Posted on Tuesday, February 2, 2016 - 9:45am

Happy New Year from the AIP Executive. It has been a busy couple of months in physics, with rumours of the first gravitational wave detection with LIGO, further confirmation of an unexpected bump in the data coming from the Large Hadron Collider, and the possible presence of a large, distant ninth planet in the far reaches of our solar system. Not to mention the addition of four new elements to the periodic table.

Here in Australia, 2016 is an AIP Congress year. The AIP Congress is a biennial event, where physicists from all over Australia and overseas come together for a week-long program of plenary, keynote and contributed talks, social events, and the opportunity to network. This year’s (22nd) AIP Congress will be held in Brisbane from 4-8 December. Very importantly, for the first time it will be held in conjunction with the Asia-Pacific Physics Conference—the triennial meeting (this being the 13th) of the Association of Asia-Pacific Physics Societies that brings together physicists from across the entire Asian-Pacific region. More on this below.

Posted on Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 12:20pm

December sees the end of the International Year of Light, which has seen some fantastic celebrations of light physics and related technologies in Australia.

The end of 2015 marks some very important anniversaries in physics: James Clerk Maxwell's four famous equations of electromagnetism, 150 years ago this month, laid the foundations for Einstein's later relativity work, which celebrated 100 years at the end of November. The ABC marked the end of the Year of Light with a feature on Maxwell (listen) and we list some Australian relativity tributes in this bulletin. November was also 100 years since William Lawrence Bragg and William Henry Bragg won Australia's first Nobel Prize in Physics, for crystallography.

Posted on Thursday, November 5, 2015 - 4:05pm

Each year, much excitement and anticipation surrounds the announcement of the Nobel Prize winners. I will never forget hearing the news that Brian Schmidt would be one of the winners of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, for the discovery of the accelerating universe, through a phone call from a very excited Leigh Dayton, then science writer for The Australian, who had somehow got wind of Brian receiving a very special phone call from the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm.

The announcement of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics was made just before the last AIP bulletin was sent out. I have now had time to write more on the physics behind the award, which has special significance to those working in particle physics.

Posted on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - 12:05pm

The discovery that neutrinos oscillate and therefore must have mass made us re-think the Standard Model, and has led to an exciting new era in particle physics. Last night, Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their roles in this discovery and we send our congratulations to both of them.

Last week was big for physics too, with NASA’s announcement that they'd found evidence of liquid water on Mars.

What I found great about the announcement was the addition of some new voices to the local media coverage. Fred Watson made his usual appearance on Radio National, but elsewhere we had Alan Duffy,Katie Mack, Amanda Bauer, Daniel Price and other young Australian physicists on hand to explain what it all means to the general public. And what a great job they did.

Posted on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 - 3:48pm

Congratulations to all the physicists whose hard work was recognised in the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes last week. Covering particle physics, nanocrystals, phase-change energy-storage and quantum science, the winners highlight some of the best work in Australian physics.

National Science Week ran last month and was terrifically succesful in getting physics into the public mind. In particular, thousands came to hear astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and astronaut Chris Hadfield speak, and 18,000 people helped classify over 200,000 galaxies. More detail on that below.