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

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  • 1 Aug 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    As reported by NASA.

    The dawn of a new era in astronomy is here as the world gets its first look at the full capabilities of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, a partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency).

    The full set of the telescope’s first colour images and spectroscopic data uncover a collection of cosmic features elusive until now. They are available at: www.nasa.gov/webbfirstimages

    “Today, we present humanity with a ground-breaking new view of the cosmos from the James Webb Space Telescope – a view the world has never seen before,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “These images, including the deepest infrared view of our universe that has ever been taken, show us how Webb will help to uncover the answers to questions we don’t even yet know to ask; questions that will help us better understand our universe and humanity’s place within it.”

    NASA explores the unknown in space for the benefit of all, and Webb’s first observations tell the story of the hidden universe through every phase of cosmic history – from neighbouring planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets, to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe.

    “This is a singular and historic moment,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “It took decades of drive and perseverance to get us here, and I am immensely proud of the Webb team. These first images show us how much we can accomplish when we come together behind a shared goal, to solve the cosmic mysteries that connect us all. It’s a stunning glimpse of the insights yet to come.”

    Webb’s first observations were selected by a group of representatives from NASA, ESA, CSA, and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). They reveal the capabilities of all four of Webb’s state-of-the-art scientific instruments:

    • SMACS 0723: Webb has delivered the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe so far – and in only 12.5 hours.
    • WASP-96b (spectrum): Webb’s detailed observation of this hot, puffy planet outside our solar system reveals the clear signature of water, along with evidence of haze and clouds that previous studies of this planet did not detect.
    •  Southern Ring Nebula: This planetary nebula, an expanding cloud of gas that surrounds a dying star, is approximately 2,000 light years away.
    • Stephan’s Quintet: Webb’s view of this compact group of galaxies, located in the constellation Pegasus, pierced through the shroud of dust surrounding the centre of one galaxy, to reveal the velocity and composition of the gas near its supermassive black hole.
    • Carina Nebula: Webb’s look at the ‘Cosmic Cliffs’ in the Carina Nebula unveils the earliest, rapid phases of star formation that were previously hidden. 

    Read the full media release here.

    Cover Photo: The Carina Nebula. Credits for all photos - NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI.

  • 1 Aug 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    As reported by the Australian National University (ANU).

    A theoretical physicist from The Australian National University (ANU) whose pioneering work has fundamentally altered our understanding of the deepest and darkest parts of the Universe and space-time itself has been recognised among the world's best gravitational scientists.

    Distinguished Professor Susan Scott has been newly elected as a Fellow of the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation (ISGRG) for 2022. Scott is the first Australian to be elected as a Fellow of the Society and she joins an elite club of exceptional scientists including world renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and Nobel Laureates Roger Penrose and Kip Thorne.

    Distinguished Professor Scott, who is also the Chief Investigator with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav), has been appointed to the Society for ground-breaking contributions to the understanding of the singularities and the structure of space-time. Singularities are known as places in space and time where things go very wrong, for example, if a travelling particle simply blips out of existence and has no future.

    Much of Distinguished Professor Scott's research involves investigating the properties of these singularities related to black holes. Her work also seeks to understand the properties of systems of black holes and neutron stars, by studying the gravitational waves they emit.

    Distinguished Professor Scott, from the ANU Centre for Gravitational Astrophysics (CGA), says she is "deeply honoured" to be the first Australian Fellow of the ISGRG.

    "Election to Fellowship of the ISGRG is very prestigious, and there are only a few tens of Fellows across the world," she said.

    "In Australia, and also at ANU, we now have a very established and successful research base in many areas of endeavour in gravitational research, including the detection of gravitational waves, which help us to unlock many of the Universe's mysteries.

    "My research is all about gravity. I seek to understand how it shapes the Universe and warps it to the extent that it creates black holes."

    In 2015, Distinguished Professor Scott was part of a 1,000-strong cohort of scientists from around the world that detected gravitational waves for the very first time. These waves are ripples in space and time caused by extremely violent events in the Universe.

    This monumental discovery scientifically proved Albert Einstein's theory that gravitational waves would be caused by a collision of massive objects in space such as black holes. It also ushered in a new era of gravitational-wave astronomy and paved the way for a raft of new space discoveries, including the merging of two black holes, the collision of two neutron stars and the detection of black holes swallowing neutron stars – breakthrough discoveries Professor Scott played a key role in.

    A prominent figure in Australian science, Distinguished Professor Scott's contribution to the world-first discovery of gravitational waves earned her and fellow ANU researcher Professor David McClelland the 2020 Prime Minister's Prize for Science.

    Distinguished Professor Scott, who is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, says she wants to use her newly obtained platform with the ISGRG to continue to champion Australian science and voice her aspirations for Australia to be a major player in the next generation of gravitational wave astronomy.

    She's hopeful her appointment could help throw weight behind growing calls to establish and operate a gravitational wave detector in Australia.

    "For many years, myself and other fellow scientists have been on a quest to site and operate a gravitational wave detector in this country. This would enable us to play a leading role in learning more about gravitational waves and their role in the Universe," Distinguished Professor Scott said.


    Read the full media release here.

    Photo credit: Tracey Nearmy/ANU.

  • 1 Aug 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    We are proud to inform our members that the AIP is in the final stages of moving our business to the Bank Australia. This is part of the AIP’s commitment to fight climate change and to contribute to a fairer world.

    We are convinced that many of our members are actively engaged in making our country more sustainable.

    There are many things one can do to reduce carbon emissions, including not supporting banks that using your savings to invest in fossil fuels. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that most Australians are unaware that they are supporting such banks.

    We believe the solution is to support “ethical banking”, i.e., supporting banks that guarantee that they will not invest into fossil fuels among other things.

    That is the reason why the AIP National Executive has taken action and we are now moving our business to the Bank Australia.

    We hope we can inspire some of our members to consider this aspect of climate action.

    We would like to thank the member that raised this issue with us and our Honorary Treasurer Judith Pollard and her team for the considerable work in making this move happen.

    See a list of ethical banks here and read more on the issue here.

  • 1 Aug 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous
    • Nominations for positions in the AIP National Executive open until 21 Aug 2022
    • Nominations for the 2023 Women in Physics Lecturer re-opened until 16 Sep 2022

    AIP National Executive

    Help lead Australia’s premier society for the promotion of physics in research, education, industry and the community by joining the AIP National Executive team.

    Every two years the AIP elects a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Registrar. Any financial Member, Fellow or Honorary Fellow can be nominated for these positions.

    If you’d like to submit a nomination, it should be accompanied by signed endorsements from two financial Members, Fellows or Honorary Fellows, as well as a letter of consent from the nominee.

    Note that under the institute’s constitution, the current president and vice president cannot seek re-election for the same position.

    To nominate, please send the documents via email to aip@aip.org.au, or by mail to AIP, PO Box 480, West Ryde, NSW 1685, Australia.

    The current Executive has put forward the following nominations:

    • Nicole Bell (as President)
    • Kirrily Rule (as Honorary Secretary)
    • Stephen Collins (as Honorary Registrar)
    • Joanna Turner (as Awards Officer)

    The positions of Honorary Treasurer and Vice President are open and will be advised at a later date.  All positions will be decided at the Annual General Meeting of the AIP in February next year.


    2023 Women in Physics Lecturer

    Nominating an outstanding female physicist who will increase public awareness of the possibilities offered by studying physics and inspire future physicists for the 2023 Women in Physics Lectureship.

    You may nominate a colleague or yourself.

    The Women in Physics Lectureship is made annually to recognise and publicise significant contributions by a woman to advancing a field of physics. The Lecturer will receive a medal, a certificate, one year membership of the AIP, and appropriate support to provide a lecture tour across Australia.

    The lecture tour will include presentations suited to range of audiences, including to high school students, non-specialist audiences, and the physics community. 

    • Eligibility criteria and how to nominate here.

    Our current Women in Physics Lecturer is planetary scientist Associate Professor Katarina Miljkovic (Curtin University).

    • Read about A/Prof Miljkovic’s lecture tour ‘Impacts! Rocks from space colliding with planets’ here.
    • Read about previous Lecturer Dr Ceri Brenner’s experience in an Australian Physics magazine article here (Page 10).
  • 1 Aug 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Family-friendly events at National Science Week

    Bring your family to hear about meteorite impacts from our Women in Physics Lecturer Associate Professor Katarina Miljkovic, begin your amateur astronomy journey by learning about what equipment you need, or hang out and chat about physics and other dark matters at the pub.

    We’ve gathered a bunch physics-related events for you to enjoy:

    Multiple locations

    • National Quantum and Dark Matter Road Trip. Hear about the hunt for dark matter and present and future quantum technologies from a team of scientists and science communicators delivering presentations, hands-on activities and quizzes at schools and pubs throughout Australia. Multiple dates.  

    ACT

    •   Dark Matter in the Pub. Learn about mysterious dark matter by listening to eight short talks from astronomers, particle physicists, nuclear physicists, and engineers while you munch on snacks and enjoy a beverage. Sun 14 Aug.
    • Rainbows in Science. Young LGBTQIA+ adults interested in science can meet and hear from LGBTQIA+ scientists and allies and experience a range of colourful STEMonstrations. Fri 19 Aug.

    NSW

    NT

    QLD

    • Mirror, Mirror on the Wall. Compete to create the longest optic fibre, use a laser cutter to cut your own key chains, make and use telescopes, and learn how glass and mirrors are made, at Yarrabilba State Secondary College.  Wed 17 Aug.
    •  See Through Science. Budding scientists will have fun with hands-on activities and investigations that involve circuits, solar power, stargazing, and more.  Sat 20 Aug.

    SA

    TAS

    VIC

    WA

    • LEGO Club – Balloon Car. Kids can craft a LEGO car that will be attached to a balloon, which will explore the concepts of force and motion. Mon 15 Aug.
    • Glass: More than meets the eye festival. Families can observe our closest star with a purpose-build solar telescope, chat with astrophysicists at the Astro3D stall, create a baby image of the universe, and more. Sat 20 Aug.


    Check the official National Science Week website to explore more science-related activities.

  • 7 Jul 2022 2:30 PM | Anonymous

    The AIP welcomes Education Minister Jason Clare’s statement that "delays and the political interference in the way competitive grants operate need to end”. We support the intended review into the role and governance of the Australian Research Council (ARC), the main research grants body in our country. We appreciate that the Minister acknowledges the concerns that we and the other professional bodies presented at the Senate hearing earlier this year, including that the ongoing issues damage our international reputation and creates difficulties in recruiting and maintaining staff.

    • Read the Education Minister’s comments in his first speech to the university sector here.
    • Read about AIP President Professor Sven Rogge’s advocacy for the independence of the ARC at the 9 Mar Senate inquiry here.
  • 1 Jul 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Emeritus Prof Anne Green FAIP and Prof Tanya Monro FAIP have been recognised with the highest recognition in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours: Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).

    Warm congratulations to both.

    A guiding star for females in physics

    Emeritus Professor Anne Green AC FAIP was recognised for her ‘eminent service to science, particularly physics and astrophysics, as an educator and researcher, as a mentor to colleagues and students, and a role model to women’.

    Prof Green was a trailblazer during her 50-year career, which included many ‘firsts’.

    She was the first female PhD student in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney, where she also become the first female Head of Physics in 2007.  She was also one of the first female radio astronomers.

    Much of her prolific career was dedicated to investigating the ecology and structure of the Milky Way Galaxy as well as studying supernovae.

    The Anne Green Prize, named in her honour, is awarded annually by our cognate society, the Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA), to a mid-career scientist for a significant advance or accomplishment in astronomy or a related field. 

    Of her career success, Professor Green has said:

    “I've had opportunities in my career that, in hindsight, I'm gobsmacked about, but every time I've been offered an opportunity, I've accepted the challenge. That's something I've always said to young scientists, particularly women, to take the challenge when it's offered.”

    Lighting the way: First ever female Chief Defence Scientist

    Professor Tanya Monro AC FAIP was honoured for her ‘eminent service to scientific and technological development, to research and innovation, to tertiary education, particularly in the field of photonics, and to professional organisations’.

    Prof Monro’s work focuses on using light and optical fibres to create tools for research to help address health, environmental, industrial and defence challenges.

    She is currently Australia’s Chief Defence Scientist, heading up the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG). She is the first woman to take on the role.

    From 2008 to 2014, she was the inaugural Director of the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing, as well as of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale Bio Photonics.

    Prof Monro won the 1998 AIP Bragg Gold Medal for her PhD, which she completed at the University of Sydney.

    “It's really important that we have women in senior roles visible as role models to girls and women making choices about what they want to do," Professor Monro says.

    “I want to create an environment where people can contribute, no matter what diversity characteristic they bring. It's not just gender, it can be neurological diversity, it can be cultural diversity, and even age diversity.”


    Photos: Anne Green – credit: ASA, Tanya Monro – credit DSTG.

  • 1 Jul 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    As reported by the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

    Quantum computing hardware specialists at UNSW have built a quantum processor in silicon to simulate an organic molecule with astounding precision.

    A team of quantum computer physicists at UNSW Sydney have engineered a quantum processor at the atomic scale to simulate the behaviour of a small organic molecule, solving a challenge set some 60 years ago by theoretical physicist Richard Feynman.

    The achievement, which occurred two years ahead of schedule, represents a major milestone in the race to build the world’s first quantum computer, and demonstrates the team’s ability to control the quantum states of electrons and atoms in silicon at an exquisite level not achieved before.

    In a paper published today in the journal Nature, the researchers describe how they were able to mimic the structure and energy states of the organic compound polyacetylene– a repeating chain of carbon and hydrogen atoms distinguished by alternating single and double bonds of carbon.

    Lead researcher and former Australian of the Year, Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons, said the team at Silicon Quantum Computing (SQC), one of UNSW’s most exciting start-ups, built a quantum integrated circuit comprising a chain of 10 quantum dots to simulate the precise location of atoms in the polyacetylene chain.

    Prof Simmons was AIP’s 2000 Women in Physics Lecturer.

    “If you go back to the 1950s, Richard Feynman said you can't understand how nature works unless you can build matter at the same length scale,” Professor Simmons said.

    “And so that’s what we're doing, we're literally building it from the bottom up, where we are mimicking the polyacetylene molecule by putting atoms in silicon with the exact distances that represent the single and double carbon-carbon bonds.”

    Read the full media release here.


    Photo: An artist's impression of inside the quantum integrated circuit modelling the carbon chain. The simulated carbon atoms are in red, while the blue depicts electrons exchanged between them. Credit – SQC.

  • 1 Jul 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    The AIP National Executive team met recently at ANSTO in Lucas Heights, Sydney, to discuss the strategic planning of the organisation, including exploring ethical banking options, advocacy efforts, and membership matters.

    The agenda also included drafting a new diversity and inclusion statement for the organisation, to be added to the AIP website soon.

    We are also excited about the two national AIP awards to be made available for the first time this year: the Women in Leadership Medal and the Physics Communication Award.

    • Read more about these and other national AIP awards on offer here.

    This was the first face-to-face meeting of the Executive team in almost three years owing to the pandemic.

    The day meeting featured lunch with physicists from the Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering and Centre for Accelerator Science as well as a tour of the OPAL reactor with Dr Mark Ho.

    “The OPAL pool top was a hive of activity during a reactor maintenance period, but alas, no Cherenkov radiation this time,” said our AIP National honorary secretary Kirrily Rule, who works at ANSTO as an instrument scientist.

    Dr Ho, who is Vice President of the Australian Nuclear Association, recently gave a talk about the latest in advanced reactor designs at the Big Science of Gen IV Power Reactors event, co-hosted by the AIP NSW branch and others.

    The National Executive team would also like to thank ANSTO CEO Mr Shaun Jenkinson for hosting us at the nandin Innovation Centre. The nandin centre is a thriving hub of science and tech entrepreneurs, graduates and start-ups who develop solutions to unmet challenges in our world.

    The National Executive team meets quarterly, alternating between online meetings and in-person visits to universities and labs.  With the easing of travel restrictions, we are looking forward to visiting more members at their institutions.


    Photo: The AIP National Executive team. Credit – Kirrily Rule.

    From left to right – Jodie Bradby, Gerd Schröder-Turk, Stephan Rachel, Nicole Bell, Judith Pollard, Kirrily Rule, Tim van der Laan, Joanna Turner, Stephen Collins.

  • 1 Jul 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Australian Defence Science, Technology and Research (ADSTAR) Summit in Sydney and Online, 20 - 22 July.

    Do you have technology or ideas that could improve the effectiveness and resilience of the Australian Defence Force?

    Or do you have a start-up with a ready-to-go innovation you want to pitch to the Department of Defence?

    The Defence Science and Technology Group invite you to share your ideas with leaders in defence, academia, business and industry at the inaugural Australian Defence Science, Technology and Research (ADSTAR) Summit.

    The central theme of the summit is ‘resilience’ in our defence forces.

    This is the ability and capacity for human-technical systems to adapt quickly to and recover from unexpected interference, disruption, adversity, or threats – and the innovations or new technology to help them do that.

    “We want to hear from start-ups that have an idea or innovation that could enhance our defence force’s capabilities or help to keep our defence personnel safe,” says Professor Tanya Monro, Australia’s Chief Defence Scientist.

    “We are especially eager to build partnerships with those working with artificial intelligence and machine learning, biotechnology, cyber security, space, robotics, virtual and augmented reality, and hardware and software development.”

    The ADSTAR Summit will be held as a hybrid event – in-person at the International Convention Centre, Sydney, and Online, from 20 - 22 July.

    For more information, full program and to register for the ADSTAR Summit and Start-Up Alley, visit the official site here.  

    For information on partnership and exhibition opportunities, please email Niall Byrne for an introduction to the conference team at Think Business Events.


    More about the ADSTAR Summit

    The ADSTAR Summit’s program explores ideas, research and innovations through a science and technology conference, workshops, panel sessions, networking opportunities and an interactive exhibition floor.

    Topics in the program include:

    • AI–human interactions and trust-building
    • developing more resilient people and teams in adverse conditions
    • smarter sensor networks to monitor threats
    • materials manufacturing in contested environments
    • beyond GPS and satellites – the next navigation and surveillance technologies
    • protecting space assets from harm

    and more.

     

    Australian and international speakers at the summit include:

    Chief Scientific Advisor UK Ministry of Defence, Professor Dame Angela McLean

    US Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Ms Heidi Shyu

    Director NZ Defence Technology Agency, Dr David Galligan

    Director of STELaRLab at Lockheed Martin Corporation, Dr Tony Lindsay

    Head of Defence and National Security, Executive Director Ai Group Defence Council, Ms Kate Louis

    First Assistant Secretary, Head Technology, Nuclear Powered Submarine Taskforce, Department of Defence, Dr Todd Mansell

    Chief Executive Officer, Trusted Autonomous Systems, Professor Jason Scholz

    US Director of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Dr Stefanie Tompkins

    Director General Strategy and Planning – Air Force, Air Commodore Gretchen Fryar

    Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Cathy Foley

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

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