Category Archives: Public Lecture

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

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.


2018 Alexander and Leicester McAulay Winter Lecture Series

Australian Institute of Physics – Tasmanian Branch

Why should I care about physics? From atoms to cancer therapy and more!

Tuesday 28 August 2018, 8.00-9.00 pm
Physics Lecture Theatre 1
University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay Campus, Hobart


Dr Catalina Curceanu
National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Frascati, Italy

What a wonderful world! And how many different structures, from stars to human beings! We have learned about atoms, Higgs bosons, black holes and the Big Bang; we have internet, computers, satellites, GPS and so many amazing technologies! Who needs more?

But how do they work? One may think we should not care about the physics beyond technology; it is not our business how technology works! But this is not true! Amazing things happen if we try to understand the physics behind our technology: GPS works due to…Einstein; computers work due to…quantum mechanics; we can cure cancer with particle accelerators. But even more important, we can explore the Universe – inside and outside us – because we are curious beings, we are all born physicists!

The adventure of physics will last as long as humanity – we will never stop asking questions. Stay hungry, stay foolish? No! Stay curious. Albert Einstein once said: “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious”.

Further details: Andrew Klekociuk (T 0418 323 341, E


2018 Women in Physics Lecture Series

2018 Alexander and Leicester McAulay Winter Lecture Series

Australian Institute of Physics – Tasmanian Branch

Lasers And Super Exciting Research: It’s all in the name!

Tuesday 31 July 2018, 8.00-9.00 pm
Physics Lecture Theatre 1
University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay Campus, Hobart


Dr Ceri Brenner
Senior Application Development Scientist for High Power Lasers, UK Research and Innovation

Lasers are the greatest multi-taskers; from telecommunications to surgery, from space missions to cutting through steel, they’re used everywhere! But did you know that we are also using the most powerful lasers in the world to tackle some truly global challenges? We’ll explore how lasers are key to providing for our rapidly growing energy demands, how they will help spot and treat cancer and how they can be used for safe handling of nuclear waste.

Further details: Andrew Klekociuk (T 0418 323 341, E


2018 Alexander and Leicester McAulay Winter Lecture Series

Australian Institute of Physics – Tasmanian Branch

Glitch – Investigating the densest matter in the universe: The 2016 glitch of the Vela pulsar

Thursday 7 June 2018, 8.00-9.00 pm
Physics Lecture Theatre 1
University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay Campus, Hobart


Jim Palfreyman
School of Natural Sciences, University of Tasmania

Pulsars are neutron stars that are the remnants of supernova explosions. They are highly dense and rotate rapidly, some with accuracy better than atomic clocks. The Vela pulsar famously “glitches” or speeds up in rotation roughly every three years. No glitch has ever been observed in-action with a radio telescope large enough to see individual pulses, until now. Some remarkable events occurred and these will be covered in detail. The presentation will be aimed at people who have a general interest in astronomy.

Further details: Andrew Klekociuk (T 0418 323 341, E