Australia Day honours for science outreach and a change of president: physics in February

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Posted on behalf of Rob Robinson, President of the Australian Institute of Physics.

The Australia Day Honours list again includes one of our own, with science communicator and AIP member Mike Gore being made Officer of the Order of Australia for his decades of work in public outreach and education. This recognises his roles in setting up the Questacon National Science Centre, the travelling Shell Questacon Science Circus and the Centre for Public Awareness of Science at ANU.

Last week saw the official launch of the International Year of Light in Paris. The AIP is proud to support the year’s Australian activities, which celebrate optics, astronomy and anything else involving light. You can read more below.

Next Monday the AIP’s annual general meeting will be held in Melbourne, and I once again encourage any members who are able to attend. This will include the election of, and handover to, the new Executive Committee, marking the end of the current team’s two-year term.

That means that this will be my last bulletin as AIP President. It’s been a privilege for me to serve and contribute to the Institute’s evolution over the past two years.

Reflecting on this time, there are encouraging signs that we’ve turned around our fall in membership numbers—a problem plaguing many professional societies. We’ve also embraced the trend of regional collaboration, forging tighter links in the Asia-Pacific and opening unique opportunities beyond from Europe and America.

These links further strengthen at the Asia-Pacific Physics Conference and AIP Congress to be held in Brisbane, 4–8 December 2016. This joint meeting will be chaired by Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop and Warrick Crouch, who is also the AIP’s new incoming president.

With such a promising future there’s no better time for AIP members to get involved and encourage their colleagues, students and friends of physics to be part of the Institute and its activities.

Please note that replies to this email go to Science in Public, who send the bulletin out for me. You can contact me, and then Warrick, directly on aip_president@aip.org.au, and there is a comprehensive list of contact details at the end of the bulletin.

Regards,

Rob

Rob Robinson
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

In this issue…

AIP member news

Keep up-to-date online

AIP Events CalendarOur monthly emails list physics events around the country (see below), but did you know you can follow our calendar between bulletins?

The AIP Events Calendar includes functions organised by the AIP, public lectures, events for teachers and students and conferences.

You can add our feed to your own calendar or subscribe to receive weekly event notifications by email.

You can even submit your own physics event to be included on our calendar.

And don’t forget you can also follow the AIP on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Presentations from the AIP Congress

Lisa Harvey-SmithCopies of most of the presentations given at our Congress in Canberra in December 2014 are now available at the AIP Congress website.

(Please note that some speakers haven’t provided their presentations or requested that theirs not be published.)

You can also view a gallery of photos from the Congress.

Other physics news

Honours for science educator

Mike GoreChampion of science outreach and communication, AIP member Mike Gore, has been made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Australia Day Honours.

A love of science education from teaching physics at the Australian National University (ANU) led Mike to establish Questacon, the National Science Centre in Canberra, as well as the travelling Shell Questacon Science Circus, which this year is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Both Questacon and the Science Circus have served as models for other science centres and programs around Australia and internationally, with Mike being invited to other countries to help them emulate his success.

He also helped found, and is currently Adjunct Professor at, the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at ANU, which researches and educates in science communication.

Mike obtained his PhD in electrical engineering at Leeds University and in 1962 moved to Australia to take up a role at the ANU, where he taught physics for the next 25 years.

In the 1980s he served for a time as scientific advisor to the ABC TV series Towards 2000, before becoming foundation director of Questacon. He remained in that role until he returned to academia in 1999.

Among the recognition Mike has earned over his career is the 2001 AIP Award for Outstanding Service to Physics in Australia.

You can read more about Mike and his achievements at the Australian National University.

Paris lights up for the Year of Light

The world’s best and brightest minds in the fields of light and light-based technologies gathered this week in Paris to celebrate the official Opening Ceremony of the International Year of Light.

Over a thousand participants attended the two-day event, which brought together decision-makers, industry representatives and leading scientists from around the globe. The event included lectures by five Nobel Prize laureates, including Ahmed Zewail, Steven Chu, William Phillips, Serge Haroche and Zhores Alferov.

Staying true to the spirit of the Year, people who didn’t attend the ceremony in person were able to beam themselves into the festivities using the power of light! This was made possible through an interactive light display, which projected tweets including the tag #IYL2015 throughout the event.

Another highlight was the kick-off of the 1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham campaign, created by UNESCO in partnership with the science and cultural heritage organisation 1001 Inventions. Ibn Al-Haytham, a 10th century scholar from Basra (Iraq), is considered to be the father of modern optics and of the present-day scientific experimental method. The Year coincides with the 1,000th anniversary of his seminal work, Kitab al-Manazir (Book of Optics).

Ben Eggleton, an Australian Year of Light Committee member, attended and tweeted throughout the Paris event. Ben’s updates are available on his twitter feed @ProfBenEggleton. Also, you can read more about the latest news from the event and the rest of the Year by following @IYL2015 (for international updates) and @LightYearAu (for Australian updates).

AIP events

Visit light2015.org.au
Follow @LightYearAU

Visit to Gingin Gravity Discovery Centre

Sun 15 Feb
Bus pickup @ Terrace Rd, Perth Concert Hall WA

Combined RACI/AIP tour

Purchase tickets now if you want to attend.

The Known Unknowns of the Universe

Tue 17 Feb
Physics Lecture Theatre 1, University of Tasmania, Hobart

Public lecture

Ray Volkas will survey the challenges to fundamental physics posed by the discovery of dark matter and neutrino masses, and the enduring question of why the universe is bereft of antimatter.

Physics Teachers Conference

Fri 20 – Sat 21 Feb
Monash University, Clayton VIC

STAV conference

Includes Physics in General Science (PIGS) conference.

VCE Physics Days at Luna Park

Tue 3 – Fri 6 Mar
St Kilda VIC

For students and teachers

Put your physics to the test on Luna Park rides.

More events below

News in brief

Rapid radio burst seen in real time

For the first time ever, a Swinburne University PhD student has used CSIRO’s Parkes radio telescope to observe live a mysterious flash of radio waves from an unknown source.

Dust from ocean floor exposes supernovae

Researchers from ANU find undersea galactic dust has lower levels of heavy elements than expected, implying they’re not formed in supernovae.

Spooky action in quantum networks

Swinburne University researchers show that Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) paradoxes can be extended to more than two optical systems.

Gamma-ray sources found in Large Magellanic Cloud

Astronomers at the University of Adelaide have discovered three new sources, including a ‘super-bubble’ 270 light years across.

Women under-represented in fields associated with ‘innate ability’

Study suggests that stereotypes in fields like physics discourage women, who prefer fields where hard work is perceived to matter more.

Smartphone apps capture cosmic rays

New apps in development let citizen scientists use the camera chips in their smartphones to detect particles produced by cosmic rays.

Events

AIP event denotes AIP events

ACT

Science meets Policymakers
Wed, 11 Feb 2015, 9am
Molonglo Theatre, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU
Conference

Tamara Davis: Warp drives and bending time
Tue, 5 May 2015, 5:30pm
Shine Dome, 15 Gordon Street
Public lecture

Yuri Kivshar: Metamaterials: invisibility cloaks and bending light
Tue, 4 Aug 2015, 5:30pm
Shine Dome, 15 Gordon Street
Public lecture

NSW

Wendy Freedman: The Unexpected Universe – how astronomical telescopes continue to reveal new surprises
Fri, 6 Feb 2015, 6pm
Law School LT 101, Level 1 Sydney Law School, Eastern Avenue, Camperdown Campus, University of Sydney NSW 2006
Public lecture

PULSE@Parkes Observing Session
Tue, 24 Feb 2015, 11am
Parkes Radio Telescope, Newell Hwy (20 km north of Parkes)
For students and teachers

Astronomy from the Ground Up Teacher Workshop
Fri, 15 May 2015
Parkes Radio Telescope, Newell Hwy (20 km north of Parkes)
For teachers

StarFest
Sat, 3 Oct 2015, 9:30am
Siding Spring Observatory, Observatory Rd, Coonabarabran NSW 2357
Public event

QLD

No upcoming events currently listed.

SA

No upcoming events currently listed.

TAS

AIP event Ray Volkas: The Known Unknowns of the Universe
Tue, 17 Feb 2015, 6pm
Physics Lecture Theatre 1, Physics Building, Sandy Bay campus, University of Tasmania, Hobart
Public lecture

VIC

AIP event AIP Annual General Meeting (AGM)
Mon, 2 Feb 2015, 5:30pm
Australian Synchrotron, 800 Blackburn Rd, Clayton
Including election of new Executive.

David J. Wilner: Planet Formation through Radio Eyes
Fri, 13 Feb 2015, 6:30pm
Swinburne University, Hawthorn Campus, AMDC building, AMDC301 (Enter via Burwood road entrance to access lifts)
Public lecture

AIP event VCE Physics Days at Luna Park
Tue, 3 Mar – Fri, 6 Mar 2015
18 Lower Esplanade, St Kilda
For students and teachers

WA

Dome Date Night
Sat, 14 Feb 2015, 6pm & 8pm
Scitech Planetarium, City West, Sutherland Street, West Perth, WA
For couples

AIP event Combined RACI/AIP Visit to Gingin Gravity Discovery Centre
Sun, 15 Feb 2015
Bus pickup 8 am @ Terrace Rd behind Perth Concert Hall
Tour

Conferences

Annual Condensed Matter and Materials Meeting (“Wagga 2015”)
3–6 February 2015, Wagga Wagga campus of the Charles Sturt University, NSW

AMN7 Advanced Materials & Nanotechnology
8–12 February 2015, The Rutherford Hotel, Nelson, New Zealand

The Most Massive Galaxies and their Precursors
9–12 February 2015, Luna Park, Sydney, NSW

Science meets Policymakers
11 February 2015, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU, Canberra

NEW ASEG-PESA 2015 — 24th International Geophysical Conference and Exhibition
15–18 February 2015, Perth Conference and Exhibition Centre (PCEC), WA

Physics Teachers Conference
20 February 2015, Monash University, Clayton, Vic

Physics in General Science (PIGS) Conference
20 February 2015, Monash University, Clayton, Vic

Locate15 Conference
10–12 March 2015, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Qld

NEW 3rd International Workshop on Rock Physics (3IWRP)
13–17 April 2015, Esplanade Hotel Fremantle by Rydges, WA

Astronomy from the Ground Up Teacher Workshop
15–17 May 2015, Parkes Radio Telescope, NSW

VIII Southern Cross Conference Series: Multiwavelength dissection of galaxies
18–22 May 2015, Sydney, NSW

NEW AEIC 2015 — 13th Australasian Environmental Isotope Conference
8–10 July 2015, Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay, NSW

AOCNS 2015 – 2nd Asia-Oceania Conference on Neutron Scattering
19–23 July 2015, Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific, Manly, NSW

International Conference on the Properties and Applications of Dielectric Materials (ICPADM)
19–22 July 2015, University of New South Wales, Kensington NSW

The 10th Principles and Applications of Control in Quantum Systems (PRACQSYS) Workshop 2015
20–24 July 2015, University of New South Wales, Kensington NSW

Elizabeth and Frederick White Research Conference: Quantum astronomy and stellar interferometry: celebrating the 5th anniversary of the Narrabri Stellar Intensity Interferometer
17–24 August 2015, Darlington Center, NSW

Conference on Laser Ablation (COLA) 2015
31 August – 4 September 2015, Pullman Cairns International Hotel, Cairns, Qld

IBIC 2015 – International Beam Instrumentation Conference
13–17 September 2015, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, Vic

ICALEPCS 2015: International Conference on Accelerator and Large Experimental Physics Control Systems
17–24 October 2015, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, Vic

ADASS XXV: The 25th Annual Astronomical Data Analysis Software & Systems Conference
25–30 October 2015, Rydges World Square, Sydney NSW

Contributions and contact details

Please get in contact if you have any queries about physics in Australia:

  • Rob Robinson, AIP President  aip_president@aip.org.au
  • the AIP website is www.aip.org.au
  • membership enquiries to the Secretariat aip@aip.org.au or 03 9895 4477
  • ideas for articles for Australian Physics to the Chair of the Editorial Board and Acting Editor Brian James, on b.james@physics.usyd.edu.au, or the editorial board, which is listed in your latest copy of the magazine
  • contributions to the bulletin (e.g. activities, conferences and announcements) to Chris Lassig from Science in Public on physics@scienceinpublic.com.au or call (03) 9398 1416, by the 23rd of the month prior
  • the AIP Events Calendar to check what’s on, and also to submit your own physics-related events (any queries to Chris, as above)
  • to receive these bulletins, please email Chris, as above (you don’t need to be a member of the Institute).

(Sent by Niall Byrne, Science in Public, on behalf of the Australian Institute of Physics, www.aip.org.au)