All posts by aipWPEditor

February VIC Branch Event

On 11 February 2019 at the School of Physics, The University of Melbourne, Prof. Elisabetta Barberio spoke about Australia’s contribution to discovering the Higgs Boson and future experimental research on detecting dark matter such a WIMPs. We also learned that bananas are a potent source of background radiation!

It was poetic that Prof. Barberio spoke on the International Women In Science Day as she is the first female Australian Institute of Physics Walter Boas Medal recipient.

Victoria’s Lead Scientist, Amanda Caples also showed her support by attending the talk and congratulating Prof. Barberio on her Boas Medal afterwards.
AIP-Feb2019-51126586_2535178313176558_4946797504508198912_Prof. Elisabetta Barberio, Boas Medal Winner (Hercus Theatre, Uni. of Melb.)

AIP-Feb2019-52120225_2536250253069364_862112898242052096_nDr Gail Iles (AIP Vic Branch Chair), Prof. Elisabetta Barberio (Uni. Melb.), Dr Amanda Caples (Lead Scientist Victoria)

106 Halifax St, Adelaide, SA, 5000
12th of March

Physics in the Pub

Workshops and Talks / Cabaret
Scaled fiona panther cropped
Grab a drink and a snack in a relaxed pub environment and listen to local physicists talking & laughing about their research.

Eight snappy physics acts, 8 minutes long from scientists working on astronomy, quantum physics, geophysics and more. Be prepared for comedy, songs, live experiments and heavy duty research.

MC Dr Phil Dooley from Phil Up On Science will keep you entertained and guide you through mind blowing concepts and brain boggling discoveries.

Sponsored by Australian Institute of Physics.

Presented by:
Local Physicists, MC Dr Phil Dooley

From childhood dreams of being an astronomer, Dr Phil Dooley progressed to a PhD in laser physics. After a stint as an IT trainer, he returned to science as a communicator, where he could talk about the fun stuff without the heavy-duty equations.

He regularly MCs Science in the Pub events, and has performed solo in shows and festivals from Adelaide to London, blending music, stand up comedy, fairytales and live science demos. He runs a YouTube channel, Phil Up On Science.

In has career he has taken on bored teenage school kids on physics excursions at University of Sydney; created digital content for the international fusion research organisation, JET; been schooled by a Reuters hack in the ANU media and written for prominent science publishers Nature, New Scientist and Cosmos Magazine.

WA 2019

The WA Branch started the year with a committee meeting at a local Italian restaurant. We plan on running our regular events and a few new activities. Become a member and stay tuned.
The 2018 AIP Congress was held in Perth and was a great success. Thank you to everyone involved and who attended. We had a lot of interest from high school teachers, and we are hoping to engage this community.
The first event is our March General Meeting, more details soon. Below are some of the regular events we will be hosting.
  • General Meetings – presenting work from the Physics Community
  • National Women in Physics Lecture Series
  • Post-Grad Conference
  • Our Fine Dining AGM
Group photo around Restaurant table
Chair: Dean Leggo,
Vice Chair: Mitchell Chiew and Tristan Ward
Treasurer:  Drew Parsons
Secretary: Andrea F. Biondo
Committee: Kirsten Emory,  Philipp Schönhöfer, Kathryn Wilson, Justin Freeman, Loughlan Weatherly, Diana Tomazos, John Chapman, Marjan Zadnik, and Gerd Schröder-Turk

Bronze Bragg Presentation and Free Public Lecture

Thursday 28th of February 2019 at 6.30 to 7.45 pm
Napier 102 lecture theatre, 1st floor, Napier Building
University of Adelaide

Optical Tweezers ‘Demystified’

Assoc. Professor Bruce Wedding

University of South Australia

Since their invention 32 years ago, optical tweezers have become a powerful tool utilised in a wide variety of experiments in biology and physics. Optical tweezers use light to trap microscopic objects as small as 10 nm using radiation pressure from a focused laser beam. These trapped particles can then be manipulated and forces on the particles in the trap can be measured. The first designs of optical tweezers used high power lasers and expensive optical hardware. Recently however, simple and inexpensive apparatus for undergraduate laboratories can produce a single beam optical tweezer to trap micron-sized particles. Such a system in undergraduate laboratories and the resulting student engagement will be presented.

Interest in microfluidics is also a rapidly expanding area of research and the use of microchips as miniature chemical reactors, so called ‘Labs-on-a-Chip’ is increasingly common. Microfluidic channels are now complex and combine several functions on a single chip. Fluid flow details are important but relatively few experimental methods are available to probe the flow in a confined geometry. We can use optical trapping of a small dielectric particle to probe the fluid flow in microfluidic channels.

Rather than using the optical trap to position and release a particle for independent velocimetry measurement, we map the fluid flow by measuring the hydrodynamic force acting on a trapped particle. The flow rate of a dilute aqueous electrolyte flowing through a microchannel has been mapped using a small (1 µm diameter) silica particle. Such flow mapping is time efficient, reliable, and can be used in low-opacity suspensions flowing in microchannels of various geometries.

The Bronze Bragg medals and certificates will be presented at the lecture. The medal is awarded for highest achievement in Physics in 2018 in the SACE Stage 2 assessments, with certificates being for students who achieved a merit.

 The presentation and lecture will be held in the Napier 102 Lecture Theatre, Napier Building, 1st floor, University of Adelaide, North Terrace, north from Pulteney St., at 6.30pm. Members of the public are warmly invited to attend. We are obliged for security reasons to keep the front door of the building attended, so please arrive before 6.30pm. Bookings are not available. The doors must be closed if all seats are taken.

Enquires: Email via  mob: 0427 711 815.

2019 Victorian Branch Committee

Happy New Year!
We hope that you are returning to work fully-charged and ready to take on 2019.
This year we have a new Victorian branch committee with office-holders and general members as follows:
  • Chair               Gail Iles (RMIT)
  • Vice-Chair      Daniel Langley (Swinburne)
  • Secretary       Matthew Lay (FB Rice)
  • Treasurer       Geoffrey Cousland (Melbourne Uni.)
  • General          Amanda Perdomo (Royal Children’s Hospital),                                                                          Mark Edmonds (Monash), John Thornton (DST),                                                                      Anton Tadich (Australian Synchrotron)
We are planning lots of exciting events this year, allowing you to make full use of your membership, and to bring your friends and colleagues to public events too. 
  • February: Professor Elisabetta Barberio (University of Melbourne) will deliver the BOAS Medal lecture coinciding with the AIP AGM
  • March: we will have a stand within the Victorian Government pavilion at the Avalon Airshow.  Many physicists are also pilots, aspiring or otherwise, so this is a good opportunity to combine physics, fun and flying. 
  • April: we will have a talk by the Lead Scientist for Victoria, Amanda Caples, with a members-only event afterwards, giving you the chance to talk to Amanda directly.
For dates, locations and updates, please check the website regularly and/or follow us on twitter or Facebook.
The committee will be meeting regularly throughout 2019 and we are always happy to hear suggestions for events that you – the members – would like to see offered.
Wishing you all the best for a fruitful 2019,
Kind regards,
Branch Chair – Australian Institute of Physics (Victoria)

2018 Annual General Meeting QLD Branch – Room Change

Please take note, we have incorporated a room change so that there will be better amenities to account for our online viewers!

The new location will be:

Parnell Building: Room 7-302

The link to join us online is available below.


Members of the Australian Institute of Physics, Queensland Branch.


You are invited to attend the upcoming Annual General Meeting .

The AGM will be held on the 2 November from 4pm – 6pm, Room 50-S201, University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus.

I am very pleased to announce that we will have two speakers bracketing the AGM, with the QLD nominee for the Bragg Gold Medal Dr Sarah Walden presenting her research; and the John Mainstone Youth lecture Tour presenter Dr Sean Powell.  More information about their presentations are provided below.

The expected timing of the proceedings will be as follows:

4.00pm – 4.50pm      Dr Sarah Walden presents her research

5.00pm – 5.15pm      AGM

5.15pm – 6.00pm      Dr Sean Powell – “Physics is everywhere!”  Presentation from the John Mainstone Youth Lecture Tour.

For catering purposes it would be appreciated if you could register your attendance by Tuesday the 30th of October  to . Catering will involve pizza and cold drinks.


We additionally hope to stream the presentation online using the zoom platform. You can join us at AEST 4pm-6pm here.


Additionally, part of the business for the AGM will be to elect the branch committee for 2019.


As per the AIP by-laws, the retiring committee has made nominations for next year’s committee, and these are listed below:


Joel Alroe (Chair) (QUT),

Joanna Turner  (Secretary) (USQ),

Scott Adamson (Vice-Chair) (All Hallows),

Igor Litvinyuk (Treasurer) (GU),

Simon Critchley (Qld Health),

Austin Lund (UQ),

Nunzio Motta (QUT),

Carolyn Brown (USQ),

Till Weinhold (UQ)

Jacinda Ginges (UQ)

Scott Hoffman (post-graduate student representative UQ)


Members may make further nominations, which need to be duly proposed and seconded and forwarded to the Secretary at least 24 hours before the AGM, directed to . I look forward to seeing you on 2nd November!


Dr Sarah Walden

Title: Nonlinear optical properties of ZnO and ZnO-Au composite nanostructures for nanoscale UV emission

Abstract: This thesis investigates the nonlinear optical properties of ZnO and ZnO-Au composite nanostructures. For applications such as photodynamic therapy, it is desirable to use nanoparticles to generate localised UV emission while illuminating them with visible or infrared light. This is possible using nonlinear optical processes such as two photon absorption. Nonlinear optical processes however, are extremely weak, so this work investigates the potential of increasing the efficiency of two photon absorption in ZnO nanoparticles by coupling them to metal nanoparticles. Using new experimental methods, the two photon absorption and resulting UV emission from the nanoparticles are measured.

Dr Sean Powell

Physics is everywhere! – a journey from sub-atomic particles to the large-scale structure of the universe, where physics seeks to answer the most fundamental questions about reality. As we learn more, we can do more! Physics is everywhere in our world and underpins all our technologies. This year, Sean will discuss the important problems that all of us encounter every day: how do I teleport myself to school? What do I do when I find myself inside a black hole? Why is my time-machine not working? He will also talk about the superpowers that you can gain as a physicist, such as the ability to make accurate quantitative observations and predictive and interpretive mathematical models.  These powers mean that you can become very valuable and work in many industries such as fundamental physics research, economics and finance, space and aeronautics, healthcare and medicine, learning and teaching, electronics and computers, and so much more!


2018 Alexander and Leicester McAulay Winter Lecture Series

Australian Institute of Physics – Tasmanian Branch

Good vibrations: Using ambient seismic signals to explore deep continents and distant oceans

Wednesday 28 November 2018, 6.00-7.00 pm (note early time)
Physics Lecture Theatre 1
University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay Campus, Hobart


Professor Anya Reading
School of Natural Sciences, University of Tasmania

Seismic ‘noise’, the background ambient signals recorded by seismic stations around the planet, can be utlised to infer the structure of the deep continents, the 3D architecture of the tectonic plates.  Ocean storms, at incredible distances, also transmit signals to seismic stations on land.  Archive seismic records can hence be used to investigate storms, and possible changes in storm patterns, over recent decades.  This presentation will survey the variety of seismic signals that we record, novel ways of extracting information from those signals and new insights on the continents and oceans that have arisen through making use of these ‘good vibrations’.

Further details: Simon Ellingsen (E

QLD Outstanding Physics Teacher Award – nominate now!

The AIP-QLD is looking to introduce the outstanding Physics teacher award. We are looking for nominations of Physics teachers that have made a positive impact to teaching Physics to students at the high school level by anyone of the following criteria.

  1. Promote student interest in physics by providing an environment that stimulates student curiosity and learning.
  2. Use, develop or write innovative instructional materials and new technologies and approaches to the teaching of physics.
  3. Be a positive role model or mentor for other teachers of physics.
  4. Participate in professional development activities in science as a facilitator and continuous development as an effective science educator, with a focus on physics.

If you have a colleague, a former teacher of your own, or have heard of an inspiring teacher in your circle of friends, please consider nominating them for this years award by filling out the nomination form and sending this nomination (or any inquiries) by email to:
Nominations close Friday 19th October 2018.

The Cherenkov Telescope Array – Approaching a New Era of Gamma-Ray Astronomy

CherenkovWednesday 5th of September 2018 at 8pm
Kerr Grant Lecture Theatre
2nd Floor, Physics Building
University of Adelaide
North Terrace, Adelaide

Dr. Sabrina Einecke
University of Adelaide
Abstract: When the term gamma radiation pops up, associations with radioactive hazards may arise. Do we have to be afraid of gamma radiation from space? Fortunately, we don’t have to be, because the Earth’s atmosphere protects us. Unfortunately, it also prevents us from directly observing this radiation from Earth. But it is in the nature of man to be curious to overcome these obstacles to investigate this vicious radiation from space. In 1961, a satellite was the first to detect gamma rays from space. At about the same time, the Cherenkov radiation was discovered – a radiation that is emitted when charged particles move through a medium at the speed of light. This led to a new technique, capable of measuring gamma rays from Earth, and paving the way for ground-based gamma-ray astronomy. However, it took 30 years until an appropriate experiment discovered the first gamma-ray emitting astrophysical source. Since then, hundreds of sources of Galactic and extragalactic origin have been discovered, and higher energies and sensitivities have been reached. The Cherenkov Telescope Array will exceed current experiments in a multitude of aspects: With more than 100 telescopes in 3 sizes at 2 locations equipped with state-of-the-art technologies, it will cover an area of 10 square kilometres on the ground, and it will provide a new view of the sky at energies of up to 300 TeV  – more than a 1000 billion times the energy of visible light. With its unprecedented capabilities, it will refine our knowledge tremendously and will mark the beginning of a new era of gamma-ray astronomy. Deeper insights into this field will be subject of this presentation.

Bio: Born around the time when Cherenkov telescopes made their first discovery, Sabrina Einecke is observing the extreme gamma-ray universe for more than 8 years. She took her first steps in gamma-ray astronomy with the ground-based experiments MAGIC, FACT and CTA. Completing research stays at the Columbia University in New York, she expanded her interests to the utilisation of machine learning approaches to combine a variety of multi-wavelength data to fully exploit the information that is available. This also led to her PhD thesis with the title “The Data Mining Guide to the Galaxy”. According to the German Physical Society, it has been among the best in Germany in 2017. After finishing her PhD studies in Germany, she moved to Australia and now supports the University of Adelaide as a postdoctoral research fellow. Her research focuses on Active Galactic Nuclei – the most extreme objects in the Universe – and data analysis using cutting-edge techniques from the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning – crucial for handling the immense amount of data collected by next-generation experiments.