Congress registration, Queen's Birthday honours, Olympiad: physics in July

AIP President’s blog, Australian Institute of Physics, Bulletins
Congress registration, Queen's Birthday honours, Olympiad: physics in July post image

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

The 2014 AIP Congress is less than six months away and you have just one more day to submit an abstract for a presentation or poster. Registrations have opened, with early-bird rates available until 29 August, so book in now to get together with your colleagues in December.

Of course, on the other side of the world the summer conference season is now on, and many of us will be flying north for the winter. The connections made at these events are crucial to the health of Australian physics, so I wish everyone happy hunting.

The Queen’s Birthday Honours were announced earlier this month, and I congratulate physicists Steve Buckman (ANU), Jim Piper (Macquarie), Ian Allison (Tasmania) and Tomas Kron (Peter Mac), as well as applied mathematician and physical chemist Barry Ninham (ACT) and former physicist Ziggy Switkowski, whom I think we can also claim, on their awards.

Young stars are also shining, with the announcement of the team of students who will represent Australia at the International Physics Olympiad in Kazakhstan in July. I was fortunate to attend the event in Canberra, along with media personality Adam Spencer and Dennis Jensen MP. You can read more about the team below.

Finally, I and some fellow AIP members recently had the opportunity to attend lectures by visiting American theoretical physicist Michio Kaku. He didn’t dumb things down too much, giving an entertaining performance to packed houses. It was inspiring to see so many people turn out and pay to hear a physicist speak, and a timely reminder of how much the public values what we do.

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



Rob Robinson
President, Australian Institute of Physics

In this issue…

AIP member news

Registrations open and last call for abstracts

The AIP Congress 2014 is now open for online registration. Get in by 29 August 2014 totake advantage of our early-bird rates. Register online today.

And there’s just time for you to submit an abstract for a presentation or poster at the Congress. This is your chance to share your ideas, your discoveries, things you’ve tried that didn’t work (and why) and your successes with many other physicists.

Please submit your abstract online at the Congress website by 5.00 pm AEST on Friday 27 June 2014.

Find out more and submit your abstract at

Picturing physics on social media

If you follow the AIP on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn you’re probably aware that we try to keep up with developments, and that includes the latest design changes on these sites.

We’re looking for high impact physics images that we can use in the new banner format across the top of these AIP social media sites, and we think it’s a great opportunity to showcase Australian physics with photos submitted by our members.

So we’re asking you to submit any great images of physics, physicists or related topics that you’d be happy for us to use as feature images for each of our three sites. The pictures must be in landscape format and at least 1500 pixels wide. And they must be images that you own and can give us permission to use.

We’ll announce the chosen images in the next bulletin. Please send your photos to

Other physics news

Queen’s Birthday Honours for physicists

On 9 June 2014, six current and former physicists were counted among the distinguished Australians recognised for their achievements:

  • Ian Allison, AIP Fellow, University of Tasmania, Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)
    For distinguished service to the environment as a glaciologist, to furthering international understanding of the science of the Antarctic region, and to climate research.
  • Barry Ninham, ANU, Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)
    For distinguished service to physical sciences through landmark theoretical and practical advances in colloids and surfaces, and as an academic, educator and mentor.
  • Ziggy Switkowski, Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)
    For distinguished service to the community, particularly to tertiary education administration, scientific organisations and the telecommunications sector, to business, and to the arts.
  • Stephen Buckman, AIP Fellow, ANU, Member of the Order of Australia (AM)
    For significant service to science in the field of experimental atomic physics as a leading researcher, academic and author.
  • James Piper, Macquarie University, Member of the Order of Australia (AM)
    For significant service to tertiary education, particularly through research in applied laser physics.
  • Tomas Kron, AIP Member, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
    For service to medicine, and to research and education.

The full list of Queen’s Birthday Honours can be seen at

Students line up for Olympiad

Australia’s teams for this year’s Science and Mathematics Olympiads were revealed on 16 June at a ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra.

Billed as the “Olympic Games” for science, informatics and mathematics, the Olympiads involve teams of students competing for gold medals by sitting intense theoretical and laboratory exams.

The Australian Physics Olympiad team and officials at the announcement. From left to right, Matthew Verdon (program director), Alexander Ritter (Scotch College, Vic), Turner Hancock (Cranbrook School, NSW), Adam Spencer (MC), Dennis Jensen MP, Gunilla Burrows (Chair, Australian Science Innovations), Allen Gu (Brisbane Grammar School, Qld), Arthur Thiele (Fort Street High School, NSW), Edric Wang (Sydney Boys High School, NSW).

The 2014 International Physics Olympiad will take place from 13 to 21 July in Astana, Kazakhstan. Find out more at

World watches Australian science cuts

Science Technology Australia (STA), of which the AIP is a member, continues to highlight the impact on research of the Australian Government’s 2014 Budget.

But now it’s making headlines internationally as well, with articles in the top international journal, Science.

Journalist and former science writer for The Australian Leigh Dayton writes that the budget will lead CSIRO to close eight research facilities, in addition to heavy cuts to radio astronomy. She also writes that “some researchers are warning that the spending reductions will force Australian researchers to seek work overseas and make the nation less competitive.”

You can read these articles online (some may require subscription):

AIP events

The Art of Physics, 2014 AIP Congress
7–11 Dec 2014
ANU, Canberra

Plastic semiconductors: the future of sustainable electronics?

Youth Lecture Tour

Mon 21 Jul, Hervey Bay
Tue 22 Jul, Toowoomba
Wed 23 Jul, Rockhampton
Thu 24 Jul, Cairns
Fri 25 Jul, Townsville
Mon 28 Jul, Mt Isa
Thu 31 Jul, Brisbane
Fri 1 Aug, Sunshine Coast

Paul Meredith will present his one-hour lecture throughout Queensland in tribute to John Mainstone’s outstanding outreach and educational work.

More events below

News in brief

ANU physics project market day 29 Aug

Travel scholarships to attend are open till 11 July.

First ASKAP images show space slices

Australia’s SKA Pathfinder radio telescope gives a preview of its astronomy potential.

Experiment simulates time travel

University of Queensland researchers test paradoxes of photons travelling back through time.

Dark matter pioneer wins cosmology prize

ANU astronomer Ken Freeman has won the 2014 Gruber Cosmology Prize for his work on galaxy formation.

Large waves break up sea ice

Researchers from the University of Newcastle show the role stormy seas play in changes to sea ice extent.

Algae control quantum coherence

UNSW researchers use X-ray crystallography to find switch for quantum processes in photosynthesis.

World’s best thermometer made of light

University of Adelaide researchers use light propagation in crystals to measure temperature changes of 3 billionths of a degree in one second.


AIP event denotes AIP events


2014 Physics Project Market Day
Tue, 19 Aug 2014, 11:30am
Melville Hall, Ellery Crescent, ANU
For students

Brian Cox – Making Sense of the Cosmos
Fri, 24 Oct 2014, 7pm
Royal Theatre, National Convention Centre Canberra
Public lecture


International masterclass for high-school physics students: The search for the Higgs
Thu, 10 Jul 2014
The University of Sydney
For students and teachers

5th Annual Poster Presentation Lecture Evening (A.P.P.L.E)
Mon, 21 Jul 2014, 6pm
Trinity Grammar School, Dining Hall, 119 Prospect Road, Summer Hill

Stephen Curry: X-ray Crystallography: a new view of the world
Mon, 18 Aug 2014, 6pm
Law School LT 101
Public lecture

Zdenka Kuncic: Forward Momentum: How physics is revolutionising medicine
Wed, 20 Aug 2014, 5:45pm
Eastern Avenue Auditorium, The University of Sydney
Public lecture

Brian Cox – Making Sense of the Cosmos
Wed, 22 Oct 2014, 7pm
State Theatre, Sydney
Public lecture


AIP event Paul Meredith: Plastic semiconductors – the future of sustainable electronics?
Mon, 21 Jul – Fri 1 Aug 2014
Various locations throughout Queensland
For students and teachers

Thierry Foglizzo: From the dynamics of a hydraulic jump to the asymmetric character of stellar explosions
Thu, 7 Aug 2014, 2pm
AEB Civil Engineering School Seminar Room 49-502, The University of Queensland, St Lucia
Public lecture

Journey Through the Cosmos with Brian Cox and the QSO
Thu, 6 Nov 2014
QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane
Public lectures and music


International masterclass for high-school physics students: The search for the Higgs
Thu, 10 Jul 2014
The University of Adelaide
For students and teachers

Brian Cox – Making Sense of the Cosmos
Tue, 14 Oct 2014, 7pm
Adelaide Entertainment Centre
Public lecture


No upcoming events are currently listed.


Practical Activities Workshops and Equipment Fair
Mon, 30 Jun 2014
Camberwell Grammar School, Mont Albert Rd, Canterbury
For teachers

David Jamieson: Physics, Entropy, Energy and Climate Change
Fri, 4 Jul 2014, 8pm
Carrillo Gantner Theatre, Sidney Myer Asia Centre, The University of Melbourne, 761 Swanston Street, Parkville
Public lecture

International masterclass for high-school physics students: The search for the Higgs
Thu, 10 Jul 2014
The University of Melbourne
For students and teachers

Harry Quiney: The World in a Grain of Sand – A Century of Crystallography
Fri, 11 Jul 2014, 8pm
Carrillo Gantner Theatre, Sidney Myer Asia Centre, The University of Melbourne, 761 Swanston Street, Parkville
Public lecture

Andrew Ooi: Computational fluid dynamics – from aerodynamic vehicles to heart stent design
Thu, 17 Jul 2014, 6pm
A1 Theatre
Public lecture

Michael Parker: Shining a light on Alzheimer’s disease through X-ray crystallography
Thu, 17 Jul 2014, 6pm
Bio21 Institute Auditorium, 30 Flemington Rd, Parkville
Public lecture

Brian Cox – Making Sense of the Cosmos
Sat, 18 Oct 2014, 7pm
The Plenary, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
Public lecture


Brian Cox – Making Sense of the Cosmos
Thu, 16 Oct 2014, 7pm
Riverside Theatre, Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre
Public lecture


19th OptoElectronics and Communications Conference/39th Australian Conference on Optical Fibre Technology (OECC/ACOFT 2014)
6–10 July 2014, Melbourne, Vic

6th Pacific Rim Conference on Rheology
20–25 July 2014, The University of Melbourne, Vic

NEW PNCMI 2014: Polarised Neutrons for Condensed Matter Investigations 2014
15–19 September 2014, University of Sydney, NSW

NEW ENVIRO’14: Pathways for better business
17–19 September 2014, Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, SA

Joint International Conference on Hyperfine Interactions and Symposium on Nuclear Quadrupole Interactions 2014
21–26 September 2014, Academy of Sciences, Canberra, ACT

MEDSI 2014 – Mechanical Engineering Design of Synchrotron Radiation Equipment and Instrumentation
20–24 October 2014, Hilton on the Park, Melbourne

2014 Australasian Radiation Protection Society Conference
26–29 Oct 2014, Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart, Tas

XRM2014 — 12th International Conference on X-ray Microscopy
26–31 October 2014, Melbourne, Vic

The Periphery of Disks
3–6 Nov 2014, Sydney, NSW

OSA Optics and Photonics Congress on Light, Energy and the Environment
2–5 December 2014, Australian National University, ACT

AIP Congress – The Art of Physics
7–11 December 2014, Australian National University, ACT

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

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

Contributions and contact details

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

  • Rob Robinson, AIP President
  • the AIP website is
  • membership enquiries to the Secretariat or 03 9895 4477
  • ideas for articles for Australian Physics to the Chair of the Editorial Board and Acting Editor Brian James, on, 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 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,