A World A Particle

Our new exhibition in the Tate Hall Museum charts the contribution of the University of Liverpool to the field of Particle Physics – Past, Present and Future.

The exhibition aims to 'demistify' particle physics for the general visitor whilst exhibiting some of the fascinating and spectacular machinery that has been used here in Liverpool, in pursuit of new breakthroughs.

‌‌The University of Liverpool lays claims to discoveries of international significance in the advancement of medicine and technology and has made valuable contributions to the field of Particle Physics during the past 120 years.

In 1894, Oliver Lodge built the first radio which was able to send messages by Morse code. He used the clock tower within the Victoria Building (now the VG&M) to send a message to the tower of Lewis’s department store half a mile down Brownlow Hill. 
In 1896, he also assisted with the first clinical X-ray in Britain which revealed a bullet in the hand of a 12 year old boy. 
The 'A World A Particle' exhibition presents a collection of early glass tubes used by the physics department during the first experimental years at the University of Liverpool.



Nine of the UK's Nobel Laureates were associated with the University of Liverpool and three of the winners were from the physics department. Their work has made a significant impact on the world we live in today.

Charles Barkla was a student at University College Liverpool and later became a lecturer in Physics at the department (visit our history of the VG&M page to find out more about the history of the Victoria Building). He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1917 for discovering the electromagnetic properties of X-rays.


James Chadwick won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1935. His research discovered the presence of neutrons which paved the way for the fission of uranium 235 and subsequently lead to his work on the Manhattan Project during the Second World War and the development of the first atomic bomb.
The 'A World A Particle' exhibition displays some of the original research notes from this period.

During the Second World War, Joseph Rotblat also worked on the Manhattan Project. Rotblat was concerned with the ethical consequences of their research and his later work sought to diminish the part that nuclear arms plays in international politics. He subsequently won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1995. 

Objects on display include:

  • The Rotating Condenser from the 156" Synchrocyclotron.
  • The Liverpool 10" Bubble Chamber together with projector and measuring table.
  • The Dees from the 37" Cyclotron.
  • A Radial Drift Chamber.
  • Part of the MAP 1 prototype computer.

We also have a range of interactives for you to enjoy!

  • Wear our 'radiation goggles' (otherwise known as 3D glasses) and immerse yourself in our 3D film experience.
  • Explore the demystification zone.
  • Play a game and search for the Higgs on our touch screen interactive.
  • Dress up as a radiologist and decipher the early x-rays from the university archives.

This promises to be a fascinating exhibition for anyone with an interest in the history of Particle Physics - especially the part of it that has been here on our doorstep - or in the engineering that has made it possible.m;">

Watch a video from the 'A World A Particle' Private View: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLVkmPZQTG8&list=UUlzuO8kZF0vXdEjeaSHiX-g