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PUBLIC LECTURE – 12 AUGUST 2020

Wednesday, 12 August 2020, 8:00 PM
https://utas.zoom.us/j/97801842637

A Space like no other : the past, present and future of Tasmania’s involvement in space

Professor Simon Ellingsen from University of Tasmania

As small island sitting on the edge of the Pacific and Southern oceans Tasmania has a view of the sky accessible to few others. Tasmania has a long association with the exploration of space and so when the Australian Space Agency was created in mid-2018, with the goal of tripling Australia’s slice of the rapidly growing international space industry, it was natural that our location and expertise be utilised as part of this bold endeavour.

In this talk I will give a brief history covering some of the past highlights of Tasmania’s involvement in space-related ventures, through to our most recent project to construct a dedicated satellite tracking station at the University of Tasmania’s Greenhill observatory. This facility has been funded by the Australian Space Agency and will support Australian innovation in both research and commercial space activities. The new tracking station will commence operation in 2021 and will provide a unique opportunity for Tasmanian researchers and businesses to leverage the benefits that access to space can provide.

Further details: Krzysztof Bolejko (krzysztof.bolejko@utas.edu.au)

Black Lives Matter, gravity wave detector, Hidden Physicist in review, physics in the news, and more physics fun in July

This month’s photo is the AIP National Executive team on a recent Zoom meeting. I’m sure many of you have had hours and hours of such meetings over the past few months and for those who are doing online teaching or learning I sincerely hope you get a wonderful mid-year break and stay well.

This month we welcomed the news that Murdoch University has dropped its legal action against AIP member Dr Gerd Schroder-Turk. The AIP strongly defends the rights of staff and students to respectfully question their organisations in the pursuit of excellence, equality, and freedom of speech.

Read the latest on the case below.

We also added our voice to the statement released by Science and Technology Australia supporting the #BlackLivesMatter and #AboriginalLivesMatter movements. Read the full statement below.

On June 19 the government’s proposed education package was announced which will see students paying much more for various humanities degrees but also a total funding reduction for science of about $4,758 per student. I spoke to a Times Higher Education reporter about my disappointment at this announcement. You can find the story later in this bulletin.

In this bulletin we look back on a full year of our Hidden Physicists, #PhysicsGotMeHere series. I am always in awe of all the amazing things people do with a physics degree.

The proposed Australian high-frequency gravitational wave detector is the subject of the next AIP-FLEET seminar. Read on for details.

Nominations are open for the AIP Executive roles, including President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Registrar. See below.

Huge congratulations to CSIRO Chief Scientist and past AIP president Dr Cathy Foley AO, and 2011 Women in Physics lecturer Professor Tamara Davis AM, who were both recognised in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours List. See below for details.

From X-ray-spewing pulsars to a citizen science project measuring light pollution, there have been some brilliant stories of Australian physics in the news recently. Take a look at our top picks below.

And, of course, you’ll find listings for exciting physics jobs and other upcoming events.

Kind regards,
Jodie Bradby
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

Continue reading Black Lives Matter, gravity wave detector, Hidden Physicist in review, physics in the news, and more physics fun in July

Australia’s Quantum Future, Physicists Honoured, Hidden Physicist, Physics in the News, and more physics fun in June

As COVID-19 continues to shape our lives it is heartening to see the Australian scientific community rising to the challenge.

AIP is a member of Science and Technology Australia, which is part of the Rapid Research Information Forum collaboration led by Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel. I encourage you to read through the rapid response reports provided to government. You can find them here.

And with COVID in mind we have extended the time to nominate a colleague or student for an AIP medal or award. See below.

We’ve published a list of our AIP Fellows. You can apply to become a Fellow of the AIP by completing the online application form.

Read on, too, to meet our Hidden Physicist for the month. Matthew Wiggins is a health physicist providing radiation science solutions to the Queensland Government, as well as to public and private sector clients.

I congratulate all the new Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science who were recently announced. I was delighted to see physics was well represented. Congratulations to three AIP members – Cathy Foley, Ping Koy Lam, Tim Bedding – who were elected this round. See below for details.

I also congratulate Professor Warwick Bowen on being the recipient of the 2020 Barry Inglis Medal from the National Measurement Institute, and ANU student Marika Niihori who will be heading to the UK with a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. Read about them further on.

Recently Cathy Foley launched the National Quantum Roadmap, which started from a meeting at an AIP congress back in 2016. We’re holding an online forum, discussing the future of quantum technology in Australia, on June 4. In July, there is another, on the future of the gravitational wave detector. Read on for details.

From missing matter to a cosmic ring of fire, there have been some excellent stories of Australian physics in the news recently. You can find a good selection below.

And of course, you’ll find listings for exciting physics jobs.


Kind regards,
Jodie Bradby
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

Continue reading Australia’s Quantum Future, Physicists Honoured, Hidden Physicist, Physics in the News, and more physics fun in June

First in new series of ARC Centre talks, Extension of closing date for AIP Prize nominations, Solar Cell Windows, and more physics in May

I hope you’re coping well with the current challenges and not getting magnets stuck up your nose (sorry Dr Daniel Reardon – keep on innovating!).  

It’s great to see the AIP community remaining hard at work, educating, and creating physics events.

A number of our events are already moving online, including the former Physics in the Pub, which is now Physics in the Cloud. Members are also invited to attend virtual talks put on by FLEET, the first one by our own Dr Kirrily Rule. More details below.

Yet more events are being rescheduled. I am happy to announce that the next AIP Congress will now be held from December 5 to 10, 2021, in Adelaide.

This bulletin includes the AIP’s statement on physics education post-COVID which aims to emphasise the importance of face-to-face teaching and learning once we all get ‘back to normal’. And we meet our Hidden Physicist for the month: Sarah Lugay, who is a cyber security expert for EY.

The nominations for the NSW Community Outreach to Physics Award have opened. See below for details.

In physics news, we are excited that windows will soon generate electricity, following a solar cell breakthrough by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science. Read about it further on.

Plus the Australian Academy of Science and Australia’s other learned academies have launched a COVID-19 Expert Database. See below for details on how you can contribute.

Keep on washing those hands and stay connected.

Kind regards,

Jodie Bradby
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

Continue reading First in new series of ARC Centre talks, Extension of closing date for AIP Prize nominations, Solar Cell Windows, and more physics in May

Position statement on online teaching delivery during and after COVID-19

The revised and final position statement “Temporary replacement of face-to-face classes by online delivery in physics courses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic” is now available in full

This document can be found below.

Contact person: Dr Gerd Schröder-Turk, Special Project Officer, Australian Institute of Physics, (feedback@aip.org.au) and Deborah Kane.

preliminary position statement on “Online and face-to-face delivery of lectures, labs and exams in the natural sciences during and beyond the COVID-19 crisis”

The National Executive has developed the following preliminary position statement on “Online and face-to-face delivery of lectures, labs and exams in the natural sciences during and beyond the COVID-19 crisis” and is seeking member feedback by Thursday 16 April 2020.

This document can be found below.

Contact person: Dr Gerd Schröder-Turk, Special Project Officer, Australian Institute of Physics, (feedback@aip.org.au)

How the AIP is managing the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, awards and prize nominations open, 58-year-old puzzle solved, and more physics in April

Firstly, I hope you are coping as best as you can with the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. It’s a tough time for everyone and I’m encourage people to do what they can to look out for each other. The response to the pandemic has meant big changes for us all as we adjust to laboratory shutdowns, online teaching, and deal with cancelled travel and events.

There has been a flurry of e-meetings and emails over the past week within the AIP and I am heartened to report that we continue to work hard to support and connect the Australian Physics community. Of course, COVID-19 is going to cause our face-to-face events to be cancelled or postponed, but we hope to take what we can online. Sadly, however, we have had to postpone our Congress, which was to be held in Adelaide in December. More details below.

The eligibility criteria have been announced for the AIP NSW Best Graduating Student annual prize. See below for details.

In this bulletin we meet another Hidden Physicist. Dr Jonathan Hall who is the co-founder and director of Life Whisperer, company that uses a machine-learning medical imaging technique to improve IVF pregnancy rates.

I was saddened to hear that former AIP national president Emeritus Professor Geoff Wilson passed away in January. As AIP president he helped form what is now Science & Technology Australia to more effectively lobby government. You can read more about him below.

A 58-year-old puzzle has been cracked on the way to a quantum breakthrough by scientists at UNSW. Read more below.
And the review of the decadal plan for physics needs case studies. See below for details on how you can contribute.

Kind regards,

Jodie Bradby
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

Continue reading How the AIP is managing the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, awards and prize nominations open, 58-year-old puzzle solved, and more physics in April

Awards and Prize nominations open, ARC Senate Order passed, Call for stories, and more physics in March

It is my great pleasure to announce that Dr Cathy Foley has been made an Honorary Fellow of the AIP. I wholeheartedly congratulate Cathy for her contributions to physics. This month’s bulletin picture is of the AIP council members applauding after the motion was passed unanimously at our annual council meeting recently. More details below.

That event and our Annual General Meeting were held in Melbourne in early February. It was a great opportunity for representatives to come together to plan and make decisions for the year ahead. Our wonderful Honorary Secretary, Kirrily Rule, has written a great report which I encourage you to read; see below for details.

The review of the decadal plan for physics is seeking case studies for the publication. See below for details on how you can contribute.

In this bulletin we meet another Hidden Physicist with a wonderful career story. Andreas Schreiber leads the bioinformatics groups of the Centre of Cancer Biology and the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) Cancer Genomics Facility in Adelaide.

I was thrilled to hear the news at the end of February that the Senate has ordered a change to the way Australian Research Council grants are announced. This is a big improvement for researchers, and for transparency. Read more below.

There’s a chance to have your say on Australia’s future in space. The National Committee for Space and Radio Science is seeking your input, via an online survey – details below.

And be on the look-out for news soon about the AIP Congress 2020, which will be held in Adelaide from 7 to 11 December.

Kind regards,

Jodie Bradby
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

Continue reading Awards and Prize nominations open, ARC Senate Order passed, Call for stories, and more physics in March

PUBLIC LECTURE – 26 FEBRUARY 2020

Wednesday, 26 February 2020, 8:00 PM
Physics Lecture Theatre 1, Sandy Bay Campus, University of Tasmania

No qualms about quantum theory

Professor Berge Englert from Centre for Quantum Technologies (Singapore)

Quantum theory has been singularly successful in the almost one-hundred years since its foundations were laid by Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger, Max Born, Paul Dirac, and others. Nevertheless, there is a debate – seemingly never ending – about the so-called “measurement problem” and other perceived problems. I shall argue that quantum theory is a well-defined local theory with a clear interpretation. No measurement problem or any other foundational matters are waiting to be settled. The answers to questions such as: What is a physical theory? What are the preexisting concepts in quantum theory? Probabilities in quantum theory are probabilities for what? What is state reduction? Do wave functions collapse? Is there instant action at a distant? Is quantum theory nonlocal? Where is Heisenberg’s cut? How many interpretations do we need? Is there a measurement problem? demonstrate the case.

Further details: Krzysztof Bolejko (krzysztof.bolejko@utas.edu.au)

AIP Annual General Meeting, Awards, Hidden Physicists and jobs; new organisation model, and more physics in FEBRUARY

I hope you stayed safe and had some rest over a somewhat tumultuous holiday period. It has been a difficult summer for many people across Australia and our thoughts are with the all those affected by the terrible fires, smoke and storms. My hope is that this summer is an inflection point regarding actions around climate change and that the AIP, like many other scientific organisations, makes its voice heard on this issue.

The upcoming Annual General Meeting is a great opportunity for members to give feedback on the direction of the AIP. It will be held in the Hercus Lecture Theatre, University of Melbourne, on Thursday 6 February at 4.30pm. Everyone is welcome to attend the AGM see below for more details.

In this bulletin – the first for 2020 – we meet Hidden Physicist Toby Hendy, who is sharing her love of physics and maths with the world via her highly successful YouTube channel, Tibees. 

We had a fantastic conclusion to 2019 with our Summer Meeting, also in Melbourne, which featured a dozen excellent plenary speakers. Conference chair Dr Gail Iles reports below.

Be on the lookout for news soon on the AIP Congress 2020 which will be held in Adelaide from 7 to 11 December.

Also in this bulletin is a report by David Gozzard on 2019’s Science Meets Parliament event in Canberra.

Congratulations to Professor Anthony Thomas AC, Professor Rachel Webster AO, and Associate Professor Maria Parappilly OAM who received Australia Day honours! .

Congratulations also to Professor Lisa Kewley of ANU and ASTRO 3D, who has become the first Australian ever to win the US National Academy of Science’s James Craig Watson Medal. More below.

There’s a chance to have your say on Australia’s future in space. The National Committee for Space and Radio Science is seeking your input, via an online survey – details below.

And, in housekeeping news, the AIP has recently changed to a new membership database hosted by Wild Apricot, has a new dedicated Operations Manager (read more about Nicole and the role below), and has recreated a new LinkedIn profile.

 Kind regards,

Jodie Bradby
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

Continue reading AIP Annual General Meeting, Awards, Hidden Physicists and jobs; new organisation model, and more physics in FEBRUARY