The Cavendish Laboratory has an extraordinary history of discovery and innovation in Physics since its opening in 1874 under the direction of James Clerk Maxwell, the University's first Cavendish Professor of Experimental Physics. The need for the practical training of scientists and engineers was emphasised by the success of the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the requirements of an industrial society. The foundation of the Natural Sciences Tripos in 1851 set the scene for the need to build dedicated experimental physics laboratories and this was achieved through the generosity of the Chancellor of the University, William Cavendish, the 7th Duke of Devonshire. He provided £6,300 to meet the costs of building a physics laboratory, on condition that the Colleges provided the funding for a Professorship of Experimental Physics. This led to the appointment of Maxwell as the first Cavendish professor. At its new site on J. J.Thomson Avenue, the Cavendish Laboratory now holds a remarkable succession of portraits depicting each of the past Cavendish professors as well as their initial patron, the Duke of Devonshire.
The Cavendish Museum is open by appointment only, please see website.
Not all locations are open to the public. Please contact the gallery or collection for more information.