Building Scientific Apparatus
A Practical Guide to Design and Construction, 2nd ed.
Moore, Davis, Coplan, and Greer
Perseus Books, 1991, 549pp
Contains practical information to assist beginners with
building scientific instruments, including components, vendors,
and construction techniques. Also has brief discussions of the
theory. Biased toward apparatus used in physics, concentrating
on vacuum systems, optics, charged particle devices, and electronic
devices. The largest section, optics, has most of the basic optics
equations, and a brief introduction to laser technology. The book
would not be useful to chemists who wish to do surface modifications,
create specialized materials, or create biosensors, or to someone
who (for example) wished to build a linear amplifier or a high-voltage
power supply. In fact, most of the apparatus is not described in
sufficient detail to enable one to actually build anything. At best
it may be sufficient to get someone
oriented. This would be particularly helpful for students - neither
engineering students nor science students receive much guidance on how
to build anything nowadays.
Unfortunately, much of the book is
hopelessly out of date. For example, the brief discussion of
computer-controlled I/O discusses interfacing with the Commodore 64
and IBM PC. The book's references mostly date to the 1960s
and 70s; the most recent one I could find was from 1986. The main
value of this book is as an introduction to the workings of some
older obsolete equipment that a student might encounter in an
out-of-date laboratory or a scientific museum.
For building electronic equipment, a much better book would be
Analog and Digital Electronics for Scientists.
Oct 6, 2001