The chemistry lab, where nothing has changed for 200 years, is set for a technological revolution, Lee Cronin tells Julie Gould.

In the final episode of this six-part podcast series about workplace technology, Lee Cronin talks about the "chemputer," a device he and his team developed as a "chemical Google to search for the origin of life."

In November 2018 Cronin and colleagues at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, unveiled this new method of producing drug molecules, using downloadable blueprints to synthesise organic chemicals via a modular chemical-robot system.

He tells Julie Gould: "I imagined this Lego kit of chemical reactors I could slot together. We are literally building the Large Hadron Collider for the origin of life in the lab."

Cronin, regius chair of chemistry at Glasgow, tells Gould the chemputer is the latest technology development in his 20-year research career, and how academic chemistry is ripe for a revolution.

"There's always been this arms race between technology and fundamental research. For almost 200 years the chemistry lab has been a manual labour place, " he says. "Everybody has been doing everything by hand. I realised by building the chemputer there are things you never want to do by hand anymore. Shouldn't we train people how to use robots, even at the undergraduate level?"