Physics in Australia – October 2008

AIP President’s blog, Australian Institute of Physics

This month there are 20 events around the country: nanotechnology in Sydney, quantum reality in Melbourne and the topical Large Hadron Collider in WA. We also have advance notice of some conferences in February 2009, for condensed matter and materials scientists, and VCE physics teachers.

The AIP Congress draws ever nearer, with a lot of work being done by the organising committee. They are currently looking for people to talk on the AIP Congress Industry Day, which is the Thursday of the conference. Details are below.

Congratulations to physicists Ben Eggleton and Mark Butler, winners in the NSW Scientist of the Year Awards. Also, Christine Charles is the winner of the 2009 Women in Physics lectureship.

Congratulations also to Geoff Taylor and Kevin Varvell for the remarkable job they did in feeding the media’s interest over the Large Hadron Collider. The AIP also issued a media release highlighting the contribution of Geoff, Kevin and their colleagues to the LHC- the world’s largest physics experiment.

I post this bulletin each month to all AIP members. Thank you for your continuing support of the AIP.

If you have any questions or comments on this bulletin, the AIP or physics in Australia, please let me know.

Please note that replies to this email go to Niall Byrne, Science in Public, who sends out this bulletin on my behalf and handles corrections, updates, bounces etc. If you want to contact me regarding other matters please email me at

Cathy Foley,

AIP President

In this bulletin:

AIP events across the country

Physics activities across the country – seminars

Physics activities across the country – other events

Nominations open for the AIP executive

Christine Charles wins the AIP Women in Physics lectureship

Physicists feature in the NSW Scientist of the Year Awards

AIP National Congress – seeking industry speakers

Physics conferences

Submission deadlines for the bulletin and journal

AIP events across the country

QLD: Tuesday 7 October, 6-7.30pm, Qld AIP and School of Physical Sciences, UQ

SERIES: Tools of Science Series

A series of meetings for all those fascinated by old scientific instruments.

TITLE: Galvanometers

SPEAKER: Norman Heckenberg

VENUE: Room 7-222 St. Lucia campus, The University of Queensland

Norman will explain the operating principles, the history, and some of the many applications of galvanometers, once the most important electrical measuring and indicating instrument but now almost extinct.

Upcoming sessions:

Tuesday 4 November: Alan Emmerson – Tools of the Instrument Maker

For details contact Norman Heckenberg on (07) 3365 3369 or;


NSW: Tuesday 28 October, 6 pm NSW AIP and the University of Sydney

TITLE: Science in NSW schools – where to from here?

SPEAKERS: Gina Grant and Peter Osland, NSW Board of Studies, and Glen Sawle, NSW Department of Education & Training

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

Forum on issues affecting science education, in particular physics. The forum will also explore the relationship between physics education and the opportunities available to, and chosen by, students.

More information: Fred Osman


NSW: Wednesday 12 November, 9am-5pm, NSW AIP

TITLE: Nanotechnology: a catalyst for Australian manufacturing?

2008 Physics in Industry day, with presentations from industry, research organisations and government, laboratory tours and a research poster competition

VENUE: CSIRO Material Science and Engineering, Lindfield, Sydney

How will nanotechnology influence manufacturing in Australia? Does it represent a new paradigm in materials that will drive fantastic, futuristic products or it is destined to be a collection of incremental improvements? Do the benefits outweigh the unknowns?

Early bird rates apply for registrations before 30 October.

More information: or contact Scott Martin (02) 9413 7746 or


VIC: Thursday 16 October, 6.30pm, Vic AIP

TITLE: Nobel Prize lecture

VENUE: Hercus Theatre, School of Physics, University of Melbourne

Following the announcement of this year’s Nobel Prize in physics on 7 October, the AIP Victorian branch will host a talk on the physics behind the prize. The talk will be presented by a local expert.

Details will be posted on the Vic AIP branch website

Physics activities across the country – seminars

NSW: Thursday 2 October, 3.30pm, Anglo-Australian Observatory

TITLE: Astrometry of visual binaries with adaptive optics (observations)

SPEAKER: Krzysztof Helminiak, Torun, Poland

VENUE: AAO conference room, AAO, Epping

Krzysztof will talk about the use of astrometry to search for exoplanets using the 200inch Hale and the 10m Keck II telescopes.

Upcoming colloquia:

Wednesday 29 October: Bill Harris, McMaster University, Canada – The ages of elliptical galaxies.

More information:


VIC: Thursday 2 October, 11.30am, Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing Swinburne University

TITLE: Mass/luminosity correlations for globular clusters and connections to events in galaxy formation

SPEAKER: Bill Harris, McMaster University, Canada

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

Upcoming colloquia:

Thursday 9 October: Federic Courbin – The energy profile of a quasar accretion disk in the Einstein Cross from chromatic microlensing : 3 years of VLT spectrophotometry

Thursday 16 October: Charley Lineweaver – TBA

Tuesday 21 October: Andrew Walsh – TBA

Thursday October 23: Ilana Feain – ASKAP: science and user policy

Thursday 30 October: Adam Deller – TBA

More information or


QLD: Friday 3 October, 4 pm, University of Queensland

TITLE: The density matrix renormalization group

SPEAKER: Ian McCulloch, UQ

VENUE: Parnell Building Room 222, University of Queensland

Upcoming colloquia:

Friday 10 October: Paul Meredith – Xerocoat

Friday 17 October: Martin Burd – TBA

Friday 31 October: Karen Kheruntsyan – TBA

More information: or


NSW: Tuesday 7 October, 4 -5pm, School of Physics, University of NSW

TITLE: Spin-dependent transport in Si/SiGe quantum dots (TBC)

SPEAKER: Mark Eriksson, University of Wisconsin, U.S.A.

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

Upcoming colloquia:

Tuesday 14 October: Matthew England – The oceans and climate change

Tuesday 21 October: Peter Reece – TBA

Tuesday 28 October: Jeremy Bailey – TBA

More information: Adam Micolich or (02) 9385 6132


WA: Tuesday 7 October, 3.30-4.30pm, University of Western Australia

TITLE: Cosmological distance indicators: past, present and future

SPEAKER: Martin Hendry, University of Glasgow

VENUE: Room 2-15, School of Physics, University of WA

Upcoming seminars:

Tuesday 14 October: David Blair, UWA – Opto-acoustic parametric amplifiers, quantum cooling and gravitational wave detectors

Tuesday 21 October: Stuart Napier, UWA – TBA

Tuesday 28 October: Andre Luiten, UWA – TBA

Tuesday 4 November: Ilana Feain, CSIRO-ATNF – A long overdue synthesis image of Centaurus A

Tuesday 11 November: Lister Staveley-Smith, UWA – How to be a radio astronomer

More information or Jingbo Wang (08) 6488 3790


NSW: Wednesday 8 October, 3.30-4.30pm, Australia Telescope National Facility

TITLE: How does the Milky Way disk fade away?

SPEAKER: John Dickey, Uni of Tasmania, Hobart

VENUE: ATNF Marsfield Lecture Theatre

Upcoming colloquia:

Friday 10 October, 11am-12noon: Rick Perley – EVLA: an update

More information: Tobias Westmeier (02) 9372 4622 or


NSW: Monday 13 October, 3.15pm, School of Physics, University of Sydney

TITLE: Motion-compensated tomography of humans and conscious animals for medicine and research

SPEAKER: Roger Fulton, School of Physics, University of Sydney

VENUE: Slade lecture theatre, School of Physics, University of Sydney

Upcoming colloquia:

Monday 20 October: Christelle Monat – TBA

Monday 27 October: Theodore Martin – TBA

More information: Andrew Hopkins (02) 9351 7688, or


VIC: Tuesday 14 October, 12 -1pm, School of Physics, University of Melbourne

TITLE: Colloquium: Read-out of phosphorus donor spin states

SPEAKER: Martin Brandt, Walter Schottky Institut, Technische Universität München, Germany

VENUE: Hercus Theatre, University of Melbourne, Parkville

More information:

Physics activities across the country – other events

WA: Thursday 2, Friday 3, Thursday 9 and Friday 10 October, Gingin Observatory

TITLE: Gigantic Jupiter family space adventures

VENUE: Gingin Observatory

Gigantic Jupiter has returned for a stargazing sensation! It is the largest planet in our solar system and this means great views are available through the Gingin Observatory telescopes. Expert astronomers explain the Universe in an entertaining evening of stargazing especially for families. Before your space adventure, sit down for a fun “Cosmic Dinner”. Make your own Galaxy Burger and Rocket Banana Split!

Upcoming event:

Saturday 18 October, 7-9.30pm: Journey to Jupiter with Peter Birch

More information (08) 9575 7740 or email


WA: Tuesday 14 October, 6-7pm, Institute of Advanced Studies, UWA

TITLE: Public Lecture: The quest for the 5th dimension at the Large Hadron Collider

SPEAKER: Tony Gherghetta, University of Melbourne

VENUE: Social Sciences Lecture Theatre, UWA

Tony will discuss some of the discoveries that may be made when the Large Hadron Collider begins to probe the subnuclear frontier, including new dimensions of space and time.

More information: email or (08) 6488 1340


VIC: Wednesday 22 October, 5.30-6.30pm, School of Physics, University of Melbourne

TITLE: Quantum reality-its uncertainty is not what it used to be

SPEAKER: Lloyd Hollenberg

VENUE: Laby Theatre, School of Physics, University of Melbourne

The School of Physics’ Physics Gymnasium is a program for highly interested students in Years 9-12 currently undertaking secondary school physics and science. The program brings together eminent physicists from the University and industry to give hour long lectures on a variety of topics.

More information:


VIC: Sunday 26 October, 10am-4pm, Australian Synchrotron

TITLE: Open day 2008

VENUE: Australian Synchrotron, Clayton

Entry is free but bookings are essential. Book online at


WA: Wednesdays 29 October and 5, 12, 19 November, 7-9.30/10pm Gingin Observatory

TITLE: Astronomy for beginners with Peter Birch

VENUE: Gingin Observatory

Peter will present a beginners’ course in astronomy over four consecutive Wednesday evenings, covering both theory and practice. You can even bring along your own equipment to learn how to use it. The course costs $148 per person and there are only 25 places, so book early.

More information (08) 9575 7740 or email


VIC: Friday 14 November, 9am-3.30pm, University of Melbourne

TITLE: A focus on the ‘New Study Design’ for VCE physics

In-service day for VCE physics teachers

VENUE: Laby Theatre, School of Physics, University of Melbourne

Specialists from a number of universities and institutions will clarify the changes to the year 12 study design, and there will be the chance to inspect some of research projects, resources and equipment.

Register by Friday 31 October.

More information: or contact Cilla Gloger (03) 8344 5124 or


NSW: Tuesday 3 – Friday 6 February, 2009, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga

TITLE: 33nd Annual condensed matter and materials meeting

VENUE: Convention Centre, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga

This meeting is an opportunity for all condensed matter and materials scientists to meet and discuss their current research, future direction and other matters of importance in the field. The traditional informal Wagga format will apply, with emphasis on contributed poster papers plus a number of invited oral papers and selected contributed oral papers. Students are particularly encouraged to submit oral presentations.

The Organising Committee would welcome suggestions concerning invited speakers to deliver broad keynote presentations and, depending on submitted papers, the program will comprise some focussed sessions such as soft-matter science, studies of surfaces and interfaces, photonics, etc.

Abstracts are invited for presentations in all areas of condensed matter study. The abstract format will soon be available on the conference website

Deadline for abstracts and registration is Friday 28 November 2008.

For more information see the meeting website or contact Tim Barstow, CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering, on (03) 9545 2657 or


VIC: Monday 16 February, Science Teachers’ Association of Victoria

TITLE: 2009 VCE physics teachers conference

VENUE: Monash University, Clayton

STAV is calling for presenters to the VCE conference series. Submissions are due by Friday 24 October

More information:

Nominations open for the AIP executive

We are inviting expressions of interest from AIP members to be nominated for the AIP executive. The next election is in February 2009 and the AIP executive will soon make recommendations to the members. We are seeking people for the roles of secretary, policy development officer and a new role of early career/student position. The policy development officer and early career/student role are ex-officio members. If you are interested in nominating contact Cathy Foley on

Christine Charles wins the AIP Women in Physics lectureship

Christine Charles, Research Fellow in the Space Plasma, Power and Propulsion Group, Australian National University, is the winner of the 2009 Women in Physics lectureship. She will be giving lectures across Australia to celebrate the contribution of women to advances in physics.

Physicists feature in the NSW Scientist of the Year Awards

Ben Eggleton and Mark Butler are winners in the inaugural NSW Scientist of the Year awards.

Ben Eggleton, from the University of Sydney, won the physics and astronomy category. Ben is a world-leading researcher in optical physics and photonics, the use of light for the transmission and processing of information in communication technologies. In this field, he and colleagues are developing a photonic chip that will increase the speed of the Internet.

Mark Butler, the head teacher of science at Gosford High School, won the Leadership in Secondary Science Teaching category. The success of Mark’s teaching is evident in the 50% increase in the number of students taking senior science in the past decade.

More information:

AIP National Congress – seeking industry speakers

The AIP Congress Industry Day, which is Thursday 4 December, is looking for industry speakers. Please contact Roger Clay, Congress chair (, Olivia Samardzic, Program Chair (, or Cathy Foley, AIP President (, if you want to speak, or can suggest any potential speakers.

Details of the conference can be found on the website

Physics conferences

The Third International Conference on Women in Physics

Seoul, Korea

8/10/2008 – 10/10/2008

28th International Congress on High-Speed Imaging and Photonics

Canberra, ACT

9/11/2008 – 14/11/2008

18th National AIP Physics Congress

Adelaide, South Australia

30/11/2008 – 05/12/2008

33nd Annual Condensed Matter and Materials Meeting

Wagga Wagga, NSW

03/02/2009 – 06/02/2009

See article above

2009 VCE Physics Teachers Conference

Monash Uni, Melbourne


Brighter Deeper Greener – Geophysics in a Changing Environment

Adelaide, South Australia

22/02/2009 – 26/02/2009

Submission deadlines for the bulletin and journal

We welcome contributions about activities, conferences and announcements for next month’s bulletin. Our next submission deadline is Friday 24 October. 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 next deadline is Monday 20 October for the November/December edition. 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