Physics around the country – April 2009

AIP President’s blog, Australian Institute of Physics

Coming up in April: acoustics of wind instruments and the opening of a new photonics institute in Sydney; Brian Schmidt explains the universe from beginning to end; and the gaseous holes of galaxies in Melbourne. And dozens of astronomy events.

In early April, the International Year of Astronomy focuses on 100 Hours of Astronomy: events from 2-5 April will bring astronomy to thousands of people. And astronomy events continue throughout April. Some of these are listed below, to give you a taste of what is happening. Go to to see the whole listing.

I am keen to make contact with members working (whether as physicists or otherwise) in industrial or commercial enterprises. I have in mind collecting career profiles, maybe even an article for Australian Physics.

I also invite AIP members with an interest in theoretical physics to join the new theoretical physics group.

While Cathy Foley remains on the executive for the next 2 years as the immediate past present (her advice will be invaluable!), she has been elected as president of FASTS (Federation of Australian Scientific Technological Societies) of which the AIP is a member. I wish Cathy well in taking on this important role for the scientific community.

Congratulations to Christian Romer Rosberg who will be awarded 2009 AIP Bragg Gold Medal at a ceremony later this year. Also my congratulations to Jim Williams, University of WA, and Adam Micolich, University of NSW – both have been recognised recently for their contributions to physics – details below.

I’m keen to see a strong field of physicists applying for the Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year. This $50,000 prize recognises early achievers. Nominations for it and the other Prime Minister’s Prizes close on Friday 8 May. I list a number of other science prizes that are open for nomination now – Eurekas, Victoria Prize, L’Oréal fellowships. Details are below.

If you want to contact me regarding AIP or other physics matters please email The next executive meeting, to which I can bring matters raised by AIP members, is on Wednesday 29 April.

If you have trouble reading the bulletin in this format, it’s also online at

If you have news or other information for the bulletin please email Niall by the 23rd of each month. This month’s bulletin is being sent by a different software program. Please let Niall know if you have problems reading it.

Kind regards,

Brian James,

AIP President

In this bulletin:

1.          AIP events across the country

2.          Physics activities across the country – general

3.          Physics activities across the country – seminars

4.          Launch of the Institute of Photonics and Optical Science (IPOS)

5.          AIP Theoretical Physics Group formed

6.          Christian Romer Rosberg awarded 2009 AIP Bragg Gold Medal

7.          Jim Williams recognised with prestigious Indian award

8.          Adam Micolich awarded Edgeworth David medal

9.          Zadko – WA’s biggest telescope – will be launched Wednesday 1 April

10.        Opportunity for high school students to study pulsars

11.        ASA Lecture series

12.        Experimental or theoretical physics lecturer position available at Monash University

13.        Science prizes open for nomination

14.        Scinema student space or astronomy film competition

15.        International Year of Astronomy activities

16.        Physics conferences

17.        Submission deadlines for the bulletin and journal

1.  AIP events across the country

VIC: Tuesday 31 March and other dates through to Tuesday 2 June, Vic AIP Education Committee and University of Ballarat

Workshop for students

TITLE: Structures and Materials Workshop 2009

SPEAKER: Trevor Gourley, University of Ballarat

VENUE: University of Ballarat, Ballarat

More info and bookings:

VIC: Thursday 16 April, Vic AIP

TITLE: Surface acoustic waves: a new paradigm for driving ultrafast microfluidics

SPEAKER: Leslie Yeo, Micro/Nanophysics Research Laboratory, Monash University


Leslie will discuss microfluidics, the manipulation of fluids at micron and submicron dimension. The applications are huge for lab-on-a-chip systems in biomedicine and pharmaceutics or even homeland security, environmental monitoring and fuel cell technology.

Leslie will give an overview of his work on surface acoustic waves, which are nanometre amplitude analogues of earthquakes that propagate along the substrate of a piezoelectric material, demonstrating that these can be harnessed for a host of rapid microfluidic manipulations, often two orders of magnitude faster than other actuation methods.

More info: Scott Wade

QLD: Tuesday 21 April, 6-7pm, The Physics Museum, Qld AIP and School of Mathematics and Physics, University of Qld

Tools of Science series

TITLE: Instrument trivia night

SPEAKER: Andrew White

VENUE: Room 222 Parnell Building, St Lucia campus, University of Queensland

Upcoming talks:

Tuesday 19 May: Norman Heckenberg – The orrery

Tuesday 2 June: John Maidstone – 150 years of Queensland science

More info: Norman Heckenberg on (07) 3365 3369 or

NSW: Tuesday 28 April, 5.30pm, NSW AIP and The University of Sydney

The meeting of the NSW AIP will have two speakers, Bruce Yabsley at 5.30pm and Joe Wolfe at 7pm.

FIRST TITLE: How to get beyond the standard model

FIRST SPEAKER: Bruce Yabsley, University of Sydney

SECOND TITLE: The acoustics of musical wind instruments – and of musicians

SECOND SPEAKER: Joe Wolfe, University of New South Wales

VENUE: Slade Lecture Theatre, School of Physics, University of Sydney

More info: Frederick Osman

ACT: Thursday 30 April, ACT AIP and Women in Physics

Women in Physics program

SPEAKER: Christine Charles

VENUE: Australian Defence Force Academy

Details to be announced.

More info: David Weisser or (02) 6125 2080

2.  Physics activities across the country – general

WA: Saturday 4 April, 7-9.30pm, Gingin Observatory

TITLE: Saturn Starkers

SPEAKER: Peter Birch

VENUE: Gingin Observatory

See Saturn without its rings. Naked! Astronomer, Peter Birch, will ‘reveal’ all in this entertaining event during the 100 hours of Astronomy! Every 15 years or so, Saturn goes through a ring plane crossing. As the planet tilts, the rings become edge on to Earth and so we see Saturn without its rings.

Bookings essential: call (08) 9575 7740 or email

Upcoming events at Gingin:

Sunday 5 April: BYO Telescope class

Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 April: Easter holiday stargazing nights

Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 April: Dark and mysterious family space adventures

Saturday 25 April: ANZAC day under the stars

Sunday 26 April: Secrets of the aboriginal night sky

More info:, call (08) 9575 7740 or email

Vic: Thursday 2 April, 7pm, Monash University

TITLE: The universe from beginning to end

SPEAKER: Brian Schmidt, Mt Stromlo Observatory, Australian National University

VENUE: Lecture Theatre E7, Clayton campus

Brian Schmidt will describe the life of the Universe that we live in, and how astronomers have used observations to trace our Universe’s history back more than 13 Billion years. With these data a puzzling picture has been pieced together where 96% of the Cosmos is made up of two mysterious substances, Dark Matter and Dark Energy.

More info:

VIC: Thursday 16 April, 6.30pm, Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing, Swinburne University

Free public lecture

TITLE: Building entire universes in the Swinburne supercomputer

SPEAKER: Darren Croton, Swinburne University

VENUE: EN102 Swinburne University, Hawthorn campus

Darren will explore and show supercomputer simulations that help astronomers discover what the galaxy looked like a billion years ago, and what it might look like in another billion years.

Seating is limited. Please contact Carolyn Cliff (03) 9214 5569 or to reserve a seat.

More info:

NSW: Thursday 30 April, 6.30pm, University of Sydney and the Royal Society of NSW

TITLE: Pollock Memorial Lecture: The universe from beginning to end

SPEAKER: Brian Schmidt, Mt Stromlo Observatory, Australian National University

VENUE: Eastern Avenue Auditorium, University of Sydney, Camperdown campus

Brian will talk about dark matter and dark energy, two mysterious substances which make up 96% of the universe. New experiments at Mt Stromlo should give us a better understanding of these dark forms, and predict the ultimate fate of the cosmos.

More info: RSVP to (02) 9351 3383 or

WA: Tuesday 5 – Thursday 7 May, Scitech

TITLE: IYA2009 Astronomy WA Space Camp

To celebrate the International Year of Astronomy and to encourage awareness and understanding of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, an Astronomy WA Space Camp will be held for teachers and secondary students from Western Australia and beyond.

More info: here or contact Pete Wheeler at or (08) 9215 0830.

VIC: Thursday 4 June, VSSEC, Melbourne Planetarium and CSIRO ATNF

TITLE: Teaching astronomy & astrophysics in the IYA

VENUE: Scienceworks Museum, Melbourne

VSSEC (Victorian Space Science Education Centre) and the Melbourne Planetarium have joined with the CSIRO ATNF (Australia Telescope National Facility) to offer a full day Teacher Professional Learning program which explores resources for teaching astronomy & astrophysics, and programs offered by the participating organizations. Participants will be one of the first to see the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibition.

For bookings please contact Scienceworks museum on (03) 9392 4819.

More info:

VIC: Sunday 21 – Wednesday 24 June, Melbourne

TITLE: Nanophotonics Down Under 2009 Devices and Applications (SMONP 2009)

This will be an interdisciplinary meeting devoted to laser and light interacting with nano-dimensional objects for photonics applications.

Abstract submissions close Saturday 28 February (11pm AEDT).

More info:

A free workshop for teachers will be held on Sunday 21. The aim of this workshop is to expose teachers to current research in nanophotonics and nanotechnology. Support for travel and accommodation (up to $500) is available for rural and interstate teachers). See

NSW: Sunday 12 – Saturday 25 July, Science Foundation for Physics, University of Sydney

TITLE: 35th Professor Harry Messel International Science School: ISS2009 Genes to Galaxies

VENUE: University of Sydney

Up to 140 of the brightest and most highly motivated Year 11 & 12 students from around Australia and nine other countries will stay on campus and experience two weeks of lectures, workshops and special activities. This is a scholarship program where all in-country student costs are covered by the Science Foundation for Physics.

Applications close on Friday 3 April.

More info:

3.  Physics activities across the country – seminars

VIC: Thursday 23 April, 11.30am, Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University

TITLE: 18 month PhD review

SPEAKER: Caroline Foster, Swinburne University

VENUE: Swinburne Virtual Reality Theatre, AR Building, Room 104, Hawthorn

Upcoming colloquia:

Thursday 30 April: Simon O’Toole, Anglo-Australian Observatory – The Anglo-Australian planet search: selection effects, new planets & long winter nights

More info: or George Hau on

NSW: Wednesday 25 March, 3.30-4.30pm, Australia Telescope National Facility and Anglo-Australian Observatory

TITLE: CORNISH – A 5 GHz VLA survey of the northern galactic plane

SPEAKER: Cormac Purcell, Jodrell Bank

VENUE: ATNF Marsfield Lecture Theatre

Upcoming colloquium:

Wednesday 1 April: Leo Blitz

More info: Patrick Weltevrede or

QLD: Friday 27 March, 4-5pm (refreshments from 3.30pm), Physics Department, University of Queensland

TITLE: Precision oscillator, clocks and interferometers with applications to space, industry and fundamental physics

SPEAKER: Michael Tobar, University of Western Australia

VENUE: Parnell Building Room 222, University of Queensland

Upcoming colloquia:

Friday 17 April: David Reilly, University of Sydney

Friday 24 April: Andrea Morello, University of NSW

Friday 1 May: Mahananda Dasgupta, Australian National University

More info: or

NSW: Monday 30 March, School of Physics, University of Sydney

TITLE: HERMES – Reconstructing the ancient galaxy

SPEAKER: Joss Bland-Hawthorn, University of Sydney

VENUE: Slade Lecture Theatre, School of Physics A28, University of Sydney

Upcoming colloquia:

Monday 6 April: TBC

Monday 20 April: TBC

Monday 27 April: James Rabeau, Macquarie University – Nanodiamonds for quantum and biological science

More info: Bruce Yabsley (02) 9351 5970 or

WA: Tuesday 7 April, 3.30-4.30pm, School of Physics, University of Western Australia

TITLE: The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA): project overview and science prospects

SPEAKER: Martin Zwaan, ESO

VENUE: Physics Lecture Room 2.15, Physics Building, University of Western Australia

Upcoming seminars:

Tuesday 21 April: Tobias Westmeier, Australia Telescope National Facility

Tuesday 12 May: Robert Braun, Australia Telescope National Facility

More info: or (08) 6488 2738.

NSW: Friday 1 May, 4-5pm, School of Physics, University of NSW

TITLE: Separating the universal from the particular in strongly correlated metals

SPEAKER: Ben Powell, University of Queensland

VENUE: School of Physics Common Room, Room 64, Old Main Building

Upcoming colloquium:

Monday 4 May: Ilya Eremin, Max-Planck Institut für Physik komplexer Systeme, Dresden, Germany – Superconductivity at dawn of the iron age: pairing fluctuations and competing orders

More info: Adam Micolich (02) 9385 6132 or

4.  Launch of the Institute of Photonics and Optical Science (IPOS)

AIP members are invited to the launch of the Institute of Photonics and Optical Science (IPOS) at the University of Sydney at 9:30 am on Thursday 23 April 2009 by the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr. The launch will be followed by a one-day symposium, “The Photonic Universe – Faster, Further, Smarter”, which will explore the significant opportunities photonics represents to academia, industry and society across a broad range of fields including energy, defence, telecommunications and astronomy. To register your intention to attend please go to

5.  AIP Theoretical Physics Group formed

Following a request by five members, the AIP Council meeting in February approved the formation of a Theoretical Physics group. The purpose of a group is to provide a forum for members who have a common interest in the advancement and dissemination of knowledge of some branch of physics – in this case theoretical physics. Existing groups are Nuclear and Particle Physics, Women in Physics, Physics Education, Quantum Information, Concepts and Coherence, and Solar Terrestrial and Space Physics (see

If you wish to become a member of the Theoretical Physics Group, please contact Vladimir Bazhanov, Theoretical Physics, Research School of Physical Sciences & Engineering, The Australian National University

6.  Christian Romer Rosberg awarded 2009 AIP Bragg Gold Medal

The Bragg Gold Medal committee has chosen Christian Romer Rosberg of ANU as the medal winner for 2009 for his thesis ‘Spatial control of light in nonlinear and periodic photonic structures’. Christian has carried out a variety of experiments designed to demonstrate low-power all-optical photonic switching devices. His work included experiments on photonic crystal fibres with holes filled with a liquid, on waveguide arrays in lithium niobate and on photonic lattices, optically induced in a photoreactive crystal. Two of his examiners rated the thesis as exceptional, of the highest merit and at the forefront of research in the field. Dr Rosberg has published seven papers during the course of his studies and these have already been cited 107 times, indicating a strong recognition amongst his colleagues of their importance.

The close runner-up was Susan Angus of UNSW, for her thesis ‘Quantum Dots and Radio-frequency Electrometry in Silicon’.

7.  Jim Williams recognised with prestigious Indian award

AIP member, Jim Williams, a leading physics researcher at the University of Western Australia, has received the Endowed Hare Professorial Lecture Award for his contributions to physics and his promotion of science. The award is given by the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, and recognises Jim’s interaction with the Asian region, and India in particular, over more than 40 years.

8.  Adam Micolich awarded Edgeworth David medal

Adam Micolich, senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales, has been awarded the Edgeworth David Medal. The medal is awarded by the Royal Society of NSW to a scientist under the age of 35 for distinguished contributions to Australian science. Adam was recognised for his experimental work in nanotechnology and ultrasmall semiconductor structures.

9.  Zadko – WA’s biggest telescope – will be launched Wednesday 1 April

The University of Western Australia will launch the Zadko telescope, the biggest in WA, next Wednesday 1 April.

The Zadko telescope, co-located with the Gravity Discovery Centre near Gingin, will search for massive cosmic explosions known as gamma ray bursts which herald the formation of black holes at the edge of the known universe.

The Zadko’s unique geographical position in Western Australia makes it a vital global facility for the study of the transient universe, allowing it to explore of a huge section of unchartered and previously unmonitored space.

10.  Opportunity for high school students to study pulsars

Parkes radio telescope is now calling for applications from schools for an observing slot in the PULSE@Parkes program from May through September 2009.  This free program allows students in Years 10-12 to control the iconic Parkes radio telescope remotely to observe pulsars.  They then analyse their data to determine some pulsar properties.  They also interact with professional astronomers and learn more about observational radio astronomy.

For details and an online application form please visit the project website at:

11.  ASA Lecture series

As part of the International Year of Astronomy, the AIP is supporting the ASA in hosting public lectures through the AIP branches. Some funding is available from both the ASA and the AIP to bring speakers to capital cities. Branches may also be able to arrange visits to some regional centres.

These ASA lectures are a good opportunity to supplement branch expenditure on public lectures. Lecturers and topics are now finalised.  Branch members may wish to contact their committee to let them know which particular talks they would like to host.

The lecture topics and speakers are:

Black holes and galaxies – Reinhard Genzel, Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Germany & Dept of Physics, University of California, Berkeley, USA

A universe made for me? The anthropic principle in astronomy – Geraint Lewis, School of Physics, University of Sydney

The Square Kilometre Array – Brian Boyle, Australia Telescope National Facility, CSIRO

From Mars to Earth: a journey fostered by science, technology and fascination – Paulo De Sousa, CSIRO ICT Centre, Tasmania

Is there more than one universe? – Charley Lineweaver, Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics/Research School of Earth Science, ANU

The astronomy of aboriginal Australians – Ray Norris, Australia Telescope National Facility, CSIRO

Particle astronomy: the second window – Marc Duldig, Australian Antarctic Division

Galileo’s invention of the astronomical telescope and his remarkable discoveries: moons, stars and a new planet – David Jamieson, School of Physics, University of Melbourne

12.  Experimental or theoretical physics lecturer position available at Monash University

The School of Physics, Monash University, seeks to appoint a full-time Level B Lecturer in Experimental or Theoretical Physics, who will lead their engagement with the new John Monash Science School (to commence operation on the Clayton Campus in 2010).

Applications close Friday 1 May.

More info here.

13.  Science prizes open for nomination

Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science recognise excellent and dedicated work in Australian science and science teaching. As well as the major prize, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, two of the prizes are particularly relevant to physicists: the Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year, which recognises early-career research, and the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools.

Nominations close Friday 8 May.

More info:

L’Oréal For Women in Science fellowships: Australian and international

Applications for the 2009 L’Oréal Australia For Women in Science Fellowships will open on 1 April 2009. The Fellowships are open to female scientists no more than five years past their PhD, excluding periods of maternity leave.

Further details including instructions and full eligibility criteria, and a link to the online application form (from 1 April) can be found at:

Nominations for the 2010 UNESCO- L’ORÉAL International Fellowships will open in March. The International Fellowships are worth US$40,000 over two years and are available to female doctoral and post-doctoral scientists under 35 years old with a focus on Life Sciences to study at an institution outside Australia. Three of the 15 International Fellowships will be awarded in the Asia-Pacific Region, which includes Australia.

Applications close on 30 June 2009.

More info and to download the application form:

The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes

The Eureka Prizes reward excellence in the fields of scientific research & innovation, science leadership, school science and science journalism & communication.

Nominations are now open. Entries close on Friday 1 May.

More info:

2009 Victoria Prize and Fellowships

Victoria’s leading and emerging scientists, engineers and innovators are being encouraged to nominate for the Victorian Government’s 2009 Victoria Prize and Victoria Fellowships.

Follow links to the Victoria Prize and Victoria Fellowships.

Nominations close on 3 April 2009.

14.  Scinema student space or astronomy film competition

To celebrate The International Year of Astronomy in 2009, SCINEMA is holding a student film competition for Australian students of all ages. We challenge you to make a short film, under 5 minutes, with a space or astronomy theme. Films will be judged according to age groups (Primary School, Secondary School, Tertiary Institutions) and further prizes will be awarded for humour, technical merit, and the ability to explain complex concepts.

Winners in the junior and senior sections receive a trip to some of Australia’s key astronomy facilities, including The Dish in Parkes, Siding Spring, and the Anglo-Australian Observatory in Coonabarabran.

Entries close 30 March.

More info:

15.  International Year of Astronomy activities

There are more than 60 events over the next two months. Many are listed below – and there are more at If you’re involved in an event that isn’t listed, please register your event on the Australian IYA website. Many thanks to all of you who have already registered! Information you register on international websites connected with IYA does NOT automatically flow through to the Australian website, so please make sure you register locally.

100 Hours of Astronomy 2-5 April

100 Hours of Astronomy is a worldwide event aimed at bringing the excitement of astronomy to as many people as possible.

Here are a couple of the international events running, and some of the events listed on the website.


  • Five Australian telescopes – CSIRO’s Parkes telescope, the Anglo-Australian Telescope, the Mount Pleasant radio telescope of the University of Tasmania, the Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope, and the Australian International Gravitational Observatory – are taking part in a live 24-hour webcast running over 3 and 4 April. The schedule for this event, “Around the World in 80 Telescopes”, is now available on the 100 Hours website, It is subject to change, however, so check it again closer to the event.
  • “Universe Awareness” (UNAWE) is an international IYA project that aims to bring the excitement of astronomy to young children. For the 100 Hours of Astronomy, UNAWE will run a project to connect astronomers and children one-to-one online. UNAWE invites astronomers, teachers and parents to sign up for the program. To get involved, first join the 100HA JUNIOR Google Group email list at you are an astronomer (amateur or professional), please introduce yourself: give your name, location, languages spoken, interest in astronomy, and availability between April 2 and 5, 2009. If you are a teacher or a parent, please introduce yourself or your school by giving your name, location, age of the children you wish to involve, language spoken and what you wish to get out of this event. Please be careful not to post any personal information about children, as this is a public forum.If you have any questions about this program, please contact the organiser, Carolina Odman

Australian Capital Territory

  • Public star-gazing with the Canberra Astronomical Society in the Commonwealth Place carpark (between Questacon and the lake) on Saturday 4 April.
  • “Space at Questacon” day at the National Science and Technology Centre – Saturday 4 April.

New South Wales

  • The University of New England and Northern Tablelands Astronomical Society will run public viewings out of Kirby Observatory and in local parks in Armidale, NSW on Thursday 2 April to Sunday 5 April.
  • A NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service “100 Hours of Astronomy” event at Bradley’s Head, Sydney with Andy McQuie, Ray Norris and David Malin on Thursday 2 April. (Note: this event is free but requires booking. Please ring Cadman’s cottage on 02 9247 5033.)
  • “Starry, Starry Night” events in NSW National Parks around the state:
    • Bournda National Park on Thursday 2 April
    • the South East Forest National Park, Dorrigo National Park and Kur-ing-gai Chase National Park on Friday 3 April
    • Royal National Park, Mutton Bird Island Nature Reserve, Cattai National Park, Blue Mountains and Warrumbungle National Park on Saturday 4 April.
  • The Sutherland Astronomical Society has astronomer Fred Watson as guest speaker on Thursday 2 April, and the 3rd International Sidewalk Astronomers Night in Cronulla on Friday 3 April.
  • “Baradine Village Astrofest” – afternoon talks and night sky viewing with the Astronomical Society of Coonabarabran – will run on Friday 3 April.
  • The “Young Starwatchers” program runs at the University of Western Sydney on Friday 3 April.


  • “400 years of discovery with Galileo’s telescope” – talk and stargazing at the Runaway Bay Library, Gold Coast, Qld, on Thursday 2 April. Also, the Springbrook Observatory at the Gold Coast is running a number of activities during 2-5 April.
  • A public viewing night will be held at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, Brisbane, in conjunction with local astronomical societies on Saturday 4 April.
  • The Great Barrier Reef Observatory will run telescope viewing on Hamilton Island on Saturday 4 April.


  • “Heavens above” stargazing with the Mornington Peninsula Astronomical Society at the Briars on Friday 3 April.
  • Solar viewing and Q&A session with astronomer Tanya Hill at the Melbourne Planetarium on Sunday 5 April.

Western Australia

  • “Scitech Space Pirates” will be out in force at Little Creatures brewery, Fremantle, to show landlubbers the stars on Thursday 2 April.
  • “Big Scopes at the Beach” – stargazing at City Beach, Perth, on Friday 3 April.
  • “Saturn starkers”: astronomer Peter Birch will reveal Saturn without its rings at the Gingin Observatory on Saturday 4 April. On Sunday 5 April at the Observatory is a BYO Telescope class.
  • “Big Scopes in Busselton” – stargazing at Busselton on Sunday 5 April.


  • “Great discoveries in astronomy”, a public talk by Martin George, will be followed by stargazing with telescopes on Thursday 2 and Saturday 4 April.
Other events to the end of April

Other events coming up include the following (see for more events):


  • The “Globe at night” program running to Saturday 28 March. Participants around the world report on their night sky to foster awareness of light pollution.

Australian Capital Territory

  • “Aliens, Astrobears & Bearonauts” Canberra’s Teddy bears’ picnic at Black Mountain Reserve, Canberra on Sunday 29 March.
  • “Starry Night” activities for children and adults with the Canberra Astronomical Society on Earth Day, Wednesday 22 April.

New South Wales

  • An astrophotography exhibition celebrating IYA will run at the Newcastle Region Library to 25 April.
  • Observations from the Sydney Observatory as Sydney turns off its lights for Earth Hour on Saturday 28 March.
  • “Starry, Starry Night” events in NSW National Parks around the state:
    • Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park on Wednesday 1 April
    • Tucki Tucki Nature Reserve on Saturday 11 April and Thursday 23 April
    • Boyd River, Kanangra National Park on Saturday 11 April
    • Woodford Academy, Blue Mountains, Bargo State Conservation Area and Bents Basin Education Centre on Saturday 18 April
    • Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area on Friday 24 April.
  • “Celestial navigation and exploring the Hunter” with local astronomer George Barnes on Wednesday 15 April.
  • “Beyond the Dish: an astronomical tour” four-day bus tour of NSW observatories from Thursday 16 April.
  • “Saturn Fever Party Day” for children at the Sydney Observatory on Tuesday 21 April.


  • “Discover the night sky” every Thursday evening in March at the Melbourne Planetarium.
  • “Shared sky” exhibition. This exhibition, which explores the cultural experience of the night sky over our southern continent, has opened at the Ian Potter Gallery, Melbourne.
  • “8th Snake Valley astronomy camp” four nights of observation and astrophotography. Only 20 minutes from Ballarat, from Friday 27 to Tuesday 31 March.

Western Australia

  • “Celestial tasting – dinner, entertainment and viewing” under the stars at Lamonts – Swan Valley, WA, with Noongar community elder Noel Nannup, each night from Thursday 26 to Saturday 28 March.
  • Messier Marathon night of observation: an event for amateur astronomers. Saturday 28 March is the best time during IYA to view the Messier catalogue of 90 objects visible from the Southern Hemisphere. This is an overnight event at the Golden Grove Observatory, Chittering Valley, WA. More info here.

For more information about these events visit

If your event isn’t included in this listing please register it at

Downloadable resources

You can download a general IYA poster, and a poster specifically for advertising the 100 Hours of Astronomy, from . Other useful materials are available from

The contact for the International Year of Astronomy is Helen Sim, Single Point of Contact (SPOC) in Australia for the 2009 International Year of Astronomy. Contact Helen on, tel: (02) 9372 4251 or  0419 635 905.

16.  Physics conferences

PECS VIII – The 8th Photonic and Electromagnetic Crystal Structure Meeting

Sydney, NSW

05/04/2009 – 09/04/2009

Nanophotonics Down Under 2009 Devices and Applications

Melbourne Convention Centre, Vic

21/06/2009 – 24/06/2009

The Many Faces of Centaurus A

Sydney, NSW

28/06/2009 – 03/07/2009

5th International Conference on Advanced Vibrational Spectroscopy (ICAVS5)

Melbourne, Vic

12/07/2009 – 17/07/2009

35th Professor Harry Messel International Science School: ISS2009 Genes to Galaxies

Sydney, NSW

12/07/2009 – 25/07/2009

9th Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC2009)

Adelaide, SA

17/07/2008 – 19/07/2009

Register before Sunday 31 May for the ‘early bird’ discount.

11th International Symposium on Radiation Physics (ISRP-11)

University of Melbourne, Vic

20/09/2009 – 25/09/2009

Abstracts are due by 30 April; early bird registration closes 25 May. The workshop below is held in conjunction with this symposium.

Workshop on advances in analytical techniques in geology, conservation science, forensic science, border technology, biomedical & other applications

University of Melbourne, Vic

26/09/2009 – 27/09/2009

This workshop is held in conjunction with the symposium above.

10th International Conference on Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation (SRI09)

Melbourne Convention Centre, Vic

27/09/2009 – 02/10/2009

International Conference on Physics Education (ICPE) 2009

Bangkok, Thailand

18/10/2009 – 24/10/2009

Tenth International Symposium – Frontiers of Fundamental & Computational Physics (FFP10)

Perth, WA

24/11/2009 – 26/11/2009

Conference on Computational Physics 2009, Taiwan

Kaohsiung, Taiwan

15/12/2009 – 19/12/2009

Registration will open in March 2009

17.  Submission deadlines for the bulletin and journal

Our next bulletin will be for May 2009. We welcome contributions about activities, conferences and announcements. Our next submission deadline is Thursday 23 April. Please send your submissions to Margie Beilharz from Science in Public on or (03) 9398 1416.

And the AIP’s journal, Australian Physics, welcomes your articles. The deadline for the May/June issue the deadline is Monday 11 May. Email John Daicopoulos on


For more information on physics events visit and click on ‘physics events’ or on your state branch.

If you know of anyone who would like to receive these updates, please feel free to forward this to them.

Kind regards,



Assoc. Prof. Brian James

President of the Australian Institute of Physics

Phone: +61 (2) 9351-2471


(Sent by Niall Byrne, Science in Public on behalf of the Australian Institute of Physics,