AIP Summer Meeting, Awards, Hidden Physicists and jobs; new committees, and more physics in December

In this bulletin – the last for 2019 – we meet our final Hidden Physicist for the year – Max Post, who is using his physics smarts learned at RMIT university in his role as an Area Operations Manager at Holcim Australia. We hope you have enjoyed seeing the amazing careers undertaken by physics graduates in Australia. I know I have really appreciated hearing about them and we be continuing the series in 2020 in keeping with our commitment to promoting diversity of careers.

This month’s photo is a happy selfie taken by Professor Ken Baldwin at Science Meets Parliament last week. Dr Tim Van Der Laan, who is a Special Project Officer for AIP Outreach, had the pleasure to present Ken with the AIP Award for Outstanding Service to Physics in Australia for his vision and support in establishing Science Meets Parliament. More below.

I had a wonderful visit to Sydney to take part in the NSW Postgraduate Awards and Career day and am looking forward to attending the AIP summer meeting in Melbourne this week. As part of this event, the Physics Industry and Job Fair will be held on Tuesday, 3 December, between 1:30pm and 3pm in the RMIT. More details below.

The AIP has been busy with lobbying – with two members (both early career physicists) attending Science Meets Parliament. I wrote an article on the delays in funding announcements from the ARC in The Conversation, which resulted in a discussion of this issue on the floor of parliament.

Also in this month’s bulletin you’ll find details for two of next year’s AIP state branch committees, plus some well-deserved congratulations on awards and grants. 

Finally, a reminder that with the end of the year comes AIP membership renewal time and we are changing some of the ways we handle our database. You will see some big changes in this in the new year. More below.

All in all, it’s been a great year for the AIP – and for physics around the world. And next year, with all that’s going on and all that’s planned, promises to be better still.

On behalf of the AIP, may I wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season, and an optimistic New Year. 
  Kind regards,

Jodie Bradby
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

Continue reading AIP Summer Meeting, Awards, Hidden Physicists and jobs; new committees, and more physics in December

2019 Nobel Prize in Physics awarded; Eleven physicists among 2019 Future Fellowships; and more physics in November

We’re heading into an exciting time for AIP. There are some great events set to run in NSW and WA this month. And in Melbourne, the second biennial AIP Summer Meeting will be held at RMIT on Friday, December 6. Hurry, though – registration closes on November 16!  

Last month we issued a statement in support of AIP member and Murdoch University physicist Dr Gerd Schröder-Turk. We stand by our statement of support and urge the university to drop their legal action. Read the full statement here.

I spent a great day with participants at a Women’s writing workshop supported in part by the AIP. (See pic)

The Vicphysics Teachers’ Network invites women in physics or engineering to be a keynote speaker at one of its Girls in Physics Breakfasts. The events give students in Years 10 to 12 the opportunity to network and meet women in the early stages of STEM careers. Nominations close Friday, 29th November. More below.  

Congratulations to the new ARC Centre of Excellence of Transformative Meta-Optical Systems and the eleven physicists awarded ARC Future Fellowships in October! Read more about them below.

We are excited to host the IUPAP International Conference on Women in Physics, to be held in Melbourne July 2020. Read more below.

Hopefully you’ve been enjoying the diversity of careers highlighted in our Hidden Physicist column. This month we meet Virginia Drumm, a radiation oncology medical physicist who looks after a linear accelerator used to deliver radiotherapy at millimetre accuracies to treat cancer patients. More below.

(And don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to nominate someone for the column!)

And at the WA Branch AIP AGM on Thursday, November 14, hear from David Blair about what the OzGrav Centre of Excellence and the LIGO-Virgo teams have discovered. Enquiries and tickets here.

Also in this month’s bulletin: the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics, Dirac medal nominations open, and find an opportunity in our Jobs Corner.

Kind regards,

Jodie Bradby
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

Continue reading 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics awarded; Eleven physicists among 2019 Future Fellowships; and more physics in November

Three Australian physicists with exciting research; Australian Space Agency partners with NASA; and more physics in October

I hope you have been enjoying the diversity of careers highlighted in our Hidden Physicist column. This month we meet Mark Turner, an Australian physicist who recently launched a start-up on laser micro-machining in Silicon Valley in the US.

The call for abstracts for the second AIP Summer Meeting is has been extended a few more days, and the early-bird registration is now open. We are excited to offer this conference, which aims to showcase upcoming talent in physics. I hope to see you at RMIT in Melbourne in December!

Nominations for the 2019 NSW Community Outreach to Physics Award will close on Friday 11th October. More below.

Congratulations to the three physics projects among the 2019 Australian Laureate Fellows announced in September, and to the Atom Trap Trace Analysis (ATTA) team at the University of Adelaide for creating the first ATTA facility in the Southern Hemisphere. Read more below.

An opportunity has arisen to help deliver the Australian Science Olympiads physics program as the Deputy Program Director of the event. Details below.

Also this month: The Australian Space agency partners with NASA, apply for the CSIRO Alumni 2020 Scholarship in Physics, and find an opportunity in our Jobs Corner.

Kind regards,

Jodie Bradby
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

Continue reading Three Australian physicists with exciting research; Australian Space Agency partners with NASA; and more physics in October

AIP Summer Meeting; jobs; conferences; and more physics in September

The call for abstracts for the Summer Meeting is now open. We are excited to offer this conference as a ‘cheap and cheerful’ opportunity on our off-Congress years. All welcome and we especially hope to see lots of our students and ECR members there.

Senior Instrument Scientist and neutron-scattering expert Helen Maynard-Casely’s Women in Physics Lecture Tour has finished after a mammoth 40+ lectures! I attended her talk in Canberra and loved going on a journey through the amazing crystals of solar system. I was so impressed by her storytelling skills. More below.  

Congratulations also to Pegah Maasoumi, who has been touring around Queensland spreading the word about foldable mobile phones, Ironman’s suit and solar panel winners on the John Mainstone Youth Lecture Tour.

National Science Week was again a success last month and featured everything from coffee in space with our Australian Physics co-editor Davis Hoxley, the Einstein Lecture with Elisabetta Barberio, and a look at whether bigger telescopes are always better, with Richard de Grijs. Well done to everyone who helped to spread the word about physics during the week.

Congratulations to the Dark Matter Particle Physics team with the announcement of their Centre of Excellence. More below.

Congratulations as well to all winners at last week’s Eureka Prizes. While seven physicists were finalists this year, sadly none walked away with a trophy. Next year!

Also this month: Register your interest for the International Conference on the Physics of Semiconductors 2020; Virginia Trimble receives cultural award in physics; meet Jane Turner – our September Hidden Physicist; and find an opportunity in our Jobs Corner.

Kind regards,

Jodie Bradby
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

Continue reading AIP Summer Meeting; jobs; conferences; and more physics in September

Neutrons will save the world; physicists in the Eureka Awards; how to survive the end of the universe during National Science Week; and more physics in august

National Science Week is happening from August 10 to 18 and is packed with many wonderful physics events. We’ve selected some of the best physics events around the country and listed them below.

“How neutrons will save the world” is the topic of our 2019 Women in Physics lecture, given by Dr Helen Maynard-Casely from ANSTO. Helen has now begun her tour in Tasmania and after 36 talks all over Australia will finish at the Girls in Physics Breakfast in Melbourne on Wednesday 28 August. Good luck Helen! More below.

The AIP national executive team were at ANU last week for a packed two days of strategic planning, priority-setting and discussions. We are working on a strategic plan and new opportunities to promote all things physics in Australia. Stay tuned for more in the coming months.

Several physicists were announced last week as finalists for the 2019 Eureka Prizes. Read all about them here. Winners will be announced at the end of this month. Good luck to all finalists!

I really enjoyed the great posts on the AIP Instagram account from the Australians attending the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings in Germany last month. SBS journalist Lydia Feng also attended the meetings and wrote about the young women levelling out gender imbalance in science. Women comprised eight out of the 13 physicists chosen by the Australian Academy of Science to attend.

Also this month: Nominate for the 2019 NSW Community Outreach to Physics award, read about the speediest quantum operation yet, meet Registered Patent Attorney Matthew Lay – our August Hidden Physicist, and find an opportunity in our Jobs Corner.

Kind regards,
Jodie Bradby
President, Australian Institute of Physics

Continue reading Neutrons will save the world; physicists in the Eureka Awards; how to survive the end of the universe during National Science Week; and more physics in august

AIP Summer Meeting; neutrons will save the world; foldable phones; jobs; and more physics in July

We are excited to announce that the AIP is running a Summer Meeting on 3rd – 6th December 2019 at RMIT University in Melbourne. The meeting aims to showcase the upcoming talent in physics and will offer career development opportunities for students and early career researchers, including a jobs fair and a brilliant scientific program. Details here https://aip-summer-meeting.com/

A group of Australian students are attending the 29th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany and they’re taking over our new AIP Instagram account. See what they’re doing here.

July 5th 2019 marks the International Day of LGBTQ+ People in STEM. I’m so proud to be the president of an organisation that supports diversity and inclusion in STEM. And take a look at our social media accounts that have gone rainbow for the day!

This month in our new Hidden Physicists section, we’re featuring Eliza-Jane Pearsall, who is loving her job as Assistant Director of Policy Analysis at the Department of Social Security. Get in touch if you’d like to nominate a ‘hidden’ physicist for us to profile. More below.

This month Harvard physicist Lene Hau will present ‘Nothing goes faster than light… usually!’ at UNSW on July 23rd. For August: Helen Maynard-Casely will tour the country to talk about how neutrons will save the world for the Women in Physics lectures; Pegah Maasoumi will be around Queensland, talking about Ironman’s suit and solar panel windows on the John Mainstone lecture tour; and Elisabetta Barberio will present the 2019 Einstein lecture exploring what we know so far about dark matter. Details below.

I am also very proud to say that we found two Australian physicists honoured in the Queen’s Birthday 2018 Honours list. Congratulations to Olivia Samardzic and Michelle Simmons! Olivia is a long-time AIP executive team member and looks after the AIP awards and medals, and Michelle of course is a quantum physicist and 2018 Australian of the Year. If you know of other physicists, please let us know.

We await the results of the South Australian Science Excellence Awards with shortlisted physicists Andre Luiten and James Tickner. Good luck!

In WA, hear from medical physicist Pejman Rowshanfarzad about the latest advances in radiotherapy machines at the WA Branch AIP General Meeting on Thursday 11th July. Register by emailing WA Branch Chair Dean Leggo.

Also this month: mentoring and guidance in careers (MAGIC) workshop for women ECRs, five of Australia’s brightest students to attend the International Physics Olympiad in Israel, apply for a role at CSIRO as an optical satellite systems engineer and more jobs in our Jobs Corner.

Finally, if you know someone considering becoming a member, let them know that now is an excellent time to join. From July 1st, new members pay only 50 per cent of the membership rates for the remainder of the year.

Continue reading AIP Summer Meeting; neutrons will save the world; foldable phones; jobs; and more physics in July

Canadian reciprocal rights for AIP members; Australian Academy of Science Awardees, the unravelling Great Red Spot; and more physics in June

I’m excited to announce that Nanotechnologist Tim Van der Laan will be joining the AIP team as our new Special Projects Officer for Outreach, focusing on digital content creation. Follow the new Instagram account at @aus_physics and send through your interesting and engaging physics pictures to Tim for posting on the account. Tim is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Queensland University of Technology, and he will work on ways to connect physicists with students and the broader community. Read about his plans below.

As well as our new Jobs Corner, this month we are introducing our ‘Hidden Physicists’ section, which profiles a physicist in the workforce. Our first profile is on ANU and UWA physics graduate Stuart Midgley, who now builds supercomputers at DownUnder GeoSolutions to process seismic data for mining companies.

In other good news we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Canadian Association of Physics (CAP) in May. This is a fantastic achievement and allows AIP members to attend CAP Congresses at member rates, subscribe to CAP’s magazine and be invited to speak at CAP Congress. Congratulations to our hard-working secretary Kirrily Rule who is working to set up MOUs and reciprocity agreements with other physics societies around the world. The response has been very positive, so watch this space!

In May I had the pleasure of attending the Asian Physics Olympiad in Adelaide—the first time the event was held in Australia. Congratulations to the young physicists on the Australian team who competed in two five-hour exams – one experimental and the other theory-based. I also had the pleasure of speaking on ABC RN Breakfast Radio with Siobhan Tobin about the Olympiad, women in STEM and optics. Have a listen here and read more below

If you’re in WA, come along to the WA Branch AIP General Meeting on Thursday 11th July. Medical physicist Pejman Rowshanfarzad will be guest lecturer, speaking about the latest advances in radiotherapy machines. More below.

Also this month: Australian Academy of Science Honorific Awards, attend the last Girls in Physics Breakfast for the year, apply for a graduate position at the Bureau of Meteorology, Jupiter’s shrinking Great Red Spot, and the last chance to be a presenter at Physics in the Pub in Melbourne.

Kind regards,

Jodie Bradby
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

Continue reading Canadian reciprocal rights for AIP members; Australian Academy of Science Awardees, the unravelling Great Red Spot; and more physics in June

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

Cleaning the Sydney Harbour Bridge with lasers; make science a focus this election; and more physics in April

It’s been an exciting month for Australian physics. And particularly for women in physics. We started with a call for gender balance around the world on International Women’s Day earlier this month. The AIP is striving to achieve gender balance in a variety of ways, including the Women in Physics group and annual Women in Physics lecture tour that supports a female physicist touring the country. 

I’m very excited to announce the Women in Physics lecturer for 2019: a talented physicist who will be spreading the good word about how neutrons can save the world. Read on to see who it is! 

We thank Pegah Maasoumi for her time as the Chair of the Women in Physics group for the last two years. We are looking for a new chair of this committee. Please send in an expression of interest if you’d like to take on this important role.

The cut off to renew your AIP membership was last Sunday, but it’s easy to renew (just email aip@aip.org.au with your request). If you need your memory jogged about all the benefits of being a member of AIP, read on below.

Jacq Romero is on a winning streak and will receive $1 million in combined funding over three years for the Westpac Research Fellowship. Our 1999 Women in Physics lecturer, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, has donated her £2.3m Breakthrough Prize to the Institute of Physics to a new PhD scholarship fund to encourage greater diversity in physics. Register your interest to keep up to date with the Scholarship Fund.

I attended Science and Technology Australia’s (STA) President and CEO Forum in Sydney last week. STA represents more than 77,000 scientists and technology workers and is heavily focused on promoting science in the upcoming election cycle. We added the AIP logo to the STA media release as part of the #SolveitwithScience campaign (along with those of almost 100 other Australian science and technology organisations!) I encourage you to support the campaign by writing to or meeting your local member or candidates. More below.

The 14th Asia-Pacific Physics Conference will be held in Malaysia from 17-22 November. Only eight Australians are registered so far and it would be great to see a stronger Australian cohort. Last time this conference was held in Australia. Submit your abstracts before Monday 15th April.

Also in April: the largest telescope in Victoria officially opened, physicists found that quantum tunnelling is instantaneous, National Science Week grants are open and it’s prize season so don’t forget to nominate, or encourage others to nominate today.

Finally, as part of a push to make the AIP a useful resource for our student and ECR members, keep an eye out in our new section called Jobs Corner. We’re going to start featuring physics-related jobs. Send us through any opportunities you’d like to advertise and we’ll include a link for free.

Kind regards,
Jodie Bradby

President, Australian Institute of Physics

Continue reading Cleaning the Sydney Harbour Bridge with lasers; make science a focus this election; and more physics in April