Bulletins

Bulletins we issue for various organisations.  If you are interested in receiving email bulletins, sign-up to our newsletters here.

GOING FOR GOLD (IN PHYSICS); HAVE YOUR SAY; PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT; AND MORE: PHYSICS IN MAY

While some of us spent most of last month cheering on the Aussies, especially Cameron McEvoy, in the pool – there is plenty of good physics going on out of the pool as well.

Some of it will be coming to a pub near you as a part of the  Physics in the Pub event series, and there will be even more at the  AIP Congress in Perth in December. Abstract submissions are open until 15 June.

Australia produces some fantastic physicists, and that’s one of the reasons our organisation is so important. It’s great to have a solid community of physicists and physics fans to share their work and get excited about the work of others.

We recognise excellent Australian physics with our AIP medals. There are awards for physicists in a range of disciplines and at all career stages,  have a look at the list below to see if you might be eligible. Nominations close 1 June.

And we want to hear from you.

I get to write to you each month, so now we’re giving you the opportunity to talk back in our regular monthly surveys. The first one is only two questions long, so  check it out

We’re also considering whether a consolidated approach to managing the operations of the AIP could be an efficient use of members funds. Accordingly, we are seeking detailed expressions of interest to deliver AIP Operations, if you’re interested all the details are online.

Finally, I recently joined a meeting with Presidents, CEOs and other leaders of Australia’s most prominent science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) organisations in Canberra, to discuss the important role that science and technology will play in Australia’s future.

As a result, we issued a statement calling for: a whole-of-government plan for science and technology; strategy to equip the future Australian workforce with STEM skills; strong investment in both basic and applied research; and creating policy informed by the best available evidence. You can read our full statement here.

Kind Regards,

Andrew Peele
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

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Fresh Science; new CRCs; training around the country; and more

Nominations for Fresh Science – our annual competition for early-career researchers – are open for one more week. So, have a think about which ECRs you could tap on the shoulder to nominate.

We run Fresh Science in every state where we can secure enough support – so far that’s Qld, SA, WA, Vic and NSW. Big thanks to our hosts and the 17 unis and research organisations who’ve come on board so far.

It’s highly likely we will run an event in the ACT, we just need a couple more supporters to confirm.

So, make sure you encourage any Canberra-based ECRs you know to nominate. More on that below.

Nominations close midnight 24 April 2018.

If you’d like to share our flyer calling for nominations, you can download it as a PDFor a JPEG or share the call on social media using #FreshSci

Even if you’re not an ECR, we can still help you find the story in your science.

We’ve just announced our media and communication training dates for the rest of 2018.

Join us in:

  • Melbourne: Tuesday 5 June, Tuesday 31 July, Tuesday 9 October
  • Adelaide: Tuesday 8 May, Wednesday 14 November
  • Sydney: Wednesday 4 July, Wednesday 29 August
  • Perth: Thursday 10 May, Friday 7 December

You can book via Eventbrite, or read on for more about this course and our bespoke training.

Also in this bulletin:

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AIP member benefits; call for Congress abstracts; behind the scenes at Parliament; and more physics in April

Preparations for the 2018 AIP Congress—in Perth, December 9 to

Professor Andrew Peele Interim Director, Australian Synchrotron

Professor Andrew Peele
Interim Director, Australian Synchrotron

13—are now well underway, with most of the plenary speakers announced. And the call for abstracts has just opened. More on both of those below.

This year we are really trying to attract a larger industry presence at the Congress, so please pass on the call for abstracts to those you know who are working in physics outside academia. It would also be great to see a large representation of science teachers at the conference.

Get your abstracts in today to help make this the biggest and best Congress yet.

As you probably know, AIP members receive discounted rates to attend the AIP Congress, but there are many other member benefits too.

This month our Vice President Jodie Bradby shared her thoughts on why all physicists should be members of the AIP. She highlights the great work undertaken by our members, and the events they work tirelessly to make happen.

Also in this bulletin, we hear from an AIP member who represented the AIP at Science meets Parliament earlier this year. Claire Edmunds, a PhD candidate from the University of Sydney and Professor Andre Luiten from the Institute for Photonics & Advanced Sensing (IPAS) were given the chance to network with the most brilliant minds in Australian science and members of parliament—while learning about the value those relationships provide.

I was pleased to hear that the experience was not only beneficial for our representatives and their careers, but was also a whole lot of fun. You can read Claire’s report below and Andre’s in the next edition of Australian Physics.

Finally, a lot of great Australian physics research made its way into the news this month, so be sure to check out some of the great media coverage below.

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PM’s science prizes close Monday; Fresh Science; and how to get media for your research, conferences, and events

Nominations for $750,000 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science close on Monday.

You’ve got to be in it to win it, as they say… and it’s simple to nominate in the first (shortlisting) stage – more below.

We’ll also be opening nominations for Fresh Science next week, our competition for early-career researchers with a story to share.

Now in its 21st year, Fresh Science has trained over 500 scientists to share their science, and generated hundreds of news stories via TV, print, radio and online.

We’re looking for partners around the country and will run Fresh Science in any state or territory where we can secure local support. If you’d like to join us, get in touch.

National Science Week is also fast approaching – and now is the time to register your event, apply for state funding and gain a piece of the action. More below.

We’ll be providing publicity support again this year – including resources on how you can prepare your own media kit. So, if you’re planning an event or speaker with strong media appeal, let us know—email scienceweek@scienceinpublic.com.au and we’ll consider including it in highlights media releases.

We also offer media support for conferences to help you put your field of science in the spotlight and reach beyond the walls of the conference centre. More on that below.

And we’ve got communication training courses coming up in Melbourne (12 April & 5 June), Adelaide (8 May), Perth (10 May), Sydney (4 July). Details below.

I’m in Japan this week, and China next week, and will be posting some of the stories of research collaboration you shared with me via @AusAsiaScience.

If you need more info on any of the above I’ll be on email, or you can call the office on (03) 9398 1416.

Regards,

Niall [click to continue…]

Stargazing in science week and prizes galore: Physics in March

One of the year’s highlights for me as AIP President is our Annual

Professor Andrew Peele Director, Australian Synchrotron

Professor Andrew Peele
Director, Australian Synchrotron

Council Meeting, which gives us the chance to meet in person, hear about what our interstate colleagues are up to, and share our vision for the coming year for the AIP.

For me it’s exciting to see the volume of activity being managed through the state branches of the AIP. Not just in the traditional talk formats—where we continue to share some of the newest and best research from around the country—but also events such as physics in the pub, careers nights and debates, which encourage interaction and sharing of ideas.

One of the reasons that physics is able to feature at the highest levels of international science, and at the highest levels of public recognition, is because of the quality of grass-roots activities like these. The Council Meeting is a great way to bring to light some of this work, which can otherwise get overlooked, and to recognise its value.

Reflecting on another grass-roots activity—our first Summer Meeting—I think we can be pleased with the outcome for this first-time event. The low-cost event featured many opportunities for our early-career researchers and students, whilst also providing a collaborative and informative space for productive discussions. I want to thank those who put time and effort into bringing this event to fruition, and I am sure there will be more discussions about how we make the most of this event in the future. Meanwhile, it’s an AIP Congress year this year, so save the dates of 9-14 December, and keep your eyes on this bulletin for calls for content.

It was also my absolute pleasure to present an award for Outstanding Service to Physics at our AGM to Brian James. Brian’s most recent contribution to physics has been editing our member-only magazine Australian Physics for the past five years. Brian deserves to be recognised wholeheartedly for the time, effort and passion he has put into the magazine during his tenure. He will be stepping away from the role in coming months. Peter Kappen and David Hoxley will be taking over the reins and I look forward to a full introduction from them in the magazine pages once they do. Read more about Brian’s award below.

And on the topic of awards, included in this bulletin are the details of a number of science prizes. I’d encourage each state branch to consider who you’ve awarded prizes to over the past 12-18 months, and to put those people forward for some of these awards. We on the National Exec will do the same. If you are working on a nomination, please let us know so we don’t double up.

Kind Regards,

Andrew Peele
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

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Starving superbugs in your schnoz; Beatrix Potter the scientist; a hearing aid you’ll want to wear; a year of Days

Starving superbugs in your schnoz;
Beatrix Potter the scientist; a hearing aid you’ll want to wear; a year of Days

Today: starving superbugs, media call 11 am in Adelaide

Scientists are tricking superbugs into gobbling up the bacteria-equivalent of poisonous chocolate.

Dr Katharina Richter and colleagues from the University of Adelaide have begun the first human trials of the treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

They’re looking for patients with antibiotic-resistant sinus infections.

More below.

Thursday: Beatrix Potter, Vera Rubin, Elizabeth Gould and other forgotten women of science

Celebrate them this International Women’s Day, 8 March

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Case studies; build your profile; comms training; the PM’s Science Prizes and more

Case studies and profile building

We can help you raise the profile of your research and researchers by:

  • writing case studies and stories for you to use with your institution’s communication platforms
  • publishing your stories via social media, media, the web, your stakeholders, flyers and our Stories of Australian Science
  • teaching your researchers how to tell and pitch their own stories.

For example, for $5,000 we can write 10 short case studies; for $10,000 we can write them, share them, and get some attention for your researchers. If you’d like more information give me a call – 0417 131 977.

China and Japan 

If you’ve had any recent success with collaborations in China or Japan, I’d love to hear about it. I’m visiting China and Japan at the end of the month with a City of Melbourne Business Mission. I’ll be tweeting and We-Chatting about great collaborations in research and also drawing on our past lists and case studies: http://stories.scienceinpublic.com.au/japanand http://stories.scienceinpublic.com.au/china

Training

Communication training for researchers is happening around the country over the next few months. If your researchers need some guidance, mentoring or practice in media interviews, social media or pitching, check out the courses in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, and Melbourne. Details below.

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

$750,000 for science/innovation/teaching—nominations for the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science now open

Have you ever nominated someone for a prize? Felt the buzz on anticipation when you hear they are a finalist? Shared the thrill as they win? Then watched the impact it has on their career?

It’s time to put forward your unrecognised leaders and your rising stars for a Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. And if you don’t have time to drive the nomination, pass this email on to someone who does.

And more prizes

Read on for details about the PM’s Prizes and other prizes open right now including the Eureka’s, L’Oréal, Tall Poppies and Academy awards.

Regards,

Niall

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It’s time to nominate

Prizes

Yes, I know it’s only the second week of February. But it’s time to start thinking about nominations for the big prizes.

The $750,000 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science open on 21 February. Across the Prizes, it would be great to see more nominations of innovators, more women for the science prizes, and more men for the teacher prizes. And Victorian teachers as Victoria has only one teacher recognised to date.

Read on for more information on changes to the Prime Minister’s Prizes.

We’ve also updated our Science Prizes Calendar to help you track all the opportunities we’re aware of. The Eurekas, FameLab and CRC Innovation awards are open now, and the Academy of Science’s honours open soon. More below.

Australians of the Year

It was a great start to 2018 seeing quantum physicist Michelle Simmons, photosynthesis guru Graham Farquhar, and superstar maths teacher and YouTube sensation Eddie Woo recognised as Australians of the Year.

We also counted 11 scientists in the Australia Day Honours.
Our list is below. Let us know who we missed.

Nominations are now open for the 2019 Australian of the Year, and details of how to nominate someone for an Order of Australia are on the Governor General’s website.

Outreach training

Train your scientists in how to talk to the media, government and other stakeholders at one of our courses around Australia.

We’ll be in Melbourne (12 April, 5 June), Sydney (7 March, 4 July), Adelaide (8 May), Perth (10 May) and other cities by demand.
Details below.

And Science Meets Parliament kicks off tomorrow. Look out for Tanya Ha, our engagement director and a member of the STA executive. And I’ll be there for the big Parliament House dinner.

In this bulletin:

Australia Day Honours
Changes to the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science
Fresh Science winners and 2018 dates announced
Other science prizes and other opportunities
Shaping the future for early-career researchers
Communication training dates
Dates for the big events – World Science Festival, National Science Week and others
Kind regards,

Niall

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Physics in the limelight, let’s keep it there; AIP AGM; LIGO lecture and more

Professor Andrew Peele Interim Director, Australian Synchrotron

Professor Andrew Peele
Interim Director, Australian Synchrotron

I am very excited about starting 2018 with Michelle Simmons awarded Australian of the Year – what better way is there to bring physics into the limelight than having people discussing the benefits of quantum physics.

Michelle is a great advocate for our discipline, women in science and physics education – her 2017 Australia Day Address was a great example.  We offer our sincere congratulations to Michelle on this honour, and you can share your messages with her too via our Facebook post.

I’d also like to offer congratulations to those physicists awarded in the Australia Day honours roll – see list below.

These accolades are a timely reminder that the only reason physicists win these awards is because someone nominates them.

Nominations are now open for Australian of the Year 2019 and the honours roll. You can also nominate for FameLab, the Eureka Prizes, Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science and many other awards will open in the coming months.

So let’s make sure we keep the momentum going, think about who you can nominate to keep physics in the spotlight.

Last but not least, this month we also recognise Professor David McClelland – who has been awarded the Walter Boas Medal for key contributions to LIGO, and “one of the greatest achievements in the history of physics”, the discovery of gravitational waves. You can read more about David’s achievements below.

You can hear more from David at a Public Lecture at Melbourne’s RMIT on 15 February, immediately after the AIP’s AGM.

I hope to see you there.

Regards,

Andrew Peele
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

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Chicken for 100 million; instant results for every major medical test; and more Stories of Australian Science

Today:

Adding whole grains to chicken food boosts meat production efficiency and could improve global food security. It’s also likely to be good for backyard chickens, says Sydney scientist Amy Moss.

Amy’s research at The University of Sydney’s Poultry Research Foundation showed that replacing some of the ground grain in chickens’ feed with whole grain both improved their digestion and how efficiently they produced meat.

More below.

Amy is available for interview and is presenting her research at the 29th Australian Poultry Science Symposium, which starts in Sydney on Monday 5 February.

She’s the NSW winner of Fresh Science 2017—our national competition helping early-career researchers find, and then share, their stories of discovery.

We’ll be sharing the other winners’ stories via this bulletin in the coming weeks.

On Friday:

Nobel Laureate Steven Chu launches new institute at UTS – 9.30 am Friday 2 February 2018, UTS Great Hall (Building 1).

Instant results at home, at the surgery, and at the bedside for every major medical test. That’s the vision for a new research institute at UTS.

They plan to use quantum dots and other nanotech to make small, inexpensive diagnostics as simple to use as a pregnancy test and as ubiquitous as smartphones.

And with their technology the human eye can now watch a single molecule at work inside a living cell.

More below.

Want more Stories of Australian Science?

Using drones to protect swimmers (and sharks); tracking space junk; detecting toxic algal blooms in Tasmania, China, and France; using silk to repair damaged eardrums; stopping people going into floodwaters; and more.

Each year we pull together a publication with some of the highlights in Australian science from the year. We’ve just published all the stories from 2017 online (along with our previous collections) at www.scienceinpublic.com.au/stories.

You can filter by state, discipline and organisation, as well as search by keyword. If you’d like to speak with any of the scientists, feel free to contact them directly or we can help you make contact.

If you’d like a hard copy of the publication let me know and I can post some to you.

Do your colleagues like science stories too?

Please feel free to share this bulletin with your colleagues, or they can subscribe at: www.scienceinpublic.com.au/category/bulletins/media-bulletin

We send updates like this every couple of weeks with science news and talent from around Australia.

Kind regards,

Niall [click to continue…]

Using viruses to restore sight—CSL Florey Medal winner announced in Canberra tonight

Using viruses to restore sight by turning eye cells into biofactories

Perth researcher Elizabeth Rakoczy led the world’s first human gene therapy trial for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in the elderly, which affects 112,000 Australians.

Elizabeth has developed a process to turn eye cells into bio-factories, making their own medication on the spot. This gene therapy uses a modified virus to carry a gene into cells in the eye, replacing the need for frequent, painful and costly eye injections (~$2,000 each; six to eight per year).

She will receive a $50K prize and the CSL Florey Medal for lifetime achievement at the annual medical research dinner at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday.

Contact Tanya Ha to arrange interviews on 0404 083 863 or tanya@scienceinpublic.com.au

Media release below.

And we’ll have stories on our Fresh Scientists from SA, WA, NSW, and VIC in January/February.

Using viruses to restore sight:

Researcher restoring sight wins $50,000 CSL Florey Medal for lifetime achievement

Award presentation: 9 pm (Canberra time), 6 December in the Great Hall, Parliament House

Full profile, photos, and HD footage available at: www.scienceinpublic.com.au/floreymedal

Professor Elizabeth Rakoczy has developed a process to turn eye cells into bio-factories, making their own medication on the spot.

This gene therapy uses a modified virus to carry a gene into cells in the eye, replacing the need for frequent, painful and costly eye injections.·Elizabeth led the world’s first human gene therapy trial for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in the elderly.

Past CSL Florey Medallists include Graeme Clarke, Ian Frazer, and Nobel Laureates Barry Marshall and Robin Warren.Elizabeth Rakoczy is modifying viruses to use their powers for good. She’s created a new gene therapy for wet AMD that is reversing vision loss in clinical trial patients. Her treatment means one injection instead of several per year.

Modified viruses are gene therapy’s delivery vehicles, taking genes directly into cells. Elizabeth first showed that they could carry a healthy replacement for a mutated gene that causes degeneration of the eye’s retina. She then showed they can deliver instructions for eye cells to produce their own treatment for wet AMD, a complex eye disease.

More than 112,000 Australians have wet AMD—the most devastating form of AMD—and up to 8,000 more commence treatment for it each year. Each injection of the current treatment costs about $2,000, and patients have six to eight per year. Costs will rise with Australia’s ageing population. Gene therapy offers an alternative.

Elizabeth hopes to adapt her bio-factory idea to other diseases to alleviate suffering.
The CSL Florey Medal has been presented every two years since 1998 by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS). The award recognises a lifetime of achievement in biomedical science and human health advancement. It carries a cash prize of $50,000 and has been supported by CSL since 2007.

“Professor Rakoczy is a quiet achiever, a world leader in gene therapy, and a key contributor to advancing international eye research,” says CSL’s Chief Scientist, Dr Andrew Cuthbertson.

“CSL is proud to support this award which recognises excellence in research as well as creating role models for the next generation of medical researchers. Gene and cell therapies hold the potential to significantly reduce vision loss over a patient’s lifetime which is why work in this field is so important.”

“In winning the CSL Florey Medal, Professor Rakoczy joins an elite group of Australian medical researchers who have followed in the footsteps of Howard Florey,” says AIPS director Camille Thomson.

“To quote Sir Robert Menzies, ‘In terms of world wellbeing, Florey was the most important man ever born in Australia’.”

Professor Elizabeth Rakoczy is the founding Director of the Department of Molecular Ophthalmology at Lions Eye Institute, University of Western Australia.

Media contacts:

Summer Meeting underway; PhD and post-doc opportunities; and more – Physics in December

Professor Andrew Peele Director, Australian Synchrotron

Professor Andrew Peele
Director, Australian Synchrotron

In this edition of the AIP’s monthly email bulletin, we extend  a very warm welcome to the committee members elected at  recent the recent state branch AGMs.

The AIP is active through its branches, and a wide network of volunteer physicists keep the business of the Institute moving smoothly. I hope you’ll join me in welcoming our new committee members, as well as acknowledging everyone who has worked to keep the AIP moving from strength to strength in 2017.
Speaking of volunteers, they are also running the first AIP Summer Meeting now underway. A good turnout from students is already making the meeting a success and I look forward to returning to Sydney on Wednesday to hear more about the latest developments in physics across Australia. More on that below. 

National meetings like this are a great way for students (as well as those of us who are no longer students) to make connections, and to find out about employment prospects around the country. Not coincidentally, the Summer Meeting is held at the time of year that universities start thinking of recruiting, and to help that process there are plenty of job opportunities in this bulletin.

Finally, we offer our congratulations to Professor Judith Dawes on her appointment to the role of Treasurer of Science & Technology Australia (STA). We also extend our sincere thanks to outgoing STA President Professor Jim Piper, Walter Boas medalist and long-time stalwart of the Australian physics community, for his unfailing and enthusiastic advocacy of Australian science throughout his Presidency.

And read on to find out how you can make use of the AIP’s association with STA to get your voice heard in the “Halls of Power” in Canberra next February.

Regards,

Andrew Peele
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

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Pitching to Japanese, Chinese businesses and science TV; debunking pseudoscience; 1,000 scientists for World Record; Fresh Science in the Pub and more

Interested in profiling your science to those who make, buy, and produce science television? I’m heading to San Francisco next week for the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers.

Next year the conference is coming to Australia and they are keen to meet local researchers with good stories. Drop me a line.

Pitching your technology to Asian partners. Join me for a free session hosted by the City of Melbourne on 4 December. It’s a precursor to the City’s annual business mission to China and Japan in March next year. More below.

Tune up your critical thinking and pseudoscience radar at Skepticon this weekend in Sydney, and with Jason Silva in Melbourne tonight and Sydney on Sunday.

Break a World Record and the stereotype of what a scientist looks like by joining in UNSW’s record-breaking attempt at the largest gathering of people dressed as scientists at the end of November.

Or head to the pub in Melbourne (29 November) and Perth (6 December) for the latest science over a beer.

In this bulletin:

And finally, media & communication training for scientists.

If you or any of your staff need help shaping your science into a story for stakeholders, the public, industry, or the media join us for one of our training courses. Or talk to us about a customised course.

We’ve got courses coming up in:

  • Perth – 7 December
  • Melbourne – 12 December.

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Watching inside living cells; the genesis of gold; plus awards, prizes and more – Physics in November

There are lots of winners in this month’s bulletin.
Professor Andrew PeeleInterim Director, Australian Synchrotron
I’d like to personally congratulate Professor Dayong Jin who received one of this years’ Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, and Dr Jacq Romero who received a L’Oreal Australia For Women in Science Fellowship, as well as all of those who received NHMRC grants, and those elected Fellows of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering. You can read more about all of their achievements below.

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Sex, dragons, toothpaste, lasers and genetics—meet this year’s PM’s Prizes for Science winners

Last night the Prime Minister presented the 2017 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science to six outstanding scientists and science teachers.

  • What kangaroos, platypus and dragons can tell us about sex and humanity: Professor Jenny Graves AO, La Trobe University, Prime Minister’s Prize for Science
  • Saving the world’s teeth with Australian dairy milk: Professor Eric Reynolds AO, The University of Melbourne/Oral Health CRC, Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation
  • Unravelling the genetic complexity of height, intelligence, obesity and schizophrenia: Professor Jian Yang, The University of Queensland, Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year
  • Creating new ways to visualise the processes of life: Professor Dayong Jin, University of Technology Sydney, Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year
  • Using the “outdoor classroom” to make science fun and relevant to the whole curriculum: Neil Bramsen, Mount Ousley Public School, Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools
  • Inspiring his students to love science and to use it in their daily lives: Brett McKay, Kirrawee High School, Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools.

Read more about them below.

Eric Reynolds, Brett McKay, Dayong Jin, Minister Michaelia Cash, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Jenny Graves, Neil Bramsen, Jian Yang. Credit Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science.

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Nobel for gravitational waves; Australia joins the space race; flip-flop qubits and quantum internet – Physics in October

Professor Andrew PeeleInterim Director, Australian SynchrotronSpace has featured strongly in recent news.

A new gravitational wave detection, and the first from a detector other than the LIGO detectors, means we are improving our ability to identify the source of these signals and strengthening arguments to build more, and more advanced, detectors.

Of course, there is also the small matter of a Nobel Prize!

Overnight Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne of the LIGO/Virgo Collaboration were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics “for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”. Like the Higgs Boson before it there was very little doubt that this significant work was going to win a Nobel Prize, it was more a matter of who would be awarded the prize and when. You can read the full media release here.

Another success was celebrated with the end of the Cassini mission bringing world-wide media attention and reminding us just how much can be achieved with good planning and a dedicated team.

The International Astronautical Congress also gathered its share of media attention. While Elon Musk headlined with plans for going to Mars and a new acronym for a very large rocket (read the story!), the news for Australia was even more important. The announcement of a space agency for Australia signals exciting times for physics and for members of the Australian Institute of Physics.

On the topic of space, but in a different way, there are some important spaces to fill at Science & Technology Australia, with nominations open for executive committee positions. The AIP is a member of STA and this opportunity to play a role in Australia’s peak body in science and technology is one of the benefits of AIP membership. More on how to nominate below.

For more physics news you can:
1) read on;
2) renew your membership to keep receiving the AIP member only magazine – Australian Physics;
3) stay in touch with other members through events and conferences around the country; such as the Summer Meeting at the end of this year, and the 2018 AIP Congress; or
4) all of the above.
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Fresh Science in the pub; half a million in Science Week grants; and more training dates

Fresh Science turns 20 this year.

We’re giving 50 up-and-coming researchers from 25 organisations the chance to hone their communication skills, and practise presenting their science to journalists, schoolkids, science leaders, and down at their local pub.

We received close to 150 nominations for Fresh Science this year. It was tough to judge!

Hear the latest science and meet this year’s Fresh Scientists at pub events in Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth – details below.

Thank you to the 17 universities, three museums, and other groups that have partnered with us to deliver Fresh Science this year.

Also this month:

And finally, media & communication training for scientists:

If you or any of your staff need help shaping your science into a story for stakeholders, the public, industry, or the media, join us for one of our training courses. Or talk to us about a customised course.

We’ve got courses coming up in:

  • Sydney – 11 October
  • Melbourne – early December (TBC)
  • Perth – 7 December

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DIAMOND LASERS AND NANO-NAILS; THE TOTAL ECLIPSE; TEACHING PHYSICS; AND THE SUMMER MEETING: PHYSICS IN SEPTEMBER

There were physicists galore at the “Oscars of Australian Science” – the Eureka Prizes – hosted by the Australian Museum in August.

Physicists and applied physics researchers featured in at least five Prizes, you can read more about them below. Through both the winners, and all the finalists, it was great to see the impact physics can have on people’s lives.

Another way you as a physicist can have a big impact is through becoming our AIP Special Project Officer for outreach. This is a voluntary position and is a great way to become part of the AIP Executive team. The role will also give you experience and help broaden your skills in science communication. See the information below on how to apply.

Hot off the back of the great 2017 Women in Physics lecture series featuring Katie Mack, we’re putting the call out for nominations for the next Women in Physics Lecturer – and we’re seeking an international speaker for 2018. More below on how you can nominate. 

Finally, the AIP Summer meeting is proceeding with the call for submission of abstracts well and truly open – and closing on 29 September. Make sure to get your in and I look forward to seeing you there.

All this plus information and links to the solar eclipse, teaching physics and even more are in this month’s Bulletin – enjoy!

Andrew Peele
President, Australian Institute of Physics
aip_president@aip.org.au

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Mystery of leaf size solved – paper in Science today; caring for Country in Arnhem Land; and reinventing the laser

Friday 1 September

The mystery of leaf size solved

Rainforest leaves, Panama. Credit: Ian Wright

We’ve got scientists available for interview, plus full release, background information and high res images.

And a feature story by lead author Ian Wright for The Conversation here.

For the first day of Spring, we’ve got a global team of researchers who have cracked the mystery of leaf size. Their research was published today as a cover story in Science.

Associate Professor Ian Wright from Macquarie University, with 16 colleagues from Australia, the UK, Canada, Argentina, the USA, Estonia, Spain, and China analysed leaves from over 7,600 species.

They teamed that data with a new theory that in much of the world the key limiting factor for leaf size is night temperature and the risk of frost damage to leaves. Until now, the textbooks said it’s a balance between water availability and overheating.

More below.
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Get your Fresh Science in; Japan stories; Science Week report back; and training all over the country

Help us find the next generation of Fresh Scientists

Nominations for Fresh Science 2017 close next Thursday 31 August. So encourage all the great early-career researchers you know to apply and become our next generation of spokespeople for science.

Thank you Curtin, UWA, Murdoch, Edith Cowan, Notre Dame, Adelaide, UniSA, Flinders, Monash, Melbourne, LaTrobe, Deakin, Swinburne, RMIT, UNSW, UQ, QUT, Griffith, and CSIRO for your support.
More below.

Next year the Australian Government’s Australia Now program will focus on Japan. Look out for opportunities to be involved.

See some examples of Australia Japan partnerships in innovation.

They include giant robot trucks, repairing teeth together, new malaria drugs, and solar furnaces.

Watch and download the videos here.

There is also a new batch of Stories of Australian Science, including making motorcycle clothing safer, robotic arms for stroke rehab, finding gold with volcanoes and much more.

You can read and share the stories via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
More below.

Just about every science organisation in Australia got behind National Science Week this year, with a record breaking 2,100+ events around the country.

But there’s no time to rest. 2018 Science Week grants open soon and next year’s dates are 11 – 19 August. More below.

We’re holding communication courses around the country over the next month.
If you or any of your staff need help shaping your science into a story for stakeholders, the public, industry, or the media, join us for one of our training courses. Or talk to us about a customised course—our entry level session takes just 90 minutes.

We’ll be in Sydney on 31 August, Melbourne on 12 September, Canberra on 5 September, Adelaide on 19 September and Perth on 21 September. More below.

Finally, it’s the Eureka Prizes next week.

We’re not driving the media this year, so I’m looking forward to sitting back and enjoying a good night with friends and colleagues, and celebrating some of our best Australian science. You can read more about the finalists here: https://australianmuseum.net.au/2017-eureka-prizes-finalists

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