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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

Electrometer, Quadrant Dolezalek

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Brass cylindrical galvanometer on three grey enamelled legs.

Inscriptions & Markings

Engraved on top: “W.G. Pye & Co. Eng. Cambridge No. 9250”

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”

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

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.

BEROLINA Mechanical

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Keys: 9 x 7 x 12

Inscriptions & Markings

Ernst Schuster, Berlin SW 68

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.

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.

Marconi Valve, Transmitting, with stand

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Valve has wooden (possibly mahogany) display stand.

Inscriptions & Markings

On glass: “Marconi Valve, patented, Made in England Cat.2 67.5” Detached accompanying label (partially torn): “Valve Type - CAT 2, Serial No: 575 Anode? For: 5.0 Amp Emission: 9? Operate filament A? 19.2 volts 51. ?”

Photograph, Cyclotron, Duplicate Set

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph of cyclotron machinery n white envelope entitled “”Cyclotron Photographs (Duplicate set)’

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”

MADAS

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Electric Keys: 8 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)

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

TEC AM103 Electrical Adding Macine

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Paper tape output Plaque ‘Tokyo Electric Co Ltd, Made in Japan

Optical Munitions Test Plates

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Cardboard box containing cotton wadding and straw padding layered above glass plates individually wrapped in tissue paper. Five plates in the top layer, followed by more padding, 2 more plates, padding, 8 glass plates, padding and straw. Plates are variously sized and circular in shape.

Historical information

Associated sheet of paper inside box lists each of the test plates as having been tested and found defective.

Inscriptions & Markings

Handwritten on box lid: 'REJECT TEST PLATES / MK1 DIAL SIGHT' unreadable handwritten inscription '18' '[E. E. N Wa...worth] / [...] / [Kob...]' '23/11/45' Munitions labelled with technical specifications of each lens.

Photograph, Optical Munitions: Notman

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph showing young man (Notman) working on graphic designs at a draft board.

Inscriptions & Markings

On front of image in ink: “19” On back of image in pencil: “Notman No. 19” On back of image in ink: “19”

BURROUGHS Adding Machine

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

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)

FELT & TARRANT COMPTOMETER

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Felt & Tarrant Mfg Co, Chicago, USA Note;’For history see extract from EM Horsburgh (editor) “Modern Instruments of Calculation” pp. 98-102. New introduction by Michael R Williams (1st 1914, 2nd 1984). TOMASH Publishers, Los Angeles, San Francisco.

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.

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.

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 CA1-13 Electric Calculator

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

keys: 8 / 13

Photograph, Optical Munitions: Microscope

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph of optical microscope.

Historical information

“Optical microscope made in Australia after 1939-45 war. Made in Australian Optical Company, Melbourne heade by Lawrence Dickens Collection Design probably by Maximilian Hertzberger; Messrs Curtis and W. Gallaghar, both ex MSL, were responsible for production. Full discussion given in Bolton, H.C. J.J. McNeill and the Development of Optical Research in Australia. Historical Records of Australian Science 5 (1983) pp 55-70”

Inscriptions & Markings

See History of Object for transcript of writing on back of image.

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 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 (Duplicate)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black and white photograph entitled “G.A. Ampt and E.J. Hartung and experimental pots of opitcal glass” Duplicate of no. 158

Inscriptions & Markings

On back of image in ink: “37 L to R: G.A. Ampt and Prof. Hartung”, “1886-1953 see ADB Vol 7” On front of image in ink: “37”

FACIT mechanical

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

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

“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