Welcome to my monthly email to people around the country with an interest in physics – with news and events for December 2009 and January 2010.
This month we’re exploring quantum matter in Canberra and Melbourne with Austrian Rudolf Grimm, sub-atomic physics in Adelaide; a teachers’ seminar in Tassie, and the director of the SKA project, Richard Schilizzi speaks in Melbourne.
There are also a number of prizes and awards.
- The AIP has recognised the work of Victor Flambaum, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of NSW, in awarding him the 2009 Walter Boas Medal.
- I will be presenting an award for Outstanding Service to Physics in Australia to Professor John O’Connor at a ceremony at the University of Newcastle on 1 December.
- I have pleasure in announcing that the winner of the 2010 Bragg Gold Medal for Excellence in Physics, awarded for the best PhD thesis by a student from an Australian University, is Clancy James. Clancy completed his thesis, entitled Ultra-High Energy Particle Detection with the Lunar Cherenkov Technique at the University of Adelaide. He is currently working at Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. It is hoped to make the award during an observing trip to Australia in 2010.
- It is pleasing to see physicists featuring strongly in the WA Science Awards. Igor Bray and Peter Quinn are both in the running for the WA Scientist of the Year.
I attended the FASTS AGM and Board meeting in Canberra 24 October as representative of the physical science cluster. At this meeting, immediate past AIP president Cathy Foley took over as FASTS president for a two-year term.
Federal Minister Kim Carr launched a new FASTS report Women in Science in Australia: Maximising Productivity, Diversity and Innovation by Sharon Bell in October. The report is available at: http://www.fasts.org/images/news2009/fasts%20women%20in%20science%5B1%5D.pdf
The International Year of Astronomy is coming to an end. It has been a great success in bringing astronomy to the general public. Space science is also getting a lot of attention at the Commonwealth Government level, with a new Space Industry Innovation Council, to be chaired by Rosalind Dubs, and $40 million in grants open for application. We’ve summarised upcoming astronomy events below.
We’ve also appointed a new secretariat to manage our member services: WaldronSmith Management. Forwarding arrangements have been made so that current telephone, postal and email addresses remain appropriate.
Read more below.
If you want to contact me regarding AIP or other physics matters please email email@example.com.
Please note that replies to this email go to Niall Byrne, Science in Public, who sends out the bulletin on my behalf and handles corrections, updates and bounces. If you have news or other information for the bulletin please email Niall by the 23rd of each month.
In this bulletin:
Australian Capital Territory
ACT: Thursday 10 December, 6pm
TITLE: Cool and fascinating: Quantum matter at absolute zero
SPEAKER: Rudi Grimm (2009 Frew Fellow), Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, Innsbruck, Austria
VENUE: Dunbar Physics Lecture Theatre, Building 39, Australian National University
SA: Thursday 10 December, 6.30 pm, SA AIP, University of Adelaide, AIAA, ASSA and IYA
Public lecture: Keys to the Universe series
TITLE: Modern subatomic physics: from the Big Bang to the dark side of the Universe
SPEAKER: Tony Thomas, University of Adelaide
VENUE: Union Hall, University of Adelaide
More info: http://www.physics.adelaide.edu.au/aip-sa/
TAS: Monday 7 – Tuesday 8 December, Physics and Chemistry Teachers Seminar, Tas AIP
TITLE: Year 11/12 Physics and Chemistry Teachers Seminar
TIME: 10.30am – 5.30pm Monday 7 September and 9am – 3.30pm Tuesday 8 September.
VENUE: Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston
SPEAKERS include: John Macfarlane, Nigel Brooks, John Innes, Paulo De Souza and Martin George. Martin will also demonstrate the new Planetarium.
Register by Tuesday 1 December to John Macfarlane firstname.lastname@example.org. Cost is $30, payable at the seminar.
VIC: Tuesday 8 December, 6.30pm (refreshments and finger food from 5.30pm), Vic AIP
Special public lecture sponsored by Technology Outcomes Pty Ltd and Gottfried Lichti Pty Ltd. The proceedings will begin with a brief Vic branch AGM (held over from last month).
TITLE: Cool and fascinating: Quantum matter at absolute zero
SPEAKER: Rudolf Grimm, Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, Innsbruck, Austria
VENUE: Elisabeth Murdoch Building, Theatre A, The University of Melbourne
At ultralow temperatures extremely close to absolute zero, the atomic quantum world displays many intriguing phenomena. Little clouds of atoms trapped in electromagnetic fields show very peculiar behaviour. Quantum condensates can be formed, in which a million of atoms lose their identity and all atoms behave in the same way.
This ultracold society is divided into two classes, where some atoms (bosons) gregariously gather in the same place and the other ones (fermions) avoid each other as loners in the quantum world. This may sound bizarre but it is at the heart of our understanding of matter and it serves as a foundation for novel applications. Above all, it is fascinating, mind-boggling, and really cool!
For more info: Scott Wade (Honorary Secretary), phone (03) 9214 5839, email email@example.com
The Australian Institute of Physics Walter Boas Medal for 2009 has been awarded to Victor Flambaum, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of New South Wales. The Walter Boas Medal recognises original research published in the last five years.
Victor’s work is focussed on the fundamental constants in nature such as the speed of light, the gravitational constant and the elementary charge. Have these constants changed during the life of the Universe? He is a world authority on variations of the fundamental constants, violation of fundamental symmetries, and tests of unification theories.
Victor has had over 70 publications in the last five years, is widely cited, and many experimental groups worldwide are adopting his pioneering theoretical predictions.
Dr Rosalind (Ros) Dubs will chair the newly established Space Industry Innovation Council formed to advise the Australian Government on fostering a revitalised space industry sector, it was announced on Wednesday 25 November. Ros was formerly Deputy Vice-chancellor (External Relations) at the University of Technology, Sydney.
“Along with providing advice to the Government on Australia’s civil space matters, my council colleagues and I will act as important innovation advocates to capitalise on Australia’s niche space-related strengths and opportunities,” she said.
The council will also consider relevant implications for space science and industry arising from the Defence White Paper and the National Security Science and Innovation Strategy.
Last month, the Rudd Government ramped up the nation’s space effort with the opening of round 1 of the new $40 million Australian Space Research Program. The Australian Space Research Program will provide $40 million over four years through a competitive merit-based grants program to support space-related research, education and innovation activities.
“The program’s first stream will provide from $200,000 to $1 million for collaborations between universities and secondary schools or other institutions,” said Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, last month. “Projects will inspire students to become involved in the space industry and could range from developing mini-satellite payloads that can observe earth to helping students study courses not available in Australia.
“The program’s other stream will offer between $1 million and $5 million to help develop Australia’s niche space capabilities by supporting collaboration between researchers and industry on space science and innovation projects in areas of strategic national priority.
Grant applications close at 3pm AEST on Friday, December 4. Information on the program and how to apply is available from the Australian Space Research Program website.
Physicists Igor Bray, of Curtin University, and Peter Quinn, of the University of Western Australia, are two of the three finalists for WA Scientist of the Year in the Western Australian Science Awards.
Igor, an AIP member, is Director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics and an Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow. He has been nominated for his groundbreaking research in the field of quantum mechanics, specifically in the area of atomic collision theory.
Peter Quinn, Director of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research and Premier’s Research Fellow in Radio Astronomy, University of Western Australia (UWA), is a world leader in data intensive science, the design, development and operation of super-science facilities, the theory of galaxy formation and the search for Dark Matter. He is also involved in the world’s biggest radio astronomy project, the Square Kilometre Array.
Two of the three finalists in the Young Scientist of the Year are physicists: Swaminathan Iyer, UWA, researches in nanobiotechnology, and Eric May, also UWA, combines several aspects of engineering, physics and chemistry in his research into fluid science for the next generation of natural gas engineering.
Winners will be announced on Wednesday, December 2. More info at the WA Department of Commerce.
Smooth and efficient membership processes are critical for the long term health and growth of the AIP. Following extensive discussion by your executive, the AIP has appointed a new secretariat, WaldronSmith Management, to provide financial and membership services. WaldronSmith are also assisting us with the 2010 AIP Congress.
During the transition online membership services will not be available for a short period, but we expect the new services to be operating again by early December. Forwarding arrangements have been made so that current telephone, postal and email addresses remain appropriate. There is no change to the AIP url: http://www.aip.org.au
The executive is confident that members will see a significantly improved secretariat service with enhanced online services.
Importantly, with a robust membership service we anticipate being able to turn our attention to growing the membership and building public and government appreciation of the role of physics in society.
Astrophysics for physics teachers, Marsfield, Friday 26 March
This is a one-day workshop held at CSIRO ATNF Marsfield headquarters, Sydney on Friday 26 March 2010. It covers the theory required for parts of the Cosmic Engine core topic and Astrophysics option for the NSW Stage 6 Physics syllabus although the content is also suitable for teachers from other states. A range of professional astronomers discuss techniques used in modern astronomy and what their observations reveal about the Universe. Participants discuss practical ideas for addressing syllabus requirements with their students and receive a range of useful resources including software and other material. The cost is $80.
More details and registration: http://outreach.atnf.csiro.au/education/teachers/workshops/apt.html
Astronomy from the ground up! Parkes observatory, 14 – 16 May
Astronomy from the Ground Up! is an annual three-day workshop held at the Parkes Observatory, in the shadow of “The Dish”. The 2010 workshop runs from Friday 14 to Sunday 16 May. It targets the requirements of junior Science syllabi from around Australia whilst also providing depth and enrichment for teachers of senior physics. Teachers meet professional astronomers, hear lectures on different aspects of astronomy including some of the latest discoveries and tour the radio telescope. Emphasis is placed on practical and hands-on activities to take back and use in the classroom. Explore the wonderful dark night skies through optical telescopes. Participants also receive an extensive range of resources.
More details and registration: http://outreach.atnf.csiro.au/education/teachers/workshops/afgu.html
Don’t forget to check out the IYA website for activities in your state. Highlights of upcoming activities include:
- National – Galactic Television Streamcast Every day at 8pm until 31 December (8pm)
- Astronomy Webcast From Charles Sturt University, Saturday 12 December (9pm)
- Ilgarijiri – things belonging to the sky. An exhibition of works by Yamaji artists from Western Australia, on show at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Studies in Canberra throughout December.
- Apogee/perigee, A Collaboration Between Art And Astronomy is an exhibition resulting from a collaboration between visual artist Genevieve Swifte and astronomer Dr Patrick Tisserand from Mount Stromlo Observatory, ANU, Canberra Contemporary Artspace, Manuka, 3-13 December
New South Wales
- Behind Scenes Tour Siding Spring, every Saturday (10.30am)
- Young Starwatchers, learn about the universe for children and adults, Observatory at the University of Western Sydney, Friday 4 December (6.30pm)
- The sky’s the limit: astronomy in antiquity is an exhibition at the Nicholson Museum, University of Sydney, exploring the astronomical understanding of ancient cultures, to Sunday 13 December
- Night Sky Tour, a guided tour of the night sky, Twinstar Guesthouse Observatory, Ballandean, Wednesday 16 December (9.30pm)
- Astronomy In A Nutshell exhibition at Monash Science Centre, Clayton. Until Wednesday 23 December
- Heavens Above!, an Astronomy evening with the Mornington Peninsula Astronomical Society, The Briars Historic Park observatory, Mount Martha, Friday 4 December (8pm)
- Sky Lab. An exhibition curated by Felicity Spears of works that address “What do we see when we look out?” Stephen McLaughlan Gallery, Swanston St. 2-19 December and 13-30 January 2010. (Wed to Fri 1-5 pm, Sat 11am – 5 pm)
- The Square Kilometre Array public lecture by Richard Schilizzi, Director of the SKA Program Development Office, and the launch of the SKA education website, Swinburne University, 9 December (6.30pm). More info here.
- Joondalup Concert Event, Scitech astronomer Peter Birch joins in with the ‘Joondalup Concert’ with some seriously big scopes in tow for this special event celebrating the International Year of Astronomy, Friday 4 December (9pm)
Please consider if you know people who would be appropriate candidates for the following science prizes.
2010 Kavli Prizes in Astrophysics, Nanoscience and Neuroscience
The biennial Kavli Prizes, one each in Astrophysics, Nanoscience and Neuroscience, recognise scientists for their outstanding research achievements. The international prizes are a partnership between the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, and the Kavli Foundation.
Each Prize consists of US$1 million, a medal and a scroll. Nominations are open until 15 December and more info can be obtained from www.kavliprize.no.
Student prize for the history of Australian science or environmental history now open
The National Museum of Australia and the Academy of Science, through its National Committee for History and Philosophy of Science, invite submissions for this prize.
A certificate and $2500 and will be awarded for an essay (4000 to 8000 words in length) based on original unpublished research undertaken whilst enrolled as a student (postgraduate or undergraduate) at any tertiary educational institution in the world. Essays may deal with any aspect of the history of Australian science (including medicine and technology) or Australian environmental history.
For further information or to submit an essay go to www.science.org.au/natcoms/nc-hps/hps-award-hasaeh.html or contact Connie Berridge on (02) 6201 9448 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The closing date for submissions is 26 February 2010.
Vic AIP Education Committee
The Victorian AIP Education Committee usually meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 5-7pm. All teachers are welcome to attend.
VENUE: Camberwell High School
If you would like to attend, contact the Chair, Sue Grant, at email@example.com
Ecolinc: VCE Physics/Environmental Science Professional Learning Day, Monday 7th December
A workshop on environmental sustainability and alternative energy sources for all new and experienced VCE Physics and Environmental Science teachers conducted at the DEECD Ecolinc Science and Technology Innovations Centre, Bacchus Marsh.
More information and registration form at www.vicphysics.org/forthcomingevents.html
2010 Physics Teachers Conference, 5-6 February 2010, AIP, STAV
This annual conference is organised by the Education Committee of the Vic Branch of the AIP, and administered by the Science Teachers’ Association of Victoria.
The conference, at Monash University, Clayton, includes day and evening sessions, a physics oration by Andrew Melatos, University of Melbourne, and 50 workshops over five sessions.
AIP Travelling Scholarship for 2010
The AIP Education Committee is offering a scholarship to support one teacher to attend an international Physics Teachers Conference during 2010. The scholarship is worth up to $2000.
The successful teacher is expected to actively participate in the event, if possible by offering a workshop, and to also present a session about the experience at a following Physics Teachers Conference.
Applications for the scholarship should show evidence of innovative teaching and activity in professional development and be supported by a letter of recommendation from the applicant’s school. The applications should state the chosen international conference and indicate how the applicant might participate.
Scholarship applications should reach the AIP at PO Box 304, Glen Waverley VIC 3150 by 5th March to enable the Committee to make a quick decision, so that the successful applicant can begin planning.
More info here.
QLD: Monday 30 November, 6-7pm, Brisbane Writers Festival in association with BrisScience
Free public talk
TITLE: Opening the door to science
SPEAKER: Len Fisher, Ig Nobel Prize-winning physicist
VENUE: State Library of Queensland, Auditorium 1
Len has captured the public imagination with his personal approach to popular science writing. His books cover topics from the physics of biscuit dunking to the use of the mathematics of co-operation to help resolve resource depletion and global warming.
VIC: Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University, public lectures
The Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing holds regular free public lectures on the Hawthorn campus (AR Building, Room 104) at 6.30pm. Bookings are essential. More info here or contact Carolyn Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (03) 9214 5569.
|9 December||Richard Schilizzi||The Square Kilometre Array||BA302|
Professor Richard Schilizzi is the Director of the SKA Program Development Office, the organisation responsible for coordinating international efforts on the science case, engineering system design, site proposal process, operational plan, telescope performance simulation and outreach for the SKA.
WA: Gingin Observatory, Gingin
Gingin Observatory runs a variety of public events, many suitable for families, as well as regular stargazing tours. More info is available at the Observatory website or by contacting Carol Redford or Donna Vanzetti on (08) 9575 7740 or email@example.com. Contact Carol or Donna to book into events.
The Gravity Discovery Centre is open every day of the school holidays, except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Special events include the following:
|6 December||7.30-10pm||Zadko night – check out the largest telescope available for public access in the Southern Hemisphere with Gingin Observatory Astronomers|
|5, 12, 19 & 26 January||5.30-8.30pm||Night stargazing safaris – spot night critters and then stargaze, following a pasta dinner|
|17 January||7.30-10pm||Zodiac nights – Pisces. A special look at the Pisces Zodiac constellation|
|23 January||7.30pm||The Moon night, with Peter Birch – all you’ve ever wanted to know about the Moon and more|
|24 January||6.30-9.30pm||Holiday telescope class – learn how to set up and use your telescope|
|30 January||7.30-10pm||Blue Moon stargazing – a “blue moon” is the name given to the second full moon that occurs within a calendar month. 2010 will have two – on 30 January, and again in March.|
WA: LotteryWest-Scitech Big ‘Scope viewing nights, Astronomy WA
Hosted by astronomer Peter Birch, the Big ‘Scope viewing nights provide advice on getting involved in astronomy and viewing from home. View stars and planets with high quality telescopes and discuss what you can see.
|30 November||Big ‘Scopes at Inglewood||Inglewood Primary School|
|4 December||Joondalup Concert Event||Joondalup CBD|
More info at AstronomyWA.
WA: Monday 7 December, 6pm, University of Western Australia
TITLE: Science education in the 21st century
SPEAKER: Carl Wieman, Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative and University of Colorado, Boulder, was awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize in physics
VENUE: University Club Theatre Auditorium, UWA
This event is free and you do not need to book. More info: Institute of Advanced Studies on (08) 6488 1340 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SA: Wednesday 2 December, 6.30-8pm, the Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus)
TITLE: Driven to diffraction
VENUE: The Science Exchange, 55 Exchange Place, Adelaide
‘Driven to diffraction’ is new documentary about the joint 1915 Nobel Prize winners William Henry Bragg and his son William Lawrence Bragg, whose work across a range of fields has made possible an astonishing list of breakthroughs including Watson and Crick’s discovery of the structure of DNA, radio therapy for cancer, solid state electronics, modern pharmaceuticals, superconductivity and radio astronomy.
Hosted by John Carver from the School of Chemistry and Physics at the University of Adelaide.
More info on the RiAus website.
Check the institution websites for any late changes
New South Wales
NSW: School of Physics, University of NSW
The School of Physics holds regular colloquia on Tuesdays at 4-5pm in the School of Physics Common Room, Room 64, Old Main Building, University of NSW. More info here or contact Peter Reece on email@example.com.
None are currently timetabled.
NSW: School of Physics, University of Sydney
The School of Physics holds regular colloquia on Mondays at 3.15pm (refreshments from 3pm) in the Slade Lecture Theatre, School of Physics A28, University of Sydney. More info here or contact Bruce Yabsley (02) 9351 5970 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|30 November||Mike Wheatland, University of Sydney||A sunspot’s tale|
NSW: Australian Telescope National Facility
The Australian Telescope National Facility holds regular colloquia on Wednesdays at 3.30pm (coffee at 3.15pm) in the ATNF Marsfield Lecture Theatre. More info here or contact Bjorn Emonts Bjorn.Emonts@csiro.au or (02) 9372 4368.
|9 December||Christopher Thom, STScl||Where are all the Baryons? Searching for the missing mass in the IGM|
|16 December||John O’Sullivan, CSIRO ATNF||TBA|
|14 January 2010||Stuart Ryder, Australian Gemini Office, AAO||Supernovae as revealed by Gemini|
|3 February 2010||Shea Brown, CSIRO ATNF||Probing large-scale structure with radio observations|
|10 March 2010||Maik Wolleben, NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics||GMIMS – The Global Magneto-Ionic Medium Survey|
VIC: Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University
The Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing holds regular colloquia, usually on Thursdays at 11.30am, in the Swinburne Virtual Reality Theatre (AR Building, Room 104). More info here or George Hau on email@example.com.
|3 December||John Wise, NASA||TBA|
|8 December||Stephane Courteau, Queen’s University, Canada||TBA|
nb. at 10.30am
|Arna Karick, Liverpool John Moores||ACS Coma Cluster Treasury Survey|
QLD: Physics Department, University of Queensland
None are currently timetabled.
WA: School of Physics, University of Western Australia
The School of Physics holds regular seminars on Tuesdays at 3.30-4.30pm in the Physics Lecture Room 2.15, Physics Building, University of WA. More info here or (08) 6488 2738.
|15 December||Wojciech Zurek, Los Alamos||Quantum theory of the classical|
|22 December||Katie Humphrey, Sony Corporation||Particle ordering and focusing in microchannel flows|
Australasian Conference on Optics, Lasers and Spectroscopy and Australian Conference on Optical Fibre Technology in association with the International Workshop on Dissipative Solitons (ACOLS ACOFT DS 2009)
The University of Adelaide, SA
29/11/2009 – 03/12/2009
Lucas Heights, Sydney, NSW
07/12/2009 – 09/12/2009
14/12/2009 – 16/12/2009
14/12/2009 – 16/12/2009
15/12/2009 – 19/12/2009
University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
16/12/2009 – 18/12/2009
Murramarang Resort, NSW
31/01/2010 – 03/02/2010
Early bird registration and abstract submission deadlines are Friday 27th November 2009
Monash University, Clayton, Victoria
05/02/2010 – 06/02/2010
Now open for registration
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
15/02/2010 – 18/02/2010
Early bird and abstract deadline is 27 November 2009
Held concurrently with the conference on Medical Applications of Synchrotron Radiation, below
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
15/02/2010 – 18/02/2010
Early bird and abstract deadline is 27 November 2009
Held concurrently with the conference on Biology and Synchrotron Radiation, above
Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour
22/02/2010 – 26/02/2009
22/06/2010 – 25/06/2010
Session proposals are open until late October 2009
NEW Royal Australian Chemical Institute’s National Convention (RACI 2010) and the 12th International Congress of Pesticide Chemistry (IUPAC 2010)
04/07/1010 – 08/07/2010
Deadline for abstract submission is 19 March 2010
NEW 9th International Conference on Excitonic and Photonic Processes in Condensed and Nano Materials (EXCON’10)
11/07/2010 – 16/07/2010
Deadline for abstract submission is 1 March 2010
23/08/2010 – 27/08/2010
Deadline for abstract submission is 22 February 2010, early registration before 28 May 2010
10/11/2010 – 12/11/2010
Deadline for paper submission is 31 July 2010
06/12/2010 – 10/12/2010
Our next bulletin, to be sent out at the end of January, will cover events in February 2010. We welcome contributions about activities, conferences and announcements. Our next submission deadline is Friday 22 January. Please send your submissions to Niall or Margie Beilharz from Science in Public on firstname.lastname@example.org or call (03) 9398 1416.
And the AIP’s journal, Australian Physics, welcomes your articles. The deadline for the Jan-Feb issue is 20 December. Email John Daicopoulos on email@example.com.
For more information on physics events visit http://www.aip.org.au 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.
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, www.aip.org.au)