Astronomy and Space Physics Division of the Department of Physics and Astronomy
The Department of Physics and Astronomy can be traced back to the very beginning of the University and the subject was awarded a professorship at the University's re-establishment after the Church Council Meeting of 1593. Over the centuries a valuable collection of astronomical instruments has been built up. The oldest items are from the 17th century and consist of telescopes and cylinders from a calculator.
Göran Henriksson at the Department is conducting an investigation of the cylinders. The first results from this suggest that they come from a calculator manufactured in two copies by Wilhelm Schickard around 1623 and which had been thought to have been lost. One of the copies was made on behalf of Johannes Kepler. Schickard's calculator is assigned a central role in several publications about computer development. If Henriksson’s initial findings are correct, it would be a real sensation.
Microscopes and Telescopes
Different types of microscope constitute a very significant category of objects consisting of different types of telescopes. The collection allows the development of telescopes through history to be traced. The oldest instrument is a hand-held telescope from the 1660s with intact original lenses, which is very rare. There are several instruments purchased by Anders Celsius and used in his observatory at Svartbäcksgatan, among others a so-called Grahams sector, manufactured by Jonathan Sisson in London. In addition to telescopes, there are a large number of other instruments that have been used at the Department, for example a pendulum made by Graham in London in the 1730s, which was said to be the world's most accurate watch at that time. There are also four terrestrial and celestial globes made by Andreas Åkerman in the 1760s.
From the 19th and 20th centuries there is collection of astronomical objects of equal quality. Göran Henriksson has collected information and oral traditions relevant to the various instruments. There is also an extensive collection of literature, including a large number of original editions of astronomical classics from the 16th century onwards. The Department is also responsible for hundreds of astronomical instruments donated to the University by Nils Tamm.