‘The different branches of anaesthesia’ looks at the areas of medicine in which anaesthesia has made important advances: intensive care, pain medicine, obstetrics, paediatrics, and veterinary medicine. Since the establishment of the first academic department of anaesthesia in 1933, the expansion of anaesthetic techniques has been vast. Academic research has provided considerable advances in our understanding of physiology in health and disease as well as the pharmacology of anaesthetic agents. The fields of engineering and physics have also contributed to the technology behind the delivery of anaesthesia and the sophistication of anaesthetic equipment. In turn these advances have facilitated expansion in surgical techniques.