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 Feb 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    As reported by Science in Public.

    An atomic array in silicon paves the way for large-scale devices

    A University of Melbourne-led team have perfected a technique for embedding single atoms in a silicon wafer one-by-one.

    Their technology offers the potential to make quantum computers using the same methods that have given us cheap and reliable conventional devices containing billions of transistors.

    “We could ‘hear’ the electronic click as each atom dropped into one of 10,000 sites in our prototype device. Our vision is to use this technique to build a very, very large-scale quantum device,” says Professor David Jamieson of The University of Melbourne, lead author of the Advanced Materials paper describing the process.

    His co-authors are from UNSW Sydney, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), Leibniz Institute of Surface Engineering (IOM), and RMIT Microscopy and Microanalysis Facility.

    “We believe we ultimately could make large-scale machines based on single-atom quantum bits by using our method and taking advantage of the manufacturing techniques that the semiconductor industry has perfected,” he says.

    Read the full media release.

  • 1 Feb 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    As reported by Science in Public.

    UNSW Sydney-led research paves the way for large silicon-based quantum processors for real-world manufacturing and application.

    Australian researchers have proven that near error-free quantum computing is possible, paving the way to build silicon-based quantum devices compatible with current semiconductor manufacturing technology.

    “Today’s publication in Nature shows our operations were 99 per cent error-free,” says Professor Andrea Morello of UNSW, who led the work, with partners in the US, Japan, Egypt, UTS and the University of Melbourne.

    “When the errors are so rare, it becomes possible to detect them and correct them when they occur. This shows that it is possible to build quantum computers that have enough scale, and enough power, to handle meaningful computation. This piece of research is an important milestone on the journey that will get us there,” Prof. Morello says.

    Morello’s paper is one of three published in Nature that independently confirm that robust, reliable quantum computing in silicon is now a reality. This breakthrough features on the front cover of the journal (Vol. 601, Issue 7893, 20 Jan).

    Read the full media release.

  • 1 Feb 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    * Dates and locations for the public lectures to be announced soon

    The AIP is delighted to announce Associate Professor Katarina Miljkovic (Curtin University) as the winner of the 2022 Women in Physics Lectureship.

    She is a planetary scientist with expertise in numerical and experimental impact physics and a passionate advocate for studying science.

    The title of Professor Miljkovic’s proposed public lecture is ‘Impact physics in planetary science’.

    It was only during the mid-20th century that impact craters on Earth were confirmed as originating from rocks which arose in outer space. Since then, space missions have brought back data from similar phenomena affecting the crusts of other planetary bodies. These impact events play a key element in planetary evolution, including that of Earth.

    In her lectures, Prof Miljkovic will outline her modelling work on impact processes, cratering mechanics and shock physics applied to geological materials. She will further discuss how her numerical modelling compares with data from space missions such as NASA’s GRAIL and InSight.

    Prof Miljkovic joined Curtin University in 2015 under a Curtin Research Fellowship. She now teaches in the Advanced Science degree there. She is also currently an Australian Research Council Fellow.

    Prior to joining Curtin, she graduated from the University of Belgrade in 2006 in astrophysics and obtained her PhD from the Open University in the UK in 2010. She has held postdoctoral roles at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, Institute de Physique du Globe de Paris in France, and Imperial College London in UK.

    Prof Miljkovic has won several competitive awards, including an ARC DECRA Fellowship, an Australian L'Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science Fellowship and a WA Tall Poppy Young Scientist of the Year award.

    The Women in Physics Lecture Tour celebrates the contribution of women to advances in physics. Lecturers offer presentations, including school lectures, public lectures and research colloquia, in Canberra and each of the six Australian State capital cities and surrounding regions.

    The 2021 winner of the Lectureship was medical physicist Associate Professor Susanna Guatelli (University of Wollongong).

    Photo credit: supplied by Katarina Miljkovic.

  • 1 Feb 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    For their exceptional contributions to the furtherance of Physics as a discipline, we have recognised both Emeritus Professor Bruce McKellar (University of Melbourne) AC FAIP and Dr Marc Duldig (University of Tasmania) FAIP with a 2021 AIP Award for Outstanding Service to Physics in Australia.


    A pioneer on many fronts

    Prof McKellar won the Award for his service and leadership in the Australian and international physics community.

    Throughout his career, Prof McKellar held several roles that actively facilitated physics research, policy development and collaboration in Australia as well as internationally, particularly within the Asia-Pacific region.

    He was a founding member of the Australian Research Council (ARC), helping establish and develop the institution. He was its Chair for the Chemical, Mathematical and Physical Sciences Panel from 1988-1990.

    On the international front, he was the first Australian and the first representative from the Southern Hemisphere to become President of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics 2014.

    He chaired the Asia-Pacific regional committee of the International Council for Science (2009-2011) and Australia and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science (1992-1998).

    Prof McKellar was a theoretical particle physicist who studied weak interactions and published a seminal paper on three nucleon forces known as the ‘Tucson-Melbourne’ force. His excellence in research was recognised by the AIP with a Walter Boas Medal in 1992 and Harrie Massey Medal and Prize in 2006.

    Elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 1987, Prof McKellar later served in varied roles within the Physical Sciences arm of the academy including secretary and Vice President. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (UK) and the American Physical Society.

    A list of Prof McKellar’s career roles can be found here.


    A stellar effort

    Dr Duldig won the Award for tireless service to the Australian Institute of Physics and the wider Physics community.

    He was the AIP President from 2011-2013, Vice President from 2009-2011 and Treasurer from 2007-2009.

    Dr Duldig was an astrophysicist and worked for more than 30 years with the Australian Antarctic Division, studying the bombardment of the Earth with cosmic rays using neutron monitor and muon detector telescope networks.

    One line of research he was interested in was ‘space weather’ - what he described as ‘the impact that variations in the space environment have on us and our technology’. 

    Dr Duldig was involved in the establishment of the Global Muon Detector Network with international collaborators. With telescopes in Nagoya, Hobart, Brazil and Kuwait, the network allows for global coverage to monitor space weather, including the early detection of solar storms.

    In addition to his research, he served on various committees and boards. As part of Science and Technology Australia (2011-2013), he was the board member representing Physical Sciences and a member of the executive.  

    He was a board member of the Asia Pacific Physical Societies (2010-2013) and member of the National Committee for Antarctic Research of the Australian Academy of Science (2012-2014).

    After retiring in 2011, he still found time to establish an international team to run a cosmic ray physics facility at the Mawson Base in Antarctica, in which he remains involved. He is also still active as a member of the Tasmanian Radiation Advisory Council, and is the long-term joint secretary of the Astronomical Society of Australia – a position he has held for more than 37 years!

    The AIP warmly thanks Prof McKellar and Dr Duldig for their excellent service to the physics community.

    Photo credits: supplied by the researchers.

  • 1 Feb 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    We are thrilled to announce the following winners of our competitive Medals, honouring the brilliant work of Australian physicists:

    2021 Walter Boas Medal Professor Howard Wiseman (Griffith University)

    For elucidating fundamental limits arising from quantum theory, in particular in its applications to metrology and laser science, and via its implications for the foundations of reality.

    This Medal aims to promote excellence in physics research and perpetuate the name of metallurgist and physicist Walter Boas.

    2021 Bragg Gold Medal Dr Timothy Gray (Australian National University)

    For the thesis entitled: Electromagnetic Moments and Emerging Nuclear Collectivity near Z = 50

    This Medal recognises the most outstanding physics PhD thesis by an Australian University student.

    It was named after Sir Lawrence Bragg and his father Sir William Bragg, who jointly won the Nobel Prize for their work in x-ray crystallography .

    2021 TH Laby Medal - Ethan Payne (Monash University)

    For the thesis entitled: Probing the Universe through gravitational waves

    This Medal commerates physicist and chemist Thomas Howell Laby and is given to the best Honours or Masters thesis from an Australian University student.

    We congratulate the award winners on their achievements – well done!

  • 1 Feb 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    The AIP acknowledges the tireless work of our 2019-2021 selection panel members.  Selecting winners can be a long and difficult task; we thank them for their work behind the scenes.

    The contributers are: Ann Roberts, Anton Tadich, Catherine Stampfl, Ceri Brenner, Daniel Langley, David Jamieson, David Ottaway, Fred Osman, Geraint Lewis, Hans Bachor, Helen Maynard-Casely, Ian McArthur, Ilya Shadrivov, Jarryd Pla, Joan Vaccaro, Karen Siu, Katie Auchettle, Maria Parappilly, Matthew Arnold, Pegah Maasoumi, Peter Jarvis, Peter Veitch, Sarah Brough, Susanna Guatelli, Till Weinhold, Tony Williams, Tracy Slatyer, Victoria Coleman.

    Additional thanks to our Branch Committee members, who who are involved in State level selection of the Bragg Gold Medal and the TH Laby Medal, and the IOP Harrie Massey UK selection committee.

    If you are interested in being involved in helping determine the awards winners and honours, please get in touch with us.  Selection committees are chosen based on experience, international standing, gender diversity, national diversity and subject matter.
  • 1 Feb 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    As reported by the Australian National University (ANU).

    ANU pays tribute to science pioneer and educator Mike Gore

    The Australian National University (ANU) and the wider science community is mourning the loss of passionate science educator and visionary, Questacon founder and ANU physics lecturer Professor Michael Gore AO.

    Driven by a desire to share his love of science with others and a determination to make science fun, Professor Gore was integral in shaping the science communication landscape in Australia.

    It was his love of teaching and attitude toward science - a recognition that science is best communicated through hands-on and experimental learning - that led to the creation of Australia's first interactive science centre, Questacon. His vision was to provide a fun and educational experience to inspire young Australians and the general public to pursue a career in the sciences.

    ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt says Professor Gore inspired us all to dream big and think beyond the limitations of what's possible.

    "Professor Gore's passion for science and teaching was infectious. He never stopped wanting to empower and encourage others through science and he will be dearly missed by so many," Professor Schmidt says.

    "His work promoting greater awareness of science through a unique lens, a belief that we should approach science with curiosity, wonder and fun, has inspired generations of Australians to pursue their dreams."

    Professor Joan Leach, Director of the Australian National Centre for Public Awareness of Science(CPAS), says the passing of Professor Gore left a gaping hole in the Australian and international science community.

    "From a hands-on set of exhibits at the ANU School of Physics to an enlarged space at Ainslie Primary School to the fabulous new building in the Parliamentary Triangle, Mike was determined that Australia was going to be on the leading edge of a new way of communicating science publicly," Professor Leach says.

    In 2015, Professor Gore was made an officer of the Order of Australia for his service to science communication. He was awarded the 2001 AIP Outstanding Service to Physics in Australia Award and in 2006, the Academy Medal from the Australian Academy of Science.

    Read the full tribute here.

    Photo credit: ANU.
  • 1 Feb 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Last year’s 2021 AIP Summer Meeting was the most attended AIP Summer Meeting to date with 455 registrations.

    The event was held 6-9 December, both in-person at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, and online. 

    The scientific program featured a diverse range of work at the vanguard of Australian physics, including plenary lectures delivered by Distinguished Professor Lidia Morawska FAA (QUT), Professor Michael Fuhrer (Monash) and Professor Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop AO FAA (UQ).

    Focused Sessions provided an opportunity for members of the physics community to bring together eminent speakers working on cutting-edge research topics.

    The meeting included:

    ·       11 topic streams with over 30 keynote and invited speakers

    ·       More than 280 talks and 45 posters

    ·       Three workshops and two pitch sessions

    ·       In relation to the meeting’s diversity agenda, 42% of plenary/keynote/invited speakers identified as female, 55% were male-identifying and 3% were unspecified. Almost all Australian states and territories as well as universities were represented. More info here.

    A list of student prize winners for posters and oral presentations can be found here– congratulations to all the participants.

    On behalf of the organisers, we would like to thank everyone who participated in the meeting, including our volunteers and sponsors without whom the event would not have been possible!

    Photo: Our enthusiastic meeting volunteers Lady Gamboa and Terry Turner. Credit to Jennifer MacLeod.
  • 1 Feb 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    The boundary of chaos, optical metasurfaces, AIP Vice President Professor Nicole Bell on the AIP’s advocacy on the ARC ‘no-preprint rule’, and the difference between weight and mass for young physicists.

    Members can read these stories and more online in the latest edition of Australian Physics.

    If you have a physics-related article, poem or book review you would like to have included in future editions, you can send through proposals and finished items editors to Peter Kappen and David Hoxley via email: aip_editor@aip.org.au.

  • 1 Feb 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    As reported by UN Women.

    The world needs science, and science needs women and girls.

    On 11 Feb, use the hashtag #WomeninScience to spread messages that defy gender stereotypes and let everyone know that we need more women and girls in science!

    Women have led ground-breaking research into public health, vaccines, treatments and innovative technology, and been on the front lines of COVID-19 response as scientists, health care workers and more.

    Yet, the gender gap in science and technology holds women back.

    According to UNESCO’s forthcoming Science Report,  only 33 per cent of researchers are women, despite the fact that they represent 45 and 55 per cent of students at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels of study respectively, and 44 per cent of those enrolled in PhD programs.

    While 70 per cent of health and social care workers are women, they are paid 11 per cent less than their male counterparts.

    The COVID-19 pandemic is poised to widen the existing gender disparities, especially for women scientists at the early stages of their career, unless we act deliberately to keep women in the career pipelines in STEM.

    It’s more important than ever to recognize women’s contributions in science, smash stereotypes and defeat discrimination against women and girls in science.

    Support the women researchers you know.

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

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