The world’s largest solar plant, the sun and climate change, the physics of violins and the Large Hadron Collider

Stories from the Australian Institute of Physics 18th National Congress in Adelaide

The nation’s physicists are meeting in Adelaide this week.

Some of the topics on the agenda are:

Solar power

Michael Geyer, Abengoa Solar will talk about introducing concentrated solar power on the international energy market. This Spanish company is building the world’s largest solar plant – 280 Mw – in Arizona.

The Large Hadron Collider

CERN’s John Ellis will talk about the LHC which he describes as the world’s most powerful microscope and telescope.

Monash’s Csaba Balazs will discuss supersymmetry, dark matter, electroweak baryogenesis and LHC phenomenology. Could the LHC make dark energy?

Melbourne’s Tony Gherghetta will discuss new supersymmetry theories that predict new particles. Can the LHC find them? From Geneva, Allan G. Clark will talk about the Atlas detector and the hunt for the Higgs boson.

Climate change – the variability of the sun and the role of the ocean

Marvin A. Geller from MIT will talk about the impact of the Sun’s variations on our climate.

The Sun is a variable star.  Its luminosity is known to vary on an 11-year time scale, and it is likely that other variations exist on longer time scales.  Both solar variability and anthropogenic inputs affect the Earth’s climate.  What are their respective roles in climate change?

NSW’s Matthew England will explain the oceans’ role in global mean climate and future climate change.

Physics makes music

ANU’s Neville H. Fletcher has turned from the physics of clouds to musical and biological acoustics.

He will talk about how the differences arise between sustained-tone musical instruments such as violins, flutes and trumpets; instruments such as bells, gongs and cymbals; and “almost harmonic” instruments such as guitars or pianos.

Neville examines the physics underlying these different classes of behaviour and shows how the results have been exploited by musical instrument makers over the centuries to give the great variety of musical sounds that we know today.

For more information on these and other stories:

Visit the Congress website at

Contact Congress program chair Olivia Samardzic on 0410 575 855

Or Cathy Foley, President of the Australian Institute of Physics, on 0419 200 544.