Category Archives: Denmark

Medical Museion, Copenhagen

By Daniel Noesgaard

Medical Museion

Formerly known as the Medical History Museum, Medical Museion combines academic research and teaching with public outreach through our exhibitions, collections and social web media interaction.

In ancient greek Museion (Μουσειον) is a temple in which the muses who precided over arts and science, inspired perfomers and practioners of music, litterature, philosophy. The name Museion was chosen to illustrate how we are more than just a medical history museum. We are more than a university research department. We are both!

Genomic Enlightenment - an installation at Medical Museion

The exhibitions are currently available to visitors through guided tours only. Opening hours are Wednesday through Friday and Sunday from 1pm to 5pm. Guided tours start at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30pm and last for approximately one and a half hour.

For more details, visit the Medical Museion website.

Niels Bohr Institute, Denmark

By Charles Tanford & Jacqueline Reynolds

Niels Bohr Institute

The Niels Bohr Institute, founded in 1920 explicitly for Niels Bohr, is at Blegdamsvej 15-19, adjacent to the National Hospital. Today it is a thriving institution with ongoing work in many branches of theoretical physics, but it also permits itself the luxury of a Niels Bohr Archives. A small historical room is preserved, containing Bohr’s desk and chair and a few other items; the Institute’s auditorium is still much as it was in Bohr’s later years and contains a few historical pictures.

The Carlsberg Laboratory, Copenhagen

By Charles Tanford & Jacqueline Reynolds

Carlsberg Laboratory

The historic laboratory, built in 1897 and the principal place of research until 1976, is at 10 Gamle (“old”) Carlsbergvej. It is still in active operation, joined by a covered passageway to the modern research center next door. Neither building is normally open to the general public and a bell must be rung to gain admission to the old building. Inside it there is an impressive staircase rising from the entrance hall, with flanking busts of Louis Pasteur and the German chemist Justus von Liebig. Pasteur paid a visit to the laboratory in 1884.

The Carlsberg Brewery is open to the public. Its entrance is on Nv (“new”) Carlsbergvej, around the corner from the research center; the portal is framed by massive granite elephants, which actually support a cooling tower. Guided tours take the visitor through all parts of the brewery and provide him with a taste of the Carlsberg product. The very earliest research laboratory (1876-1897) was a part of the main brewery complex. It is now a museum and is visited as part of the guided tour.

The house in which the brewery founder J. C. Jacobsen resided (built in 1876) is on the brewery grounds, separated only by tall trees and gardens from the railway tracks on one side and the main brewery buildings on the other. It is now the “Mansion of Honor,” given as a lifelong residence to a distinguished Danish scholar. Scientists and humanists alternate as occupants. The most celebrated occupant was Niels Bohr, who lived in the house (except for his brief wartime absence) from 1932 until his death in 1962.

Tastrup, Denmark

By Charles Tanford & Jacqueline Reynolds

Sunset in Taastrup

Ole Remer was born in Arhus (in Jutland), where a street is named after him, but the most important memorial is a national one at Vridslesemagle, just north of the town of Tastrup, where the remains of Remer’s old observatory were uncovered in 1978. The site has been converted into a monument, with a fine statue of the astronomer, his eyes raised proudly to the skies. There is a museum about 1,000 feet (300 m) away. It is an impressive place despite operating on a shoestring budget, with good explanations of the instruments Remer devised and why some of them were better than Tycho Brahe’s a hundred years earlier and why they are not as good as instruments we have today. Some modem astronomical devices are shown as a basis for comparison. Star gazing evenings open to the public are held here once a week during the winter.

The most spectacular items in the museum are replicas of the “Planetarium” and the “Eclipsareon,” two instruments designed by Remer during his stay in Paris and constructed for him by the Paris clockmaker Isaac Thuret. The planetarium is the first device of its kind that was built according to the Copernican heliocentric system, with the earth as one of the planets circling the sun. The eclipsareon shows the motions of the moon, earth, and sun. Its unique feature is that it includes offset cams, by means of which the elliptical path of the moon and the varying speed of its motion can be represented. Both models are in perfect mechanical order and can be put in motion by the visitor, by turning a handle in one case and by means of an electric motor in the other.

The two machines were immensely popular in Remer’s lifetime and many copies were made. Jesuit missionaries took copies in the 1680s to the shah of Persia, the king of Siam and the emperor of China. They were especially appreciated in China, where lunar and solar eclipses were central to religious festivals and the ability of the eclipsareon to predict them accurately was thus a great boon. Remer’s original planetary engines fell into disuse after his death. Their mechanism rusted, their metal was vandalized, and they were moved to the Round Tower in Copenhagen, where they were destroyed by Copenhagen’s great fire of 1728, when one third of the city went up in flames.

The Vridslølsemagle site was picked out by Remer himself in 1704, and it is still obvious today why one would want to put an observatory here. The ground is slightly elevated (by Danish standards), with picturesque farmland on all sides. The sky in good weather is crisply clear, and in 1704 sky is all you would have seen at night for miles around. Today, of course, the lights of Copenhagen blot out the stars toward the east. (It should be noted that the observatory foundations were built below ground level for optimal stability and were lost for more than 200 years. It proved no easy task to locate the remains in 1978.)