Physics is the most mathematical of the sciences and comparison of quantitative predictions of theory with the results of experimental measurements is at its basis.

This display, curated by student Steven Libby, focusses on aids to calculation used in the twentieth century before the advent of electronic calculators. At the beginning of the century, mathematical tables of logarithms and trigonometric functions were widely used, and 'computers' were humans, often female, who carried out necessary computations. Engineers increasingly used slide rules of different forms, and merchants and actuaries used hand cranked mechanical calculators that contained thousands of wheels, gears and springs.

Physics students brought their slide rules to exams, where books of tables were waiting on their desks along with the question sheets. All this changed in the 1970s with the advent of portable electronic calculators, but this display shows the sort of devices that sufficed to' land a man on the Moon and return him safely to the Earth'.

The Good Old Days of Calculation display is located on Level 3 of the Parnell Building, just up the stairs from the Physics Museum.