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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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99 items with images

Galvanometer, Tinsley

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Cylindrical reflecting vertical galvanometer. Case made of black enamelled metal and standing on three legs for levelling.

Historical information

Used to measure electrical current.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label “Part 2”. Label “Purchase of University Commission”. Plaque on front “Reflecting galvanometer, link in aperiodic link out ballistic, H. Tinsley & Co. Ltd No. 41545”

FACIT Mechanical ModelCM 2-16

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Keys: 16 x 9 x 16 ( A note states: ‘Possibly Model No LX (1945) See Sabielmy’s book (1939) Plaque: (See 297/M9 ....Sydney Pincombe ...)

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.

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.”

BURROUGHS ADDING Printer

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Plaque: ‘Burroughs/Detroit/ Mich / USA’

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'

KELVIN CURRENT BALANCE

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Last used in a Physics 2 experiment in the 1940-50s. Refer to the printed version Part 2 Laboratory Manual (ed. Natalie Allen) for further details. Likely acquisition in early 1900s by Lyle

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”.

BURROUGHS Elec. Adding J4191/2

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Output on Paper Roll Plaque ‘S.A. Burroughs/Paris. Made in France / Universel (sic) A.P. Series J/ Volts 240 AMP 0.2’

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”

Galvanometer

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Rectangular frame with coiled metal wires on two opposite sides. Symmetrical placement of screws with connecting wires and terminals between the two sides. Removable cylindrical pin through center of top plate. Four smaller coils of wire secured to underside of top plate. Object rests on ends of three screw feet, two forward and one rear.

Inscriptions & Markings

Engraved at center of top plate: ' H. TINSLEY & CO. LONDON S. E.' Engraved at lower centre of top plate: 'NO 16949' Engraved on top of cylinder pin: 'NO 19908' Front side of top plate engraved with: 'DEFLECTING COILS' Engrave on center base of front side: '10 / VOLTS' Left side of top plate label: 'NAT. PHIL. LAB. / NO 65 / UNIV. OF MELB.' Associated label separate to object also has inscription on recto: 'Schering & / Schmidt / Galvanometer' and upside down on verso: 'A. C / [r] [e] [...] Gold[l]ing / p.p. 245' (writing unclear)

ARCHIMEDES Model LL-K (electrical)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Keys: 10 x 11 x 20 ELECTRICAL!

Resistance Decade Box

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Resistance decade box constructed with a rectangular wooden body and black plastic top displaying five large dials and fifteen smaller dials. Unit measurements are inscribed beneath each dial.

Significance

Related to objects 451 and 452

Inscriptions & Markings

Left to right on top panel surrounding dials: 'INT / OHMS AT 20 C MANGANIN / PURCHASED BY UNIVERSITIES COMMISSION / J. L. WILLIAM MELBOURNE' Adhered label at center of top, between dials: 'Part 2 W B S' Long front side has an metal panel with paper label and PVC covering demonstrating setup that has 'SERIAL No 416' engraved along upper edge.

FACIT

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

see #313

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”

Rowland Diffraction Grating & Goniometer

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Diffraction grating of 14,437 lines/inch x 3 1/4 inch. Set in goniometer. “The grating is a ruling of 14,437 lines/inch by Rowland, on a concave spherical speculum mirror of 4-1/2 inch aperture and 10 ft radius. First order dispersion is 5.5 A per mm.” (see RTW Bigham: ‘Concave Roland Grating: Eagle Mounting” in ‘Inspection of New Wing’; Appendix B5 , Vol 2 of Laby :CollectedPapers. The remnants of the Eagle Mounting, featuring a 4 inch tube x 10 ft long, presently uncatalogued, lies on the roof of a display cabinet in the PSB basement open cage-store.

Historical information

Speculum metal blanks made by John H. Brashear(1840-1920) from John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Diffraction Grating made by Prof. H.A. Rowland, [School of Physics, University of Melbourne.] No known publications using the Eagle mounting. May have been used exclusively for practical work in Physics III.

Inscriptions & Markings

Kirkpatrick & Co., London

Thermopile

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Circular metal frame and dials with mixed internal components, on a hinged, hollow cylindrical base.

Inscriptions & Markings

Partially removed label on circular frame: 'NAT. PH[...] [...] / NO. [...]' Partially removed label on base: 'J. H 4' Attached handwritten tag: 'Optical bench / A / Thermopile'

MERCEDES-EUKLID [Arithmometer] Model 22

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Keys: 13 x 16

Wild-Fuess Barometer

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Wild-Fuess cylindrical Barometer used to measure atmospheric pressure and constructed predominantly of chrome and brass. Contained in specially made barometer case (Reg No.2).

Historical information

“Wild-Feuss Barometer - Leppin and Masche - Instructions for Assembling”, 1942. Paper : “A Stand Barometer of New Design” by Laby, 1924. Related to object 2.

Inscriptions & Markings

Engraved near top “LEPPIN & MASCHE, BERLIN NO. 856”. On label near base “Please lower the mercury level after use in order to keep the interior of the glass clean round “zero”.

Resistance Decade Box

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Resistance decade box constructed from rectangular base of ferrous metal with black plastic top. Top displays five circular dials with three smaller circular dials on the right.

Significance

Related to objects 450 and 451.

Inscriptions & Markings

Embossed plaque at front: 'J. L. WILLIAM / SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS / SERIAL No 3012 / TYPE RR5S / MELBOURNE / AUSTRALIA' Engraved and filled white on top plate from left to right: 'ABSOLUTE OHMS AT 20 C / MANGANIN' Label reading 'PHYSICS PT 2 222 A4' Logo reading: 'J. L. WILLIAM / SCIENTIFIC / INSTRUMENTS / MELBOURNE / SERIAL No 3012' 'ZERO RESISTANCE / 0.006 OHM' Dials labelled underneath with unit measurements engraved and filled white.

Slide rule , Castell

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Plastic white rectangular Castell slide rule (271.1) stored in green lined rectangular case (271.2).

Inscriptions & Markings

On slide rule in green font: “Castell”

Resistance Decade Box

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

This rectangular wooden resistance decade box features four large dials for controlling resistances. The dials are mounted atop a black plastic panel, each with a square base. Three smaller dials are mounted to the right of the large dials.

Historical information

This object is believed to be associated with training at the Parkville Secondary Teaching College during the 20th Century.

Significance

Related to objects 450 and 452

Inscriptions & Markings

Embossed plaque at front: 'J. L. WILLIAM / SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS / SERIAL No 3960 / TYPE RB4DS / MELBOURNE / AUSTRALIA' Engraved and filled white on top plate from left to right: 'ABSOLUTE OHMS AT 20 C / MANGANIN' Logo reading: 'J. L. WILLIAM / SCIENTIFIC / INSTRUMENTS / MELBOURNE / SERIAL No 3960' 'ZERO RESISTANCE / 0.004 OHM' Engraved on back edge of top panel: 'SECONDARY TEACHER COLLEGE PARKVILLE' Dials are labelled underneath with unit measurements for resistance settings, engraved and in-filled white.

Dove's Siren

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Metal siren with circular base and foot with for dial. Rectangular top section with measurement dials. Bottom unscrews to allow access to internal mechanism.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label inside lid of wooden box: '373' Engraved on top of siren: 'E KIRKBY / MELBOURNE' Lid of box: '303'

FACIT 1122

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

X key A BIG MACHINE Ser no 200949

BEROLINA Mechanical

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Keys: 9 x 7 x 12

Inscriptions & Markings

Ernst Schuster, Berlin SW 68

Photograph, Cyclotron, Duplicate Set

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

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

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”

Paraffin Section

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Rectangular black box with metal scrapper and black instrument with round metal rod with screw tip and knob.

Inscriptions & Markings

Top of box: 'SPENCER BUFFALO USA' Label inside lid: 'PARAFFIN SECTIONS / [H]ONED NOV. 1952' Painted on box edge: 'W M 790'

FACIT Electrical

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

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

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: “8” On back of image in pencil: “No. 8 A.C. Goodwin Peter Law” (L to R) On back of image in ink: “8”