Category Archives: News

Going for gold (in physics); have your say; professional development; and more: Physics in May

While some of us spent most of last month cheering on the Aussies, especially Cameron McEvoy, in the pool – there is plenty of good physics going on out of the pool as well.

Some of it will be coming to a pub near you as a part of the  Physics in the Pub event series, and there will be even more at the  AIP Congress in Perth in December. Abstract submissions are open until 15 June.

Australia produces some fantastic physicists, and that’s one of the reasons our organisation is so important. It’s great to have a solid community of physicists and physics fans to share their work and get excited about the work of others.

We recognise excellent Australian physics with our AIP medals. There are awards for physicists in a range of disciplines and at all career stages,  have a look at the list below to see if you might be eligible. Nominations close 1 June.

And we want to hear from you.

I get to write to you each month, so now we’re giving you the opportunity to talk back in our regular monthly surveys. The first one is only two questions long, so  check it out

We’re also considering whether a consolidated approach to managing the operations of the AIP could be an efficient use of members funds. Accordingly, we are seeking detailed expressions of interest to deliver AIP Operations, if you’re interested all the details are online.

Finally, I recently joined a meeting with Presidents, CEOs and other leaders of Australia’s most prominent science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) organisations in Canberra, to discuss the important role that science and technology will play in Australia’s future.

As a result, we issued a statement calling for: a whole-of-government plan for science and technology; strategy to equip the future Australian workforce with STEM skills; strong investment in both basic and applied research; and creating policy informed by the best available evidence. You can read our full statement here.

Kind Regards,

Andrew Peele
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

Continue reading Going for gold (in physics); have your say; professional development; and more: Physics in May

AIP member benefits; call for Congress abstracts; behind the scenes at Parliament; and more physics in April

Preparations for the 2018 AIP Congress—in Perth, December 9 to

Professor Andrew Peele Interim Director, Australian Synchrotron
Professor Andrew Peele
Interim Director, Australian Synchrotron

13—are now well underway, with most of the plenary speakers announced. And the call for abstracts has just opened. More on both of those below.

This year we are really trying to attract a larger industry presence at the Congress, so please pass on the call for abstracts to those you know who are working in physics outside academia. It would also be great to see a large representation of science teachers at the conference.

Get your abstracts in today to help make this the biggest and best Congress yet.

As you probably know, AIP members receive discounted rates to attend the AIP Congress, but there are many other member benefits too.

This month our Vice President Jodie Bradby shared her thoughts on why all physicists should be members of the AIP. She highlights the great work undertaken by our members, and the events they work tirelessly to make happen.

Also in this bulletin, we hear from an AIP member who represented the AIP at Science meets Parliament earlier this year. Claire Edmunds, a PhD candidate from the University of Sydney and Professor Andre Luiten from the Institute for Photonics & Advanced Sensing (IPAS) were given the chance to network with the most brilliant minds in Australian science and members of parliament—while learning about the value those relationships provide.

I was pleased to hear that the experience was not only beneficial for our representatives and their careers, but was also a whole lot of fun. You can read Claire’s report below and Andre’s in the next edition of Australian Physics.

Finally, a lot of great Australian physics research made its way into the news this month, so be sure to check out some of the great media coverage below.

Continue reading AIP member benefits; call for Congress abstracts; behind the scenes at Parliament; and more physics in April

PUBLIC LECTURE – 10 APRIL 2018

2018 Alexander and Leicester McAulay Winter Lecture Series

Australian Institute of Physics – Tasmanian Branch

From Mad Scientists to Eco-Warriors: The changing image of scientists in fiction and film

Tuesday 10 April 2018, 8.00-9.00 pm
Physics Lecture Theatre 1
University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay Campus, Hobart

 

Adjunct Associate Professor Roslynn Haynes
School of English, Media and Performing Arts, University of New South Wales

For approximately 600 years, from 1380 to 1980, scientists or their predecessors, the alchemists and natural philosophers, fared ill at the hands of writers and, later, film makers.

They were obsessed to the point of madness, or evil, amoral, arrogant, impersonal, and inhuman. At best, they were well intentioned but blind to the dangers of forces they barely controlled. They were Faustus and Frankenstein, Jekyll and Moreau, Caligari and Strangelove – the scientists of film and fiction, cultural archetypes that reflected ancient fears of tampering with the unknown or unleashing the little-understood powers of nature.

Yet, since the 1990s, there has been a trend by novelists to present scientists as more complex, realistic figures, many honest and admirable even if confused as to their role. They are eco-warriors saving the planet, or medical researchers discovering new cures for humanity. However, in films, the mad, evil stereotype endures. What are the reasons for this disparity?  What do they teach us about the difficulties scientists have in convincing politicians and large sections of society of the need to take environmental pollution and climate change seriously?

Further details: Andrew Klekociuk (T 0418 323 341, E aip_branchsecretary_tas@aip.org.au)

http://www.events.utas.edu.au/2018/april/from-mad-scientists-to-eco-warriors-the-changing-image-of-scientists-in-fiction-and-film

Stargazing in science week and prizes galore: Physics in March

One of the year’s highlights for me as AIP President is our Annual

Professor Andrew Peele Director, Australian Synchrotron
Professor Andrew Peele
Director, Australian Synchrotron

Council Meeting, which gives us the chance to meet in person, hear about what our interstate colleagues are up to, and share our vision for the coming year for the AIP.

For me it’s exciting to see the volume of activity being managed through the state branches of the AIP. Not just in the traditional talk formats—where we continue to share some of the newest and best research from around the country—but also events such as physics in the pub, careers nights and debates, which encourage interaction and sharing of ideas.

One of the reasons that physics is able to feature at the highest levels of international science, and at the highest levels of public recognition, is because of the quality of grass-roots activities like these. The Council Meeting is a great way to bring to light some of this work, which can otherwise get overlooked, and to recognise its value.

Reflecting on another grass-roots activity—our first Summer Meeting—I think we can be pleased with the outcome for this first-time event. The low-cost event featured many opportunities for our early-career researchers and students, whilst also providing a collaborative and informative space for productive discussions. I want to thank those who put time and effort into bringing this event to fruition, and I am sure there will be more discussions about how we make the most of this event in the future. Meanwhile, it’s an AIP Congress year this year, so save the dates of 9-14 December, and keep your eyes on this bulletin for calls for content.

It was also my absolute pleasure to present an award for Outstanding Service to Physics at our AGM to Brian James. Brian’s most recent contribution to physics has been editing our member-only magazine Australian Physics for the past five years. Brian deserves to be recognised wholeheartedly for the time, effort and passion he has put into the magazine during his tenure. He will be stepping away from the role in coming months. Peter Kappen and David Hoxley will be taking over the reins and I look forward to a full introduction from them in the magazine pages once they do. Read more about Brian’s award below.

And on the topic of awards, included in this bulletin are the details of a number of science prizes. I’d encourage each state branch to consider who you’ve awarded prizes to over the past 12-18 months, and to put those people forward for some of these awards. We on the National Exec will do the same. If you are working on a nomination, please let us know so we don’t double up.

Kind Regards,

Andrew Peele
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

Continue reading Stargazing in science week and prizes galore: Physics in March

Physics in the limelight, let’s keep it there; AIP AGM; LIGO lecture and more

Professor Andrew Peele Interim Director, Australian Synchrotron
Professor Andrew Peele
Interim Director, Australian Synchrotron

I am very excited about starting 2018 with Michelle Simmons awarded Australian of the Year – what better way is there to bring physics into the limelight than having people discussing the benefits of quantum physics.

Michelle is a great advocate for our discipline, women in science and physics education – her 2017 Australia Day Address was a great example.  We offer our sincere congratulations to Michelle on this honour, and you can share your messages with her too via our Facebook post.

I’d also like to offer congratulations to those physicists awarded in the Australia Day honours roll – see list below.

These accolades are a timely reminder that the only reason physicists win these awards is because someone nominates them.

Nominations are now open for Australian of the Year 2019 and the honours roll. You can also nominate for FameLab, the Eureka Prizes, Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science and many other awards will open in the coming months.

So let’s make sure we keep the momentum going, think about who you can nominate to keep physics in the spotlight.

Last but not least, this month we also recognise Professor David McClelland – who has been awarded the Walter Boas Medal for key contributions to LIGO, and “one of the greatest achievements in the history of physics”, the discovery of gravitational waves. You can read more about David’s achievements below.

You can hear more from David at a Public Lecture at Melbourne’s RMIT on 15 February, immediately after the AIP’s AGM.

I hope to see you there.

Regards,

Andrew Peele
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

Continue reading Physics in the limelight, let’s keep it there; AIP AGM; LIGO lecture and more

Summer Meeting underway; PhD and post-doc opportunities; and more – Physics in December

Professor Andrew Peele Director, Australian Synchrotron
Professor Andrew Peele
Director, Australian Synchrotron

In this edition of the AIP’s monthly email bulletin, we extend  a very warm welcome to the committee members elected at  recent the recent state branch AGMs.

The AIP is active through its branches, and a wide network of volunteer physicists keep the business of the Institute moving smoothly. I hope you’ll join me in welcoming our new committee members, as well as acknowledging everyone who has worked to keep the AIP moving from strength to strength in 2017.
Speaking of volunteers, they are also running the first AIP Summer Meeting now underway. A good turnout from students is already making the meeting a success and I look forward to returning to Sydney on Wednesday to hear more about the latest developments in physics across Australia. More on that below. 

National meetings like this are a great way for students (as well as those of us who are no longer students) to make connections, and to find out about employment prospects around the country. Not coincidentally, the Summer Meeting is held at the time of year that universities start thinking of recruiting, and to help that process there are plenty of job opportunities in this bulletin.

Finally, we offer our congratulations to Professor Judith Dawes on her appointment to the role of Treasurer of Science & Technology Australia (STA). We also extend our sincere thanks to outgoing STA President Professor Jim Piper, Walter Boas medalist and long-time stalwart of the Australian physics community, for his unfailing and enthusiastic advocacy of Australian science throughout his Presidency.

And read on to find out how you can make use of the AIP’s association with STA to get your voice heard in the “Halls of Power” in Canberra next February.

Regards,

Andrew Peele
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

Continue reading Summer Meeting underway; PhD and post-doc opportunities; and more – Physics in December

Watching inside living cells; the genesis of gold; plus awards, prizes and more – Physics in November

There are lots of winners in this month’s bulletin.
Professor Andrew PeeleInterim Director, Australian Synchrotron
I’d like to personally congratulate Professor Dayong Jin who received one of this years’ Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, and Dr Jacq Romero who received a L’Oreal Australia For Women in Science Fellowship, as well as all of those who received NHMRC grants, and those elected Fellows of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering. You can read more about all of their achievements below.

Continue reading Watching inside living cells; the genesis of gold; plus awards, prizes and more – Physics in November

PUBLIC LECTURE – 30 NOVEMBER 2017

Australian Institute of Physics – Tasmanian Branch

The Birth of Suns

Thursday 30 November 2017, 6.00-7.00 pm
Physics Lecture Theatre 1
University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay Campus, Hobart

 

Professor Mark Krumholz
Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Australian National University

We’ve all learned that space is an empty vacuum, but it’s not. The space between the stars in our Galaxy contains, on average, about 1 atom per cubic centimeter. That’s a better vacuum than the best vacuum chamber we know how to make, but there are a lot of cubic centimeters in interstellar space, so the mass of all the gas between the stars adds up to about 10% of the mass of all the stars put together. The temperature of this gas varies enormously from place to place in the Galaxy, with temperatures as high as
millions of degrees and as low as a few degrees above absolute zero.

In the coldest regions of interstellar space, over millions of years gravity is able to draw the atoms together into immense clouds that ultimately condense into clusters of new stars. In our Galaxy, this process produces stars at a rate of about 1 new Sun per year, and the stars it makes are typically the size of the Sun or a little smaller. While we understand how this happens in general outline, many fundamental questions remain unanswered. What sets the rate at which stars form? What determines the final sizes of the individual stars? Where did our Sun form, and what happened to its siblings, the stars that formed out of the same cloud?

In this talk Mark will describe what we currently know, and what we don’t, about the birth of new Suns.

Further details: Andrew Klekociuk (T 0418 323 341, E aip_branchsecretary_tas@aip.org.au)

http://www.events.utas.edu.au/2017/november/the-birth-of-suns

2018 QLD Branch Committee confirmed

At the recent Branch Annual General Meeting (26th October, 2017 held at UQ), the 2018 Branch committee was proposed and accepted.

Our 2018 Committee is:

Till Weinhold (Chair) (UQ)
Joanna Turner  (Secretary) (USQ)
Joel Alroe (Vice-Chair) (QUT)
Igor Litvinyuk (Treasurer) (GU)
Scott Adamson (All Hallows)
Simon Critchley (Qld Health)
Austin Lund (UQ)
Nunzio Motta (QUT)
Carolyn Brown (USQ)

The contact email addresses for the executive positions are provided on the Committees page found here.

Feel free to chat (to) or contact our committee members if you want to be involved in, or introduce events that you would like QLD AIP to consider being part of.

Bracketing our AGM were two marvelous talks! If you would like to be on the newsletter that is sent out about events we are running, please contact our Branch Secretary to have your name added.  We look forward to hearing from you!