The Science Room (also called the Science Lab by Rimmer in "Bodyswap" and the Scanning Room by the Cat in "D.N.A.") was a central chamber aboard Red Dwarf from which the ship could be controlled from, much like the Drive Room used in Series I and II.
From Series XI, the gang use a newer Science Room towards the front of the ship.
Series III - Series V
The Science Room was presumably used because it was closer to the Officer's sleeping quarters that the Dwarfer posse had recently relocated to. The Science Room was similar in some respects to the earlier, mostly grey Drive Room, although it was less cramped, brighter and more colorful, mostly colored in cream. Unlike the Drive Room, the Science Room did not contain a vending machine.
Unlike the Drive Room, which had consoles and server towers and wiring everywhere, the Science Room appeared more ordered, with all the consoles were placed around the central plinth or column in the room. Holly could appear on the main monitor of the central column. The monitors and consoles seem to be more technologically advanced than those in the Drive Room.
Around the outsides of the room were placed dozens of scientific instruments (most of them never actually used) and chemicals in jars.
Whereas the Drive Room contained the navicomp, the Science Room contained things such as the ship's internal scanners ("Body Swap"), external scanners ("White Hole") and scientific devices such as the Mind Patch ("Holoship") and the Triplicator ("Demons & Angels").
The Science Room also had some medical functions. Kryten performed the Cesarean section on Lister when he gave birth to twins Jim and Bexley in the Science Room instead of the Medi-Bay (as mentioned in the opening of the episode "Backwards", and in the lost episode "Dad"). Kryten also performs medical care on Lister in the Science Room when Lister contracts space mumps. ("Justice")
To be completed
The original Science Room would not be seen again after Series V. In later series, when they've finally got Red Dwarf back (after losing it for a few series), the boys from the Dwarf go back to using various other Drive Rooms.
Series XI - XII
This new Science Room was located on G Deck, 229 floors below A Deck/B Deck, where the crew's new sleeping quarters was located. The Dwarfers used the elevators to travel between the sleeping quarters and G Deck. ("Skipper")
The second Science Room is brightly-lit, blue-tinged and high-tech. There is a medical unit on one side of the chamber, and on the other side of the chamber, rows of blinking server towers, banks of glowing monitors, and a navicomp.
Although referred to as a Science Room, it is multi-purpose, and can serve as a Drive Room, Science Room and Medi-Bay - for medical purposes and surgery - all in one. ("Give & Take", "Can of Worms", "M-Corp")
Behind the scenes
- The blue-tinged second Science Room features as a theme on one side of the reversible Series XII cover artwork.
- The large, white cylinder in the Science Room (a form of medical CT x-ray scanner) was actually constructed from a metal airplane engine housing.
- It is unclear why the crew stopped using the Drive Room they used in Series X and began using this Science Room. It is possible that the Drive Room used in Series X was contained in one of the regions of the ship that was destroyed by the photon mutilator attack by the Simulant Generals in the last episode of Series X. Alternatively, it may have simply been a practical decision since the Science Room was larger and had more utilities, and they were always using different rooms through the ship.
- This second Science Room was presumably created when the nanobots previously upgraded the ship; or it may have been upgraded by Kryten and the skutters later using tech scavenged from Space Corps derelict ships.