Tag Archives: John Mainstone

Asia’s toughest physics competition; understanding the foldable mobile phone, the first image of a black hole; and more physics in May

Join our election campaign to ‘solve it with science’. The AIP has signed up to Science and Technology Australia’s call for a science focus this election, alongside 100 other leaders from the science and technology sector. The call to action is in response to declines in research funding, falling business investment, freezes to government support of universities and insufficient STEM graduates to meet future demands. You can support the campaign by joining the conversation on Twitter at #SolveitwithScience or by writing to or meeting your local member or candidates. Read more on the STA website and in last month’s bulletin.

See Pegah Maasoumi in Queensland in August talking about the mystery of foldable mobile phones and next-gen apartment windows that can produce light. Congratulations and thank you Pegah, our 2019 John Mainstone Youth Lecturer and past Chair of our Women in Physics Group.

Our newly-elected Chair of the Women in Physics Group is nanotechnologist Victoria Coleman. Victoria has a strong interest in equity, diversity, and inclusion in STEM and we’re delighted that she is taking on this role.

Last month I was lucky enough to attend the announcement of the Australian team for the Asian Physics Olympiad—eight teens who will compete against more than 200 of the region’s smartest kids in Asia’s toughest physics competition (pictured right). It’s the first time the Olympiad will be held in Australia. We wish Stephen, Benjamin, Min-Je, Alexander, Jessie, William, Simon and Rosemary the best of luck in May!

Like me, I’m sure physicists around the country were very excited about the first image of a black hole released in April by the Event Horizon Telescope team. Although there weren’t any Australians involved, the picture was the result of almost a decade of preparation and involved a global collaboration of researchers. It’s an example of the amazing, seemingly impossible things that can be achieved with collaboration. Read more about the announcement below, or for a quick recap take a look at this great comic produced by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ).

Also this month: apply for the Women in STEM early career grant and paper writing retreat, take part in a survey for ECRs to help improve job satisfaction, read more physics-related jobs in the new Jobs Corner section and put yourself forward to be a presenter at Physics in the Pub in Canberra or Melbourne.

Kind regards,

Jodie Bradby
President, Australian Institute of Physics

Continue reading Asia’s toughest physics competition; understanding the foldable mobile phone, the first image of a black hole; and more physics in May

The John Mainstone Youth Lecture Tour 2018, Queensland

This year’s youth lecture tour will promote physics to senior high school students and science teachers. Commencing in August, Dr Sean Powell and Dr Jacqui Romero will present lectures in Physics to high school students in major centres across the state.


The 2018 AIP Lecture Series will be delivered by Dr Sean Powell.


Dr Powell’s talk in 2018 is titled 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!


An additional regional lecture will be delivered in Mount Isa in 2018 by Dr Jacqui Romero.


Dr Romero’s talk in 2018 will focus on Slower light in free space. The speed of light is nominally given by c/n, where n is the refractive index of the medium in which the light is travelling.  The refractive index of free space is 1, hence it is natural to expect that in free space, light travels at c. We show that this is not the case when you consider real beams.

We consider photons in a Bessel mode and a focused Gaussian mode, and show that in both cases, the reduction in group velocity results to a delay of several micrometers over a propagation distance of 1 m or ~30 femtoseconds in terms of arrival time.

Please refer to the attached itinerary for information regarding dates, times and venues and contact details for the host at each venue.

AIP 2018 Youth Lecture Itinerary Brief

There is no cost to attend these presentations; however, we do ask that you RSVP the organiser at each venue to indicate your school details, staff attending and anticipated student numbers , by Wednesday 25 July.


We would appreciate your assistance in forwarding this to any interested staff and students who may not receive it via the Physics Discussion list.


Scott Adamson (on behalf of the Australian Institute of Physics – Queensland Branch)