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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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  • 25 Nov 2022 2:54 PM | Anonymous

    The National Executive of the Australian Institute of Physics wishes to encourage AIP members and the public to take note of proposed changes to the NSW School Curriculum for the Sciences, and to provide feedback to the NSW Education Standards Authority through their own survey by 5 December.

    The draft syllabus for the year 7-10 high school syllabus for Science and the consultation form can be found on the web pages of the NSW Education Standards Authority at:

    The AIP Executive is concerned by the proposed removal, from the year 7-10 science curriculum, of some fundamental core concepts from the compulsory curriculum items, including some in relation to the solar system and astronomy. 

    For example, "predictable phenomena on the Earth, including day and night, seasons and eclipses are caused by the relative positions of the sun, the Earth and the moon" has been removed. In its place it is proposed to include as an item in the draft syllabus "the observations of different people and/or cultures about the phases of the moon, seasons and tides, and how their conclusions guide them in understanding and interacting with the world".

    The nature of physics, and of science more generally, lies in the pursuit of matters of fact, established through investigations and discourse that follow scientific principles, such as hypothesis testing. Science aims to achieve these goals in an objective manner that is as free from bias as possible in relation to opinion, belief or culture.

    We consider that the heliocentric model, its consequences for the predictable phenomena on earth (incl seasons, eclipses and day-night variations) and other phenomena in astronomy previously included in the syllabus are fundamental physical insights of such everyday relevance that they require explicit inclusion in the curriculum. 

    These concepts have been established as matters of fact, through scientific endeavour over the last few hundred years. In our view they should be taught as such in our nation's high schools' science classes.

    Aside from the above, the AIP Executive also wishes to encourage the physical community across Australia to examine the draft syllabus for rigorous nomenclature consistent with scientific terminology and for the removal of previously included subject matters. Some proposed changes, such as the classification of heat and electricity as forms of kinetic energy (in the classification of “types of energy as either kinetic energy such as movement, heat and electricity, or potential energy such as chemical, elastic and gravitational”), may require clarification or correction.

    Members who wish to provide feedback to the Education department are welcome to refer to this statement. The AIP Executive will aim to also provide direct feedback to the department.

    The consultation survey by the NSW Education Standards Authority closes on 5 December 2022.

  • 24 Nov 2022 11:04 AM | Anonymous

    Congratulations to all recipients of the NSW AIP Awards for their outstanding achievements in physics outreach, postgraduate and graduate studies, and K-12 science.

    • Dr Devika Kamath from Macquarie University (pictured) received the AIP NSW Community Outreach to Physics Award. This award is in its ninth year and is presented to an individual that engages our community and contributes to public engagement within physics. 
    • Yuanming Wang, University of Sydney, School of Physics received the AIP NSW Postgraduate Physics Award.
    • Shankar Dutt, Australian National University, Research School of Physics received the AIP NSW Postgraduate: Royal Society of NSW Jak Kelly Award.

    AIP NSW Annual Postgraduate Awards in Physics are open to nominated postgraduate individuals to compete for the AIP NSW Postgraduate Medal and the Royal Society of NSW Jak Kelly prize. These awards have been created to encourage excellence in postgraduate physics research.

    Receiving AIP NSW Postgraduate Excellence Certificates were:

    • Saurabh Bhardwaj, Macquarie University, School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
    • Giovanni Pierobon, University of New South Wales, School of Physics
    • Ivan Zhigulin, University of Technology Sydney, School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences 
    • Levi Madden, University of Wollongong, School of Physics 
    The NSW Best Graduating Student Prizes acknowledge individuals nominated by each Physics Institution, with superior performance in their studies. Winners were:
    • Armando Perri, University of New South Wales, School of Physics
    • Jay Archer, University of Wollongong, School of Physics
    • Adrien Di Lonardo, University of Technology Sydney, School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

    AIP NSW Most Outstanding Physics K-12 prizes with the Science Teachers Association of NSW Young Scientist Awards

    The branch committee assessed and awarded prizes to the top three projects in the theme “Drones, Droids and Robots”,  which were:

    • First prize: TARS (Year 11-12 project)
    • Second prize: Timmy The Bushfire Rover (Year 5-6 project)
    • Third prize: Robot Hand (Year 3-4 project)

    The Australian Institute of Physics NSW Branch congratulates all recipients for their incredible achievements.

  • 14 Nov 2022 3:15 PM | Anonymous

    The Australian Institute of Physics is delighted to announce the 2022 Award winners.

    We invite all members and associates to congratulate our 2022 Award winners with us. In these awards, we are recognising very talented physicists and congratulate these winners on their achievements and success!

    We also acknowledge all nominees submitted to these awards, as the selection panels have noted it can be very difficult to choose the winner each year.

    We also acknowledge our selection panels, who are volunteers providing extensive expertise from a range of backgrounds in order to make these very difficult decisions.

    Please congratulate our winners!

    Bragg Gold Medal – Dr Sebastian Wolf

    (The University of Melbourne)

    For the Thesis Titled:

    Weak Coupling Renormalization Group Approach to Unconventional Superconductivity in 2D Lattice Systems

    Education Medal  - Dr John Elias Debs

    (The Australian National University)

    For his ability to effect cultural change and enhance learning for students from a range of backgrounds through a blended approach comprising inquiry-based learning, hands-on design, building and making, and encouragement of independent and critical thinking. Dr Debs was instrumental in the design and implementation of the Mike Gore Centre for Physics Education at ANU, comprising innovative learning spaces, most significantly the transformative ‘ANU MakerSpace’. Born out of a physics approach, the ANU MakerSpace has influenced students and staff across ANU, leading to changes in pedagogy, and unique interdisciplinary experiences for a growing membership of now over 2400 people.

    Harrie Massey Medal – Emeritus Professor Jim S. Williams

    (Australian National University)

    For pioneering and sustained contributions to condensed matter physics, materials physics and ion beam physics, as well as leadership to Physics.

    Physics Communication Award - Professor Geraint F. Lewis

    (Sydney Institute for Astronomy, School of Physics, The University of Sydney)

    For an international program of speaking, interviews and writing. Professor Geraint Lewis's expansive program of outreach brings his passion for the mysteries of the universe, from the subatomic to the cosmological and beyond, to diverse audiences around the globe.

    Ruby Payne-Scott Award - Professor Phiala Shanahan

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

    For key insights into the structure and interactions of hadrons and nuclei using numerical and analytical methods and pioneering the use of machine learning techniques in lattice quantum field theory calculations in particle and nuclear physics.

    Thomas H Laby Medal - Katherine Curtis

    (The Australian National University)

    For the Thesis Titled:

    Nuclear Pairing and Superfluidity from a Quark Model

    Walter Boas Medal – Distinguished Professor Susan M. Scott

    (The Australian National University)

    For her outstanding leadership in the development of the field of gravitational wave science, and continues to advance the fields of general relativity and cosmology. Professor Scott’s most recent research further advances her contributions to the LIGO international collaboration, including her role in establishing Australian participation in gravitational wave data analysis.

    Women in Leadership Medal - Professor Celine Boehm

    (The University of Sydney)

    For her excellence in academic research and leadership of large international collaborations, for her distinguished role in shaping astroparticle physics research in Australia, exemplary academic mentorship and her outstanding performance as a Head of School, which resulted in an inclusive, supportive and transparent workplace environment in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney and, notably, a significant increase in the number of female academics and professional staff and mid and early career researchers in leadership roles.

    We congratulate these award winners on their achievements!

  • 3 Nov 2022 9:21 AM | Anonymous
    In recognition of outstanding achievements in community outreach to physics, the AIP NSW Branch congratulates Dr Devika Kamath, Senior Lecturer in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Macquarie University on winning the 2022 NSW Community Outreach to Physics Award.

    About Devika's work:

    Dr Devika Kamath is a Stellar Astrophysicist and a Senior Lecturer at Macquarie University (MQ). She is internationally recognised for her work on observational studies of dying stars and was awarded the ARC DECRA fellowship (2019) for tackling a long-standing question in astrophysics: ‘How are chemical elements in the Universe produced?’. Devika is a vigorous leader in STEM outreach who uses her research and physics background as a pathfinder to encourage young people into STEM careers.

    Her outreach activities are interdisciplinary and focus on various age groups. They are based not only on her research (e.g., “Romancing the Stars”, Live for Vivid Sydney – ABC Ockham’s Razor 2019; The night sky with Sydney Observatory 2019-present) but also on fields such as modern physics (e.g., her piece on “How time is relative” for ABC Science 2020, 626K views), and big-data-sciences (e.g., her involvement as panellist for the Big-Data-Science webinar for Australasian Leadership Computing Symposium).

    When events such as Vivid Sydney and National Science Week were compromised due to COVID (2020/2021), Devika initiated “MQ Space Travels” - a new Live Streaming Series intertwining astronomy with state-of-the art technology and story-telling. This event not only engaged the community, locally and globally, but also provided students with experience in science communication and outreach, reflecting on Devika’s inclination for mentoring and promoting students.

    Physics and astrophysics struggle to advance gender and cultural equity. Devika has made notable impacts by leveraging her research to improve student uptake of STEM subjects via dedicated outreach and mentoring events targeted at primary/high school students. One of her initiatives includes designing (from scratch) a collaboration with the Girls’ Day by Goethe- Institut-Australien (years:7,8), which provides students from several schools in NSW with the opportunity to visit MQ for one day to ‘experience University’ and research oriented- STEM activities, and to interact with female STEM leaders.

    She also strives to bring a taste of ‘university’ to regional areas by engaging with students and families from low socio-economic backgrounds. A highlight includes her lead role in the NSW Upper Hunter Region roadshow (Nov 2019), where they engaged with ~1000 people over five days, including students, teachers, parents, the community and local politicians. Devika has established connections with Aurora College – the NSW Department of Education’s virtual school, providing students in rural and remote communities with the opportunity to connect locally and learn globally. A highlight includes 5 Aurora College Masterclasses in Astronomy and Astrophysics (May 2021, years:7-12).

    Currently, as a 2022 Sydney Observatory Resident (one of the 8 out of ~110 applicants), Devika has initiated a new project: ‘Seeing Our Universe Through Cultural Lenses’, which brings to the forefront modern scientific breakthroughs in astronomy and astrophysics that hold interesting nexuses to ancient cultures. Outcomes will be presented through talks and visual mediums, thereby celebrating cultural diversity in science.

    The above represents only a fraction of her dedication to outreach and community engagement. Her passion for her subject is instantly apparent in every presentation she delivers. Young women (and men) considering science careers could not have a stronger role model.

    Dr Devika Kamath contributions and passion for physics makes her a very worthy recipient of the 2022 NSW Community Outreach to Physics Award from the New South Wales Branch of the Australian Institute of Physics.

    The award will be presented on 8 November at the 2022 NSW AIP Awards Ceremony

    All are welcome to attend: 

    Date: Tuesday 8 November 2022

    Venue: Concord Golf Club, 190 Majors Bay Road Concord, NSW

    Postgraduate Nominee presentations from 10.00am

    Presentation of Postgraduate Award winner, Royal Society of NSW Jak Kelly Prize, and Community Outreach to Physics Award from 1.00pm

    This event is proudly sponsored by the Australian Institute of Physics NSW Branch, The Royal Australian Chemical Institute and The Royal Society of New South Wales.

  • 31 Oct 2022 8:12 PM | Anonymous

    Members of the Tasmanian Branch of the Australian Institute of Physics are invited to attend the upcoming Annual General Meeting on Thursday 24 November at 5pm, Physics Lecture Theatre 1, University of Tasmania.

    The AGM will be followed by a public lecture at 6pm. The public lecture will be delivered by Professor David Jamieson (University of Melbourne) and is titled "Physics of life: what do the laws of physics say?" 

    The public lecture will be followed by the annual dinner. Members and partners are warmly invited.

    RSVP to by Friday 18 November.

  • 31 Oct 2022 8:03 PM | Anonymous

    Early detection of Alzheimer’s, exploring the invisible, extreme time-domain phenomena, and more

    The NSW Australian Institute of Physics Branch would like to congratulate the 2022 postgraduate nominees on their accepted presentation titles and abstracts for the upcoming Annual AIP NSW Postgraduate Awards event on Tuesday 8 November 2022 at the Concord Golf Club, 190 Majors Bay Road commencing from 10 am sharp.

    Each presenter will have the opportunity to compete for the AIP NSW Postgraduate Medal and the Royal Society of NSW Jak Kelly prize. Everyone is welcome to attend the free event to support the presenters.

    The awards program includes abstracts and times of all the presenters for the upcoming event. The presenters are asked to make a 20-minute presentation on their postgraduate research in Physics, and the presentation will be judged on the criteria (1) content and scientific quality, (2) clarity and (3) presentation skills as included in the judges’ criteria.

    The Postgraduate Award nominees are:

    Saurabh BHARDWAJ, Macquarie University, School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences

    Femtosecond laser inscribed point-by-point Bragg gratings in few- mode optical fibre

    Yuanming WANG, University of Sydney, School of Physics

    Studying extreme time-domain phenomena with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder

    Giovanni PIEROBON, University of New South Wales, School of Physics

    Exploring the invisible: axion dark matter in the galaxy

    Shankar DUTT Australian National University, Research School of Physics

    Sensing one molecule at a time: A pathway to personalized healthcare and early detection of Alzheimer’s and MS

    Ivan ZHIGULIN, University of Technology Sydney, School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences

    Revealing the nature of blue quantum emitters in hexagonal Boron Nitride via the Stark effect

    Levi MADDEN, University of Wollongong, School of Physics

    Optical dosimeters for radiotherapy with MRI-LINACs

    Event Schedule:

    Date: Tuesday 8 November 2022

    Venue: Concord Golf Club, 190 Majors Bay Road Concord, NSW

    Postgraduate Nominee presentations from 10.00am

    Presentation of Postgraduate Award winner, Royal Society of NSW Jak Kelly Prize, and Community Outreach to Physics Award from 1.00pm.

    All welcome.

    This event is proudly sponsored by the Australian Institute of Physics NSW Branch, The Royal Australian Chemical Institute and The Royal Society of New South Wales.

  • 31 Oct 2022 4:16 PM | Anonymous

    What is expanding space?  What came before the big bang?  Is there an edge to space?  What’s beyond the horizon of a black hole? What can the amazing images from the James Webb Space Telescope tell us?

    Join Professor Tamara Davis, astrophysicist at the University of Queensland (and AIP’s 2011 Women In Physics Lecturer) to discuss these questions and more at her upcoming public lecture Cosmological Conundrums and the Dark Side of the Universe, delivered as part of the 2022 AIP Congress in Adelaide.

    “When I'm having a chat with family and friends these are the questions I’m asked.  So, upgrade your repertoire for cocktail party conversation by learning about these and other cosmological conundrums,” says Professor Davis.

    In this talk, you’ll dive deeply into the foundations of our cosmological model, and hear the latest updates on dark energy, black holes, and gravitational waves.

    12 December 7:30-8:30 PM, Adelaide Convention Centre. Register via Eventbrite.

  • 31 Oct 2022 3:44 PM | Anonymous

    Adelaide Convention Centre

    The program for the 24th AIP Congress – 11 to 16 December at the Adelaide Convention Centre – is now live on the Congress website.

    Have you registered your spot at the Congress yet? Registrations are open until Friday 2 December 2022.

    Register here.

    We have a full schedule, with 10 plenary talks across the five days from high-profile speakers spanning the broad interests of the Congress, two poster sessions, and public lecture by Tamara Davis Cosmological Conundrums and the Dark Side of the Universe on Monday evening.

    Plus, plenty of networking opportunities including a Congress dinner on Wednesday evening, a diversity breakfast on Tuesday morning, and a high tea focused on physics education.

    Three sessions targeted to high-school teachers are also included in the program.

    See the full program for further details. The program will continue to be updated over the coming weeks.

  • 28 Oct 2022 4:11 PM | Anonymous

    First Australian recipient

    The prestigious Blaise Pascal Medal for Physics 2022 has been awarded to Distinguished Professor Susan Scott FAIP of ANU for her work over three decades, including discoveries in general relativity, cosmology and gravitational wave science.

    Reporting on the Award, Marion Rae from Australian Associated Press, wrote:

    ‘A theoretical physicist who studies ripples in space that span billions of years is the first Australian to be awarded the prestigious Blaise Pascal science medal.

    The Australian National University’s Susan Scott has won the 2022 medal for physics from the European Academy of Sciences, which recognises the work of the world’s best scientists.

    “I am the first Australian, and Australian woman, to be awarded this medal, so this is a tremendous honour,” Professor Scott said.

    Her work is spurring powerful advances in quantum, laser and optical technology.

    She said she hopes the award inspires the next generation of women scientists in Australia and internationally.

    “Throughout most of my career, in general relativity theory and gravitational wave science, there have been so few women, particularly in Australia,” Prof Scott told AAP from Brussels.

    “We really need to change that because we’re just missing out on so much talent.”

    She wants women and girls to know they can follow their dreams of being scientists and making discoveries.

    “It’s an incredibly fulfilling thing to do and it’s very important to me that I do have this mentorship role – for young women scientists and generally to our students and early career researchers,” she said.

    Prof Scott was part of an international team that detected gravitational waves, proving Albert Einstein’s theory on general relativity.

    “At the time, many people thought Einstein’s theory of general relativity from 1915 was very esoteric and would probably never have any use or purpose,” she said.

    “Now we all use GPS in everyday life – I was using it yesterday to navigate around Brussels. It’s taken 100 years, but it’s a flow-on effect from his theory.”

    The academy citation recognises her “ground-breaking discoveries in general relativity, cosmology and gravitational wave science” spanning more than three decades.

    “She played a leading role in Australia’s participation in the first detection of gravitational waves in 2015 and the development of the field of gravitational wave science in Australia following on from that discovery,” the academy said.

    Gravitational waves are ripples in space and time caused by massive cosmic events, including the collisions of black holes.’

    Read the full story as reported by Marion Rae, Australian Associated Press

  • 3 Oct 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    On 14th of September Prof Michael Brunger FAIP passed away. His friends, colleagues and the College of Science and Engineering have received this news with great sadness.

    Prof Michael Brunger has been a valued member of Flinders University for four decades, having completed his Bachelor of Science at Flinders in 1981, followed by Honours (1st class) in 1982 and later his PhD in 1988.

    Michael had an esteemed academic career, starting as a Rothmans Foundation Research Fellow at ANU from 1989-1991. Michael then took up a QEII Fellowship at Flinders in 1991, where he moved through the ranks to become Professor of Physics for the past 15 years, retiring only recently. Michael’s contributions both to Flinders University and the wider research community were recognised last week when he was awarded the prestigious title of Emeritus Professor.

    Michael specialised in atomic and molecular physics, where he focused on electron and positron collisions and their applications. He was a highly regarded international researcher, having published more than 350 refereed papers, and being recognised through Fellowships of the Australian Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society and the Institute of Physics (UK).

    He also served our community on the Australian Research Council College of Experts and as a member of the ARC ERA research evaluation committee for several rounds. He has mentored numerous PhD students, many of whom have gone on to receive prestigious international fellowships and positions around the globe. Michael has had a significant impact on Flinders, through his high-quality research, administration, and service, and as a proud Union member, being NTEU Flinders University Branch President.

    Michael will be remembered by his smile and humour, his sharp thinking and pointed comments as well as his enthusiasm, kindness, generosity, and friendliness, and last but not least, his hat and sneakers. Michael will be missed by his many friends and colleagues.

    This tribute was written by his colleagues:
    Prof Stephen Buckman
    Prof Igor Bray
    Prof Sarah Harmer
    Dr Darryl Jones
    Dr Laurence Campbell
    Prof Gunther Andersson.

    Photo credit: supplied by the authors.

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