Museum of Calculation Instruments and Museum of Physics Instruments, in the old slaughterhouses
Vecchi Macelli (Old slaughterhouses) of Pisa, built at the end of the 19th century, but never completely used. The slaughterhouses were the largest structures, but there were also cells for meat processing, ovens (you can see some chimneys) and offices. The Museum of CalculationInstruments was born in this space. Part of the University of Pisa, it was inaugurated in 2000 and houses a collection of calculation instruments, from the fifteenth century to the present day, formerly belonging to the Department of Physics and the National Institute of Nuclear Physics and an important and rich collection of machines related to the history of information technology. Abacuses, nineteenth-century arithmometers, unique pieces such as the Pisan Electronic Calculator (1961), around which the first Italian school of computer science was formed and the iconic Olivetti ELEA 6001 (1961). A journey into science, from the Galilean compass and experiments on gravity, to manual calculators, passing through the history of the creation of Antonio Pacinotti's dynamo.
Curios fact: the CEP, or Pisan Electronic Calculator was born thanks to a large funding from the communities of Pisa, Livorno and Lucca, which, under the advice of EnricoFermi, contributed to its creation. An additional annual fund made available by AdrianoOlivetti then led to the creation of two prototypes between 1955 and 1957: the Olivetti ELEA 9003, the first transistorised computer in Italy, and the CEP, which starting from 1961 was made available to the scientific community. Its memory, very similar in size to a row of cabinets, was 8K and today, if we were to use the same system to recreate a basic cell phone memory, we would get a long row of cabinets, going from Pisa to Paris. It is precisely the Pacinotti collection that constitutes a large part of the Museum of Physics Instruments, also located within the halls of the Vecchi Macelli, which exhibits scientific instruments related to physics and astronomy from the eighteenth, nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century, including the famous little machine by Pacinotti, the first direct current dynamo-motor. The collection includes important archives, such as the Pacinotti Archive, the Fermi-Persico Archive and the Riccardo Felici Archive, preserved by the University Library System. Thanks to the collaboration with the Scientific Playroom, the museum is today a place where, playing and having fun, children, teenagers and adults learn to know and understand science.