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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 Victoria 3010 (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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Photograph, Optical Munitions, with Fred Caldwell

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Part of a series entitled “Optical Munitions - School of Natural Philosophy, 1942-1945”. Black and white photo of Fred Caldwell looking through instrument.

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “12”

Standard Capacitor Nalder Bros & Co.

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

No. of pieces: one object recessed into wooden box with detachable parts. Handmade wooden box enclosing a machine molded solid metal object. Plastic machine molded attachment. Gold electroplated metal, wax-matte hand polished wooden box, plastic has either been polished or had a varnish polish added to the surface. Detachable brass elliptical stopper, two brass butterfly screws, two hook latches attached to outside of box to secure object for transport. Polished wood surface, possibly wax coated. Brass metal coated with gold patina/electroplating. Plastic component either polished or coated with gloss varnish.

Inscriptions & Markings

Inscribed on top of the object, in the wooden box: “MICROFARAD/NALDER BROS & CO/WESTMINSTER/No 1509” Paint dot approx. 1.0cm in diameter on top face of wooden box, back edge, towards the right.

Optical flat with box

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Blank clear slide with cardboard box. Loose paper with slide “Plane parallel flat for adjustment of spectrometer”.

Photograph, Cyclotron accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of cyclotron (nuclear physics accelerator).: Driver amplifier, Excitor amplifier & Mass spectrometer.

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 to bottom and left to right: “DRIVER AMPLIFIER”, “EXCITOR AMPLIFIER”, “MS 10 MASS SPECTROMETER”

Photograph, Optical Munitions, with PeterLaw & A.C. Godwin

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Part of a series entitled “Optical Munitions - School of Natural Philosophy, 1942-1945”. Black and white photo of “Peter Law (Left) & A.C. Goodwin (Right)”. Involved with optical flats in aluminising apparatus.

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “9”.

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”

X-Ray Spectrograph, Laby

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

This is the prototype of Laby’s X-Ray Spectrograph (cat. no.274) and was constructed in the Nat. Phil. workshop.

“MULTO” (Brunsviga)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

ODHNER/BRUNSVIGA TYPE keys: 10 x 8 x 13 [donated by Jack McDonell (6 Mar 1997) who salvaged it when being discarded from UniMelb Physics III Labs in the 1950s. same as 289/M13

Inscriptions & Markings

Serial No 3-2381

FRIDEN FLEXOWRITER

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Electric Typewriter used on CSIRAC donated to Museum Victoria per A/Prof Peter Thorne (Comp. Science. Dept) on the 50th Anniversary of CSIRAC, Nov 1999 and presumably for display in the new Museum in 2000. [predates use of TELETYPE] EGM 23/11/99

Sharp Compet 363P electronic Calculator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Electronic Calculator

Photograph, Optical Munitions, with G. Armitage

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Part of a series entitled “Optical Munitions - School of Natural Philosophy, 1942-1945”. Black and white photo of Geo Armitage testing a monocular (or part of the binocular testing program?). Same apparatus as in no 134.

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “7”.

Gas X-ray Tube, Victor

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

The investigation of the x-ray appears early on to have been a priority research topic at the University of Melbourne’s School of Physics. This interest was sparked by the appointment in 1889 of Professor T.R. Lyle. Lyle, who was head of the school until 1915, is thought to have been the first person in Australia to have taken an x-ray photograph. A copy of this photograph can be found in the School of Physics Archive. For this particular experiment Lyle actually made his own x-ray tube. His successor, Professor Laby, continued to work with x-rays. During the 1920s Laby worked on the x-ray spectra of atoms and in 1930 he co-published with Dr. C.E. Eddy, Quantitative Analysis by X-Ray Spectroscopy. Also with Eddy, Laby produced the landmark paper Sensitivity of Atomic Analysis by X-rays. Laby went on to have an x-ray spectrograph of his own design manufactured by Adam Hilger Ltd. (see cat. No. 38). School of Physics, the University of Melbourne Cat. No. 22. Jacqueline Eager Student Projects Placement, Cultural Collections 2005 The original X-ray tubes relied on low pressure operation. The electrons and positive ions are produced in the residual gas. Positive ions are accelerated towards the cathode and release electrons which on hitting the anode produce X-rays. These early gas X-ray tubes operated satisfactory only over a narrow pressure range.

Inscriptions & Markings

Manufacturer’s mark stamped: “PATENTED/ VICTOR/ TRADEMARK/ MADE IN BOSTON U.S.A./ TUNGSTEN” A white circular stamp, stamped near the manufacturer’s mark: “[illegible]TER WIGGH[illegible]” Stamped label: “NAT. PHIL. LAB./ No./ UNIV. OF MELB.” Inscription on the end face of the copper piece: “PAT. SEP 5’ 11 DEC. 30’13/ JUNE 23, 14 NOV. 30.15/ 43835”

Photograph, Cyclotron accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of cyclotron (nuclear physics accelerator): 100 kV deflector power supply & accessories.

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 to bottom: “MAIN MAGNET STANDARD RESISTOR”, “DEFLECTOR POWER SUPPLY 100KV”, “KINNEY BACKING PUMP” Handwritten in pencil in bottom right hand corner: “17”

Direct Current Galvanometer

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Cylindrical and galvanometer made of green-gray enameled metal on a round base.

Inscriptions & Markings

Plaque on top of cylinder: 'DIRECT CURRENT GALVANOMETER / COIL RESISTANCE 20 OHMS / CRITICAL RESIST 120 OHMS / SENSITIVITY 200 m.m/μα / Instrument No. 1023 / J. L WILLIAM'

Suspension Galvanometer, H. Tinsley & Co.

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Assembled, cast. Stenciled. Accessories: dials. Surface finish: coated.

Inscriptions & Markings

Paper label adhered with tape: “SUSPENSION BUST?” Stamped label: “NAT. PHIL. LAB./No17/UNIV. OF MELB.” Inscribed on rim: “H. TINSLEY & Co/LONDON. S.E./No9722

Phase plate

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Rectangular clear glass plate.

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, Opening PS Building

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of Weickhardt, Caro and Spicer watching L.H. Martin unveiling a plaque which reads: “This Building was opened on the 23rd February 1974 by Sir Leslie Martin Kt CBE FRS FAA”

Inscriptions & Markings

Handwritten on back in pencil: “Feb 1974 L to R: Wuickhardt (Chancellor), Caro (Head), Spicer, L.H. Martin (age 74”. “A”

Photograph, Optical Munitions, with Peter Law & .A.C. Godwin

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Part of a series entitled “Optical Munitions - School of Natural Philosophy, 1942-1945”. Black and white photo of Peter Law and A.C. Goodwin examining optical glass specimens.

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “28”.

Photograph, Optical Munitions, with E.R. Johnson

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Part of a series entitled “Optical Munitions - School of Natural Philosophy, 1942-1945”. Black and white photo of E.R. Johnson using equipment.

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “18”.

Photograph, Cyclotron accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of cyclotron (nuclear physics accelerator): View of DEE & accessories, Ron Gray in background. .

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 label on back from top and right to left: “MAIN MAGNET WATER HEAT EXCHANGE; VIEW OF DEE & BEAM EXIT; COIL CANS” Handwritten on back left hand corner in pen: “Ron Gray”

Statitron Analysing Magnet

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

The Statitron beam was analysed by a ninety degree annular magnetic spectrograph.The magnet had a radius of curvature of 30cm. The winding consisted of 30 layers of 15 B&S enamelled copper wire, about 4000 turns in all and could carry a current of 5 amperes.

Sight

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Cylindrical black sight with metallic fixtures and split sight. Adjustable base with screws.

Historical information

Associated with object 467.2

Inscriptions & Markings

Logo in triangle on side of barrel: 'ERW&S' Stamped on underside of base: '2C'

Photograph, Optical Munitions, with R.L. Abbey

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.L.Abbey looking through telescope of optical spectrometer..

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “21”.

Microscope Slide

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

A microscope slide 3-1/2 in. x 1-1/2 in. to which is cemented a glass rectangle 1-1/2 in. x 1 in. and marked by Grayson as “1 inch”. Possibly a “standard inch” for use on a comparator? (Not very important)

Inscriptions & Markings

Pink label: “Inch”

Microtome/W... (H.A. Waters)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Microtome made of metal and enamelled in light blue. Components are identified by the use of stick on labels. The microtome is mounted on a long cast iron rectangular base and has an electrical cord for connection to a power point.

Historical information

Microtome for cutting resin embedded tissues for electron microscopy. In 1957 a modified hodge microtome redesigned and built by H.A. Waters of the Melbourne University Department of Physics was acquired. The Waters microtome is of thermal expansion type - the rod “A” is heated and by expansion pushes the resin block forward by a fraction. It is mounted on a long cast iron base. The movement of the block is eccentric drawing the specimen away from the knife after cutting, The glass knife ‘B’ is adjustable by means of a modified microscope column screws ‘C’. The microtrome is driven by a continuous action electric motor mounted on the common base. Hand cutting can also be done. The cutting was controlled by viewing through a Leitz Binocular microscope mounted on the same base. The original microscope was subjected to nine modifications by Dr S Weiner from whose PhD Thesis (1962) ‘Electron Microscopical Studies of the Liver’ this information was obtained. (text provided by Professor H Attwood)

Inscriptions & Markings

Plaque on back: “Pathology Department, University of Melbourne Serial No. 0091. Date: 7/7/1968”

“MULTO” (Brunsviga)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

ODHNER/BRUNSVIGA TYPE MULTO model 13or 113 keys: 10 x 8 x 13 same as F288/M1

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

FACIT Electrical

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

keys: 13 x 8 x 13 Plaque: ‘School of pHysics [University of Melbourne]/

Photograph, Optical Munitions, with J.F. Richardson & Dean

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.L. Richardson and -- Dean using an optical bench to test a lens. Lab books are also visible.

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “30”.