Physicalisches Cabinet – Göttingen, Germany - Atlas Obscura
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Physicalisches Cabinet

This small university museum houses a priceless collection of scientific instruments.  

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The high-tech scientific instruments of the 18th century aren’t the stainless steel contraptions people think of today. Instead, they often polished wood, brown-cracked leather, streaky glass, and shimmering brass. This was partially due to the fact that instruments had to be made by craftsmen and carpenters rather than industrial designers, and also because these instruments were reserved for private scholars, academic circles, or even royal courts.

The physical cabinet at Gottingen University allows you to step back into this time and see a large collection of priceless instruments that were once considered state of the art. You can find items like the original Gauss-Weber telegraph, various instruments Carl Friedrich Gauss used for his magnetic fields research, and a large collection of electrification machines and handling equipment. The collection is impressive and rivals scientific museums like the Museum Boerhaave and Teylers Museum, with the added the bonus that most of the items were handled by famous scientists like Gauss, Wilhelm Weber, and Georg Christoph Lichtenberg.

Know Before You Go

The museum is only open once a week on Monday from 4:00 to 4:30, so plan your visit!

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