The Physics Museum of the University of Coimbra

Versão portuguesa

Acrobat illustrating the state of equilibrium
62,1 x 22,5 x 20 Carved, painted and gilded wood, brass and iron

The Physics Museum

The Physics Museum is located in the former Colégio de Jesus, in the Marquês de Pombal square, opposite the Chimico Laboratory, in the rooms originally intended for the Gabinete de Fysica Experimental, created in 1772.

This Museum has a valuable collection of scientific and educational physics instruments from the 18th and 19th centuries, one of the most remarkable and rare in the world. The Museum's assets consist exclusively of instruments used in the mentioned Cabinet of Physics of the University of Coimbra, since its origin in 1772.

The 18th century instruments, which gave rise to one of the most complete cabinets for the study of Experimental Physics, are today considered true works of art. The instruments of the 19th century are well representative of the great development of Experimental Physics throughout that century. The collection has more than three thousand objects, including about five hundred old books.

A part of these instruments is on permanent display in the original rooms of the Cabinet of Physics, whose characteristics are still those they originally had when the Cabinet of Physics was created. The permanent exhibition therefore shows the instruments in the context of their time, in fact portraying a Physics Cabinet as it was in the second half of the 18th century. This permanent exhibition also includes some instruments from the 19th century.

The Physics Museum as a representation of the former Cabinet of Experimental Physics of the University of Coimbra was awarded the status of European Historic Site (EPS Historic Site) by the European Society of Physics (EPS), in recognition of its role and importance in the history of physics.

The Physics Museum is currently integrated into the Science Museum of the University of Coimbra.

Catalogue Ingenuity and Art [ver...]
(a collection of 150 instruments is shown through pictures, schemes, texts and animations).

Virtual visit  [see...]
Rooms and objects in three dimensions (requires QuickTime 4).

Museum Old Books
Pierre van Mussenbroek: Cours de Physique Experimentale et Mathematique, 3 volumes.

Giovanni Antonio Dalla Bella: Physics Elementa, 1 volume

Tribute to people who were prominent in the creation of the Museum (pages in portuguese)
The Physics Museum is most indebted to Mário Silva and Rómulo de Carvalho