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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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  • 31 Jan 2023 4:01 PM | Anonymous

    Media release from the 24th Congress of the Australian Institute of Physics in December 2022.

    The US fusion news is amazing. But it’s a long way from endless clean power. The researchers probably generated enough excess energy to boil a kettle.

    The US experimenters apparently have got out more energy than they put in in a fusion experiment, thus technically achieving ignition. This indeed is a breakthrough worthy of celebration.

    However, there is a long way to go. From the nature of the facility where the experiment was performed, I’d say this energy came in a single pulse or “flash”. So, for a viable power source it would be necessary to have sustained repeated such pulses, and be able to collect the energy released efficiently. There’s still a long way to go. That said, achieving ignition is an essential milestone that apparently now has been reached. Practical fusion power is a step closer to reality.

    A bit more technical detail. This is probably deuterium plus tritium fusion – the joining of the two heavy isotopes of hydrogen that is the favoured nuclear reaction to achieve fusion power. The two positively charged nuclei have to be pushed together against their electrical repulsion, which in this case is achieved by heating the isotopes in a plasma to temperatures where the nuclei are going so fast that they can overcome the repulsion and bang together.

    Professor Andrew Stuchbery
    Head, Department of Nuclear Physics and Accelerator Applications, ANU

    Nuclear fusion – the energy that powers the sun – has been a holy grail of physics for decades 

    There are two main routes to nuclear fusion.  The first is magnetic confinement fusion that contains extremely high temperature nuclei in a magnetic bottle.  The second is inertial confinement fusion that uses high power lasers to blast together nuclei in a miniature hydrogen bomb, as pursued at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory.

    Both have come close to demonstrating energy breakeven, but now it appears that Livermore may achieved this for the first time – a truly ground-breaking achievement.

    I’m at the national physics congress in Adelaide where the announcement has attracted lots of interest.

    However, it’s unlikely that fusion power – which generates no greenhouse gases and minimal nuclear waste – will save us from climate change.  The energy apparently released from the Livermore experiments is only enough to boil a kettle.

    All the heavy lifting for the energy transition will be done by renewable energy and nuclear fission (existing nuclear power) – with nuclear fusion at commercial scale unlikely to be available until later this century, well after the 2050 deadline needed to keep global warming below two degrees.  But beyond that fusion might provide limitless energy for centuries to come.

    Professor Ken Baldwin, Research School of Physics, ANU


    Note: these comments were made ahead of the US announcement and were distributed with the support of the Australian Science Media Centre, AusSMC.

    Read more stories from the 2022 AIP Congress

  • 31 Jan 2023 3:47 PM | Anonymous

    Media release from the 24th Congress of the Australian Institute of Physics in December 2022.

    • A call to action to train a nuclear savvy generation
    • Australia will need thousands of people trained in nuclear science
    • For submarines, cancer treatments, space industry, mining…

    Our new submarine fleet, new cancer therapies, quantum computing, space industry and satellites, the extraction of critical minerals and monitoring the environment will all demand levels of training in nuclear science we cannot at present meet.

    Australia’s physicists, meeting in Adelaide today, are calling for a national plan to boost education and training in nuclear science.

    “The need is urgent. The captain of our first nuclear submarine is probably already in secondary school today,” says Dr AJ Mitchell, senior lecturer in physics at the Australian National University (ANU).

    “As nuclear science takes an increasingly important part of our day-to-day life, we need to make people understand that ‘nuclear’ is not something to be scared of, but rather to cherish and appreciate,” he says.

    “While some of the initial training for submarine operations can take place in the US and the UK, we must take this role on ourselves. This must be a sovereign capability. And it needs to start yesterday.”

    He has brought together leaders across Australia to discuss a National Vision for Nuclear Science and Applications at the 2022 Australian Institute of Physics (AIP) Congress at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

    “Today we are starting construction of an Australia-wide program of nuclear science education and training,” AJ says.

    Topics include:

    “Emerging radiation therapies for cancer treatment. The Bragg Centre is currently being built near the Royal Adelaide Hospital and is due to open in 2025. It will be the first facility in Australia to provide advanced radiation treatment for cancer using heavy particle beams already available in Europe,” says Associate Professor Scott Penfold from the Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research.

    But it demands computer modellers and machine operators trained in nuclear physics to make it work. Similar facilities are on the drawing board for Australia’s other major population centres.

    Radiation in the mining industry, led by Professor Nigel Spooner of the University of Adelaide

    Keeping up with demand for radiation safety skills, led by Cameron Jefferies of the Australasian Radiation Protection Society. The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency already has positions it can’t fill, AJ says.

    “People tend to be less afraid of things they understand. So we’re looking at changing the nuclear mindset across a whole range of industries and a general uplift in scientific literacy. So, for instance, wherever the submarine bases end up, people will be able to understand and assess the risk.”

    Read more stories from the Congress

  • 2 Dec 2022 11:33 AM | Anonymous

    Headshot of Professor Nicole Bell Incoming AIP President Nicole Bell (pictured) and Vice President Stuart Midgely will lead the AIP National Executive for 2023, alongside many continuing members who continue to generously offer their time, skills and enthusiasm to the physics community.

    The incoming Executive is:

    • President:  Nicole Bell
    • Vice President: Stuart Midgley
    • Honorary Treasurer: Dongchen Qi
    • Honorary Secretary: Kirrily Rule
    • Honorary Registrar: Stephen Collins
    • Immediate Past President: Sven Rogge
    • Awards Officer: Joanna Turner
    The new Executive will take office at the conclusion of the AIP’s 60th AGM (held on 2 Feb 2023) and will appoint up to four Special Project Officers (SPOs). Current SPOs are eligible for re-appointment.
  • 2 Dec 2022 11:20 AM | Anonymous

    Dr Karen Livesey standing in front of a whiteboard, which is covered in physics equations

    Meet our 2023 Women In Physics Lecturer

    Tiny magnets, 1,000 times thinner than a human hair, are used in cancer treatments, computers and even in self-repairing paints.

    The AIP is thrilled to announce that Dr Karen Livesey, theoretical physicist at the University of Newcastle, will be touring Australia in 2023 as the AIP’s Women in Physics Lecturer.

    Karen is designing new nano-sized magnets to address technological challenges, such as reducing the energy that today’s computers use, and heating inoperable cancer tumours to improve health outcomes.

    The Women In Physics Lecture tour celebrates the contribution of women to advances in physics. This annual award recognises a woman who has made a significant contribution in a field of physics.

    Karen is a Senior Lecturer of Physics at the University of Newcastle, and an Associate Investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low Energy Electronic Technologies. She is also a Superstar of STEM funded by Science and Technology Australia for 2023-24.

    Prior to Newcastle, she worked at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs for almost 10 years, reaching the rank of Associate Professor.

    It was while the COVID-19 pandemic was raging, in 2020, that she moved with her family to Newcastle, NSW. Australia is home for Karen. So is physics. She was the first in her family to finish high school and went on to study physics at the University of Western Australia, completing her PhD in 2010.

    Along with a passion for physics and mathematics, Karen has a love for sharing this through her university teaching and through chats with community groups. She gives invited talks around the globe and has received research and teaching awards in the United States, Canada, UK and Australia.

    Tour dates and locations will be announced in 2023.

  • 2 Dec 2022 10:29 AM | Anonymous

    Submit your views to the ARC or let us know what you think. 

    The Australian Government is currently seeking feedback to inform its review of the Australian Research Council Act 2001. The consultation paper can be found here. The consultation paper requests feedback on nine specific themes.

    The AIP encourages all members to submit their individual feedback directly to the ARC, through their survey. The deadline is 14 December 2022.

    The National Executive also intends to submit feedback on behalf of the AIP.

    A preliminary draft for discussion of the AIP position can be found here, for member feedback. The National Executive welcomes any comments by Saturday 10 December, by emailing

    Please note the earlier public statements by the AIP regarding several of the themes. These statements can be viewed at

    UPDATE Jan 2023: Read our final submission, which has been published in COSMOS Magazine

  • 30 Nov 2022 11:12 AM | Anonymous

    The NSW AIP Branch had a full calendar of events and public lectures this year.

    If you missed out or you’d like to re-watch an event, many are now available on-demand:

    See the 2022 NSW AIP Branch Annual Report  for further details about the events.

  • 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

    Dr Devika Kamath holding the AIP NSW Community Outreach to Physics Award 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
    Dr Devika Kamath standing in front of a stellar observatoryIn 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.

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

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