Tuesday 1 December 2009

Trip to Kelvingrove and Hunterian Museum (30.11.09)

Kelvingrove Museum

I wanted to go to the Kelvingrove museum to see if there might be anything concerning antiquated forms of communication.

I didn't manage to find much on the matter however there was one thing which caught my attention which was the ventilation grills which at one point looked as though they were presented as a frame in themselves.

There was one which was emitting a particularly loud, high-pitched noise which sounded like it was coming from a massive heating room hidden somewhere in the basement of the building. I was quite interested in the idea of sounds being transported around the building in this manner, much like servants would be called for in a large Victorian house via bells.

Hunterian Museum - Lord Kelvin permanent exhibition

Lord Kelvin was born William Thomson in Belfast on 26th June 1824 and was the fourth child of James and Margaret Thomson. After the death of his mother, William along with the rest of the family moved to Glasgow where his father took up the Chair of Mathematics at the University. William entered the University of Glasgow at just 6 years of age, officially matriculating at age 10. In 1841, at the age of 17 he entered Cambridge, graduating there four years later before returning in 1846 to take up the Chair of Natural Philosophy (what we now call physics) at the University of Glasgow.

In the mid 1850s and for the next decade he became increasingly involved in the cable laying projects that were to allow, for the first time, Britain to communicate instantly with the other side of the Atlantic. By 1866 his skills as a mathematician, applied physicist and engineer had led the Atlantic cable project to successful completion earning him a Knighthood.

(Read more...)

This fantastic display was truly engaging and included pieces such as a a wine glass placed inside a perspex box, a certain pitch was then played through a bass amp which would cause the glass to resonate and wobble.

Some of the scientific apparatus were just fantastic items in themselves but I particulary liked a pair of brass parabolic mirrors with a description of an experiement carried out by Jean Antoine Nollet:

" I am persuaded that cokes act mostly by radiation like that of the sun. There is a pretty experiment in Nollets Lecons de Physique: he set two mirrors, (made of pasteboard gilt), parallel to one another, and face to face, in the opposite sides of a room: in the focus of one, a bit of charcoal, and in that of the other, a little gunpowder he blew upon the charcoal to brighten it, and the gunpowder took fire."

Concave brass mirror

These seemed to me very similar to the sound mirrors which I had looked at earlier on. On further investigation I found this website which seemed to bring together these two apparatus. (follow the link here)

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