Dusty physics history in the LeConte Hall attic

leconte attic, originally uploaded by arcanegazebo.

This was my Project 365 photo for Tuesday, but I wanted to do a blog post on it as well.

The attic of Berkeley’s main physics building resembles nothing so much as an inert and dusty version of the Jawa caravan in Star Wars. Filled with vintage ’70s/’80s (and older) electronics and cryogenic equipment, it contains the history of decades of cutting-edge research, now consigned to storage. Also, annoyingly elusive items that have to be accounted for in the annual lab inventory.

I was up here Tuesday afternoon looking for a particular frequency synthesizer that LBL’s records say we own. It turns out there is a frequency sythesizer up here, in among our group’s poorly-delineated junk pile, but it is a slightly different model (presumably with a bad motivator). I didn’t find the instrument I was looking for, but did take a few pictures, which all turned out blurry since there was hardly any light and the camera couldn’t acquire focus.

Perhaps the most unusual instrument is the one that’s musical rather than scientific: an old organ sitting in the corner, presumably for aspiring Phantoms of the Opera.

4 thoughts on “Dusty physics history in the LeConte Hall attic

  1. Mason

    The organ is clearly for Ganondorf to play.
    If my camera hadn’t suddenly decided the battery should be replaced (or if I had a digital camera like a reasonable human being), I could have taken a picture of the very impressive icebergs I can now take out of my refrigerator because of the defrosting.
    Alternatively, the first floor condensed matter supply closet has a couple of impressive things in it—reprints from 20 years ago (50 or so copies of a paper that nobody bothered to throw away) and some other random stuff.

  2. Chris L-S

    Laura and I are starting a purge of all of our random stuff we’ve acquired over the last several years and don’t use. While a little renching and it is creating some tension when we disagree on what should stay and what should go, it is on the whole a very liberating process. Maybe Berkeley should watch and episode of Clean Sweep.

  3. Jenny

    There’s a glass carboy center-right that looks for all the world like fermenting homebrew. That would be so awesome.

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