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The AIP runs a monthly bulletin that goes out to over 4000 scientists, future scientists and those interested in science! 

To provide physics news or subscribe to the AIP bulletin please email physics@scienceinpublic.com.au.

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  • 1 Sep 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    As reported by the University of Melbourne.

    Located one kilometre underground in the Stawell Gold Mine, the first dark matter laboratory in the Southern Hemisphere is preparing to join the global quest to understand the nature of dark matter and unlock the secrets of our universe.

    Officially unveiled on 19 August, the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory (SUPL) will be the new epicentre of dark matter research in Australia. The Stawell laboratory will be managed by SUPL Ltd., which is co-owned by the University of Melbourne, ANSTO, the Australian National University, Swinburne University of Technology, and the University of Adelaide.

    Lead researcher on the project University of Melbourne Professor Elisabetta Barberio said dark matter has been eluding scientists for decades.

    “We know there is much more matter in the universe than we can see,” Professor Barberio said.

    “With the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory, we have the tools and location to detect this dark matter. Proving the existence of dark matter will help us understand its nature and forever change how we see the universe.”

    With Stage 1 now complete, the lab is ready to host the experiment known as SABRE South to be installed over the coming months, which aims to directly detect dark matter.

    SABRE South will run in conjunction with the complementary SABRE experiment taking place in Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso, Italy. These experiments are designed to detect Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs), one of the likely forms for dark matter particles.

    Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) at the University of Melbourne Professor James McCluskey said universities are places of deep discovery supported by global partnerships in advancing the frontiers of knowledge.

    “Research which is needed to address the great unanswered questions – such as ‘what is dark matter?’ – is nearly always done in collaboration," Professor McCluskey said.

    “Working with our partners and sharing our collective knowledge and expertise, the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory will facilitate experiments which are critical in the global search for dark matter.’’

    Read the full media release here.

    Photo: PhD student Madeleine Zurowski with lead researcher Professor Elisabetta Barberio in the Stawell Underground Physics Lab. Credit – Olivia Gumienny/University of Melbourne.


  • 1 Sep 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    As reported by the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney.

    UNSW Sydney Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Attila Brungs has announced Scientia Professor Sven Rogge as the new Dean of UNSW Science.

    Prof Rogge is an internationally recognised expert in condensed matter physics and quantum information science. He has held several research and leadership positions at UNSW since joining from Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands in 2011.

    Prof Brungs congratulated Prof Rogge on his appointment and highlighted his strong track record as a leader in both academic research and administration.

    “Prof Rogge will bring enormous experience to his role as faculty dean. Since joining UNSW, he has successfully steered the School of Physics and the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research portfolio. His research on condensed matter physics, in particular quantum electronics, spans the full funding pipeline from blue sky basic research through to translational applications,” Prof Brungs said.

    “I look forward to working with him as he leads the Science faculty in an exciting time ahead, as innovative technologies and other scientific solutions are developed to address challenges in an uncertain and rapidly changing world.”

    Prof Rogge grew up in Germany and a fascination with science from an early age led him to study Physics at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. He then went on to obtain a PhD in Physics from Stanford University in 1997.  He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the President of the Australian Institute of Physics, and a program manager at the Australian Research Council’s Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology.

    As an experimental physicist, his research focuses on quantum systems in a solid-state environment and their translation to applications in quantum materials and technology. His work on gaining atomistic insight into the interactions of quantum objects, such as atoms and qubits, is a key component in Australia’s world-leading progress in quantum physics.

    Prof Rogge said he was honoured to be appointed Dean of Science.

    “UNSW is one of Australia’s leading universities for science education and research. Our staff and students learn and specialise in a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines as they strive to help overcome many of the most pressing challenges facing our world today,” Prof Rogge said.

    “I look forward to continuing my work on the University leadership team as the Dean of Science. I think the role of the faculty is to educate students in critical thinking and give them a toolbox of analytical skills that will ready them for a diverse and rewarding career. We also have a responsibility to drive research that will guide Australia into a sustainable future with new insights from ageing well to quantum technologies.”

    Prof. Rogge will start in his new role on 10 October 2022.

     

    Read the full media release here.

    Photo credit: UNSW Sydney.


  • 1 Sep 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    AIP Vice President elected as Council member

    The Australian physics community will continue to be well-represented at the Association of Asia Pacific Physical Societies (AAPPS) with the recent election of our VP Professor Nicole Bell as one of 15 Council members for 2023 – 2025.

    She will follow in the footsteps of our Immediate Past President, Professor Jodie Bradby, whose term as Council member ends this year. Other past Council members include AIP Fellows Dr Cathy Foley, Prof Robert Robinson, and Dr Marc Duldig.

    The AAPPS is an umbrella organisation of 20 physical societies in the Asia Pacific region, of which the AIP is part. It was founded in October 1989 with the aim to promote the advancement of physics knowledge in the region, encompassing research, applications, and teaching, especially through international collaboration.

    The activities of the AAPPS include organisation of the triennial Asia Pacific Physics Conference, collaboration with other organisations such the American Physical Society, and encouraging young physics researchers through the C. N. Yang Award. 

    Last month, the AAPPS and the Korean Physical Society held the 15th Asia Pacific Physics Conference (APPC15) online.


    The newly elected AAPPS Council members are:

    1. Nicole F. BELL (Australian Institute of Physics)

    2. Xiudong SUN (The Chinese Physical Society, Beijing)

    3. Tao XIANG (The Chinese Physical Society, Beijing)

    4. Ruiqin ZHANG (The Physical Society of Hong Kong)

    5. Mio MURAO (The Physical Society of Japan)

    6. SHEN Qing (The Japan Society of Applied Physics)

    7. Hyoung Joon CHOI (The Korean Physical Society)

    8. Jae-Hyung JEON (The Korean Physical Society)

    9. Keun-Young KIM (The Korean Physical Society)

    10. Kurunathan RATNAVELU (Malaysian Institute of Physics)

    11. Narayan Prasad CHAPAGAIN (Nepal Physical Society)

    12. Rajdeep Singh RAWAT (Institute of Physics Singapore)

    13. Meng-Fan LUO (The Physical Society located in Taipei)

    14. VU Dinh Lam (Vietnam Physical Society)

    15. Kadyr G. GULAMOV (Council of Physicists of Uzbekistan)


    Photo credit: ARC Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics at the Terascale (CoEPP).

  • 1 Sep 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Latest updates on the 2022 AIP Congress

    We’re excited to catch up with you at the AIP Congress in Adelaide this December. So far, we’ve had close to 800 abstract submissions and the committee are working tirelessly to put them together into an excellent scientific program for you to enjoy.

    This year’s Congress will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 11 – 16 Dec.

    It will be co-located with the Australian and New Zealand Conference on Optics and Photonics (ANZCOP) in addition to the Workshop of Specialty Optical Fibres (WSOF).

    The program currently features the following focused sessions:

    • The culture of Physics and Research
    • Metaphotonics and Metasurfaces
    • Unveiling emergent Physics of Novel Functional Materials with Neutron Scattering
    • Australia’s Future in Gravitational Wave Physics and Astrophysics
    • Time Crystals
    • National Vision for Nuclear Science and Applications
    • Strong Interaction Dynamics and the Pursuit of Fundamental Symmetries
    • Quantum Biotechnology


    Early bird registration ends this month

    Register now for the AIP Congress and take advantage of the early bird registration discount, which ends on 30 Sep. Members of the AIP also enjoy a further discount. See here for more details.

    If you’re a postgraduate student and don’t already qualify for Member registration for the AIP Congress, join the AIP as a member full-time student for only $30. This offer is available until 1 November 2022 and applies to full-time postgraduate students who hold a recognised bachelor's degree with a physics major.

    Note that Student Associates (free online members) are not considered AIP members and thus need to pay the non-member student congress registration fee. To make use of the Member discount for congress registration, Student Associates need to apply to be an Associate Full-time Student or Member Full-time student. Students can apply for AIP Membership through https://aip.org.au/Member-(MAIP) or https://aip.org.au/Associate-Member, or click ‘change’, next to their Membership Level in their AIP Student Associate profile.

    Standard registration is open until 2 Dec.

    Please visit the official Congress website for regular updates.


    A stellar showing

    Astrophysicist superstar Professor Tamara Davis AM (University of Queensland) will present a public lecture at the Congress on the evening of Mon 12 Dec. She was our 2011 Women in Physics Lecturer.

    In her lecture ‘Cosmological Conundrums and the Dark Side of the Universe’, Prof Davis will talk about the latest updates on dark energy, dark matter, black holes, and gravitational waves so you can update your cocktail party conversation.

    Prof Davis’ current work aims to make precise maps of dark matter, determine whether dark energy changes with time, and measure the mass of a neutrino, amongst other things.  She previously helped make one of the largest maps of galaxy distribution in the universe and measured time-dilation in distant supernovae as well as the growth of supermassive black holes.

    She was also recently featured in Carbon: The Unauthorised Biography, a documentary film from Emmy-awarding Australian company, Genepool Productions.

    Other confirmed speakers include plenary speakers A Prof Ania Bleszynsky Jayich (University of California, Santa Barbara; 2021 Frew Fellow) and Prof Donna Strickland (University of Waterloo; 2018 Nobel Prize Laureate and 2019 Frew Fellow). In unfortunate news, Prof Kip Thorne (Caltech; 2017 Nobel Prize Laureate) has had to cancel his trip to Australia and his plenary talk.

    A full list of plenary speakers can be found here


    Meet the AIP National Exec and Branch Chairs

    Do you have suggestions for AIP initiatives, want to express concerns about research and grants etc., or simply want to meet the people that run the AIP?

    You’ll have the opportunity to chat in-person with the AIP leadership during the ‘Meet the Exec and Branch Chairs’ session of the Congress.

    We would love to meet our members and to hear your feedback on how the AIP is run.

    Further details TBA.


    Photo: Inside the Adelaide Convention Centre. Credit: NW Group.
  • 1 Aug 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    As reported by NASA.

    The dawn of a new era in astronomy is here as the world gets its first look at the full capabilities of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, a partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency).

    The full set of the telescope’s first colour images and spectroscopic data uncover a collection of cosmic features elusive until now. They are available at: www.nasa.gov/webbfirstimages

    “Today, we present humanity with a ground-breaking new view of the cosmos from the James Webb Space Telescope – a view the world has never seen before,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “These images, including the deepest infrared view of our universe that has ever been taken, show us how Webb will help to uncover the answers to questions we don’t even yet know to ask; questions that will help us better understand our universe and humanity’s place within it.”

    NASA explores the unknown in space for the benefit of all, and Webb’s first observations tell the story of the hidden universe through every phase of cosmic history – from neighbouring planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets, to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe.

    “This is a singular and historic moment,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “It took decades of drive and perseverance to get us here, and I am immensely proud of the Webb team. These first images show us how much we can accomplish when we come together behind a shared goal, to solve the cosmic mysteries that connect us all. It’s a stunning glimpse of the insights yet to come.”

    Webb’s first observations were selected by a group of representatives from NASA, ESA, CSA, and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). They reveal the capabilities of all four of Webb’s state-of-the-art scientific instruments:

    • SMACS 0723: Webb has delivered the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe so far – and in only 12.5 hours.
    • WASP-96b (spectrum): Webb’s detailed observation of this hot, puffy planet outside our solar system reveals the clear signature of water, along with evidence of haze and clouds that previous studies of this planet did not detect.
    •  Southern Ring Nebula: This planetary nebula, an expanding cloud of gas that surrounds a dying star, is approximately 2,000 light years away.
    • Stephan’s Quintet: Webb’s view of this compact group of galaxies, located in the constellation Pegasus, pierced through the shroud of dust surrounding the centre of one galaxy, to reveal the velocity and composition of the gas near its supermassive black hole.
    • Carina Nebula: Webb’s look at the ‘Cosmic Cliffs’ in the Carina Nebula unveils the earliest, rapid phases of star formation that were previously hidden. 

    Read the full media release here.

    Cover Photo: The Carina Nebula. Credits for all photos - NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI.

  • 1 Aug 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    As reported by the Australian National University (ANU).

    A theoretical physicist from The Australian National University (ANU) whose pioneering work has fundamentally altered our understanding of the deepest and darkest parts of the Universe and space-time itself has been recognised among the world's best gravitational scientists.

    Distinguished Professor Susan Scott has been newly elected as a Fellow of the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation (ISGRG) for 2022. Scott is the first Australian to be elected as a Fellow of the Society and she joins an elite club of exceptional scientists including world renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and Nobel Laureates Roger Penrose and Kip Thorne.

    Distinguished Professor Scott, who is also the Chief Investigator with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav), has been appointed to the Society for ground-breaking contributions to the understanding of the singularities and the structure of space-time. Singularities are known as places in space and time where things go very wrong, for example, if a travelling particle simply blips out of existence and has no future.

    Much of Distinguished Professor Scott's research involves investigating the properties of these singularities related to black holes. Her work also seeks to understand the properties of systems of black holes and neutron stars, by studying the gravitational waves they emit.

    Distinguished Professor Scott, from the ANU Centre for Gravitational Astrophysics (CGA), says she is "deeply honoured" to be the first Australian Fellow of the ISGRG.

    "Election to Fellowship of the ISGRG is very prestigious, and there are only a few tens of Fellows across the world," she said.

    "In Australia, and also at ANU, we now have a very established and successful research base in many areas of endeavour in gravitational research, including the detection of gravitational waves, which help us to unlock many of the Universe's mysteries.

    "My research is all about gravity. I seek to understand how it shapes the Universe and warps it to the extent that it creates black holes."

    In 2015, Distinguished Professor Scott was part of a 1,000-strong cohort of scientists from around the world that detected gravitational waves for the very first time. These waves are ripples in space and time caused by extremely violent events in the Universe.

    This monumental discovery scientifically proved Albert Einstein's theory that gravitational waves would be caused by a collision of massive objects in space such as black holes. It also ushered in a new era of gravitational-wave astronomy and paved the way for a raft of new space discoveries, including the merging of two black holes, the collision of two neutron stars and the detection of black holes swallowing neutron stars – breakthrough discoveries Professor Scott played a key role in.

    A prominent figure in Australian science, Distinguished Professor Scott's contribution to the world-first discovery of gravitational waves earned her and fellow ANU researcher Professor David McClelland the 2020 Prime Minister's Prize for Science.

    Distinguished Professor Scott, who is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, says she wants to use her newly obtained platform with the ISGRG to continue to champion Australian science and voice her aspirations for Australia to be a major player in the next generation of gravitational wave astronomy.

    She's hopeful her appointment could help throw weight behind growing calls to establish and operate a gravitational wave detector in Australia.

    "For many years, myself and other fellow scientists have been on a quest to site and operate a gravitational wave detector in this country. This would enable us to play a leading role in learning more about gravitational waves and their role in the Universe," Distinguished Professor Scott said.


    Read the full media release here.

    Photo credit: Tracey Nearmy/ANU.

  • 1 Aug 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    We are proud to inform our members that the AIP is in the final stages of moving our business to the Bank Australia. This is part of the AIP’s commitment to fight climate change and to contribute to a fairer world.

    We are convinced that many of our members are actively engaged in making our country more sustainable.

    There are many things one can do to reduce carbon emissions, including not supporting banks that using your savings to invest in fossil fuels. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that most Australians are unaware that they are supporting such banks.

    We believe the solution is to support “ethical banking”, i.e., supporting banks that guarantee that they will not invest into fossil fuels among other things.

    That is the reason why the AIP National Executive has taken action and we are now moving our business to the Bank Australia.

    We hope we can inspire some of our members to consider this aspect of climate action.

    We would like to thank the member that raised this issue with us and our Honorary Treasurer Judith Pollard and her team for the considerable work in making this move happen.

    See a list of ethical banks here and read more on the issue here.

  • 1 Aug 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous
    • Nominations for positions in the AIP National Executive open until 21 Aug 2022
    • Nominations for the 2023 Women in Physics Lecturer re-opened until 16 Sep 2022

    AIP National Executive

    Help lead Australia’s premier society for the promotion of physics in research, education, industry and the community by joining the AIP National Executive team.

    Every two years the AIP elects a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Registrar. Any financial Member, Fellow or Honorary Fellow can be nominated for these positions.

    If you’d like to submit a nomination, it should be accompanied by signed endorsements from two financial Members, Fellows or Honorary Fellows, as well as a letter of consent from the nominee.

    Note that under the institute’s constitution, the current president and vice president cannot seek re-election for the same position.

    To nominate, please send the documents via email to aip@aip.org.au, or by mail to AIP, PO Box 480, West Ryde, NSW 1685, Australia.

    The current Executive has put forward the following nominations:

    • Nicole Bell (as President)
    • Stuart Midgely (as Vice-President)
    • Kirrily Rule (as Honorary Secretary)
    • Stephen Collins (as Honorary Registrar)
    • Dongchen Qi (as Honorary Treasurer)
    • Joanna Turner (as Awards Officer)

    If there are further nominations*, elections will be held in October. The new Executive will take office at the Annual General Meeting of the AIP in February next year.

    *Nominations are now closed as of 1 Sep.


    2023 Women in Physics Lecturer

    Nominating an outstanding female physicist who will increase public awareness of the possibilities offered by studying physics and inspire future physicists for the 2023 Women in Physics Lectureship.

    You may nominate a colleague or yourself. Nominations close 16 Sep.

    The Women in Physics Lectureship is made annually to recognise and publicise significant contributions by a woman to advancing a field of physics. The Lecturer will receive a medal, a certificate, one year membership of the AIP, and appropriate support to provide a lecture tour across Australia.

    The lecture tour will include presentations suited to range of audiences, including to high school students, non-specialist audiences, and the physics community. 

    • Eligibility criteria and how to nominate here.

    Our current Women in Physics Lecturer is planetary scientist Associate Professor Katarina Miljkovic (Curtin University).

    • Read about A/Prof Miljkovic’s lecture tour ‘Impacts! Rocks from space colliding with planets’ here.
    • Read about previous Lecturer Dr Ceri Brenner’s experience in an Australian Physics magazine article here (Page 10).
  • 1 Aug 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Family-friendly events at National Science Week

    Bring your family to hear about meteorite impacts from our Women in Physics Lecturer Associate Professor Katarina Miljkovic, begin your amateur astronomy journey by learning about what equipment you need, or hang out and chat about physics and other dark matters at the pub.

    We’ve gathered a bunch physics-related events for you to enjoy:

    Multiple locations

    • National Quantum and Dark Matter Road Trip. Hear about the hunt for dark matter and present and future quantum technologies from a team of scientists and science communicators delivering presentations, hands-on activities and quizzes at schools and pubs throughout Australia. Multiple dates.  

    ACT

    •   Dark Matter in the Pub. Learn about mysterious dark matter by listening to eight short talks from astronomers, particle physicists, nuclear physicists, and engineers while you munch on snacks and enjoy a beverage. Sun 14 Aug.
    • Rainbows in Science. Young LGBTQIA+ adults interested in science can meet and hear from LGBTQIA+ scientists and allies and experience a range of colourful STEMonstrations. Fri 19 Aug.

    NSW

    NT

    QLD

    • Mirror, Mirror on the Wall. Compete to create the longest optic fibre, use a laser cutter to cut your own key chains, make and use telescopes, and learn how glass and mirrors are made, at Yarrabilba State Secondary College.  Wed 17 Aug.
    •  See Through Science. Budding scientists will have fun with hands-on activities and investigations that involve circuits, solar power, stargazing, and more.  Sat 20 Aug.

    SA

    TAS

    VIC

    WA

    • LEGO Club – Balloon Car. Kids can craft a LEGO car that will be attached to a balloon, which will explore the concepts of force and motion. Mon 15 Aug.
    • Glass: More than meets the eye festival. Families can observe our closest star with a purpose-build solar telescope, chat with astrophysicists at the Astro3D stall, create a baby image of the universe, and more. Sat 20 Aug.


    Check the official National Science Week website to explore more science-related activities.

  • 7 Jul 2022 2:30 PM | Anonymous

    The AIP welcomes Education Minister Jason Clare’s statement that "delays and the political interference in the way competitive grants operate need to end”. We support the intended review into the role and governance of the Australian Research Council (ARC), the main research grants body in our country. We appreciate that the Minister acknowledges the concerns that we and the other professional bodies presented at the Senate hearing earlier this year, including that the ongoing issues damage our international reputation and creates difficulties in recruiting and maintaining staff.

    • Read the Education Minister’s comments in his first speech to the university sector here.
    • Read about AIP President Professor Sven Rogge’s advocacy for the independence of the ARC at the 9 Mar Senate inquiry here.
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AIP news and bulletin posts prior to 20 June 2021 can be found here.

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