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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

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 man, possibly Eric Johnson, assembling glass “sandwich” prior to fusing. N.B. As at time of writing it is not certain that the “man” pictured in nos. 147 and 149 is the same individual as pictured in no 140. (EGM. 11/11/99) Same photo as Reg No. 268

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “27”.

Photograph, Cyclotron, Duplicate Set

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph of bench with cyclotron equipment in white envelope entitled “”Cyclotron Photographs (Duplicate set)

Mechanical equivalent of heat(J): remnant of torque mechanism

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Three components of “J” Calorimeter made of metal and covered in green enamel. One small weight from 33.3 has become detached from string.

Historical information

From label: Remnants of the “J” Apparatus beam balance for the measurement of the mechanical equivalent of heat. The solid object is the rotating magnet the construction of which is illustrated on the cover of \\\"A man Ahead of his Times\\\". Made in the Nat. Phil. Workshop for J experiment.

Photograph, Cyclotron accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of cyclotron (nuclear physics accelerator): Cross connect system (interlocks) - rear view.

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: “REAR VIEW CROSS CONNECT SYSTEM” Handwritten in pen in bottom right hand corner: “interlocks and cross connect”

Beam Balance, with wooden box

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Beam balance made of brass, stainless steel with “ tortoise shell pattern” decoration. Enclosed in display case with glass windows and sitting on four legs for levelling. Made by F. Sartorius, Gottingen.

Inscriptions & Markings

Plaque on front of box: “F.Sartorius Werkstatte fur Wissenschaftliche Instrument Gottingen”. Plaque on balance: “Patent F.Sartorius Gottingen No. 5936”

Tube, Geiger counter

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Glass Geiger counter ready for evacuation. For details see No 15.

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)”

Sharp Compet 363P electronic Calculator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Electronic Calculator

Photograph, Cyclotron accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of cyclotron (nuclear physics accelerator): R.F. power amplifier - tank coil & tuning capacitors.

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: “VIEW INSIDE FINAL AMPLIFIER SHOWING TANK COIL & TUNING CAPACITORS”

Photograph, Cyclotron accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of cyclotron (nuclear physics accelerator): gas inlet system, focusing lens & filament stem & leads. Duplicate of 178.

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: “GAS INLET SYSTEM, 1st FOCUSSING LENS, FILAMENT STEM & LEADS”

Photograph, Cyclotron accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of cyclotron (nuclear physics accelerator): Internal beam deflector power supply.

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 left to right: “DEFLECTOR POWER SUPPLY” Handwritten in top left hand corner: “16”, “HV DC Supply for internal beam defection”

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”

Magnetic Declination Instrument, Kew Pattern

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Declination instrument consisting of metal horizontal cylinder erected on brass three legged stand. A wooden rectangular box forms part of the instrument from which a horizontal telescope emerges (measurement of geographical meridian) and a vertical glass tube containing the suspension for the hollow magnet.

Inscriptions & Markings

Engraved on cylinder: “Elliott Bros London No.71”

FACIT mechanical

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Accessory box for a No 6 Director Mk I

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Leather accessory box with shoulder strap and metal buckles. Flip open lid.

Historical information

Possibly related to the range-finding equipment sent from England for dismantling during the 1940s so University of Melbourne Physics staff could develop their own equipment. Related to object 463.1

Inscriptions & Markings

Embossed in lid: 'CASE NO 6 DETECTOR MK 1 / COOKE, TROUGHTON & SIMMS, LTD / 9 / 22 / A.F.A' and broad arrow symbol.

Photograph, Optical Munitions with R. Caldwell

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Part of a series of optical munition snapshots 1940-1947. Refer to Cat No 146 for full details. Black and white photo shows Bob Caldwell cutting with a diamond saw through a sandwich of optical glass . Duplicate copy of Cat no 146; in OMP Album Vol 2 #26.

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “26”. Inscribed on back in pencil: “No. 26 ROBERT CALDWELL”

Photograph, Cyclotron accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of cyclotron (nuclear physics accelerator): 14kV stabiliser & RF power amplifier. Duplicate of 217

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: “14KV STABILIZER” Handwritten in pencil on top left hand corner: “2”

“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

Inscriptions & Markings

Ser. no.

Lyle Radiograph

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Copies of the Lyle radiograph (see below) are on file with the letter (9Sept 1982) from J F Richardson (Australian Radiation Laboratory, as it was then called) detailing the description of the reproduction as follows: RADIOGRAPH OF PROFESSOR ORME MASSON'S FOOT! MOST PROBABLY THE FIRST RADIOGRAPH TAKEN IN AUSTRALIA. TAKEN BY PROFESSOR LYLE ON MARCH 3RD, 1896 USING A CROOKES DISCHARGE TUBE OF HIS OWN CONSTRUCTION

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 235

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)”

Silver cube

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Silver Cube in wooden box Unknown usage

Inscriptions & Markings

Painted on top of box with 15098/4

Sight

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

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

Historical information

Related to object # 467.1

Inscriptions & Markings

Side of barrel: 'E. R. WATTS & SON / LONDON / NO 19504' Under rear base mount: '2T'

Photograph, Cyclotron accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of cyclotron (nuclear physics accelerator): spectrometer magnet & target chamber. Duplicate of 174.

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: “TARGET CHAMBER, 180 SPECTORMETER MAGNET, TURNTABLE”

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”

Gas-powered engine

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Gas-powered engine used to drive Grayson’s original ruling engine (Cat. no. 35) Because of frequent failures of the electric power supply, Grayson preferred to use a hot-air engine, driven by a gas flame, to turn the engine so that, once a ruling had commenced, it would continue uninterrupted until the end.

Periscope component

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Used as a periscope instrument. Twin pair of periscope components made of iron and covered in olive green enamel.

Photograph, Cyclotron accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of cyclotron (nuclear physics accelerator): Tritium recirculating system.

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: “H3 RECIRCULATING SYSTEM”

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

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Part of a series entitled “Optical Munitions - School of Natural Philosophy, 1942-1945”. Black and white photo shows Eric Burhop operating an optical pyrometer ....with possibly a vacuum furnace?

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “22”.

Becquerel Phosphoroscope (incomplete)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

The phosphoroscope consists of a round metal chamber with a pair of rotating discs inside, arranged so that no light can pass directly through the chamber. The discs have cut-out windows spaced equally at regular angular distances and are turned by the hand crank linked to a gear mechanism. The sample is placed in a specially designed holder into the small opening near the gearing, and it is exposed to the light source through the large rear condensing lens.

Historical information

The phosphoroscope was invented by Alexander Edmund Becquerel and used to measure the amount of time that a phosphorescent substance will glow after being irradiated by a brilliant source of light.

Inscriptions & Markings

Engraved on chamber: 'Phosphoroscope de E. Becquerel / J. Duboscq a Paris

Interferometer - Michelson

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

A student demonstration or general laboratory model capable of calibrating the pitch of the mechanical thread in terms of the wavelength ofvisible light, specifically a chosen emission line from the spectra of say mercury. The interferometer is pictured in a newspaper article ( “AFternoon with Scientists, ARGUS 6/5/1920 p.5); the a

Inscriptions & Markings

A. HILGER , LONDON Part no N2 301/20 200

Galvanometer W.G. Pye & Co.

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Galvanometer consisting of a wooden stand with a fold down wooden front cover. One coil attached to front panel and fixed coil on the rear stand. Quartz fibre and reflecting mirror missing. Three brass leveling screws on the base. Handcrafted, machined/industrial technique, assembled, cast. Manual or machine application- sanded, buffed, polished, stained/coated/ laquered. Surface finish: polished, laquered, stained, coated corrosion/patina.

Inscriptions & Markings

[Stamped] top centre of upright front face: W.G. PYE & CO./ ENG./ CAMBRIDGE. Inscribed on base plate in front: No. 11972.

Photograph, Optical Munitions: D. Huey

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph Dick Huey at work assembling plate glass for making gla blocks. Same photo as 147

Inscriptions & Markings

On front of image in ink: “27” On back of image in pencil: “No 27” On back of image in ink: “27”

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)

Standard 100g Weight in box with lid

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

100 gram standard calibrated platinum cylindrical weight NPL No A’39 / 60549. Stored in varnished wooden cylindrical box with black lining and screw on lid. (certificate not located) 97.1 = box 97.2 = lid of box 97.3 = weight

Inscriptions & Markings

On weight: “100 GRM” Carved on base of box: “41142”. On top of box: “NPL.A.’39 / 60549”

Photograph, Cyclotron accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of cyclotron (nuclear physics accelerator): face of dee.

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: “COUPLING FROM FINAL AMPLIFIER, VIEW OF DEE FEELER & TRANSITION PORT” Handwritten in pen in bottom right hand corner: “Face of dee”

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”

Clock, Cooke Astronomical with case

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Astronomical Cooke clock with large black face and wood-glass box casing. Enclosed in outer security case.

Historical information

Used by Prof. Laby probably in experimental determination of “J” the mechanical equivalent of heat. Also as master clock in master-slave system of clocks in Old Physics Bldg.

Inscriptions & Markings

On clock face: “T. Cooke & Sons York England”

Photograph, Optical Munitions, with P.G. Law & J.B. Willis

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Part of a series entitled “Optical Munitions - School of Natural Philosophy, 1942-1945”. Black and white photo of P.G. Law & J.B. Willis operating optical dial gauge comparator.

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “31A”.

Photograph, Optical Munitions with W.G. Kannuluik

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Part of a series entitled “Optical Munitions - School of Natural Philosophy, 1942-1945”. Black and white photo of W.G. Kannaluik operating an Abbe refractometer.. (For 122.2 see record no 273: ditto as for 122.1 ... photo of TH Laby)

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “1”.

Heliostat, Silbermann (and small mirrror)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Heliostat consisting of brass cylindrical body on metal stand.

Historical information

Information sheet next to object details history, purpose and use. A pillar was constructed for the instrument in 1863.

Inscriptions & Markings

Engraved on face: “J.C. Silbermann Invleur Tuit por J.Dubosq i Paris” “No. 119”

Photograph, Cyclotron accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of cyclotron (nuclear physics accelerator): Gas target cell & neutron shielding.

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: “WAX, GAS CELL” Handwritten on back right hand corner in pen: “Don’t know”

X-Ray Spectrograph, Laby/Hilger

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

The spectrograph employs the principle of single crystal Bragg X-Ray Diffraction to measure wavelengths by interpolation from accepted standard lines. It is suitable for the identification and determination of the charateristic emissions of elements and thus for X-Ray spectrum analysis. The instrument was manufactured by ADAM HILGER Ltd. to the design of Professor Laby and is the best preserved instrument surviving from his research activity. A full description is given in the Hilger Pamphlet with the instrument; alternatively see duplicate in Appendix A5,A6 in Vol 2 of Laby ‘s COLLECTED PAPERS.

SUMLOCK Adding Machine

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

keys: 12 Plaque: ‘Supplied by Bell Punch A’sia Ltd / 160 Castlereagh St., Sydney / 27 Little Collins St., Melbourne / Agents and Services in all states / BPC / Cash Control Systems, Adding Machines, Ticket Registers, Charge Machines / Ticket Printers, Gum Tape, Scaling Machines etc. /’ good working condition

Ring Transformer

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Cast, assembled. Varnished. Accessories: paper label in plastic sleeve screwed to top. Surface finish: varnished.

Inscriptions & Markings

Paper label affixed to top of object: “Ring Transformer E2/Core Details/Cast Iron Ring/Mean Diameter 15.45cm/Thickness (along radius) 2.0cm/Breadth ([parallel- signified by two vertical lines] to axis) 0.509 cm/Winding Details Primary/Secondary” Damaged label adhered to upper face in back left corner: “Part[illegible]”

Photograph Optical Munitions, with F. Caldwell

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Part of a series of optical munition snapshots 1940-1947. Refer to Cat No 133 for full details. Black and white photo shows Fred Caldwell looking through optical instrument. Duplicate copy of Cat no 133; in OMP Album Vol 1 #13.

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “13”. Inscribed on back in pencil: “No. 13 FRED CALDWELL”

Brunsviga Double

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Double machine, each half similar to M1. keys: 10x8 :10x8

Inscriptions & Markings

Plaque: BRUNSVIGA MACHINENWERKE A.G. Braunschweig Made in Western Gerrmany Ser.no. 1.4-0578.3/Brunsviga/D13R-2

MARCHANT V TR10FA

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Keys: 10 x 10 x 20 Plaque: TR10FA 628,938 MODEL V TR10FA Made in USA by Marchant Calculators Inc. Oakland, California, USA

Slide rule, Faber-Castell

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

White Castell rectangular slide rule (270.1) stored in clear plastic Faber Castell case (270.2).

Inscriptions & Markings

On slide rule: printed - “Castell”, On case: stamped - “Made in Germany”, in pen - “451”, Paper label: “Castell 57/89”

“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