An early core of the collection dates back to the first decades of the 19th century when Macedonio Melloni, professor of theoretical and practical physics at our university, became the director of the Physics Cabinet in 1827. The collection of scientific instruments, which is housed in the University’s Central Building, brings together a number of pieces inherited from the previous century, including a valuable electric perpetual motion.
The collection is augmented by 19th-century instruments including those used by the illustrious physicist Melloni; in particular, the optical bench through which Melloni made significant contributions to the theory of electromagnetism.
In the 1930s, the Institute of Physics changed location and moved to Via D’Azeglio.


In 1987, the Institute of Physics, after being established as a department, moved to Campus, Science Area Park 7.
The Melloni collection is presented in its current size: more than 120 items dating back to the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries; within it, the most prominent group of instruments is that of the various devices designed and commissioned by Macedonio Melloni for his research into infrared radiation.

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