All posts by aipWPEditor

QLD EXCELLENCE IN PHYSICS TEACHING Award 2020 – nominate now!

The AIP-QLD is looking for nominations of Physics teachers that have made a positive impact to teaching Physics to students at the high school level by anyone of the following criteria.

  1. Promote student interest in physics by providing an environment that stimulates student curiosity and learning.
  2. Use, develop or write innovative instructional materials and new technologies and approaches to the teaching of physics.
  3. Be a positive role model or mentor for other teachers of physics.
  4. Participate in professional development activities in science as a facilitator and continuous development as an effective science educator, with a focus on physics.

If you have a colleague, a former teacher of your own, or have heard of an inspiring teacher in your circle of friends, please consider nominating them for this years award by filling out the nomination form and sending this nomination (or any inquiries) by email to: aip_branchsecretary_qld@aip.org.au

The award consists of a cash prize, plaque and certificate.

Nominations close Friday 24 July 2020.

QLD Excellence in PHYSICS TEACHing AWARD 2019

We received several outstanding nominations last year and are very pleased to announce Richard Walding as the prize winner for our 2019 Excellence in Physics Teaching Award.

The award recognises outstanding efforts by Queensland physics teachers in stimulating student engagement with physics, developing innovative teaching resources or techniques as an effective educator, and/or mentoring and facilitating the development of other physics educators.

Richard’s contributions have been particularly noteworthy including the development of the Oxford Senior Physics texts and extensive online resources for students and teachers. He helped create the Physics Discussion List and continues to have an active role, offering advice to fellow educators. In addition, he has contributed to state-level curriculum development and oversight and has been very active in delivering physics education seminars for teachers both locally and overseas.

So we sincerely congratulate Richard and thank him for his contributions to physics education!

We will be calling for nominations for the 2020 Excellence in Physics Teaching award in coming months.

Bronze Bragg Presentation and Free Public Lecture

6:30 pm, Thursday February 20th 2020

 The Braggs lecture theatre in the Braggs building

University of Adelaide (North Terrace campus)

On the 2019 Nobel Prize

“A short history of the universe – as we understand it today”

Prof. Rachel Webster

University of Melbourne

Abstract:

Most of the universe is made of Hydrogen; indeed, in the early universe, there were essentially no elements heavier than Hydrogen and Helium. During this talk Professor Webster will trace the history of the universe, using Hydrogen as the primary focus. She will explain the bits we understand and some of the key questions we are addressing today.  The efforts of Australian astronomers will be highlighted, as well as some of the new telescopes that will be operating in the next few years. 

The Bronze Bragg medals and merit certificates will be presented at the lecture.

The medals are awarded for highest achievement in Physics in 2019 in the SACE Stage 2 assessments and IB Higher Level Physics, with certificates being for students who achieved a merit or a grade of 7.


2019 Annual General Meeting QLD Branch

Members of the Australian Institute of Physics, Queensland Branch.

You are invited to attend the upcoming Annual General Meeting.

The AGM will be held on the 15 November from 4pm – 5:30pm, Room E207, E Block, Queensland University of Technology, Gardens Point Campus.

I am very pleased to announce that the QLD nominee for the 2019 Bragg Gold Medal, Dr Satya Undurti, will be presenting his research prior to the AGM. More information about his presentation are provided below.

The expected timing of the proceedings will be as follows:

4.00pm – 4.50pm      Dr Satya Undurti presents his research

5.00pm – 5.30pm      AGM

For catering purposes it would be appreciated if you could register your attendance by Thursday  the 14th of November to aip_branchsecretary_qld@aip.org.au . Catering will involve pizza and cold drinks.

We additionally hope to stream the presentation online using the Zoom platform. You can join us at AEST 4pm-5:30pm here.

Additionally, part of the business for the AGM will be to elect the branch committee for 2020.

As per the AIP by-laws, the retiring committee has made nominations for next year’s committee, and these are listed below:

Joel Alroe (Chair) (QUT),

Joanna Turner  (Secretary) (USQ),

Scott Adamson (Vice-Chair) (All Hallows),

Igor Litvinyuk (Treasurer) (GU),

Carolyn Brown (USQ),

Scott Hoffman (post-graduate student representative UQ),

Austin Lund (UQ),

Nunzio Motta (QUT),

Till Weinhold (UQ)

Members may make further nominations, which need to be duly proposed and seconded and forwarded to the Secretary at least 24 hours before the AGM, directed to aip_branchsecretary_qld@aip.org.au . I look forward to seeing you on 15th November!

Dr Satya Undurti

Title: ‘Attoclock’ experiments on atomic and molecular hydrogen

Abstract: This thesis describes strong-field ionization experiments on atomic and molecular hydrogen using an ultrashort-pulse laser source and a sophisticated electron/ion detection setup called a reaction microscope (REMI). It aims at benchmarking strong-field physics with the help of precision measurements performed on the simplest atomic (H) and molecular (H2) systems. This work resulted in a definitive resolution of a long-standing controversy on measurement, value and interpretation of quantum tunneling time – determining that electron tunneling in atomic hydrogen is instantaneous within experimental precision (tunneling time is less than 1.8 attoseconds, or 1.8×10-18 seconds) and ruling out all previously proposed theoretical definitions of tunneling time.

A space Adventure

at 6.30pm on Wednesday 9th Oct 2019

The Braggs Lecture Theatre,
The University of Adelaide, North Terrace

Abstract: Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in April 1996, Daniel Tani went on to spend 120 days living and working aboard the International Space Station. During his tour of duty aboard the station, he performed numerous robotic operations and logged a total of 34 hours and 59 minutes during five spacewalks. Come and hear about his amazing space adventure and what it is like to live and work in space.

Bio: Daniel Tani received his Bachelors and Master of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1984 and 1988, respectively, in addition to an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Elmhurst College (IL) 2003. Dr Tani worked at Hughes Aircraft Corporation, as a Design Engineer in the Space and Communications group, in the Experimental Psychology department of Bolt Beranek and Newman, and in 1988, he went on to join the Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC), initially as a Senior Structures Engineer and then as the Mission Operations Manager for the Transfer Orbit Stage (TOS). In that role, he served as the TOS Flight Operations lead, working with NASA/JSC Mission Control in support of the deployment of the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS)/TOS payload during the STS-51 mission in Sep 1993. Dr Tani then moved to the Pegasus program at OSC as the Launch Operations Manager. He held technical duties in the Astronaut Office Computer Support Branch, and EVA Branch and served as a Crew Support Astronaut (CSA) for Expedition 4. In 2002, he was a crew member on the Aquarius undersea research habitat for nine days as part of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO)-2 mission. Dr Tani then trained and qualified as the backup Flight Engineer for Expedition 11. After his flight on Expedition 16, Dr Tani served as Branch Chief of the International Space Station branch. He also served as a Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) for the International Space Station and was the lead CAPCOM for Expedition 26. Tani left NASA in August 2012 to become the Vice President of Mission and Cargo Operations in the Advanced Programs Group of Orbital Sciences Corporation.

SPACEFLIGHT EXPERIENCE: Dr Tani served as Mission Specialist 2 on STS-108 Endeavour. On his second spaceflight, Dr Tani served as Expedition-16 Flight Engineer and spent 120 days living and working aboard the International Space Station. He launched to the Station aboard STS-120 and returned aboard STS-122.

Free – visitors welcome – booking not required

organic research creates excitement for QLD students

The John Mainstone Youth Lecture Tour has wrapped up for another year after a successful tour!

Pegah poses for a self with the students of All Hallow’s School in Brisbane

Our 2019 John Mainstone Youth Lecturer was Dr. Pegah Maasoumi, a postdoctoral research fellow in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science at the University of Melbourne. The John Mainstone Youth Lecture Tour took Pegah and her presentation: ‘My organic Research’, to 12 Queensland schools from the Sunshine Coast, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Brisbane to Toowoomba where she inspired and engaged the students with her exciting research and her journey as a scientist.

Pegah talked to more than 600 students in years 10-12, revealing the secrets behind foldable mobile phones, Ironman’s suit and next generation of solar windows. She told the story of her journey as a scientist and enlightened the students about the excitement and opportunities with a career as a Physicist.

All Hallow’s studens and teachers with Dr Pegah Maasoumi.

Pegah says: “no doubt, one of the highlights of my tour was the way students engaged with my research and story. The questions and ideas they shared during the talk, and all the promising feedback I got from their teachers, strongly suggest that they are considering science and Physics as career path. I am also very happy to be an organic example for them that a physicist is not just an old man with a fuzzy hair who works with forces. I like to think, they are now not picturing us as clumsy Big Bang Theory Physicists but more of capable Tony Stark version.”

With students from Padua College, Brisbane.

“Their questions totally blew my mind” Pegah said, “one of the very common questions was, ‘why are we not using solar more?’ and ‘still our politicians insist on burning coal?’ That question for me was pure joy to see. Not only are we promoting and fostering future scientists, but perhaps smarter politicians and better future for Australia.”

St Aidan’s Anglican School

Pegah believes the tour was very successful and nothing can be more effective than exposing our kids to living examples and questions out there. “I am absolutely grateful for this experience and I would love to see one of those bright girls as future John Mainstone Youth Lecturer and custodian of our worldwide famous pitch drop experiment.”

How Neutrons will save the world in brisbane

How Neutrons Will Save the World!

Women in Physics lecture Tour, 15th August, 2019.

This year’s Women in Physics Lecturer, Dr Helen Maynard-Casely is traveling around the country to tell us how neutrons will save the world! While in the area visiting schools, Helen will be at the University of Queensland, St Lucia campus on the 15th August talking to us about her research in more detail.

Where: Room 03-206

When: 1pm – 2pm 15th August, 2019.

We hope to see you there!

In the meantime, check out what Helen will be chatting about:

Exploring the materials of the solar system with Australia’s central facilities

Our solar system contains a great array of small planetary bodies that show remarkable variability in the chemistry, and subsequent materials, that form on their surfaces.  From sulfuric acid hydrates that are spattered on Europa, to organic minerals that fall in flurries on Titan to the plastic solids of methane and nitrogen on Pluto.

Sadly we’re yet to scoop any sample of these planets and bring them home, however informed by spectral observations from space missions such as Galileo, Cassini and New Horizons, we can re-create their surface chemistries and conditions in the lab.  What this has revealed that despite the ‘simplicity’ of the chemistry involved the surfaces are likely to be made up of a large array of materials with potentially planet-shaping properties. 

I’ll overview some of the materials we’ve found, and why central facilities (like the OPAL neutron source and Australian Synchrotron) have been crucial for this work.  Hopefully, I’ll also show how this is very much a growing business, and with new exoplanets being discovered daily there is still a wide range of materials that need to be investigated.    

Neutrons will save the world; physicists in the Eureka Awards; how to survive the end of the universe during National Science Week; and more physics in august

National Science Week is happening from August 10 to 18 and is packed with many wonderful physics events. We’ve selected some of the best physics events around the country and listed them below.

“How neutrons will save the world” is the topic of our 2019 Women in Physics lecture, given by Dr Helen Maynard-Casely from ANSTO. Helen has now begun her tour in Tasmania and after 36 talks all over Australia will finish at the Girls in Physics Breakfast in Melbourne on Wednesday 28 August. Good luck Helen! More below.

The AIP national executive team were at ANU last week for a packed two days of strategic planning, priority-setting and discussions. We are working on a strategic plan and new opportunities to promote all things physics in Australia. Stay tuned for more in the coming months.

Several physicists were announced last week as finalists for the 2019 Eureka Prizes. Read all about them here. Winners will be announced at the end of this month. Good luck to all finalists!

I really enjoyed the great posts on the AIP Instagram account from the Australians attending the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings in Germany last month. SBS journalist Lydia Feng also attended the meetings and wrote about the young women levelling out gender imbalance in science. Women comprised eight out of the 13 physicists chosen by the Australian Academy of Science to attend.

Also this month: Nominate for the 2019 NSW Community Outreach to Physics award, read about the speediest quantum operation yet, meet Registered Patent Attorney Matthew Lay – our August Hidden Physicist, and find an opportunity in our Jobs Corner.

Kind regards,
Jodie Bradby
President, Australian Institute of Physics

Continue reading Neutrons will save the world; physicists in the Eureka Awards; how to survive the end of the universe during National Science Week; and more physics in august

How neutrons will save the world

The Claire Corani Memorial Lecture

The South Australian lecture in the

2019 AIP Women in Physics Lecture Tour

at 6:30pm–7:45pm on Tuesday 20th August 2019

in the Napier 102 Lecture Theatre
Napier Building, the University of Adelaide, North Terrace campus.

Abstract: They are small, neutral and often in a spin, and so much more than ‘just’ part of the atom. Neutrons are the sub-atomic particles that are here to save the world. This trusty particle can be called on to discover the details that no other can fathom. From the shape of a virus and how a drug can disable it, to keeping electrons flowing in the next generation of batteries. Neutrons truly are today’s super particle

Biography: Dr Helen Maynard-Casely is an Instrument Scientist based at ANSTO (the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation) where she uses neutrons to investigate the materials that make up our solar system. She has a PhD in high-pressure physics from the University of Edinburgh and has been lucky enough to have collected data in facilities all over the world.

The Claire Corani Memorial prizes, available for award to the top second-year female Physics student at each SA university in 2018, will be presented at the lecture.