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The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum Parkville, VIC

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum at the University of Melbourne comprises a collection of items of historical and scientific interest, concentrating on scientific apparatus constructed by former professors and staff for research purposes. It includes equipment and photographs spanning the history of the School of Physics, which was established as the School of Natural Philosophy in the 1880's.

There are significant holdings of ruling engines and diffraction gratings developed by Grayson and Lyle as well as apparatus emerging from optical munitions research directed by Laby during the Second World War.

The Museum owes its creation to the dedication and forethought of Associate Professor Ed Muirhead, Chairman of the School of Physics from 1980 to 1986, who initiated the museum in the 1980s. The collection was catalogued with the aid of then curator, Ms Anna Fairclough, and the museum displays set up with a grant from the Ian Potter Foundation.

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum has had continuing outstanding support from the Cultural Collections Group and the Russell and Mab Grimwade Miegunyah Fund. In 2008 The Friends of the Physics Museum was initiated by colleagues and past students of Ed Muirhead.

Links

Contact Information

location
Level 2, The School of Physics, David Caro Building (192) Corner of Elgin and Swanston Streets The University of Melbourne Parkville VIC (map)
phone
+61 03 8344 5076
Contact

Opening Hours

Opening hours: 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday Closed between Christmas and New Year and on public holidays. We are located in the Laby/Hercus lecture foyer The School of Physics is on the corner of Swanston and Elgin Streets

Entry Fee

FREE

Location

Level 2, The School of Physics, David Caro Building (192) Corner of Elgin and Swanston Streets The University of Melbourne Parkville VIC

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The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum at the University of Melbourne comprises a collection of items of historical and scientific interest, concentrating on scientific apparatus constructed by former professors and staff for research purposes. It includes equipment and photographs spanning the history of the School of Physics, which was established as the School of Natural Philosophy in the 1880's.

There are significant holdings of ruling engines and diffraction gratings developed by Grayson and Lyle as well as apparatus emerging from optical munitions research directed by Laby during the Second World War.

The Museum owes its creation to the dedication and forethought of Associate Professor Ed Muirhead, Chairman of the School of Physics from 1980 to 1986, who initiated the museum in the 1980s. The collection was catalogued with the aid of then curator, Ms Anna Fairclough, and the museum displays set up with a grant from the Ian Potter Foundation.

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469 items

First day cover, TH Laby &c

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

First day cover showing stamps of famous Australians including Thomas Laby, Scientist.

Inscriptions & Markings

Printed: “ Australia postcover Famous Australians Stamps and Cover Design Bruce Weatherhead”. Postmarked: “Philatelic Sales Centre Melbourne 3000 First day of issue - 10 November 1976”

Tube, Geiger counter partly constructed , one end complete.

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Clear glass tube, about 50 % completed by glass blower towards Geiger counter construction.

Photograph, Optical Munitions: Optical glass

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph showing male hands preparing glass for fusing. Same photo as 144.

Inscriptions & Markings

On front of image in ink: “24” On back of image in pencil: “No. 24 Glass Preparation for fusing” On back of image in ink: “24”

Photograph, Optical Munitions: ? Kahanine

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph of male scientist (Kahanine) working on graphic design.

Inscriptions & Markings

On front of image in ink: “31” On back of image in pencil: “No. 31 Kahanine’ On back of image in ink: “31”

Photograph, Optical Munitions: G. Crickmore

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph showing Gordon Crickmore using compass. Same photo as 136.

Inscriptions & Markings

On front of image in ink: “16” On back of image in pencil: “No 16 Gordon Crickmore” On back of image in ink: “16”

Slide rule, “Loga” circular with case

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

“Loga” circular slide rule with round zipped maroon brown leather case. 87.1 = slide rule. 87.2 = leather case.

X-ray Tube, Machlett

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Glass bulbous X-ray tube attached at either end to metal electrodes. Mounted for demonstration on a wooden base. Dated1937

Historical information

This X-ray tube was designed to provide electrostatic protection for the filament (cathode) so as to permit long life to be achieved at operating voltages in the range 100-300kV. It is not certain whether the tube was in use within the School by Professor Laby’s X-ray group or whether it was presented to the School by a medical user. It would be somewhat surprising if it fitted into this School of Physics Research Program at a date as late as 1933 when tubes with demountable anodes were in use.

Inscriptions & Markings

On glass bulb: “Machlett Patent 1954016”

Betatron Plates

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

10 silver bromide images on glass plates depicting graphics and information associate with the betatron.

Historical information

Associated with object # 336.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label on box: 'PLATES FOR ENLARGER' 'KODAK SILVER BROMIDE'

Standard Resistor Hartmann and Braun

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Machined, assembled, cast, moulded. Plastic possibly stamped/painted with inscription.

Inscriptions & Markings

Handwritten in what appears to be whiteout on top circular face: ½ watt. Dymo label adhered to front: PHYSICS PT2 F2 [Stamped] inscription on top: No 2470/ HARTMANN & BRAUN/ FRANKFURT ^/M /T.C.=+0,00002/10/OHM/bei 18oC. [Stamped] inscription centred on rim of top circular face in the front: 10hm=106, 3 cm/mm2 Hg. 0 oC. Medallion on top circular face: P.T.R. 38/ 1900. Handwritten on chipped paint dot on top: “2” (?)

MILLIONAIRE (Ticket no 13) 10 keys

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Sheet of operating instructions which mentions that O. Steiger is the Patentee. On separate stand about 600mms high Plaque: ‘Sole Agents for Australia / Peacock Bros. PtyLtd / Business Systems / Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth’

FACIT

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

see #313

Photograph, Cyclotron accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of cyclotron (nuclear physics accelerator): Main switchboard.

Historical information

Builit in 1950s and used till the mid 1970s within the Physics Department used in Melbourne. John Rouse and David Caro was involved in the construction.

Inscriptions & Markings

Sticky typed labels on back from top and left to right: “MAIN SWITCHBOARD” Handwritten in pencil on upper left hand corner: “9” Handwritten in pen on bottom right hand corner: “AC power in from substation”

Photographs, 2.8 MeV Betatron: Glass Donut

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

6 colour polaroid photographs showing different angles of Glass donut for 2.8 MEV Betatron (Reg 61) (269.1,269.2, 269.3, 269.4, 269.5, 269.6) Photographs are of Reg 61: Glass donut for 2.8 MeV Betatron

HEWLETT-PACKARD HP 35

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Abacus

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Wooden rectangular abacus with 13 rods. Each rod is divided by a wooden bar. On top part of the rod are 2 wooden discs, on the bottom part are 5 wooden discs. For operation details see Cat. no 87

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: “Betty Laby”

BURROUGHS Adding Machine

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Magnetron, 25cm, (disassembled cylinder & lid)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Copper cylinder to which radial copper vanes are brazed defining twelve resonant cavities. Central cylindrical cavity contains white oxide coated cathode sandwiched between two stainless steel disks, one at each end. Three electrodes pass through glass-copper seals, the copper tubes are attached radially to the outside of the cylinder.

White & Gillespie Slide Rule

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

White & Gillespie “Dualface” comprehesive slide rule Model 432 In original cloth covered case

Inscriptions & Markings

“Dual face” Comprehensive Slide Rule Model 432 Melbourne > W&G

FACIT Mechanical Model C1-13

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Plaque: Made by Atvidaberg - FACIT / Sweden keys: 8 x 13 x 13

Photograph, Optical Munitions, with G. Ampt & E.J. Hartung

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Part of a series entitled “Optical Munitions - School of Natural Philosophy, 1942-1945”. Black and white photo of Gus. Ampt and Professor Hartung examining experimental pots of optical glass; the pots have been halved in order to make the examination..

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “37”.

Diffraction Grating with cover

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Diffraction grating, 1-3/4in x 1in ruled on 2-1/4 in. disk of speculum metal, recessed in 2-1/2 in. dia. brass holder, itself mounted on a flat, round base with three levelling screws. Cylindrical brass lid.

MONROE

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Electrical Keys: 10 x 10 x 20

Photograph, Cyclotron, Duplicate Set

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph of cyclotron equipment stored in white envelope entitled “”Cyclotron Photographs (Duplicate set) Very similiar to 236

Capacitor Bridge H.W. Sullivan

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Wood cut and dove tailed, screwed and adhered; plastic moulded, screwed and adhered. Metals cast, forged, machine cut, screwed and adhered. Wood coated (painted varnish).

Inscriptions & Markings

Inscribed on upper face along right edge: H.W. SULLIVAN/LONDON; painted on upper face along front edge: UNIT 10-9 F; painted on front face: PART III and “F” carved into the wood below “Part III”; [Stamped] upper face along left edge: NAT.PHIL.LAB./NO 55/UNIV. OF MELB; adhered label on left side face: PA 4.

Photograph, Cyclotron accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of cyclotron (nuclear physics accelerator): beam line - second slit & second focusing lens.

Historical information

Builit in 1950s and used till the mid 1970s within the Physics Department used in Melbourne. John Rouse and David Caro was involved in the construction.

Inscriptions & Markings

Sticky typed labels on back from top and left to right: “SECOND SLIT CAVE, 2ND FOCUSSING LENS, SLITS” Handwritten on back bottom left hand corner in pen: “Second slit and quadruple lens”

Magnetron, 3 cm

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Part of magnetron case consisting of a hollow baseless copper cylinder (similar to Reg. No. 18). Copper vanes are arranged spoke-like inside body. Three glass tubes radiate out of the body (similar to Reg. no. 20).

FELT & TARRANT COMPTOMETER

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Felt & Tarrant Mfg Co, Chicago, USA Note;’For history see extract from EM Horsburgh (editor) “Modern Instruments of Calculation” pp. 98-102. New introduction by Michael R Williams (1st 1914, 2nd 1984). TOMASH Publishers, Los Angeles, San Francisco.

HP9810A Electronic Calculator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Programmable Electronic Calculator with Model 10 Mathematics and Peripheral control Plug ins

Photograph, Optical Munitions, with J.F.G. Darby & W.B. Lasich

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Part of a series entitled “Optical Munitions - School of Natural Philosophy, 1942-1945”. Black and white photo of J.F.G. Darby (Left) & W.B. Lasich (Right) sighting on apparatus(??).

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “11”.

Photograph, Optical Munitions with E.H.S. Burhop

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Part of a series of optical munition snapshons 1940-1947. Refer to Cat No 142 for full details. Black and white photo shows Eric Burhop operating a radiation pyrometer ....with possibly a vacuum furnace? Duplicate copy of Cat no 142; in OMP Album Vol 2 #22 .Melbourne University”

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “22”. Inscribed on back in pencil: “No. 22 E.H.S. BURHOP”

JEOL 100CX Transmission Electron Microscope

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

A Cutaway Transmission electron microscope allows detail of the inner construction and beam path to be viewed.

BURROUGHS ADDING Printer

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Inscriptions & Markings

Plaque: ‘Burroughs/Detroit/ Mich / USA’

Adjustable Retort Stand

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Heavy metal tripod stand with three knobs and two adjustable holders.

Inscriptions & Markings

On tripod base: 'MET. RES'

Electrostatic Voltmeter

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Round metal instrument with voltmeter (hands missing) with twisting drum inside and a metal coupling device/mount.

Inscriptions & Markings

Engraved in front plate: 'VOLTMETRE / ELECTROSTATIQUE / ABRAHAM & VILLARD / J. CARPENTIER / PARIS / 4050 D2'

Photograph, Optical Munitions: J.B. Wllis & P.G. Law

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph of two scientists (J.B. Willis and P.G. Law) at work on microscope

Inscriptions & Markings

On front of image in ink: “31A” On back of image in pencil: “31A J.B. Willis, P.G. Law ” (L to R) On back of image in ink: “31A”

Photograph, Cyclotron, Duplicate Set

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph of cyclotron machinery in white envelope entitled “”Cyclotron Photographs (Duplicate set)’

Photograph, Van de Graaff accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Small black and white photo showing equipment comprising of a large oblong ball on top of column.

Inscriptions & Markings

Handwritten on back in pencil: “Van de Graaff Old Physic Building (Natural Philosophy)”

Lens with box and lid

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Round glass lens stored in rectangular cardboard box with lid and supported by cotton wool.

Inscriptions & Markings

On inside of box in pencil: “20/1/40 (?dictatomigialls of l/4). On top of box: “wray flat”.

Photograph Optical Munitions: Optical Flat

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Part of a series of optical munition snapshots 1940-1947. Refer to Cat No 137 for full details. Black and white photo of optical flat in de luxe case with certificate: “GLASS OPTICAL FLAT, made by Natural Philosophy Laboratory, Melbourne University” Number 18. Accuracy of surface flat within .000,001 inch .... Issued by (signd) T.H.L. Feb 19, 1941. Duplicate copy of Cat no 137; in OMP Album Vol 1 #17.

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “17”. Inscribed on back in pencil: “No. 17”

Diffraction Grating Scribe

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Small cylindrical metal rod with diamond point embedded at one end and a brass circle with 50 divisions and a pointer affixed at the other end to define the orientation of the rod/diamond point. Presumably used with one of the Grayson or Stone engines.

Inscriptions & Markings

On face: “0 10 20 30 40”

Photograph, Cyclotron (JL Rouse)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph of cyclotron equipment displayed on bench. Stored in white envelope entitled “”Cyclotron - Photographs around the vacuum chamber from J.L. Rouse (Feb 1991)” Similiar to 247

Photograph, Cyclotron (JL Rouse)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph of cyclotron equipment. Man seen standing next to and indicating equipment. Stored in white envelope entitled “”Cyclotron - Photographs around the vacuum chamber from J.L. Rouse (Feb 1991)”

Photograph, Optical Munitions, with R.D. Hill & H.A. Waters

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Part of a series entitled “Optical Munitions - School of Natural Philosophy, 1942-1945”. Black and white photo of R.D. Hill and H.A. Waters assembing/operating dial sight (same equipment as held by T.H. Laby in no 122.3/273 in Vol. 1/2)

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “34”.

Tube, neutron counter

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Chrome cylindrical neutron counter. Length approx. 1 m.

Inscriptions & Markings

“H7100 - 700246” painted on inside end of tube.

Photograph of Analysing magnet 5Mev Pelletron

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

The Photograph is of the main 90 degree analysing magnet.

Hewlett Packard 9100B Calculator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Scientific and Programmeable Calculator with paper roll printout

Photograph, Optical Munitions: J.B. Wllis & P.G. Law

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph of two scientists (J.B. Willis and P.G. Law) at work on microscope

Inscriptions & Markings

On front of image in ink: “31A” On back of image in pencil: “31A J.B. Willis, P.G. Law ” (L to R) On back of image in ink: “31A”

Photograph, Cyclotron accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of cyclotron (nuclear physics accelerator): Arc Stabiliser Control Chassis.

Historical information

Builit in 1950s and used till the mid 1970s within the Physics Department used in Melbourne. John Rouse and David Caro was involved in the construction.

Inscriptions & Markings

Sticky typed labels on back from top and left to right: “ARC STABILIZER CONTROL CHASSIS” Handwritten in pen on bottom left hand corner: “God knows”

Magnetron,5cm

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Copper magnetron with disc-like body has three radiating electrodes each emerging through a copper to glass tube. Two of these are arranged on one side(= filament leads) and the other larger tube (collector/anode) is arranged diametrically opposite.

Inscriptions & Markings

Handwriting on top “?A4 A98/4.9%”

Decade Inductance Box, 10 x1mH

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Cubic black box with ten brass contacts over which a rotary contact wiper moves; the wiper is rotated by a black knob.

Inscriptions & Markings

Inscribed on top: “Inductance”, “Type 17-B”, “10 x 1mH”, “Muirhead & Co. Ltd No. 133549”, “PI 111”. Burnt in white on front: “MUIRHEAD”. Label on front: “Purchased by UNIVERSITIES COMMISSION”