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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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BURROUGHS ADDING Printer

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Inscriptions & Markings

Plaque: ‘Burroughs/Detroit/ Mich / USA’

Photograph, Cyclotron (JL Rouse)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph of cyclotron equipment stored in white envelope entitled “”Cyclotron - Photographs around the vacuum chamber from J.L. Rouse (Feb 1991)” Very similiar to 237 and 238

Hygrometer, Wet and Dry

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Wet and dry hygrometer made of two mercury and glass thermometers set on wooden stand.

Historical information

Used for measuring relative humidity.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: “Nat Phil Lab No. Univ of Melb.”

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

MONROE

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Electrical Keys: 10 x 10 x 20

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”

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.

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)

Engine, Micro-ruling engine, Wm Stone #1

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

First micro-ruling engine made (1934), by Stone, with flat rectangular iron base and wheel mechanism. A scriber made of a gramophone needle is in place over the glass slide on a ruling table. A second holder for a diamond lies beside the instrument.

Historical information

From attached information on display: This engine was designed to explore the nature and magnitude of mechanical defects in ruling engines. It was used to cut simple rulings for the calibration of microscope fields of view.

Microscope Slides

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

5 glass clear thin slides each with yellow stained circular specimens (111.1 to 111.5) 1 clear blank slide (111.6)

Length Standards, Washington Certified, Archives

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

U.S. Bureau of Standards Certificates for #65 for 6 inch steel scale, 6 inch steel end measuring rod, 6 inch glass scale. Three Department of Commerce Bureau of Standards certificates submitted by Professor Lyle for scales made by H.J. Grayson. Held together by paper clip. (See also #62)

Resistance Ratio Bridge, J.L. William

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Machine-made/cut, appears to be lathe turned. Electroplated, no apparent decorative elements. 14 rotatable, removable nuts. Surface finish: Brushed metal.

Inscriptions & Markings

“Ratio Resistance’ Handwritten pen on paper adhered with sticky tape on top circular face. Medallion screwed to top circular face: “J.L. WILLIAM/SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS/ SERIAL NO. TYPE/ MELBOURNE - AUSTRALIA.” Machine-made manufacturer’s label, enamel on brass plate (unconfirmed) screw fixed, “Resistance/between/the knobs/as shown/Resistances (+0.05 at most). Handwritten pen on aged paper label attached with coated twine.

Vertical Electromagnetic Tuning Fork

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Triangular, footed base with coiled, coated wire on adjustable stand between side of tuning fork. NOTE: HEAVY OBJECT

Inscriptions & Markings

Front of tuning fork base: '100 / V. D' Sticker on base: '1D4' Stamped on base of fork: 'GRIFFIN & TATLOCK / LONDON' Plaque on base: 'GRIFFIN & TATLOCK LTD / LONDON / GLASGOW / EDINBURGH / [griffin logo] / MANCHESTER / LIVERPOOL' Sticker on side of base: 'NAT. PHIL. LAB / NO / UNIV. OF MELB.'

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’

Optical Flat

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Glass rectangular slab stored in brown cardboard box.

Inscriptions & Markings

?? Stamped on back of box: “ExD 40 3453A ECLORTRA” (this may be unrelated)

Photograph, Cyclotron accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of cyclotron (nuclear physics accelerator): general view of experimental area.

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: “GENERAL VIEW OF EXPERIMENTAL AREA” Handwritten on back in pencil: “D”

Instruments, Miscellaneous

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Demonstration model: Metal cylindrical instrument has three tubes attached to body with a glass disc in one tube (= viewing port). Large part of instrument is cut away. Model part of accelerator beam line. Bolt holes on the base and top of instrument for attachment into vacuum lines.

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

Historical information

"Salute to the X Ray Pioneers of Australia" by W Watson &Sons Ltd [1946] [Medical Library 610.9 WAT page 24-27 radiograph reproduction p26]

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”

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)”

Photograph, Optical Munitions: A.C. Goodwin & Peter Law

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph of two scientists at work (A.C. Goodwin and Peter Law).

Inscriptions & Markings

On front of image in ink: “9” On back of image in pencil: “No. 9 A.C. Goodwin Peter Law” (L to R) On back of image in ink: “9”

Camera and accessory box

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black camera box containing camera, accessories and handbooks inside.

Historical information

Part of the Laby Collection.

Inscriptions & Markings

Labels identifying Jean Laby on strap and body.

Resistance box

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Wooden box with brass top and 24 knobs (22 larger and 2 smaller) on the right-hand side. In addition there are two extra knobs on the right side of the top, as well as two removable oval access panels with handles on each of the ends.

Inscriptions & Markings

Stamped on top of box: a coat of arms 'HARTMANN OF BRAUN A/M' 'RICHTIG BEI / 20 / GRAD CELSIUS' increments for measurement On front side: Sticker labelled 'NATURAL PHILOSOPHY LABORATORY / NO 7 / UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE' Stamped on end of metal top: 'No. 2665'

Photograph, Optical Munitions

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph of young male examining optical glass

Inscriptions & Markings

On back of image in pencil“29” On front and back of image in ink: “29”

Decade Inductance Box, 10 x0.01H

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-C”, “10 x 0.01H”, “Muirhead & Co. Ltd No. 126967”, “PI 111”. On front: “MUIRHEAD”. Label: “Purchased by UNIVERSITIES COMMISSION”

Post Office Box (Eureka)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Assembled, moulded. Coated. Accessories: dials. Surface finish: polished.

Inscriptions & Markings

Inscribed on upper face along back edge: “T.E.P.L. MELBOURNE [arrow] 551 1941” Inscribed on upper face along front edge: “EUREKA BRITISH STANDARD OHMS” Labels Inscribed on upper face: “POSTIVE POLE/LINE OR EARTH” “LINE AND/GALVANOMETER” “GALVANOMETER” “NEGATIVE POLE/AT 15.5oCENT” Underside written in pen: “ROBINSON & STUMBLES”

OLIVETTI Elettrosumma 20

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Electric Adding Machine Paper Tape Output Plaque: ivrea made in Italy fabrique en Italie v 120-220/ 2 40 Hz 50 From the Department of Statistice

Slide Rule, linear “W&G”

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Linear slide rule made of wood with glass slide encased in metal.

Inscriptions & Markings

“W & G Melbourne Australia Model 421”. Inscribed: “W & G”( the local manufacturer)

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)”

35 MEV BETATRON

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

35 Million electron volt betatron, manufactured by Siemens, was purchased through the initiative of Professor Brian Spicer (then Director of Nuclear Physics Research, SoP) in 1962. It became the basis of a large research program of photonuclear physics research finally coming to completion in 1986. Of the two “magnets”, the one for external electron beam was scrapped, the other “reprocessed” in the SoP workshop during 2003. This involved the removal of most of the iron laminations to reduce the wieght, and which were replaced by wood to simulate the magnet “yoke” ; glamorised with colour to highlight the coils etc. At the time of writing it is proposed to locate it on the south-east corner of the Physics Podium.

Inscriptions & Markings

Caption describing the object mounted on base.

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”

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 : Director

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Part of a series of optical munition snapshots 1940-1947. Refer to Cat No 134 for full details. Black and white photo of optical instrument “director”. Duplicate copy of Cat no 134; in OMP Album Vol 1 #14.

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “14”. Inscribed on back in pencil: “No. 14”

Slide with box and lid

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Slide showing Wallace’s Replica of Rowland’s Plane.

Inscriptions & Markings

Typed label on slide: “Wallace’s Replica of Rowland’s Grating 14500 lines to the inch Central Scientific Company, Chicago ILL” Label on box: “Diffraction Grating (Wallace) 14500 lines/inch”

MILLIONAIRE (#2) 10 keys

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Inscriptions & Markings

Plaque: ‘Hans W Egli/Ingenieur / Fabrikation von flechenmashinen [sic; ?] / Pat. O, Steiger / Zurich II / No 2566. Sole Agents for Australia / Peacock Bros./ Business Systems Company / 558 , 560, 562 Collins St., Melbourne / and at / Sydney, Adelaide, Perth’ Plaque: ‘Presented to . / Department of Information Science / Melbourne University / by the / Gas & Fuel Corporation of Victoria / This calculating machine was used by Engineers of the Metropolitan Gas Co and Gas & Fuel Corporation / from 1917 to 1970’

Camera and accessory box

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Camera and accessory box with accessories and handbook stored inside.

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.

Potentiometer type D-73-E J.L. William (with lid)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Student Potentiometer (Type D-73-E) set in wooden box with lid. Black control panel with various dials:two for VOLTS & MILLI-VOLTS; others for galvanometer sensitivity, battery rheostats, etc. 24.1 = potentiometer 24.2 = lid

Inscriptions & Markings

Plaque on front of box: “J.L.William Scientific Instruments Serial No. 1480. Type D-73-E Melbourne Australia”. Inscribed on control panel: “J.L.William Scientific Instruments Melbourne Australia. Various control panel markings.

FACIT Mechanical

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

keys: 16 x 9 x 16 Plaque: ‘Sydney Pincombe Pty Ltd, Sole Australian Agents Made by ....FACIT/ Sweden/ same as M11

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 Electrical

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

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

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”

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, Cyclotron accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

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

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 GENERATOR SET” Handwritten in pencil on top left hand corner: “11”

BURROUGHS ADDING Printer

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Plaque: ‘Burroughs/Detroit/ Mich / USA’

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

MONROE 88N-213

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Keys: 10 x 11 x 21 Plaque: Keyboard setting register fully automatic single keyboard, double product register, deouble multiplier register, transfer, capacity 10 x 11 x 21. Monroe Calculating Machine Company/ New York USA/ no 2(?)/ 220-250 volts, 0-550 cycles AC/ 225-250 volts DC

Universal Shunt, H. Tinsley & Co.

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Cast, assembled. Polished, coated. Accessories: brass dials. Surface finish: polished, coated.

Inscriptions & Markings

Inscribed on upper face: “No 18624/ UNIVERSAL SHUNT/[Calibration measuring units 1-2000]/H. TINSLEY & Co LONDON. S.E.”

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

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