Discover the Work of Our Resident Glassblower

School of Chemistry Glassblower Highlighted in University “12 Days of Hidden Edinburgh”

Stuart Johnstone is the University of Edinburgh’s only scientific glassblower and he is based within the Joseph Black Building, servicing the School of Chemistry in designing, creating, and repairing scientific glassware. Stuart helps keep synthetic laboratories stocked with glassware, such as separating funnels and condensers, by repairing damaged items in-house. Moreover, he designs and creates bespoke pieces of glassware for research groups within the School of Chemistry which aids in boundary pushing research that is conducted within the walls of the Joseph Black and Christina Miller buildings. Stuart’s work and exceptional talent in glassblowing is vital to the cutting-edge research conducted in synthetic laboratories within the School of Chemistry.

The importance of ready access to high quality glassware in synthetic chemistry cannot be overstated. Glassware constitutes the key pieces of equipment for synthetic chemists and these items are where reactions are performed, worked up, and purified. As Stuart states:


Glass] is the ideal material for most experimental work. Glass is… chemically resistant, can be used at very high temperatures and very low temperatures. It can be used under pressure and under vacuum and it’s transparent as well, so you can get to see what’s going on.


Stuart’s work and expertise has been celebrated in a video interview as part of the University’s “12 Days of Hidden Edinburgh” programme in December 2021 (Stuart is Day 8). Within the interview, Stuart discusses the importance of scientific glassblowing, his journey to become a scientific glassblower, and his work in training glassblowers in Sri Lanka.

The School of Chemistry is very proud to call Stuart a colleague and is delighted to see his talent and work celebrated on such a large platform. Congratulations Stuart!