Philipp Lachenmann: DELPHI Rationale


PILLS AND PIPETTES - The Chemical-Pharmaceutical Industry, Using the Example of Schering

“Our modern civilization comes out of the lab!” – this is the thesis proposed by the curators of the exhibition PILLS AND PIPETTES at the German Museum of Technology. Almost all substances that we deal with and are surrounded by contain portions that have been researched and developed in the lab. In our body, too, there is hardly anything that has not been analyzed for the purposes of maintaining or re-gaining our health or to increase our productivity. In cooperation with the Ernst Schering Foundation, the German Museum of Technology in Berlin for the first time devotes a new permanent exhibition to this key branch of industry.

The exhibition deals with both historical and contemporary issues of the chemical-pharmaceutical industry. Covering an area of 400 square meters, the exhibition provides both teens and adults with comprehensive insights into the industry, using as an example the former chemical and pharmaceutical company Schering AG.

The exhibition is a collaborative project of the Ernst Schering Foundation and the Foundation German Museum of Technology in Berlin and is supported by the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft. For the first time, this important branch of industry is presented in a big museum in Germany. Long-term events and programs accompany the exhibition to further the cooperation partners’ aim to awaken children’s and young people’s interest in science, research and technology and to promote understanding for the importance of science in our society.

Background Information about the Collaboration

When the Ernst Schering Foundation, in July 2006, acquired the Schering AG company museum, the “Scheringianum,” by donation from Schering AG, it not only took on a true gem of German pharmaceutical history, but also the task to manage a museum that was hardly noticed and difficult to access by the public at large, located as it was on the company premises of today’s Bayer Schering Pharma AG. It is, however, a major goal of the Ernst Schering Foundation to make the development of the pharmaceutical and chemical industry in Berlin accessible to a broader public, especially children and young people. Since these topics had previously not been the focus of a museum exhibition in Berlin, the Foundation cooperated with the Foundation German Museum of Technology to develop the permanent exhibition entitled PILLS AND PIPETTES, which opened in Kreuzberg on June 2, 2010.


The visitors will find an exhibition that is original and sophisticated both in terms of contents and design and that is accessible and comprehensible to the general public.

Against the background of the history of the Berlin-based Schering AG, the visitors learn about and get to know lab techniques, various instruments and appliances, from the glass pipette to the modern pipette robot, a variety of chemical products, and the fundamentals of the pharmaceutical industry. They can become pyrotechnicians themselves and build and operate virtual fireworks or watch a demonstration of an industrial tablet press in action, producing 300,000 pills per hour. Another focus is on the discovery of sexual hormones, their use as contraceptive agent in “the pill” developed by Schering AG, and the social consequences for family planning and sexuality.

In addition, the exhibition also deals with topics that have been – and continue to be – subjects of controversial debate. These include drug safety – only few substances and preparations deliver in terms of efficacy and safety and are legally approved after a long and expensive development process – , dealing with drugs, plant protection, and the social changes resulting from the rapid progress in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries during the last decades.

The exhibition is accompanied by a scholarly publication entitled “PILLEN UND PIPETTEN“ (PILLS AND PIPETTES) with numerous articles and essays by notable scholars and scientists that complement the information provided by the exhibition and present the latest in research and scholarship. This publication is of interest to both experts and non-specialists who want to explore the topic in greater depth.

Published by Koehler & Amelang, it is available in the museum shop for € 19.95 (ISBN 978-3-7338-0378-0) and in bookstores for € 29.90 (ISBN 978-3-7338-0377-3).

Important Exhibition Information

 Flyer zur Ausstellung

Open from June 2, 2010

German Museum of Technology  |  Trebbiner Str. 9  |  10963 Berlin

Tue through Fri: 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sat, Sun, Holiday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Closed on Monday.

Accompanying Program

Guided tours and workshops for school groups and other groups are available on selected topics. For further information please click here.



1-4: © C. Kirchner, SDTB
5, 6: © Bayer AG, Schering Archives







































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