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  December 10, 2003

Glassblowing Unit Opens In Chemistry Building

The glassblowing shop, which serves hundreds of faculty and graduate students in pharmacy, chemistry, physics, marine sciences, biology, engineering, medicine, and materials science, has opened a "satellite" office in the Chemistry Building.

Image: David King

David King, UConn's scientific glassblower, at work.

Photo supplied by Glassblowing Facility

UConn's scientific glassblower, David King, will provide services on the Storrs campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 8:30 a.m. to noon in Room R010 of the Chemistry Building (on the basement level next to the NMR Facility). The main shop is located in the Technical Services Building at the Depot campus.

The new shop will be more convenient for faculty and students needing quick repairs, says King, who has been at UConn for the past 18 months. He will continue to spend most of his time at the main shop, which has a "hot" room for blowing glass and a separate area or "wet" room where glass may be cut, ground, or cleaned.

King fashions specialized glassware, often one-of-a-kind pieces, for use in teaching and research. These include jacketed reactor vessels, flow meters, sublimators, vapor cells, quartz tubes, and optical vacuum cells. He also repairs glassware.

"I like the challenge of the job," King says. "There's always something new to figure out."

At the shop's open house on December 4, King demonstrated his craft to a group of about 20 people.

"It's a little like welding, but more creative," said one visitor to another.

Said Philip Marcus, professor of molecular and cell biology, "It's an art that hasn't disappeared."