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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 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

  • 1 Jul 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Join us for our first inaugural joint Presidents’ Dinner between the NSW branches of the AIP and the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) in an evening of celebration, networking, and recognition.

    2022 Annual AIP and RACI Presidents’ Dinner

    Date: Friday 12 Aug

    Venue: Concord Golf Club, 190 Majors Road, Concord

    Our members and guests will be treated to a generous 3-course meal at a discounted* rate and a line-up of exceptional presenters, including:

    • Dr Cathy Foley AO PSM, Australia’s Chief Scientist
    • Dr Helen Cartledge, Director, The Maritime Autonomous & Remote Underwater Systems at Australian Government Department of Defence
    • Dr Adam Martin, 2019/2020 Nyholm Youth Lecturer, Director of Chemistry at PYC Therapeutics, Perth

    The RACI and AIP have a growing history of joint events bringing together exceptional speakers providing our members and guests with informative talks and stimulating conversation in a relaxed and social environment. 

    *AIP members will need to setup an account on the RACI webpage and apply a discount code to their cart when placing their order. The AIP discount code is 22AIPMEMDISC when registering themselves and partners.

    Further information included in this flyer.

    We look forward to seeing you and your guest for this special occasion!
  • 1 Jul 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    The physics community is saddened by the passing of Professor Robert ‘Bob’ Crompton AM FAA, who was our former AIP President (1993-94) and an Honorary Fellow.

    Bob was one of our earliest members (#11), having transferred from the British institute of Physics nearly 60 years ago.

    A keen physicist from a young age, Bob had a happy childhood playing with Meccano sets and building electric motors to power gramophones, clocks, and his toys. He went on to undertake a cadetship at the University of Adelaide, where he would use his love for building things to make equipment such as an automated Wilson cloud chamber for the physics laboratory. He graduated in 1949 with honours.

    Afterwards, Bob became one of the first students at the University of Adelaide to undertake a PhD in physics and graduated in 1954. His thesis focused on collisions between electrons and gas molecules. He again made use of his practical skills by glassblowing his own equipment and building his own research apparatus. While at the university, he also lectured in physics between 1950 and 1960, eventually forming a small research group.

    In 1961, Bob transferred his research group to the newly formed Research School of Physical Sciences at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. His group grew and became world-renowned for electron swarm physics - in particular, for investigating the behaviour of electrons when they collide and rebound from gas molecules. Bob remained with ANU until he retired in 1991.

    Bob’s achievements were recognised with several awards throughout his career, including his appointment as a Member of Australia in 1999 for his services to science and the community. He was elected Fellow also of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS; in 1979), the American Physical Society (1995), and the British Institute of Physics.

    Throughout his career, he served in many professional organisations, including as the ACT Branch Chair of the AIP (1973-74), Chair of the Australian Journals of Scientific Research Board (1982-87), and Member of the National Committee for Physics at AAS (1969-76) as well as its Chair (1976-1979).

    • Read more on his Bob’s life and career here.


    Tributes to Bob from our members and colleagues

    Professor Anthony Thomas FAIP (University of Adelaide) remembers Bob as a ‘very good president of the AIP’ along with memories of his other contributions and that he was a ‘delightful person’.

    Of Bob's passing, Immediate Past President Jodie Bradby said: “Sad news. The Helen and Bob Crompton endowment set up at ANU Physics has supported PhD student travel for years. He was the kindest man who always had a moment for a chat.”

    Stuart Midgely remembers Bob's encouragement of young physicists: "This is indeed very sad. Bob was a great man who did wonders for students and aspiring physicists through his work with the physics Olympiad."

    Colin Taylor said: "When Bob passed, the world lost a giant of physics and an extraordinary human."

    Anna Binnie remembers Bob's leadership and kindness:

    "Bob was one of nature's true gentlemen. He was always supportive & encouraging of students. He was especially supportive of establishing the Women in Physics Group in the AIP.

    He was the first Chair of the Australian Science Olympiad. He felt that a teacher on the Board of the Australian Science Olympiads would provide input on student welfare and support. To this end he invited me to join the Board. In its early days, Bob would personally collect me from the airport and Helen, his wife, used to provide us with sandwiches at lunch time. In those days we met at the ANU. I shall especially miss him.”

    We send our condolences to Bob’s family and friends. Vale Bob, you will be missed.


    Photo: Credit - AAS.

  • 1 Jun 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    As reported by the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration.

    Astronomers have unveiled the first image of the supermassive black hole at the centre of our own Milky Way galaxy. This result provides overwhelming evidence that the object is indeed a black hole and yields valuable clues about the workings of such giants, which are thought to reside at the centre of most galaxies. The image was produced by a global research team called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration, using observations from a worldwide network of radio telescopes.

    The image is a long-anticipated look at the massive object that sits at the very centre of our galaxy. Scientists had previously seen stars orbiting around something invisible, compact, and very massive at the centre of the Milky Way. This strongly suggested that this object — known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*, pronounced "sadge-ay-star") — is a black hole, and today’s image provides the first direct visual evidence of it.

    Although we cannot see the black hole itself, because it is completely dark, glowing gas around it reveals a telltale signature: a dark central region (called a “shadow”) surrounded by a bright ring-like structure. The new view captures light bent by the powerful gravity of the black hole, which is four million times more massive than our Sun.

    “We were stunned by how well the size of the ring agreed with predictions from Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity," said EHT Project Scientist Geoffrey Bower from the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Academia Sinica, Taipei. "These unprecedented observations have greatly improved our understanding of what happens at the very centre of our galaxy and offer new insights on how these giant black holes interact with their surroundings.” The EHT team's results are being published today in a special issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    Because the black hole is about 27,000 light-years away from Earth, it appears to us to have about the same size in the sky as a donut on the Moon. To image it, the team created the powerful EHT, which linked together eight existing radio observatories across the planet to form a single “Earth-sized” virtual telescope. The EHT observed Sgr A* on multiple nights, collecting data for many hours in a row, similar to using a long exposure time on a camera.

    The breakthrough follows the EHT collaboration’s 2019 release of the first image of a black hole, called M87*, at the centre of the more distant Messier 87 galaxy. 

    Read the full media release here.
  • 1 Jun 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    More than 20 specialist topic streams & special events

    • Submit abstracts for the 24th AIP Congress here.

    Register now and get the most out of attending this year’s AIP Congress in Adelaide from 11 – 16 Dec by attending networking events, practical workshops, a pitchfest and more.

    Not only does the program feature 20 specialist topic streams in physics, the Congress will also be hosting a range of special events in which you can actively participate – no need to just sit and listen to talks all day!

    The Congress is co-locating with the 7th International Workshop on Speciality Optical Fibres (WSOF), a technical workshop and exhibition focused on advances and innovations in speciality optical fibres and their applications. You’ll get the chance to be involved in a tutorial, one-on-one discussions, listen to talks, and see the latest product offerings from industrial partners. 

    Other special events associated with the Congress program* include the:

    • Army Quantum Technology Workshop; hear the latest in the Army’s interests and intentions in quantum technology, as well as build collaborations and workshop ideas with the Army to help gain and retain a quantum advantage

    • Army Quantum Next Generation Pitchfest; learn how Australia’s talented postgraduate students, early career researchers and early-stage start-up entrepreneurs will tackle current quantum technology challenges

    • Physics Education-themed High Tea; listen to a keynote presentation and discuss the nexus between high school physics teaching and university physics courses

    • Diversity and Equity Group in Australian Physics (DE-GAP) Breakfast; get involved in a networking session, keynote presentation, and breakfast
       
    • Conference on Optoelectronic and Microelectronic Materials and Devices (COMMAD);  discuss developments in semiconductors, including microelectronic and optoelectronic materials, as well as nanoscale and quantum technologies

    • Precision and Quantum Sensing Workshop (PQS2022); discuss with researchers and industry experts applications of precision quantum sensing, including in defence

    *Please ensure that you indicate to attend these special events when you register.

    There will also be two associated workshops occurring before the Congress:

    • Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) Workshop: fabricating photonic and optical components
    • Workshop on 3D Printing of Photonics Materials


    More info on the Congress

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

    It will be co-locating with the Australian and New Zealand Conference on Optics and Photonics (ANZCOP) in addition to the Workshop of Specialty Optical Fibres (WSOF).

    Submission of abstracts is openuntil 15 Jul and registration is open until 2 Dec.

    Please visit the official Congress website for regular updates.


  • 1 Jun 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Physicists well-represented in the recent announcement of 2022 Fellows

    Three physicists have been announced as 2022 Fellows, including an astronomer, an applied physicist, and an astrophysicist.

    “Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science are among the nation’s most distinguished scientists, elected by their peers for ground-breaking research and contributions that have had clear impact,” says Professor Chennupati Jagadish FAIP, President of the Australian Academy of Science, nanotechnologist and materials scientist.

    22 new Fellows were elected this year. Half were women, the first time that gender parity has been achieved in the annual election of new Fellows. 

    The newly elected physicists are:

    • Prof Marcela Bilek (University of Sydney); who develops environmentally-friendly, plasma-based processes to make new materials and modify surfaces of materials. She was previously involved in making a hydrogel that improves how manufactured implants attach to surrounding tissue.

    • Prof Matthew Bailes (Swinburne University): who develops instruments, including a supercomputer for detecting pulsars and mysterious fast radio bursts from space. He’s the director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery and founded the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University in 1998.

    • Prof Naomi McClure-Griffiths (Australian National University); for furthering our understanding about how the Milky Way and neighbouring galaxies evolved by studying their interstellar gas and magnetic fields. She’s a co-principal investigator of two large observational surveys underway with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP).

    Read the media release from the Academy: https://www.science.org.au/news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/two-firsts-academy-announces-2022-fellows?TW

    Photo credit: Australian Academy of Science

  • 1 Jun 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    2022 Early Career Women in STEMM writing workshop

    Early career women in STEMM are invited to register for a free workshop aimed at strengthening their scientific writing and critical thinking skills.

    The AIP is a proud co-sponsor of the workshop, which is designed to increase the number of female academics in STEMM-related departments by providing training and mentorship that they might not have at their home institutions.

    The program features writing sessions as well as panel sessions and opportunities for Q & A with nine high-profile academic mentors.

    Attendees will also benefit from keynote presentations from senior mentors, including Professor Chennupati Jagadish FAIP (President of the Australian Academy of Science) and Professor Julie Cairney (The University of Sydney’s Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research – Enterprise and Engagement, and CEO of Microscopy Australia).

    The workshop will be held at The University of Sydney on 28 – 30 Sep 2022.

    Applications for the workshop close 11:55pm 31 Aug.

    The cost of registration and catering will be covered by the event sponsorship.

    Successful applicants will be notified 5 Sep.

    Visit the workshop webpage here for more details and how to register.


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

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