Whipple Museum of the History of Science

The Whipple Museum of the History of Science is a Museum attached to the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, which houses an extensive collection of scientific instruments, apparatus, models, pictures, prints, photographs, books and other material related to the history of science. It is located in the former Perse School on Free School Lane, and was founded in 1944, when Robert Whipple presented his collection of scientific instruments to the University of Cambridge. The Museum's collection is 'designated' by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) as being of "national and international importance".[1]

The Museum is one of eight museums in the University of Cambridge Museums consortium.[2]

Whipple Museum of the History of Science
Whipple Museum of the History of Science, Free School Lane
Whipple Museum of the History of Science, Free School Lane
Coordinates(52°12′00″N 0°07′12″E / 52.20000°N 0.12000°E)
TypeUniversity Museum
AccreditationArts Council England accredited
CollectionsScientific instruments, apparatus, models, pictures, prints, photographs, books and other material related to the history of science
FounderRobert Whipple
DirectorProfessor Liba Taub
OwnerUniversity of Cambridge
University of Cambridge Museums
An 18th-century Persian astrolabe.
Whipple Museum Collection.
A 17th-century compound microscope.
Whipple Museum Collection.
Partial assembly of Babbage Difference Engine from original brass parts.
Whipple Museum Collection.

Department of History and Philosophy of Science

The Museum forms part of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge. The Department includes a working library with a large collection of early scientific books, some of which were given by Robert Whipple. The Museum plays an important part in the Department's teaching and research.


The museum's holdings are particularly strong in material dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries, especially objects produced by English instrument makers, although the collection contains objects dating from the medieval period to the present day. Instruments of astronomy, navigation, surveying, drawing and calculating are well represented, as are sundials, mathematical instruments and early electrical apparatus.

Since Robert Whipple's initial gift of the collection, the Museum has come to house many instruments formerly used in the Colleges and Departments of the University of Cambridge.

Opening hours

The Whipple Museum is open from Monday to Friday, 12.30 - 4.30pm.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Designation
  2. ^ http://www.cam.ac.uk/museums-and-collections/visit-us/our-museums
  3. ^ "Whipple Museum of the History of Science". Whipple Museum Website. Retrieved 15 May 2019.

External links

1944 in science

The year 1944 in science and technology involved some significant events, listed below.

Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company

Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company was a company founded in 1881 by Horace Darwin (1851–1928) and Albert George Dew-Smith (1848–1903) to manufacture scientific instruments.

Darwin was first apprenticed to an engineering firm in Kent, and returned to Cambridge in 1875. Dew-Smith was an engineer, photographer and instrument maker who was at Trinity College, Cambridge with Darwin. Darwin's grandson Erasmus Darwin Barlow was later chairman.

Designed between 1884/85, the rocking microtome was one of Darwin's most successful designs which continued to be manufactured until the 1970s.Their partnership became a Limited Liability Company in 1895. In 1920 it took over the R.W. Paul Instrument Company of London, and became The Cambridge and Paul Instrument Company Ltd. The name was shortened to the Cambridge Instrument Company Ltd. in 1924 when it was converted to a Public limited company. The company was finally taken over by the George Kent Group in 1968, forming the largest independent British manufacturer of industrial instruments.

Several early employees went on to further renown, including Robert Stewart Whipple, who was appointed personal assistant to Horace Darwin in 1898, and later became Managing Director and Chairman of the company. His collection of scientific instruments later formed the basis of the Whipple Museum of the History of Science in 1944. William G. Pye, who had joined as foreman in 1880, left in 1898 to form the W.G. Pye Instrument Company with his son, which ultimately become the Pye group of companies.

Cambridge University Handball Club

Cambridge University Handball Club (CUHB) was founded and registered as a club at the University of Cambridge in 2013. CUHB runs competitive men’s and women's teams playing in national competitions. It is a member of the England Handball Association and the Association of British University Handball Clubs. The men's team is currently holding the Varisity Trophy against Oxford (2019).

Downing Street, Cambridge

Downing Street is a street in central Cambridge, England. It runs between Pembroke Street and Tennis Court Road at the western end and a T-junction with St Andrew's Street at the eastern end. Corn Exchange Street and St Tibbs Row lead off to the north. Downing Place leads off to the south.

To the north at the western end is the New Museums Site of the University of Cambridge. To the south is the Downing Site of the University. Many of the University's departments are located here.

Elizabeth Beckley

Elizabeth Beckley (c.1846-1927) was a pioneering British astronomical photographer.She was the daughter of Robert Beckley, a mechanical engineer based at Kew Observatory, who developed the Robinson-Beckley anemometer with Thomas Romney Robinson.Beckley worked at Kew Observatory, where she was one of the first women to work at an astronomical observatory.Beckley photographed the sun in the 1860s and 1970s using a photoheliograph.Beckley married fellow Kew Observatory employee George Matthew Whipple. They had two sons, and the eldest, Robert Whipple, was a scientific instrument collector, and founded the Whipple Museum of the History of Science in Cambridge.

Free School Lane

Free School Lane is a historic street in central Cambridge, England which includes important buildings of University of Cambridge. It is the location of the Whipple Museum of the History of Science, the Department of History and Philosophy of Science (HPS,) the University's faculty of Social and Political Sciences, and is the original site of the Engineering Department, and the Physics Department's Cavendish Laboratory. At the northern end is Bene't Street and at the southern end is Pembroke Street. To the east is the New Museums Site of the University. To the west is Corpus Christi College.

Gerd Buchdahl

Gerd Buchdahl (12 August 1914 – 17 May 2001) was a German-English philosopher of science.

Kettle's Yard

Kettle's Yard is an art gallery and house in Cambridge, England. The director of the art gallery is Andrew Nairne. Both the house and gallery reopened in February 2018 after an expansion of the facilities.Kettle's Yard galleries, shop and cafe are open Tuesday - Sunday, 11am - 5pm. The House is open Tuesday - Sunday, 12 - 5pm. Free, timed entry tickets to the House are available from the information desk. Online booking is coming soon.

List of institutions of the University of Cambridge

The following are institutions that form part of the University of Cambridge.

List of museums in Cambridge

The following museums and art galleries are located in Cambridge, England:

Round Church Visitor Centre — History of the Round Church, the development of Cambridge and the university

Cambridge Museum of Technology — Housed in the sewage pumping station, print room and old machines, local industries and equipment

Cambridge Science Centre — Closed for relocation but was an Interactive museum of science and technology

Cambridge University Library — Events held in the Exhibition Centre

Cambridge University Museum of Zoology — University of Cambridge — Specimens and skeletons of fossils, animals, insects and birds from around the world, closed until early 2017

Centre for Computing History — Museum telling the story of the Information Age

Fitzwilliam Museum — University of Cambridge — Museum with collections of art, manuscripts, coins, medals, and antiquities

Kettle's Yard — University of Cambridge Art gallery with collections of contemporary and modern art

Lawrence Room at Girton College — features Anglo-Saxon, Egyptian and Mediterranean artifacts

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology — University of Cambridge Archaeological and anthropological artifacts and photographs from around the world, including a totem pole

Museum of Cambridge — Museum of the history of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, regional folklore and local life

Museum of Classical Archaeology — University of Cambridge — Museum of plaster casts of classical Greek and Roman statues and sculpture

New Hall Art Collection — Gallery and collection of modern and contemporary art by female artists

People's Portraits Exhibition at Girton College — exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters showing 'ordinary' British people at the verge of the 21st century

Ruskin Gallery — art gallery of Anglia Ruskin University

The Polar Museum — University of Cambridge — Museum dedicated to the history and science of Arctic and Antarctic exploration

Sedgwick Museum — University of Cambridge Museum of fossil animals and plants, dinosaurs, and rocks and minerals

Whipple Museum of the History of Science — University of Cambridge Scientific instruments, models and displays on the history of science, dating from medieval times to the present day

List of museums in Cambridgeshire

This list of museums in Cambridgeshire, England contains museums which are defined for this context as institutions (including nonprofit organizations, government entities, and private businesses) that collect and care for objects of cultural, artistic, scientific, or historical interest and make their collections or related exhibits available for public viewing. Also included are non-profit art galleries and university art galleries. Museums that exist only in cyberspace (i.e., virtual museums) are not included.

Pembroke Street, Cambridge

Pembroke Street is a street in central Cambridge, England. It runs between Downing Street and Tennis Court Road at the eastern end and a junction with Trumpington Street at the western end. It continues west on the other side of Trumpington Street as Mill Lane.

To the south of the street, along its entire length, is Pembroke College, hence the name.

In the 20th century, the architecture W. D. Caröe added Pitt Building between Ivy Court and the Alfred Waterhouse former Master's Lodge, and extended New Court with the construction of a new staircase on the other side of the Lodge. He linked the two buildings with an arched stone screen, Caröe Bridge, along Pembroke Street in a late Baroque style.

To the north at the eastern end is the New Museums Site of the University of Cambridge. The Cambridge University Department of Chemical Engineering was located here until 2017.

Just to the north of Pembroke Street is the Whipple Museum of the History of Science in Free School Lane, which leads off Pembroke Street.

Botolph Lane runs parallel with Pembroke Street just to the north of it, between Free School Lane and Trumpington Street, to the south of Corpus Christi College.

Puzzle globe

A puzzle globe (also called jigsaw globe, globe puzzle, puzzle ball, puzzle sphere or spherical puzzle) is a spherical assembly of puzzle pieces that, when put together, form a complete sphere or globe. Puzzle globes will generally have a one-piece spherical substrate that supports the puzzle pieces as they are laid in place. In some puzzle globes the substrate is steel and the puzzle pieces are magnetic, the magnetic attraction keeping pieces on the lower portion of the sphere from falling off.

Like a two-dimensional jigsaw puzzle, a globe puzzle is often made of cardboard and the assembled pieces form a single layer. Most globe puzzles have designs representing spherical shapes such as the Earth, the Moon, or historical globes of the Earth.

The logo of Wikipedia is a puzzle globe depicting glyphs from many different writing systems.

A jigsaw puzzle globe from the 1870s is in the collection of the Whipple Museum of the History of Science, and is a copy of an earlier one made in Germany.

Robert Stewart Whipple

Robert Stewart Whipple (1871–1953) was a businessman in the British scientific instrument trade, a collector of science books and scientific instruments, and an author on their history. He amassed a unique collection of antique scientific instruments that he later donated to found the Whipple Museum of the History of Science in Cambridge in 1944.

Scientific instrument

A scientific instrument is, broadly speaking, a device or tool used for scientific purposes, including the study of both natural phenomena and theoretical research.

Sekiya Seikei

Sekiya Seikei (関谷 清景, 28 January 1855 – 8 January 1896), alternatively Sekiya Kiyokage, was a Japanese geologist, one of the first seismologists, influential in establishing the study of seismology in Japan and known for his model showing the motion of an earth-particle during an earthquake.Sekiya took up the study of the earthquakes in 1880. In 1886, he was appointed as the first professor of seismology at what was to be the University of Tokyo, the first such full-time university appointment in the world. In this position, he helped in the extension of the seismic survey in Japan and in the erection of seismographs throughout the country. In 1886, the number of observing stations was over 600. In 1896, at the time of his death it had risen to 968.Outside the scientific community, Sekiya is best known for the model representing the motion of the ground during an earthquake, inspired by the Tokyo earthquake of 1887. His earthquake model consists of three twisted copper wires that are mounted side by side on a lacquered wooden stand. The wire diagram gives an illustration of the complicated movements of the ground during an earthquake, conveying the complexity of ground motion, both in terms of the vagaries of its geometric path and in its erratic accelerations. Sekiya’s original copper-wire model now resides in the Whipple Museum of the History of Science at Cambridge University. According to Hudson (1992 p. 6), "His measurements and calculations of ground displacement and acceleration of the 1887 Japanese earthquake were the first estimates of ground motion based on reasonably accurate data."After spending several months studying the new crater and the devastated areas subsequent to 1888 eruption of Mount Bandai, he published together with Y. Kikuchi a report in English (“The eruption of Bandai-san” Tokyo Imperial University College of Sciences Journal 3 (1890), pp 91–171), which is considered a classic in volcanology.

University of Cambridge Museums

University of Cambridge Museums is a consortium of the eight museums of the University of Cambridge, which came into being in 2012 following awarding of Major Partner Museums status by Arts Council England. The consortium works in partnership with the Cambridge University Botanic Garden and other Cambridge University collections.

The consortium comprises:

The Fitzwilliam Museum

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

The Polar Museum

The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences

Museum of Classical Archaeology

The Whipple Museum of the History of Science

Kettle's Yard

University Museum of Zoology

Wheeler Street, Cambridge

Wheeler Street is a street in central Cambridge, England. It runs between Bene't Street to the southwest and Guildhall Street and Corn Exchange Street to the northeast. To the east, Guildhall Place, a cul-de-sac, runs southeast from the junction with Guildhall Street, parallel with Corn Exchange Street at its northwestern end, as an extension of Guildhall Street.

On the northeast end of Wheeler Street, on the corner with Corn Exchange Street is the Cambridge Corn Exchange, a music and theatrical venue. To the south is the New Museums Site, a site of the University of Cambridge with university museums, including the Whipple Museum of the History of Science on Free School Lane and the Cambridge University Museum of Zoology on Downing Street.

The Cambridge Guildhall and Market Square are to the north, reached via Peas Hill and Guildhall Street. The Lion Yard shopping centre is to the northeast.

The Cambridge Tourist Information Centre is located in Wheeler Street. The building dates from

1884 and was designed by the architect G. MacDonell. It was once the main city library, but this moved into Lion Yard in 1975. The building has a small but attractive domed reading room. Other buildings have been erected around this and the Guildhall, which means they are now partially hidden.

Wheeler Street gives its name to the song "Snowed in At Wheeler Street", the 2011 duet between Kate Bush and Sir Elton John.

faculties, and
Student life

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