Promoting the role of Physics in research, education, industry and the community

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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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  • 15 Dec 2021 3:34 PM | Anonymous

    The Australian government has announced reforms to Australian Research Council processes, outlined in a recent letter from the Minister. 

    We are very concerned about the rapid timeline for reform and lack of consultation. Commitment to a new direction offers the opportunity for long overdue consultation with the Australian research sector, and guidance from best practice internationally. 

    We urge the government to undertake such consultation as a matter of priority. Changes at the ARC - the national funding body for all research outside the medical sector - will have long term impact.

    We need to get it right this time.

    • Read about the ARC reforms in their media release here.
    • Read the letter from the Minister here.
    • Read coverage of the issue in The Australian here.
  • 2 Dec 2021 5:39 PM | Anonymous

    The Australian Research Council (ARC) has announced the outcomes of the ARC Appeals committee on preprints and six additional funded research projects.

    “The ARC Appeals Committee upheld all 28 appeals submitted to the Committee for having included preprints in their applications. The Committee also extended the ruling for 4 other applicants that did not submit an appeal.”

    In addition, “6 of the 32 now eligible applications had been ranked highly in the grants assessment process and were recommended for funding—including 5 Discovery Early Career Researcher Award and 1 Future Fellowships application.”

    “This outcome is the result of the strong response of the sector, ranging from vocal individuals to the joint stand of the professional bodies,” says Australian Institute of Physics President Professor Sven Rogge.

    “It is very late, but it is fair. I am thrilled since I know that some of these newly announced fellowships will change the career paths of fantastic upcoming scientists. At the same time, we are worried since other rounds are massively delayed. I expect that the ARC will also apply the same framework to all the grant rounds that are not yet announced. These need to be announced as soon as possible to provide certainly to the researchers involved."

    “The AIP is looking forward to working with the ARC on reforms to ensure better consultation and transparency. We hope to avoid a single discipline, especially its early career researchers, being impacted so severely.”

  • 1 Dec 2021 10:13 AM | Anonymous

    The AIP NSW branch welcomes its new office bearers for 2022 following last month’s AGM on 16 November:

    Chair: Professor Michael Lerch

    Deputy Chair: Associate Professor Matthew Arnold

    Secretary: Dr Frederick Osman

    Treasurer: Dr Phil Burns

    Committee Members: Associate Professor Graeme Melville. Dr Scott Martin, Dr Timothy Van der Laan, Dr Danica Solina, Dr Marc Galí Labarias and Dr Andrew Manning.

    We thank the previous office bearers for their service. 

  • 1 Dec 2021 10:04 AM | Anonymous

    For excellence in physics research as well as clear and engaging presentation skills, Joe Zhiyu Chen (UNSW) and Zain Medhi (ANU) have won the 2021 AIP NSW branch Postgraduate Physics Award and Royal Society for NSW Jak Kelly Award, respectively.

    The awards were based on the online student presentations given on 9 November from the top physics postgraduate students nominated by each NSW university.

    Joe Zhiyu Chen’s talk explained how he was using supercomputing to model galaxy distribution in the presence of neutrino masses.

    Zain Mehdi’s presented his work on modelling two types of thermal energy loss during turbulence in quantum fluids.

    The other contenders were awarded AIP NSW Postgraduate Excellence Certificates in recognition of nomination by their universities based on their high standing. They included Sobia Rehman (Macquarie Uni), Florian List (USYD), Matthew James (UNE), Simon White (UTS), and Ankit Shrestha (University of Wollongong).

    The AIP NSW branch also wishes to congratulate Philip Mai (UNSW) and Bailey Thompson (University of Wollongong) for winning the 2021 Best Graduating Student Prizes. The prizes recognise their clearly outstanding work in their undergraduate Physics programs.

    Lastly, ‘Drones, Droids and Robots’ was the theme of this year’s projects in contention for the AIP NSW Most Outstanding Physics K-12 Prizes and Science Teachers Association of NSW Young Scientist Awards.

    First prize for ‘Automated Hand Injury Assessment and Treatment Device (MedLab)’ went to Yasiru Puhule-Gamayalag (Cherrybrook Technology High School). ‘Remote Control Raft Cleaner’ by Max Zhao (Barker College) won second prize. Thaddeus Candra (Redeemer Baptist School) was given third prize for ‘The Mars Ninja Warrior Conquers Mount Midoriyama’.

  • 1 Dec 2021 10:02 AM | Anonymous

    Have your say about running the AIP, Australia’s largest voluntary organisation dedicated to promoting the role of physics in research, education, industry, and the community.

    AIP members are invited to attend the upcoming 2022 AIP Annual General Meeting.

    It will be held online via Zoom on 15 Feb, 6-7 pm AEDT.

    Update: If you are an AIP member, you should have received an email on 14 Jan with the Zoom link to join the meeting.

    Please register your attendance by responding to the email invite, or email if you haven't received it.  

    Ahead of the AGM, members are encouraged to look through the newly updated Constitution available here as the changes will be put to the vote during the AGM.

    Other agenda items include business arising from the minutes, the President’s and Treasurer’s reports, and appointment of the Auditor.

  • 1 Dec 2021 9:59 AM | Anonymous

    Our hybrid online 2021 AIP Summer Meeting (6-9 Dec) is starting soon!

    Promote your talks and share your experiences on social media using #AIPSummer21.

    On-site registration for attendees in Brisbane begins Mon 6 Dec at 1 pm.

    Besides focused sessions on the latest physics research (Tues 7 Dec – Thurs 9 Dec) and a poster session (Tues 7 Dec, 5-6 pm), here’s a summary of special events so you don’t miss out.

    Note that all times listed are in AEST (Brisbane time).

    • Attend the Quantum Technology Workshop, a special meeting of the Australian Army and Australian Quantum Technology community (Tues 7 Dec, 1-3 pm). 
    • Learn about Online Assessments in Physics before and during the COVID19 Pandemic in the Education Workshop I (Wed 8 Dec, 10.30 am-12 pm).
    • PhD students and postdocs can find out about Active Learning Techniques for teaching physics in the Education Workshop II (Wed 8 Dec, 3.30-5 pm).

    Full program here and abstract booklet here. We look forward to catching up with you in person or online.

  • 1 Dec 2021 9:52 AM | Anonymous

    The Australian physics community has suffered another great loss with the recent passing of Emeritus Professor Anthony (Tony) Klein AM FAA.

    He served as AIP President from 1989 to 1991, was joint recipient of the 1990 AIP Walter Boas Medal for excellence in physics research in Australia, and an AIP Honorary Fellow.

    Prof Klein was an internationally recognised physicist in the field of neutron optics.

    Having completed a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering and his PhD degrees at the University of Melbourne, he returned in 1965 as a senior lecturer in the School of Physics. He eventually became the Head of the School of Physics (1987-1996) and held a Personal Chair in Physics until his retirement in 1998.

    Prof Klein’s research legacy includes significant fundamental experimental studies in quantum physics using beams of slow neutrons. Together with the late Professor Geoffrey Opat, he developed the technique of neutron interferometry and used it to demonstrate that the wave function of a spin-1/2 particle changes sign when the particle is rotated by 360 degreesHis work earned him a shared ‘R&D 100’ Award for “developing one of the 100 most technologically significant products of the year 1995”.  

    He was not only a talented teacher, but a great science communicator. He wrote reports for the ABC and provided commentary on the first moon landing during the live broadcast of the event on Australian TV, as well as for the following Apollo 12 and 13 missions.

    He also generously gave his time to serve as President of the Australian Optical Society in 1985-86 (now Australian & New Zealand Optical Society or ANZOS) and was Chair of several committees, including the Standards Advisory Committee of the CSIRO National Measurement Laboratories (1985-1995), Research Committee of the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital (1991-2010), and Beam Instrument Advisory Committee for OPAL (1997-2007). A Life Member of ANZOS, he won its Beattie Steele Medal in 2016.

    For his significant contributions to Australian Physics, Prof Klein was named a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 1994 and was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in 1999.

    On a personal front, Prof Klein was known to be a memorable character with a “great sense of humour and a seemingly infinite supply of jokes”, according to the Australian Academy of Science’s tribute to him on social media.

    Many other personal tributes have been posted, including ones from science communicator Dr Shane Huntington OAM: “Many memories of Tony. Nobody taught me optics as well as he did.” and from Prof Deb Kane (Macquarie University): “Profs Klein and Opat were a great duo at AIP congresses. Big and positive personalities.”

    Vale Tony.

    Image credit: Australian Academy of Science.

  • 1 Dec 2021 9:50 AM | Anonymous

    The Australian physics community is saddened by the recent passing of 2020 AIP Fellow Professor Les Kirkup after a short illness.

    His contribution to Australian physics education was outstanding and recognised with a 2014 AIP Education medal.

    Prof Kirkup was an enthusiastic teacher of physics at the higher education level. Originally from the UK, he joined the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) as a lecturer in 1990 and was one of the first to complete its Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Teaching and Learning.

    He was known for his passion for inquiry-based learning of physics, both in laboratories and lectures. This was born of his awareness that students were unsatisfied with ordinary lectures and with following step-by-step lab experiments. So, instead, he advocated interactive, practical lectures. He also encouraged first-year physics students to design and conduct experiments of their own right from the start.

    In 2011, Prof Kirkup’s work on inquiry-oriented learning was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council. Together with former AIP President and current Australian Chief Scientist Cathy Foley, he developed a program that enabled undergraduate students to become familiar with the work and research of CSIRO since, in Prof Kirkup’s words, “the next generation of scientists needs to be introduced to new ideas and innovative ways of thinking as early as possible”.

    Other recognitions of his work include a Carrick Associate Fellowship in 2007 and UTS Medal for Teaching and Research Integration in 2012. Prof Kirkup also wrote many popular textbooks on experimental methods and data analysis.

    After retiring in 2016, Professor Kirkup was still active and committed to improving physics education. Recently, he wrote blogs on the value of peer review for students (here and here).  His recommendations for teaching online physics labs under difficult COVID19 pandemic conditions were featured in the most recent edition of Australian Physics magazine.

    Several personal tributes to Prof Kirkup have been posted on social media, including from Prof Geoffrey Crisp, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Canberra. He said:

    “Les was such a genuine person and had that quiet passion for making things better for students. His sense of humour, humility and generosity of spirit will be remembered by all those that knew him. Our thoughts are with your family Les and we will miss your company and insights.”

    Vale Les.

  • 1 Dec 2021 9:47 AM | Anonymous

    • AIP NSW Awards Presentation luncheon Friday 3 December 2021 at 12pm.

    Quantum physicist and passionate science communicator Professor Andrea Morello has been awarded the 2021 AIP NSW award for Community Outreach to Physics.

    Prof Morello is a Scientia Professor at UNSW and a Program Manager at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T). 

    He is an international leader in the field of quantum computing, having published foundational observational studies of the first electron quantum bit, first nuclear quantum bit and nuclear electric resonance in the journal Nature.

    Prof Morello was given the award for being a relentless advocate of physics outreach in Australia.

    His achievements include creating popular YouTube video series (with over 10 million views) on explaining quantum computing, building quantum computers and quantum phenomena in the world around us.

    Prof Morello has also contributed to several popular science initiatives to engage students and the younger public. These include the National Youth Science Festival, World Science Festival and featuring in the ABC Science ‘elevator’ pitch series.

    He has further engaged the fields of visual and literary arts to reach wider audiences. He has developed visual art based on quantum bits and chaos in collaboration with Prof Paul Thomas (UNSW Art & Design).

    Together with writer Bernard Cohen and funded by Writing NSW, Prof Morello is assisting NSW schools to develop experiential learning activities that combine science and creative writing.

    On the academic front, he also led the development and launch of the world’s first bachelor’s degree in Quantum Engineering at UNSW.

    Other recognition of his work includes being awarded the 2013 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year.

    We congratulate Prof Morello and thank him for his passion for physics and tireless work. We look forward to seeing him at our AIP NSW Awards Presentation luncheon at the Concord Golf Club on Friday 3 December 2021 at 12pm.

    Information contributed by Dr Fred Osman.

  • 1 Dec 2021 9:45 AM | Anonymous

    As reported by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science.

    Exciton Science researchers have used tin mono-sulfide (SnS) nanosheets to create the thinnest X-ray detector ever made, potentially enabling real-time imaging of cellular biology.

    SnS has already shown great promise as a material for use in photovoltaics, field effect transistors and catalysis.

    Now, members of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science, based at Monash University and RMIT University, have shown that SnS nanosheets are also excellent candidates for use as soft X-ray detectors.

    Their research, published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, indicates that SnS nanosheets possess high photon absorption coefficients, allowing them to be used in making ultrathin soft X-ray detectors with high sensitivity and a rapid response time.

    Read the full media release here.

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

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