This past November, millions of Americans headed for the polls, exercising their right to participate in the democratic process. The Scientist also believes in the democratic process, and earlier in the year it asked readers to vote on who makes the best stuff. Lab stuff, that is--the instruments, gadgets, software, tools, and resources that make it possible, even enjoyable, to do lab research. The Web-based poll asked for free-form answers, so respondents could enter any product or company they wished; no list of candidates was supplied.

Inside a sealed chamber buried deep beneath the home office in Philadelphia, an elite conclave of staff members assembled, solemnly swore to execute their office with honor and impartiality, and then counted the votes. No appeals were requested and no chads were found hanging, so without further ado, here are the winners of the First Annual The Scientist Readers' Choice Awards!

Best Instrument...

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