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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, 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)

Dosimeter, X-ray

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Polished metal cylindrical X-ray dosimeter stored in red rectangular cardboard box. 26.1 = box 26.2 = dosimeter

Inscriptions & Markings

Engraved on dosimeter: “C1948” On box: “C.K. Dosimeter”;”Sole Distributors Cinema Television Ltd Lower Sydeham London S.E.26”

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 operating a stereoscope.

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “4”.

Photograph, Optical Munitions (Duplicate)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph of view of lens with measurment and showing view of a field. Duplicate of no 156.

Inscriptions & Markings

On back in pencil: “No. 35 Telescopic Sight” On back and front in ink: “35” Stamped on back: “Information Office, University of Melbourne”

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.”

Rotary Switch 4 Position W.G. Pye & Co.

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Assembled, coated, polished. Surface finish: coating.

Inscriptions & Markings

5/5 small circles o/ small a/ rough square imprint

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 accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of cyclotron (nuclear physics accelerator): Rear end of DEE system & accessories. Duplicate of 200

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: “WATER FLOW CONTROLS; REAR END OF DEE STEM,;SHORTING BAR CONTROL”

Photograph, “J” apparatus

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of “J” apparatus in laboratory.

Slide Rule, linear Aristo

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Aristo-Scholar VS-2 linear slide rule

Inscriptions & Markings

3Fx18

Photograph, Cyclotron accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of cyclotron (nuclear physics accelerator): spectrometer magnet & target chamber. Duplicate of 175.

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”

Coolidge X-ray Tube

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 In 1913 Coolidge overcame the limitation of the narrow operating range of the gas X-ray tubes with the invention of the vacuum X-ray tube. A filament heated by an electric current directly releases electrons by thermionic emission. In thermionic emission, electrons are emitted from a metal surface directly by the application of an electric current to heat a wire filament. The electrons accelerate to the anode and produce X-rays. The anode has associated cooling fins due to the high temperatures attained by the release of kinetic energy by the electrons on colliding with the anode.

Inscriptions & Markings

Internal Glass sleeve: “A941/L2593/2821”

Barometer Case

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Wooden hinged barometer case with glass frontage made for Wild-Fuess Barometer (Reg. No. 1).

Historical information

Made for Wild-Fuess barometer (Reg No. 1)

Magnetron,3cm (experimental)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

3 cm dia oxidised copper cylinder held in construction jig (consisting of two flat square steel slabs clamped with bolts). Three copper through glass electrodes radiate out from the magnetron cylinder. Two of these tubes are small and adjacent to each other (filament leads).

HEWLETT-PACKARD HP 35

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Fery’s Thermo-couple Pyrometer

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Body possibly cast with additional components welded. Exterior surface of cylindrical body has been painted. Surface finish: evenly applied black coating on exterior of cylindrical body.

Inscriptions & Markings

Engraved on the top exterior of the instrument: “THE CAMBRIDGE SCIENTIFIC Co. LTD./ CAMBRIDGE. ENGLAND/ No. 15003/ FERY’S THERMO-COUPLE PYROMETER/ PATENT UK 5668. 1905.”

Rotary switch

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Brass Rotary switch with glass panel and bakelite housing. Made by H.W Sullivan Ltd London

Inscriptions & Markings

Made by H.W.Sullivan Ltd London Inscribed on base No. 5434 No. painted on base 5226

“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

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.

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”

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”.

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”

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.

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”.

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 246, 248-250

Contact Switch - Morse Code

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Rectangular wooden base with two metal strips on top of each other. Each strip is separated with a rectangular block between them at one end and has a terminal knob at that end. The other end of the top strip has a knob that when pressed produces a contact between the two strips.

Inscriptions & Markings

Engraved on top: 'GAMBRELL BROS & CO LTD / PATT. 5037'

Photograph, Optical Munitions, Dial Sight View

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Part of a series entitled “Optical Munitions - School of Natural Philosophy, 1942-1945”. Black and white photo showing telescopic view of landscape through ocular of a dial sight. Image is coincident with graticule with horizontal and vertical scales. (see worksheet for diagram).

Inscriptions & Markings

In ink on lower left hand corner : “35”.

Length Standards, 3 six inch

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

(1) Glass rectangular scale (1-(1)-6 inch); (2)ditto steel rectangular scale, (3) ditto metal cylindrical rod. Enclosed in black hinged box with purple velvet lining. 65.1 = steel scale, 65.2 = glass scale, 65.3=steel rod, 65.4 = box. See #63 “Washington Certified Standards.

Inscriptions & Markings

Labels on top of box: “Length standards used by U.B. Grayson” “40aJJR” “Washington certified standards 1.6 inch steel scale, 1.6 inch glass scale, 1.6 inch steel rod. For particulars see certificate 1915” Engraved on glass scale: “BSN 394” “H.J.G. Melb Univ. 1915” “13.0C” “1 2 3 4 5 6” Engraved on steel scale: “BSN 393, H.J.G. Melb Univ. 1915” “ruled at 12.8C” (H,J,G, = Henry Grayson)

Galvanometer, Cambridge

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black metal cylindrical galvanometer on rectangular wooden flat base - 40 ohms resistance.

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”