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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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469 items

Abacus

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Wooden rectangular abacus with 13 rods. Each rod is divided by a wooden bar. On top part of the rod are 2 wooden discs, on the bottom part are 5 wooden discs. For operation details see Cat. no 87

Inscriptions & Markings

Label: “Betty Laby”

Accessory box for a No 6 Director Mk I

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

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.

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'

Allbrit Planimeter

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Adjustable Allbrit planimeter calibrated for imperial units. Assembled to use with the magnifier which can be rotated. There is a checking bar. One revolution = 10 sq inches. Accessory box covered in leatherette with blue velvet padding.

Inscriptions & Markings

Inside the box (insert): 'SCALE / VERNIER POSITION ON TRACER BAR / AREA OF ONE REVOLUTION OF THE MEASURING WHEEL SCALE / ACTUAL / CONSTANT / SCALE

ARCHIMEDES Model LL-K (electrical)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Keys: 10 x 11 x 20 ELECTRICAL!

ARCHIMEDES Model LL-K (electrical)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Keys: 10 x 11 x 20 ELECTRICAL!

Artillery director (No 6 Mk II with tripod)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Green painted brass director mounted on a grey metal base plate. Secured to a wooden tripod with coated copper wire cord linking tripod legs.

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 463.2

Inscriptions & Markings

Theodolite body engraved with: the broad arrow on top, and on side with 'DIRECTOR No 6 MK II / COOKE TROUGHTON & SIMMS LTD / 1924 / No 1126'

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)

Beam Balance, with wooden box

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Beam balance made of brass, stainless steel with “ tortoise shell pattern” decoration. Enclosed in display case with glass windows and sitting on four legs for levelling. Made by F. Sartorius, Gottingen.

Inscriptions & Markings

Plaque on front of box: “F.Sartorius Werkstatte fur Wissenschaftliche Instrument Gottingen”. Plaque on balance: “Patent F.Sartorius Gottingen No. 5936”

Becquerel Phosphoroscope (incomplete)

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

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

BEROLINA Mechanical

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Keys: 9 x 7 x 12

Inscriptions & Markings

Ernst Schuster, Berlin SW 68

BEROLINA Mechanical

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Keys: 9 x 7 x 12

Historical information

1910? M p 131 “one of the oldest pin wheel machines”

Betatron Installation

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Photograph of initial Betatron installation.

Betatron Plates

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

10 silver bromide images on glass plates depicting graphics and information associate with the betatron.

Historical information

Associated with object # 336.

Inscriptions & Markings

Label on box: 'PLATES FOR ENLARGER' 'KODAK SILVER BROMIDE'

Book - A First Trigonometry

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

This volume is a softcover book with green coated fabric cover and black lettering. The front cover is horizontally bordered top and bottom with a double black line. A flat, decorative ornament of a person playing a piano, threaded with a pink ribbon, is stuck with tape to the inside front page.

Historical information

Part of the Laby Collection of material donated by the family of TH Laby and daughters Jean and Betty in August 2014. This particular book is one of two copies acquired together as part of the Laby Collection, the other being inscribed with Betty’s name, suggesting that this volume belonged to Jean Laby. At some point the ornament has been stuck in the book on the first page.

Inscriptions & Markings

Written inside front page with blue ink: ‘Jean / from D. K. [P.]’ Front cover in black: ‘A FIRST / TRIGONOMETRY / BY / WINIFRED WADDELL / AND / D. K. PICKEN’

Book, Instruction

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Red covered stapled small paperback book on the Abacus. Relevent to the ABACUS cat. no. 85

Inscriptions & Markings

In front cover hand written “B. Laby”.

Brass Switch

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Short circuit and contact Brass switch Set of 3

Inscriptions & Markings

Inscribed with H W Sullivan Ltd London Item a Inscribed on base with No 5306 painted on base with 5222 Item b Inscribed on base with No 5304 Painted on base with 5223 Item c Inscribed on base with No 5274 Painten on base with 522c

Brunsviga Double

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Double machine, each half similar to M1. keys: 10x8 :10x8

Inscriptions & Markings

Plaque: BRUNSVIGA MACHINENWERKE A.G. Braunschweig Made in Western Gerrmany Ser.no. 1.4-0578.3/Brunsviga/D13R-2

Brunsviga Double

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Double machine, each half similar to M1. keys: 10x8 :10x8

Inscriptions & Markings

Plaque: BRUNSVIGA MACHINENWERKE A.G. Braunschweig Made in Western Gerrmany Ser.no. 1.4-0578.3/Brunsviga/D13R-2

BURROUGHS Adding Machine

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

BURROUGHS Adding Machine

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

BURROUGHS ADDING Printer

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Plaque: ‘Burroughs/Detroit/ Mich / USA’

BURROUGHS ADDING Printer

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Inscriptions & Markings

Plaque: ‘Burroughs/Detroit/ Mich / USA’

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’

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’

Historical information

M p 114 (from 1892) Fig 88

Camera accessory box

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Brown camera accessory box containing assorted accessories and flash bulbs

Camera and accessory box

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Camera and accessory box with accessories and handbook stored inside.

Camera and accessory box

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Black camera box containing camera, accessories and handbooks inside.

Historical information

Part of the Laby Collection.

Inscriptions & Markings

Labels identifying Jean Laby on strap and body.

Canonet QL17 Camera

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Cannot QL17 model camera. Silver and black compact rangefinder with associated storage case.

Historical information

Business card belonging to Betty Laby inside.

Canon tele-converter lens in accessory box

The Ed Muirhead Physics Museum, Parkville

Canon tele-converter camera lens stored in black accessory box

Historical information

Part of the Laby Collection