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The AIP runs a monthly bulletin that goes out to over 4000 scientists, future scientists and those interested in science! 

To provide physics news or subscribe to the AIP bulletin please email physics@scienceinpublic.com.au.

To advertise in the bulletin, see our Jobs page.

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  • 2 May 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    The 2022 Women in Physics Lectureship tour kicks off at the end of May and runs through to September.

    Astrophysicist Associate Professor Katarina Miljkovic from Curtin University will be giving a lecture series entitled ‘Impacts! Rocks from space colliding with planets’.

    Only in the mid-20th century was it confirmed that impact craters on planets are formed by meteorite strikes. Since then, many space missions have mapped planetary surfaces and provided data about impact craters. Impacts have played a key role in the evolution of rocky planet surfaces.

    Assoc Prof Miljkovic will outline her work on the physics behind the impact process. She is advancing our understanding of the structure and evolution of the Solar System by using data from the NASA space missions with which she collaborates.

    The Women in Physics Lectureship is awarded annually to recognise and publicise significant contributions by a woman to advancing a field of physics and to inspire future physicists.

    Assoc Prof Miljkovic will be giving her lecture to schools, academics, and the general public.

    Catch a speak peek of what she’ll be talking about in Impact: Beyond the Night Sky (2020), a short documentary written and directed by Kath Dooley. This immerse, 360, virtual-reality documentary was a finalist in the best experimental film category at the 2022 Atom Awards

    The currently confirmed dates for the lecture tour are:

    • NSW: 30 May – 1 Jun
    • ACT: 2 – 3 Jun
    • QLD: 18 – 20 Jul
    • VIC: 27 – 28 Jul
    • TAS: 8 – 10 Aug
    • SA: 6 – 8 Sep
    • WA: 22 Sep

    Further tour dates in WA are TBA. Watch out on social media and in next month’s newsletter for venues and times.

    “When imagining the space in our Solar System, many people think of a dark silent void but the space around us is not empty; it is filled with particles, with dust, and with rocks – some very small and some large.  The history of our Universe is a history of impacts - when things collide.”
    – Assoc Prof Katarina Miljkovic in Impact: Beyond the Night Sky (2020).

    Photo credit: TAKE2STEM.

  • 2 May 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Registrations and the Call for Abstracts are now open for the 24th AIP Congress

    • Register now and submit abstracts at the official Congress website here.

    Register to attend our AIP Congress in Adelaide this December and you’ll be able to watch two Nobel Prize winners – Professors Donna Strickland and Kip Thorne – give plenary talks.

    Full registration for the Congress also includes the Welcome Reception, catered poster sessions and the Congress dinner.


    Intense lasers and gravitational waves

    Professor Donna Strickland (University of Waterloo) was jointly awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics with Professor Gérard Mourou for developing chirped pulse amplification, a method of creating very intense, ultrashort laser pulses without destroying the amplifying material. Modern applications of this technology in medicine and industry include its use in laser eye surgery and in the machining of small glass parts employed in mobile phones.

    At the time of her award, Professor Strickland was only the third woman to have won the Nobel Prize in Physics. She was also awarded the 2019 Geoffrey Frew Fellowship from the Australian Academy of Science and Australian and New Zealand Optical Society.

    Professor Kip Thorne (Caltech) won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics with Professors Rainer Weiss and Barry C. Barish for their contributions to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave (LIGO) detector and the observation of gravitational waves. Professor Thorne co-founded the LIGO Project in 1984. The first gravitational waves were detected by LIGO in 2015 from a collision of blackholes. This confirmed an important prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

    Prof Thorne’s research has also covered black holes and wormholes. He was the science advisor and an executive producer of Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi film Interstellar (2014).

    Other confirmed plenary speakers at the Congress include Professors Ania Bleszynski Jayich (University of California, Santa Barbara), Noah Finkelstein (University of Colorado), Laura Greene (Florida State University), Jeremy O’Brien (University of Western Australia and PsiQuantum) and Jirina Stone (University of Oxford). 

    The list of plenary speakers (to be updated as more details become available) can be found here.

    More info on the Congress

    This year’s Congress will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 11 – 16 Dec.

    We will be co-locating with the Australian and New Zealand Conference on Optics and Photonics (ANZCOP) and the 7th International Workshop on Speciality Optical Fibres (WSOF).

    Submission of abstracts is open until 15 Jul and registrations are open until 2 Dec.

    Please visit the Congress website for more information. It is updated regularly.

    Photo credit:  University of Waterloo (Prof Strickland) and Caltech (Prof Thorne).

  • 2 May 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Good news - you can still nominate a physics star for an AIP award!

    The closing date has been extended to 15 May for the following awards:

    • Walter Boas Medal – for original research that makes an important contribution to physics in Australia
    • Harrie Massey Medal – for outstanding contributions to physics made by an Australian citizen anywhere in the world, or by an Australian resident for work carried out in Australia
    • Ruby Payne-Scott Award– for outstanding contributions to physics made by an exceptionally promising early-career researcher
    • Women in Leadership Medal – for outstanding leadership by a female physicist
    • Physics Communication Award – for an excellent communicator who makes the public aware of the excitement and importance of physics
    • Alan Walsh Medal – for outstanding accomplishments in applying physics in industry
    • Physics Education Medal - for outstanding contributions to tertiary physics education in Australia

    Nominations are also open for the following awards, which close 1 Jun:

    Don’t miss out on your chance to let a colleague know how much their efforts are appreciated.

    Some awards also allow self-nomination, so please check the individual awards.

    Photo credit:  Orion’s Dreamy Stars by NASA/JPL-Caltech.
  • 2 May 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    As reported in a media release from the office of the Minister for Science and Technology.

    Australia and the United States have agreed to work together on enhancing Earth observation from space, further securing the data that is central to our everyday lives and driving growth in our local space sector.

    A joint Statement of Intent between the Australian Space Agency and NASA has been signed at the Colorado Space Symposium, after the Morrison Government in its recent Budget committed almost $1.2 billion to Australia’s first ever National Space Mission for Earth Observation.

    The first phase of the National Space Mission will include Australia designing, building and operating four satellites that will capture globally unique data, carving out an important role for Australia internationally.

    The Minister for Science and Technology, Melissa Price, said the signing was an important part of locking in Australia’s access to the valuable data on which it relies, as well as its place in the global space community.

    “For us to unleash the full power of Earth observation we need to work with our closest international partners to share data and learn from one another,” Minister Price said.

    “The United States has long been a global leader in land imaging from space.

    “In fact, their data has been helping Australians for decades. This signing is the first step toward Australia contributing to and enhancing this critical network for the benefit of both our nations.

    “Our Government’s $1.2-billion investment in the National Space Mission for Earth Observation in the 2022-23 Budget is the most significant in Australia’s history, and it’s because of investments like this that global players like NASA are wanting to work with us.”

    Read the full media release here.
    Read the NASA media release
    here.

    Photo credit: NASA.

  • 2 May 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous
    • Exploring the connections between first nations, land, and country through science and art;
    • CSIRO’s Dr Keith Banner named Physical Scientist of the Year;
    • Australia’s contribution to the James Webb Telescope; and
    • Addressing the underrepresentation of women in physics academia and education.

    These topics all feature in the first edition for 2022 of Australian Physics magazine.

    AIP members can read the edition online here.

    The cover of the edition showcases the beautiful artwork of Sean James Cassidy in collaboration with Wiradjuri artists Scott Turnbull and Scott Sauce Towney.

    The collaborative artwork depicts two goannas joined at the hip, representing an Elder mentoring a student. The goanna is the totem of the Wiradjuri Nation. The figure eight shape the two goannas make refers to the eight Aboriginal ways of learning, which include story sharing, community links, and learning maps (see Page 20 of the magazine). 

    The artwork is part of an installation in the Rotary Peace Park in Parkes, NSW. It also now is proudly displayed on our website, together with our acknowledgement of Country.

    The Jan – Mar edition also includes an obituary to former AIP President, Emeritus Professor Tony Klein, AM FAA. He was also the recipient of our 1990 Walter Boas Medal and appointed an Honorary Fellow of the AIP in the late 1990s.

    You can also read the #PhysicsGotMeHere career profiles of mathematical biologist Dr James McCaw (University of Melbourne) and paediatric intensive care doctor Dr Rebecca Pearce (Monash Children’s Hospital).

    If you are not currently an AIP member and want to receive the Australian Magazine and/or access the latest editions online, you can view membership options here and join here.

  • 8 Apr 2022 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    Didn't see the email bulletin for Apr AIP news? Good news - you can read it here.

    Highlights: 

    • Research independence bill defeated but unites research sector - AIP President speaks at the Senate inquiry
    • 24th AIP Congress in Adelaide in December - Optics and photonics, the latest industry tech, and catered poster sessions will feature at this year's Congress
    • Nominations for 11 AIP awards open
    • Odd radio circles: a closer look
    • A conduit between academics & the public: Ben Keirnan #PhysicsGotMeHere

    Never miss out on future AIP bulletins by emailing physics@scienceinpublic.com.au to subscribe. 

  • 1 Apr 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Optics and photonics, the latest industry tech, and catered poster sessions will feature at this year’s AIP Congress

    With the easing of restrictions across Australia, we look forward to welcoming you to Adelaide in December for the first, large, in-person meeting of the Australian physics community since the AIP Congress in Perth in 2018.

    The 24th AIP Congress will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 11-16 December. The Convention Centre is conveniently located on the picturesque banks of the Torrens Lake in the heart of the city.

    This year, we are delighted to be co-locating with the Australian and New Zealand Conference on Optics and Photonics (ANZCOP) and the 7th International Workshop on Speciality Optical Fibers (WSOF).

    The Congress will feature a forum where industry partners will exhibit their latest technology and product offerings. You can mingle with industry partners and your colleagues in the Exhibition Area, where catered poster sessions with morning and afternoon teas and lunches will take place daily.

    Following the welcome reception on Sun 11 Dec, the five-day program will include plenary and invited talks, as well as contributed talks and posters, a public lecture, and teacher-focused sessions.

    Key dates and registration fees will be available on the Congress website here*.

    Information on sponsors and the exhibition prospectus is available here.

    *Please regularly check the website as it is being constantly updated.

  • 1 Apr 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Let your colleagues and students know what an excellent job they’re doing by nominating them for this year’s AIP awards.

    Some awards also allow self-nomination, so please check the individual awards.

    You must submit your nominations by 1 May for most of the awards. Click on the links for the awards below for their individual deadlines.

    Members of the AIP can nominate colleagues for the:

    We also would like to draw attention to two new awards:

    Students may be eligible for the:

    • Bragg Gold Medal – for the most outstanding PhD thesis in physics by a student at an Australian university; and
    • TH Laby Medal – outstanding Honours or Masters thesis in physics by a student at an Australian university

    Please visit the AIP website to access nomination forms and other important information about eligibility and who can nominate.

    Last year’s winners include Associate Professor Katarina Miljkovic (Curtin University) – 2022 WiP Lectureship; Prof Howard Wiseman (Griffith University) – Walter Boas Medal; and Emeritus Professor Bruce McKellar FAIP and Dr Marc Duldig FAIP – Outstanding Service to Physics Award.

    See here for a list of the 2021 winners of our other awards.

  • 1 Apr 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    As reported by CSIRO.

    First revealed by the ASKAP radio telescope, owned and operated by Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, odd radio circles quickly became objects of fascination. Theories on what caused them ranged from galactic shockwaves to the throats of wormholes.

    A new detailed image, captured by the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory’s MeerKAT radio telescope and published today in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (DOI 10.1093/mnras/stac701 and available on arXive), is providing researchers with more information to help narrow down those theories.

    There are now three leading theories to explain what causes ORCs:

    ·       They could be the remnant of a huge explosion at the centre of their host galaxy, like the merger of two supermassive black holes;

    ·       They could be powerful jets of energetic particles spewing out of the galaxy’s centre; or

    ·       They might be the result of a starburst ‘termination shock’ from the production of stars in the galaxy.

    To date ORCs have only been detected using radio telescopes, with no signs of them when researchers have looked for them using optical, infrared, or X-ray telescopes.

    Dr Jordan Collier of the Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy, who compiled the image from MeerKAT data said continuing to observe these odd radio circles will provide researchers with more clues.

    “People often want to explain their observations and show that it aligns with our best knowledge. To me, it’s much more exciting to discover something new, that defies our current understanding,” Dr Collier said.

    The rings are enormous – about a million light years across, which is 16 times bigger than our own galaxy. Despite this, odd radio circles are hard to see.

    Professor Ray Norris from Western Sydney University and CSIRO, one of the authors on the paper, said only five odd radio circles have ever been revealed in space.

    Read the full media release.

    Photo: Artist’s impression of odd radio circles. Credit – CSIRO.

  • 1 Apr 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said of volunteering: “you will get satisfaction out of doing something to give back to the community that you never get in any other way".  

    The AIP is predominantly a volunteer-run organisation, and it can function only with the generous donation of time and effort by many people.

    Thank you to all our volunteers for your work in supporting and promoting the Australian physics community.

    Welcome back to our ongoing volunteers and a warm welcome the following new volunteers:

    TAS Secretary: Georgia Stewart
    ACT Secretary: Jess Moore
    VIC Chair:  Andrew Martin
    VIC Vice Chair:  Valentina Baccetti
    VIC Secretary:  Elizabeth Hinde
    VIC Treasurer:  David Simpson
    QLD Secretary: Sergei Slussarenko
    QLD Treasurer: Scott Adamson
    Women in Physics Tour Organizer: Pourandokht Naseri Hudson
    ACT: Committee: Louise Starr, Ivo Seitenzahl, Taiki Tanaka and Bryce Henson
    QLD: Committee: Dongchen Qi and Terry Turner
    WA Committee: Kate Putman and John Brookes (PEG rep)

    A full list of all our awesome volunteers is here.

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AIP news and bulletin posts prior to 20 June 2021 can be found here.

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