Congratulations to AIP Fellows Ian Allison, Ben Eggleton and Susan Scott, and AIP Executive member Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop, who have been elected new Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science – announced this morning.
This Bulletin is being distributed at an eventful time. Firstly, it was very pleasing to hear last week that CSIRO will establish a newClimate Science Centre in Hobart, which will focus on climate modelling and projections for Australia, exploiting both national and international research expertise. This is in response to the rather negative feedback CSIRO received from its stakeholders and staff on the job cuts it proposed to make in the climate change area – announced in February.
Coupled with this good news is the establishment of a scientific committee to advise Government on the future direction of Australia’s climate science capability and research priorities.
And then we look forward with anticipation to this week’s Federal Budget and what initiatives it will contain for science and research, followed by the policy announcements in this area by all the major political parties in the run up to what is almost certain to be a general election in early July.
I am delighted to be able to announce the winner of this year’s AIP Bragg Gold Medal for thebest PhD thesis in Physics in Australia. It is Dr Phiala Shanahan for her thesis entitled “Strangeness and Charge Symmetry Violation in Nucleon Structure”, completed at the University of Adelaide.
The AIP places great importance on recognising excellence and outstanding contributions in physics, and promoting the important roles played by women in physics. One of the tangible ways it does this is via its awards, and I am delighted to be able to announce the recipients of two of its most prestigious such honours:
Cathy Foley has been awarded the Outstanding Service to Physics Award for 2015 in recognition of her leadership and many outstanding contributions to physics and the physics community. And Catalina Curceanu will be this year’s AIP Women in Physics Lecturer. Stay tuned for further information on these two awards in both this Bulletin and in our Australian Physics magazine.
Last month I had the pleasure of attending the launch of the new “Capturing the Cosmos” movie created by staff at Melbourne’s Scienceworks and scientists from the Centre for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO). See it if you can—more on the science behind the show is below.
In this bulletin we profile another one of the distinguished international scientists who will be a plenary speaker at the Joint 16th Asia-Pacific Physics Conference/22nd AIP Congress to be held in Brisbane in early December: Korean physicist and science policy adviser Youngah Park. Note also that abstracts are now being accepted for this joint meeting.
Last month we announced the new free AIP membership category that has been introduced for undergraduate students. I am delighted to say that we have already recruited over 650 new student members. This will be their first bulletin from the AIP, and we hope to see an influx of young physicists coming along to our state branch events.
What a fantastically exciting month it has been with the announcement of the first transient gravitational wave event due to a binary black hole merger. This will surely go down as one of the most significant discoveries in physics over the last century.
Some of the Australian researchers involved in the discovery are acknowledged in an article in this bulletin. It was also great to see how many took the opportunity in the weeks following the announcement to reach out to a curious public.
I'm pleased this month to be able to announce an exciting AIP membership initiative. With a view to refreshing membership, and exposing a new generation of physicists to the work of the AIP, we are introducing a new, free, electronic-only student membership category. We believe this introduction of new blood will help set the AIP up in the strongest possible position in the long term. More later in the bulletin.