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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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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.

MARCHANT ADX FIGUREMATIC NO 4

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Keys: 10 x 10 x 20 Plaque: Model ADX Made in USA by Marchant Calculators Inc Oakland, California, USA

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”

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’

MILLIONAIRE (#2) 10 keys

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

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’

Adjustable Retort Stand

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Heavy metal tripod stand with three knobs and two adjustable holders.

Inscriptions & Markings

On tripod base: 'MET. RES'

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'

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, Cyclotron accelerator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photo of cyclotron (nuclear physics accelerator): 60 deg. analyser magnet & lift assembly.

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: “MAGNET STANDARD RESISTANCE”, “60 ANALYSER MAGNET & LIFT ASSEMBLY”

Slide, Grayson Test plate with case

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Test plate rectangular glass slide with rulings under circular cover glass within yellow circle and brown border enclosed in red hinged box with blue lining. Described as “A sample Microscope slide - Test plate with rulings from 30,000 to 120,000 per inch”. This is the only surviving ruling reaching up to 120,000; hence is both unique and valuable.

Inscriptions & Markings

Labels on slide: “Test plate 10,000 to 120,000. Ruled by H.J. Grayson, Melbourne”. No of lines per inch Band 1-10,000 2-20,000”. On label on side: “No of lines per inch Band 3 -30,000 4 - 40,000 5-50,000 6-60,000 7-70,000 8-80,000 9-90,000 10-100,000 11-110,000 12-120,000”

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

FACIT mechanical

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

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)

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”

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”

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’

PLANIMETER

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

See F23

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.

Meldometer, Joly

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

The Joly meldometer was created to determine the melting point of minerals. W.E. Wilson, an astronomer and author, stated in 1900 that the Joly meldometer consisted of a ‘a strip of platinum on which minute fragments of any mineral can be placed, while any alteration in its length can be determined by means of a micrometer screw which touches a lever connected with one end of the strip. The strip can be heated by an electric current, and is calibrated by observing the micrometer readings corresponding to the temperatures at which some substances of known melting-points melt’i . One reason why the Joly meldometer was seen as a successful addition to science was the small amount of any substance that it required for testing. Only a minute sample was needed for the instrument to work and so a tiny part could be taken from a delicate item without destroying itii . The instrument was originally manufactured by the Irish company Yeates & Son of Dublin. The Yeates family business was established in the early 1790’s and is thought to have operated until approximately 1922iii . Their business slogan was recorded as ‘Instrument makers to the University’, a slogan which proudly exhibited their relationship with Trinity College, Dublin. The company was located directly opposite Trinity College, the place where the Joly meldometer was created. Working in such close proximity must have assisted this business relationship. The inventor of this meldometer was Irishman John Joly. Joly was born in 1857 at the Church of Ireland Rectory, Hollywood House. His education led him to Trinity College Dublin where, by 1891, he had obtained a Bachelor of Engineering degree as well as a Doctorate of Science. The entirety of his working life appears to have taken place at Trinity College although he is known to have travelled in order to consult with other scientists such as the world renowned Sir Ernest Rutherford. The Joly meldometer was used for a variety of different purposes, with scientists often adapting the instrument to suit their own needs. For instance, the previously mentioned astronomer W.E. Wilson adapted the meldometer to assist him in measuring the radiation of the suniv . Joly used his device in an attempt to ascertain the age of the earth. In 1913, along with Sir Rutherford, Joly came to the conclusion that the earth was approximately 400 million years old. They did this by analysing the decay of radioactivity in minerals. According to our present knowledge of the earth this was a much more accurate date than the dates Joly had previously derived. He had first thought that the earth was 97 million years old due to the volume of sodium in the oceans. Joly’s second analysis of the topic had resulted in the age of 80 million years. This figure was based on the accumulation of sediment. Apart from designing his meldometer, Joly is also remembered for his work with colour photography. In 1894 Joly discovered a method for creating colour photographs from a single platev . He also studied the use of radiation as a treatment for cancer and persuaded the Royal Dublin Society to establish the Radium Institute to assist hospitals. In 1933 Joly passed away at the age of seventy-six.

MADAS

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

See previous (F317) for details. Instrument c600mm long.

Photograph, Optical Munitions: H.D. Rathgeber

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph of Henri Rathgeber looking through equipment.

Inscriptions & Markings

On front of image in ink: “6” On back of image in pencil: “No. 6 Henri Rathgeber” On back of image in ink: “6”

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

FACIT Electric calculator CM 2-16

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

keys: 11 x 9 x 16

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)

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

Dumpy Level (Part of)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Historical information

Used for setting levels.

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'

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.

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”

FACIT CA1-13 Electric Calculator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

keys: 8 / 13