Everything is chemistry, National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia

Exhibition showing the presence of chemistry in the world around us. From our own bodies to the different applications of chemistry in everyday life: materials, daily activities, nutrition and health. Without the contributions of chemistry it would have been almost impossible to resolve the multiple needs generated by demographic growth or to focus on improving the wellbeing and life expectancy of people.

This exhibition presents the latest technological advances in the field of chemistry, such as smart fibres, nanofibres and nanoparticles; new uses in medicine; natural fibres in automobile construction; new treatments improving waste management and ecological and sustainable methods to fertilise crops using seawater.

“Everything is chemistry” has been produced in collaboration with the Catalan Society of Chemistry, UPC in Terrassa and pioneering companies in different sectors of chemistry.


1. I am chemistry… Therefore i exist.
2. What elements!
3. Transformation of matter
4. Major revolutions in chemistry
5. Chemistry in daily life


Physics apparatus comprising a circular metal base made from gilt brass with a cylindrical cowl connected to the transparent, cylindrical glass body or stem. At the top there is another cylindrical part enclosing the glass and supporting a piece of gilded metal in the form of an arc, with the pendulum or lead ball hanging from the end. This device was used to experiment with the phenomenon of the attraction and repulsion of objects.

RBM tachometer
Carriage tachometer made by RBM. This was one of the first tachometers to be made, and is particularly unusual for its characteristics. The clockwork mechanism of the tachometer is housed within a particularly solid metal capsule. This capsule opens in two halves, with the winding mechanism operated by a wheel on the top half, which also serves to hold the sheet of paper marking the time intervals. The rest of the mechanism, including the paper punch, is located in the lower half.

Barlow’s wheel
Invented by P. Barlow in 1828 to demonstrate the action of the magnetic field on an electric current.

The object is mounted on a rectangular wooden base with four feet. It comprises a toothed copper wheel rotating around a moulded horizontal axle of gilded metal, which is submerged as it passes through the base of an iron container for mercury. The two poles of the direct current circuit, in gilded metal, are connected respectively to the mercury and to the axle. A magnet creates a normal magnetic field in the plane of the wheel, and it rotates, the direction of rotation depending on the respective directions of the magnetic field and the current.

Replica Carolingian astrolabe
An astrolabe is a flat representation of the celestial sphere. The engraved lines can be used to establish and predict the progression of the celestial bodies. This one in particular is built according to the Barcelona meridian and is important because of its numbering system, using Latin letters that nonetheless correspond to Arabic numerals.

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It has two sides, one of them set deeper, with two engraved discs known as timpani, on which the different latitudes are marked. Each of them has a stereographic projection at the top of the circles of the celestial sphere: theoretical horizon, visual horizon, meridian, tropics, equator and, on the lower semicircle, the lines for the odd-numbered hours. The spider is superimposed onto the timpani, a kind of engraved chart of the heavens, with a projection of the ecliptic and eighteen stars (ten boreal and eight austral), without any name engraved. One of the timpani bears the names ROME and FRANCE, in capital letters. According to the historian Julio Samsó, these provide fairly clear proof of its provenance, as Ifranja was the name used by the Arabs before the 12th century to refer to the Christian states of the north-east of the Iberian peninsula. The letters are also similar to those used in the late 10th century in Latin manuscripts produced in the region of Catalonia.

Ramsden static electricity machine
Static electricity machine with a glass disc, known as a Ramsden machine, on a wooden table. It comprises a fixed glass disc with a metal axle in the centre, rotated by means of a handle. As the glass passes through two wooden struts or parts supporting the axle, the surface rubs against the two bearings on the struts. The rotating movement serves to electrify the glass disc, which receives a positive electrical charge on both sides. A long transversal brass cylinder is the isolating conductor, on two glass feet. The far ends of the cylinder have two gilded arms, which end in points which almost touch the disc, discharging the electricity without rubbing.

Quadrant pyrometer
The quadrant pyrometer is a device for measuring the expansion of metals subjected to the heat of a flame.

Built on a wooden base, it is made up of a horizontal cylinder, a metal wire and a needle. The horizontal cylinder is filled with a flammable fuel (alcohol) and the flame is applied directly to the metal rod to be measured.

Balance scales
These balance scales, made up essentially of a lever with identical arms, is a device used to measure the mass of an object in comparison with the weight of another object of a known mass.

What can be deduced from its use is that the weight hanging on different arms is equal to the inversion of the ratio of its distances to the support point.

These balance scales have been used for experimentation and demonstration for didactic purposes.

National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia
The National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia (mNACTEC) is one of the three recognized by the Parliament of Catalonia national museums. Its mission is to permanently show the implementation and development of scientific and technical progress in Catalonia, industrial application and especially their involvement and social impact.

The National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia is the product of the rich and lengthy heritage of scientific and technical innovation and knowledge, and the industrial application of this, as developed in this country over the centuries. Although the plans for a museum dedicated to the dissemination of scientific and technical knowledge, vocational development in these two fields and the preservation of the most substantial material records of the technical creativity of humanity, and the most significant objects invented or manufactured in this country, originally dates back to the early 20th century, it was not until 1984 that they were to take shape in the form of this cultural and social landmark museum.

The mNACTEC and its Territorial Structure, closely linked to Catalan industrial society, as an element of national identity and focus, decentralised, innovative, regionally implemented and with the utmost social return and impact, has over the course of 35 years successfully positioned itself as an international flagship and model presenting the uniqueness, specificity and social impact of scientific, technical and industrial culture in Catalonia. Despite the economic difficulties the country finds itself in, the mNACTEC maintains, consolidates and underpins the growth and expansion of this important museum, heritage, cultural and social project with new aims, greater expectations and an even greater dose of renewed enthusiast and interest.

We are in a moment of social change which is forcing us to focus all our efforts in the consolidation of the existing spaces, updating the Museum’s programming, planning new initiatives, ensuring access to a suitable structure, updating and expanding the museumological discourse of the Territorial System when applicable, and encouraging new projects providing incentives which further allow us to become a national museum of note in the new museumology of the 21st century. It should be a modern dynamic museum which must necessarily have major direct involvement in our contemporary society without forgetting its important role in the recovery, conservation and valorization of the scientific, technical and industrial heritage and culture of Catalonia without forgetting the power and drive of our people who, by making this heritage their own, transform the mNACTEC into a living project serving and promoting “the soul” of this society, reminds us where we came from, what we are and where we want to go.