History of Science at Melbourne

Take a journey through time with the Faculty of Science. Although much has changed, one thing has remained constant – our unwavering commitment to advancing scientific knowledge.

Now and then: our journey of scientific discovery

Scientific thinking at the University dates back to 1853 when the University of Melbourne was founded by an Act of the Victorian Parliament. The first Bachelor or of Science was conferred in 1889, and in 1903, the Faculty of Science was formally established.

The faculty recognises that science has been practised and taught in Australia far longer than this. We acknowledge that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are our country’s first scientists, with deep and enduring knowledge of the land, waters, and skies, accumulated from generation to generation for many thousands of years. We acknowledge there is more to do in this space and today, we continue to learn and incorporate Indigenous Knowledge and perspectives in the work we do.

Along with botany, the earliest areas of scientific inquiry and study at the University included physics, mathematics, chemistry, geology, and zoology. Today, the faculty comprises seven schools spread across six campuses. Our fields of inquiry and invention range from astronomy to aquaculture, viruses to volcanoes, quantum computers to coral reefs, bionic eyes to everything in between.

We have always been at the forefront of technology and discovery. In 1955, Australia’s first electronic computer was installed in the School of Physics. And this was just a taste of what was to come. Our pursuit of pushing the boundaries of technology continue. We are home to IBM Quantum Hub, exploring the potential of quantum supercomputers; we are sending satellites to space to demonstrate Australian-made space technology; and we are leading the search of dark matter in the Stawell Underground Physics Lab.

This is just a taste of the research excellence that takes place each and every day. From pure and applied mathematics and statistics, animal health and wellbeing, to our environment and living sustainably – we have an unparalleled breadth and depth of research activity.

Through all this, our goal remains to deliver research and teaching excellence. Through the cohorts of students that have passed through the halls, to the governments and industry partnerships we worked with, we have remained unwavering in our dedication and commitment to the advancement of science.

Today, we continue to nurture the next generation of innovators, thinkers and creators. We acknowledge that science should be explored, appreciated and enjoyed by all, and we continue to make science accessible to everyone who has a curious and inquisitive spirit.