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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

Photograph, Cyclotron, Duplicate Set

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

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

FACIT Electric calculator CM 2-16

keys: 11 x 9 x 16

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Becquerel Phosphoroscope (incomplete)

Key words

becquerel phosphoroscope
phosphoroscope
optical instruments
phosphorescent
alexander edmund becquerel
jules duboscq
france

The phosphoroscope consists of a round metal chamber with a pair of rotating discs inside, arranged so that no light can pass directly through the chamber. The discs have cut-out windows spaced equally at regular angular distances and are turned by the hand crank linked to a gear mechanism. The sample is placed in a specially designed holder into the small opening near the gearing, and it is exposed to the light source through the large rear condensing lens.

Historical information

The phosphoroscope was invented by Alexander Edmund Becquerel and used to measure the amount of time that a phosphorescent substance will glow after being irradiated by a brilliant source of light.

Inscriptions & Markings

Engraved on chamber: 'Phosphoroscope de E. Becquerel / J. Duboscq a Paris

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Rowland Diffraction Grating & Goniometer

Key words

diffraction grating
rowland & goniometer

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

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Adjustable Retort Stand

Key words

retort stand
scientific apparatus
scientific equipment

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

Inscriptions & Markings

On tripod base: 'MET. RES'

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Interferometer - Michelson

A student demonstration or general laboratory model capable of calibrating the pitch of the mechanical thread in terms of the wavelength ofvisible light, specifically a chosen emission line from the spectra of say mercury.

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Photograph, Optical Munitions (Duplicate)

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”

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Optical Munitions Test Plates

Key words

dial sight
optical munitions
glass
mk 1

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.

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Slide rule, Faber-Castell

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”

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Photograph, Cyclotron, Duplicate Set

Black and white photograph of cyclotron equipment stored in white envelope entitled “”Cyclotron Photographs (Duplicate set)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

FACIT 1122

X key A BIG MACHINE Ser no 200949

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

KELVIN CURRENT BALANCE

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

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Galvanometer

Key words

galvanometer
tinsley & co
schering & schmidt
electrical instruments
ammeters

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)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Stereoscope with lid (and wooden oddment)

Olive green enamelled stereoscope enclosed in olive green wooden hinged box. Two test stereoscopic pictures of a rhino also kept in box. A wooden oddment (10 cm) is also enclosed.

Inscriptions & Markings

Engraved in white on stereoscope: “DC-1940 Serial No. 32” Label on front of box: “stereoscope”

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Photograph, Optical Munitions: H.D. Rathgeber

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”

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Photograph, Optical Munitions: G. Crickmore

Black and white photograph showing Gordon Crickmore using compass. Same photo as 136.

Inscriptions & Markings

On front of image in ink: “16” On back of image in pencil: “No 16 Gordon Crickmore” On back of image in ink: “16”

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Slide, Grayson Test plate with case

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”

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

“MULTO” (Brunsviga)

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

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Accessory box for a No 6 Director Mk I

Key words

cooke troughton & simms
accessory box
no 6 director mk i
broad arrow
wwii

Leather accessory box with shoulder strap and metal buckles. Flip open lid.

Historical information

Possibly related to the range-finding equipment sent from England for dismantling during the 1940s so University of Melbourne Physics staff could develop their own equipment. Related to object 463.1

Inscriptions & Markings

Embossed in lid: 'CASE NO 6 DETECTOR MK 1 / COOKE, TROUGHTON & SIMMS, LTD / 9 / 22 / A.F.A' and broad arrow symbol.

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Contact Switch - Morse Code

Key words

morse code switch
contact switch
gambrell bros
telegraphy

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'

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

TRINKS - Triplex

A Brunsviga twin-system with keys 10x10x20 and 12x20.

Inscriptions & Markings

Plaque: TRINKS Double System / GRIMME NATALIS & Co / Braunschweig / AND Brunsviga Calculator Co. / London, Brunsviga House / Snow Hill EC1[London] / Manchester, WIlliam Brown Street / Glasgow, 20 West Campbell St.

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

FACIT Mechanical

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

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

White & Gillespie Slide Rule

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

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Thermopile

Key words

thermopile
scientific equipment

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'

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Meldometer, Joly

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.

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Photograph, Optical Munitions, with EJ Hartung (Duplicate)

Black and white photograph entitled “E.J. Harrung and an experimental pot of optical glass” Duplicate of no 157

Inscriptions & Markings

On back of image in ink: “36 Prof. Hartung” On front of image in ink: “36”

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Photograph, Cyclotron, Duplicate Set

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

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Resistance Decade Box

Key words

j. l. william
scientific instruments
resistance decade box
electrical instruments
decade box

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.

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Marconi Valve, Transmitting, with stand

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. ?”

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

FACIT

see #313

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville