History of Science Museum: Collection Database Search


Former Display Label: Science at Oxford

Science at Oxford

Three of Oxford University's many and diverse past research interests are represented here. The first is the apparatus used by H.C.J. Moseley shortly before the First World War to determine atomic number. The second represents penicillin research conducted shortly before the Second World War, and the third the development of anaesthetic apparatus that took place during the 1940s-50s.

Moseley came from a family of scientists. In 1913, at Oxford's Electrical Laboratory, he did experiments to identify the atomic number and nuclear charge of an element. Howard Walter (Lord) Florey and Sir Ernst Boris Chain began investigating the potential benefits of penicillin as a chemotherapeutic agent at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology in 1935 and demonstrated its efficacy in 1941. They shared with Alexander Fleming the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1945. The University's Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics developed the Oxford vaporizer in 1953.

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