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Jefferson-Designed Chemistry Lab Discovered In UVA Rotunda ( 249

schwit1 writes: An ongoing two-year renovation of the University of Virginia's Rotunda has revealed a chemical lab designed by Thomas Jefferson that dates from the 19th century. Workers uncovered the early science classroom behind a wall on Monday, according to the university. The room was sealed in one of the lower-floor walls of the iconic Rotunda in the mid-1840s and protected from a fire in 1895 that destroyed much of the building's interior. The chemical hearth inside was originally built as a semi-circular niche in the Rotunda, with two fireboxes that provided heat. Brick tunnels underneath the building led fresh air to fireboxes and workstations, while ducts carried away the fumes and smoke. Students at the time worked at five workstations cut into stone countertops.
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Jefferson-Designed Chemistry Lab Discovered In UVA Rotunda

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  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @08:35PM (#50747539)

    An American politician who understood and respected science - this must have been the last time in nation's history that this occurred.

    • by The Real Dr John ( 716876 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @08:47PM (#50747571) Homepage

      Agreed. I wonder if it is possible to ever go back to having intelligent people running the government. The trend seems to have been the obverse.

      • Agreed. I wonder if it is possible to ever go back to having intelligent people running the government. The trend seems to have been the obverse.

        You still think the problems for US is not have the right people to have the power? The biggest problem is the system.

        • It seems that all democratic systems will start attracting the wrong sort of people eventually. Sockpuppets for special interests, professional politicians who put their career before the good of the country, or worse. Even if your system has safeguards in place to prevent that, those will be circumvented at some point. Even if that safeguard is something as drastic as the army... Erdogan managed to defuse that safety valve just fine in Turkey. And once the bad guys are in, it is exceptionally hard to
          • Re:Oh man (Score:4, Insightful)

            by l0n3s0m3phr34k ( 2613107 ) on Saturday October 17, 2015 @07:04AM (#50748967)
            All systems that govern others eventually attract sociopaths.
            • The bigger the country (or the bigger the jurisdiction smaller than a country, where any kind of federalism applies) the bigger the pool of sociopaths to draw from, and the more likely you'll have really horrible ones rise to the top.

              It shows.

          • America has had multiple strings of bad leadership combined with multiple strings of great leadership.
            While we had W and reagan, and most of the presidents since nixon has had some pretty blind spots ( O did decently with domestic, but his foreign situation needs a lot of work ), we also had FDR->LBJ, which was one of America's great lines. Considering how corrupt our congress is, I think that O has done fairly decently, esp. in getting us out of the GOP great recession.
        • Don't see how you change the system with the wrong people in power. They feed the system, and it feeds them. Getting intelligent people in charge who wants to change the system is a start, then the people that elect them are going to have to help those in power push for change. Because rich folks don't want change. They like things just the way they are right now.

        • Indeed.

          Fix [] the broken first past the goal post [] voting system.

        • the system itself is not the problem. The real problem is the election system is pretty much rigged and encourages legalized bribery.
      • Don't you mean the reverse? I thought obverse was the front... which makes it seem like you're saying we are already going back to intelligent people running the government.

        Not trying to be pedantic, but you seem to have chosen a fancy word on purpose here and I want to know (in a non-sarcastic way) if it has an alternate meaning.


      • Obama; Poppa Bush; Carter; LBJ; Kennedy; Eisenhower; FDR; all understood and supported science.
        Hell, under each of these leaders, most made spending cuts while increasing science spending.
        And all of them were considered intelligent. []

        Interesting that support for the general sciences does appear to correlate to IQ of the presidents.
        • Congress determines how much money the NIH and NSF get. The president can push them but he can't allocate funds. Many recent presidents including Obama have made their legacy about things other than science, including force projection in the Middle East and Asia, oil and gas extraction, international IP deals masquerading as "free trade" and helping the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries to increase their bottom lines. I have not seen a big push in support for basic science funding from any rece

    • There are plenty of them in today's world too. The thing is, they do not worship science like some seem to unknowingly do and they do not ignore the dangers of unrestricted access to dangerous chemicals.

    • by Rujiel ( 1632063 )
      If you want to believe that Jefferson quote understood science, don't read what he wrote about black people being animals if you want to keep that rosy view
  • Remember when... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @08:36PM (#50747543)

    Remember when it was not only permissible, but actually admirable to perform chemical experiments? To the point where even legislators would do so, as part of their well-rounded intellectual life?

    No? Neither do today's legislators and law-enforcement officials, apparently.

    • by quenda ( 644621 )
      Jefferson is well know to have grown marijuana. This was probably a meth lab, which explains why it was so well hidden.
  • by Megane ( 129182 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @09:11PM (#50747627) Homepage
    They also found a Novell Netware server behind the wall, still up and running after all these years.
  • by Baldrson ( 78598 ) * on Saturday October 17, 2015 @01:36AM (#50748407) Homepage Journal

    Obviously a domestic terrorist threat.

    • No, I'll bet if the folks from "CSI: Charlottesville, Virginia took some samples from the lab, they would find that Jefferson was distilling moonshine and cooking meth.

      Good 'ole southern gentlemen pastimes.

      Note that NASCAR had not been invented yet in Jefferson's times.

      • He cooks that crystal meth because the shine don't sell
        You know he likes that money, he don't mind the smell!

    • Seriously Washington and Jefferson were excellent terrorist and traitors. They turned against the king and sponsored a revolution that chased the greatest power the world has ever seen right out of the country.
  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Saturday October 17, 2015 @07:19AM (#50748989) Homepage

    "Lab" sounds like a whole room. This is a hearth that was built in a corner of a room, and subsequently covered up.

In every non-trivial program there is at least one bug.