lab boasts the ability to house scientists for up to 10 days—they can even cook and take showers while waving to fish out the window. When the 10 days are up, they simply swim to the surface. The lab, which has been operating since 1993, says its primary focus is monitoring how climate change affects coral reefs. No word on whether Aquaman is one of their employees.

4. Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, Louisiana & Washington
This lab’s name is such a mouthful that everyone just calls it LIGO. Focused on gravitational research, LIGO is actually comprised of two labs thousands of miles apart. The massive distance serves to eliminate the variable of small, localized earthquakes disrupting their data. The two labs communicate constantly and share information.

Even though none of these four facilities is conducting life science research, the fact is that in this area, too, top-of-the-line equipment is essential. One company, Harvard Bioscience, Inc., is keeping pace by offering the highest-quality tools and equipment for university, government and other research laboratories as well as biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies worldwide. Its product range is extensive, from molecular analysis instruments to biomedical software. Though it is based in Holliston, MA, Harvard Bioscience is a global company with the ability to outfit a laboratory on any continent.

Jeffrey A. Duchemin, President and CEO of Harvard Bioscience, says, “These top four laboratories are incredible. Other amazing work is being done in life science labs all over the world, thanks to state-of-the-art equipment that companies such as Harvard Bioscience are able to provide.”