AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS

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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.

  • 1 Apr 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Financial support for physics Honours students is available at the Australian National University (ANU) Research School of Physics.

    The Research School is offering two opportunities:

    • The Dunbar Physics Honours Scholarship
    • The Love Physics Bursary


    The Dunbar Physics Honours Scholarship is available for students who have applied for a Bachelor of Science, Science (Advanced) or Philosophy Honours program in Physics within the Research School of Physics. Applicants must be Australian/New Zealand citizens (or Australian permanent residents) and have at least a Distinction average.

    The scholarship comes with a stipend of up to $15,000.

    There are two rounds of offers for this scholarship each year: one for commencement in Semester 1, and one for commencement in Semester 2.

    Applications for commencement in Semester 2, 2022 open on 1 Apr.

    • More information on the scholarship can be found here.


    The Love Physics Bursary is available to assist students from regional and remote areas to relocate to Canberra to pursue a physics Honours specialisation.

    Successful applications will receive $2,500 towards their relocation expenses.

    Established in 2015, the bursary is funded by a generous bequest from the late Emeritus Professor John Love.

    Applications for the bursary are open between 1 Oct – 30 Nov.

    • More information on the bursary can be found here.


  • 21 Mar 2022 6:45 PM | Anonymous

    Today, the Australian Senate E&E Committee majority recommended that the Senate does not pass the Australian Research Council Amendment (Ensuring Research Independence) Bill 2018.

    It is unfortunate that the opportunity was lost to bring the Australian system in line with the Haldane Principle of an independent agency, where only the funding rules are defined by the government. This is the case in, for example, the UK, EU, and the US.

    Despite this disappointing outcome, it was good to see the whole research sector united with this vision of research independence.

  • 4 Mar 2022 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    Did you miss the email bulletin for Mar AIP news? Good news – you can read it here.

    Highlights:

    • More than a singular highlight – The 11th Australasian Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation, including 2020 Nobel Prize winner Prof Sir Roger Penrose’s public lecture.
    • Changes to the AIP Constitution passed unanimously – 2022 AIP Annual General Meeting
    • From refugee to theoretical physicist to STEM Ambassador: Professor Tien Kieu #PhysicsGotMeHere
    • Solar terrestrial & space physics: coming in Australian Physics magazine

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


  • 1 Mar 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Report on the 11th Australasian Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation

    ‘From Black-Hole Singularities to Cyclic Cosmology’, a public lecture by Professor Sir Roger Penrose, was one of the highlights of the recent 11th Australasian Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation (ACGRG).

    You can re-watch the lecture online here

    Prof Penrose was jointly awarded the 2020 Physics Nobel Prize with Profs Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for their work on black holes.

    However, he said in his invited lecture, he did not really show “… that black holes are a robust prediction of general relativity, which is what the [Nobel Prize] citation says, but that singularities are”.


    Other lessons on general relativity, gravitation, and teaching science

    The purpose of the ACGRG is to provide a regional forum for members to discuss general relativity, foster collaboration, and promote ideas and insight into the nature of gravity.

    The ACGRG also featured a scientific meeting held at the Hobart Campus of the University of Tasmania (UTAS), 2-4 Feb. 

    The topics of other invited talks ranged from observations of gravitational waves from mergers of neutron-stars, black holes, and novel sources, to using numerical relativity as a tool for cosmology.

    The invited talks can be found and re-watched here.

    Dr Krzysztof Bolejko, AIP Tas Chair, was also elected as President of the Australian Society for General Relativity and Gravitation during the meeting. 

    The third part of the conference, the Science Professional Learning Workshop, brought together scientists and teachers of science at the primary school and high school (Years 11 and 12) levels to discuss the new science curriculum and how best to teach difficult scientific concepts such as ‘wave-particle duality’ to young people.

    Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the workshop was run separately on 2-3 Dec 2021 at the Launceston Campus of UTAS.

    The ACGRG was organised by the AIP Tasmanian Branch and our cognate society, the Australasian Society for General Relativity and Gravitation.


    Photo: 2020 Physics Nobel Prize winner Prof Sir Roger Penrose. Credit – Wikipedia.
  • 1 Mar 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Changes to the Constitution were passed at the Annual General Meeting on 15 Feb to allow the AIP to apply for Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status and to modernise its operations.

    The AGM, held over Zoom, was well-attended with over 40 members present.

    The major amendments to the Constitution were:

    • Changes to the allowed structure of the National Executive team;
    • Changes to enable the AIP to apply for Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status, allowing it to accept tax deductible donations;
    • Modernisation of the operations requirements (e.g. no longer requiring postal mail as the only way to communicate official votes/decisions); and,
    • Compliance with the requirements of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), including the use of more inclusive language.

    You can read the updated Constitution here.

    Other discussion items included our advocacy efforts throughout 2021, and the need for collecting accurate, nationwide, gender statistics for students studying physics at high school and university.

    A big thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to the event!

    An AIP Council meeting was held following the AGM. On the final day of the Council meeting, an updated set of by-laws was voted in. These updated by-laws map to the new Constitution, and reflect the changes made to the modernisation of the Constitution and the AIP’s application for DGR status.

    The mapping of the new Constitution to the old one and the by-laws can be found here.


    Photo: Happy attendees at the online AGM. Screenshot supplied by Trevor Harris.

  • 1 Mar 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    When a recent solar storm knocked 40 of 49 newly-launched SpaceX satellites out of orbit, it demonstrated just how important it is to monitor space weather.

    The upcoming Apr – Jun 2022 edition of Australian Physics magazine (Vol. 59, No. 2) will be a special issue addressing space science, space weather from the sun to the Earth, satellites, and space exploration.

    In this edition:

    ·       Learn about how solar activity generates space weather events that affect Earth’s surrounds and even life on Earth.

    One phenomenon is geomagnetic storms – major disturbances of the Earth’s magnetosphere that can cause changes in the ionosphere and thermosphere, change the shape of the atmosphere, disrupt radio frequency signals, initiate power grid failures, and impact satellites and communication systems.

    ·       Read about how we rely on satellites to monitor space weather and conditions on Earth.

    Satellites also provide essential data about Earth for weather forecasting, climate modelling, resource monitoring, and environmental management. In recent years, the Australian and global satellite communication sector has seen a tremendous expansion, which will grow the global space economy.

    Interested? Make sure your AIP membership is up to date to get access to this special edition of Australian Physics when it comes out. Visit here to renew.

    The Solar, Terrestrial & Space Physics edition is brought to you by the Solar, Terrestrial & Space Physics (STSP) group of the AIP. It focuses on all things ‘space science’ and aims to understand the space environment and its influence on human technology.

  • 1 Mar 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Frontiers of Science Forum on 25 Mar

    Catch up on major discoveries and theories in physics, mathematics, biology, and chemistry at the Frontiers of Science Forum at the Concord Golf Club, Sydney, on Fri 25 Mar.

    The Forum will feature international experts, who will give brief talks on the latest and future developments in their fields of knowledge.

    The Forum will start with refreshments and a welcome by Dr Fred Osman FAIP, followed by the featured talks. It will close with a panel discussion and Q&A with Ian Woolf (Diffusion radio).

    Featured talks include:

    • ‘Building a quantum computing lab from the fundamental constants of nature’, by quantum physicist Prof Andrea Morello (UNSW) - winner of the 2021 AIP NSW Outreach to Physics Award,
    • ‘Beyond the compass: exploring geometric constructions via circle templates and a straightedge’, by mathematician Prof Chris Tisdell (UNSW),
    • ‘From Botanists and Butterflies to Populations and Planets’, by food scientist Prof Johannes le Coutre (UNSW), and;
    • ‘Going small to make big impacts in medicine: nanomedicine’, by nanochemist Prof Martina Stenzel (UNSW).

    The Forum is a joint meeting of the Australian Institute of Physics, the Teacher’s Guild of NSW, the Royal Society of NSW, and the Royal Australian Chemical Institute.

    See here for more information and how to register.

    Registrations close Mon 21 Mar.
  • 1 Mar 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Are you an early career researcher (ECR) and have you worked for less than 10 years in the sciences in Australia? Was your experience different after the COVID-19 pandemic?

    Help inform recommendations for changes to the work environment and workplace culture for ECRs in Australia by participating in a research project exploring the challenges faced by ECRs employed in the sciences in Australia.

    The project is being run by Dr Katherine Christian at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) as a follow-up to her PhD. It will explore some elements of workplace culture in more detail, including comparing experiences shared pre- and post- onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    To make sure the results are truly representative of the ECR experience, Dr Christian is hoping for more responses. She encourages any ECR, including those who took part in the 2019 study, to participate.

    Participate NOW by visiting: https://qsurvey.qut.edu.au/jfe/form/SV_5BGKcYMoKkdwlRs

    The online questionnaire is completely anonymous, participation is voluntary, and you can withdraw at any time without explanation by closing your web browser.

    The questionnaire can be completed at a time that is convenient to you. It should take about 25-30 minutes.

    The survey closes 13 Mar 2022.

    For more information, please email the Principal Investigator A/Prof Mike Doran,  School of Biomedical Sciences and Centre for Biomedical Technologies, QUT.

    Thank you for considering taking part in this research.

  • 1 Mar 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Nominations are now open for the 2022 Early Career Scientist Prize in Computational Physics sponsored by the Commission on Computational Physics (C20) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP).

    Nominees should have a maximum of 8 years research experience following their PhD (as measured on January 1, 2022) and should be the principal researcher of original work of outstanding scientific quality in Computational Physics.

    The prize consists of €1000, a medal, and a certificate.

    The award will be made at the Commission's next International Conference on Computational Physics (IUPAP CCP2022) to be held virtually at the University of Texas at Austin from 31 Jul to 4 Aug 2022.

    The winner will also be invited to present a talk at this meeting.

    Procedures for making a nomination are at https://sites.google.com/view/grigraphene/announce/C20-ECSP-Award/

    Nominations should be emailed to Mei-Yin Chou (mychou6@gate.sinica.edu.tw) by 31 Mar 2022.

    Please direct questions to Mei-Yin Chou (mychou6@gate.sinica.edu.tw).

    Unsuccessful nominations remain active for an additional two years.


  • 3 Feb 2022 12:13 PM | Anonymous

    The AIP welcomes the Australian government’s investment in research and the acknowledgement of its importance for the country.

    Industry-based PhD projects and fellowships at all levels, from early career researchers to research leaders, will foster collaboration between industry and academia to help the translation of research innovations into commercial products.

    The AIP agrees that more needs to be done at the interface between industry and university-based research. At the same time, we are worried about balance and a possible drastic shift in funding. It is important to support both basic and applied research to ensure a pipeline into translation.

    • Read the Prime Minister’s address here.
    • Read press coverage on the issue here.

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

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