Category Archives: Public Lecture


Members of the Tasmanian Branch of the Australian Institute of Physics are invited to attend the upcoming Annual General Meeting.

The AGM will be held on the 25 November, 5pm – 5.30pm, via Zoom: (please contact Krzysztof Bolejko if you wish to attend in person)

Order of Proceedings:

  • 5.00pm: Opening and declaration of a quorum
  • Minutes of 2019 AGM
  • Annual Report – Chair
  • Treasurer’s Report
  • Election of the 2020 Committee. Please send your nominations to the Secretary ( Current nominations are:
    • Chair: Krzysztof Bolejko
    • Vice-Chair: Nicola Ramm
    • Treasurer: Elizabeth Chelkowska
    • Committee: Andrew Cole, Jason Dicker, Stanislav Shabala
  • Science Teachers Workshop
  • Other business

Public Talk:

  • 6.00pm: Free Public Lecture by Professor Neil Holbrook ​”Heatwaves in the ocean – really?”

AGM Dinner:

The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics for Black Holes

ONLINE EVENT: Wed 21 Oct 11am AEDT

Presented by Susan Scott and David Blair

Register here:

In the first half of the talk Susan will outline the development of the concept of singularities and the related notion of a black hole in General Relativity theory. She will describe Roger Penrose’s spectacular theoretical breakthrough in this field for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize. David will briefly touch on Penrose’s other work, and then present an overview of the quest to explore the centre of the Milky Way, and why it was of special interest to gravitational wave physicists. He will review the seminal contributions by Australian radio astronomy pioneers, and then outline the discoveries made by Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for which they were also co-recipients of the Nobel Prize.

Continue reading The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics for Black Holes


Wednesday, 12 August 2020, 8:00 PM

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 (


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 (

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


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.

PUBLIC LECTURE – 28 November 2019

Thursday, 28 November 2019, 6:00 PM
Physics Lecture Theatre 1, Sandy Bay Campus, University of Tasmania

The quest for new physics

Professor Raymond Volkas, School of Physics, The University of Melbourne

The standard model of particle physics is an extremely successful theory, but we know that it is an incomplete description of nature. I will review the evidence for “new physics”: interactions and particles that extend the standard model. The evidence ranges from the experimental detection of neutrino masses through the existence of dark matter to puzzles such as the lack of antimatter in the universe and various technical problems with big bang cosmology that may be solved by a period of cosmological inflation. I will also survey some other hints for new physics in the form of anomalous experimental results, and touch on some past disappointments in the quest for new physics. The conclusion will be that new physics certainly exists, and that a wide-ranging experimental and observational program is needed to discover its underlaying nature.

Further details: Krzysztof Bolejko (

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 . 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 . 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

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.

The Evolutionary Map of the Universe

Wednesday 3rd of April 2019 at 8pm
Kerr Grant Lecture Theatre
2nd Floor, Physics Building
The University of Adelaide
North Terrace, Adelaide

The Evolutionary Map of the Universe

Professor Ray Norris
CSIRO Astronomy & Space Science &
Western Sydney University

Abstract: The m Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope is nearing completion in Western Australia. One of the key projects driving it is EMU – the Evolutionary Map of the Universe – which has an ambitious goal of studying the sky at radio wavelengths in unprecedented detail, boldly going where no telescope has gone before. Our scientific goal is to figure out how galaxies evolved in the early days of the Universe and how they evolve to the Universe we see today, with stars, planets, rocks, trees, and astronomers. What will we find? How will it change our view of how we got to be here? What is the role of black holes in regulating the growth of galaxies? And given that the most spectacular discoveries in astronomy are unexpected, we will be watching especially carefully for serendipitous discoveries that pop up in the data.

Bio: Professor Ray Norris is a British/Australian astronomer with CSIRO Astronomy & Space Science and Western Sydney University, who researches how galaxies formed and evolved after the Big Bang, and also researches the astronomy of  Aboriginal Australians. He frequently appears on radio and TV, featured in the stage show “The First Astronomers” with Wardaman elder Bill Yidumduma Harney, and has written the novel “Graven Images”.  He was educated at Cambridge University, and University of Manchester, UK, and moved to Australia to join CSIRO, where he became Head of Astrophysics in 1994, and then Deputy Director of the Australia Telescope, and Director of the Australian Astronomy Major National Research Facility, before returning in 2005 to active research. He currently leads an international project (EMU, or Evolutionary Map of the Universe) to understand the origin and evolution of galaxies, using the new Australian SKA Pathfinder radio-telescope nearing completion in Western Australia, and is also pioneering the WTF project to discover the unexpected in astronomical data.

Free – visitors welcome –  booking not required (*Please note – university security locks entrance doors at 8pm sharp*)