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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 Jul 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Join us for our first inaugural joint Presidents’ Dinner between the NSW branches of the AIP and the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) in an evening of celebration, networking, and recognition.

    2022 Annual AIP and RACI Presidents’ Dinner

    Date: Friday 12 Aug

    Venue: Concord Golf Club, 190 Majors Road, Concord

    Our members and guests will be treated to a generous 3-course meal at a discounted* rate and a line-up of exceptional presenters, including:

    • Dr Cathy Foley AO PSM, Australia’s Chief Scientist
    • Dr Helen Cartledge, Director, The Maritime Autonomous & Remote Underwater Systems at Australian Government Department of Defence
    • Dr Adam Martin, 2019/2020 Nyholm Youth Lecturer, Director of Chemistry at PYC Therapeutics, Perth

    The RACI and AIP have a growing history of joint events bringing together exceptional speakers providing our members and guests with informative talks and stimulating conversation in a relaxed and social environment. 

    *AIP members will need to setup an account on the RACI webpage and apply a discount code to their cart when placing their order. The AIP discount code is 22AIPMEMDISC when registering themselves and partners.

    Further information included in this flyer.

    We look forward to seeing you and your guest for this special occasion!
  • 1 Jul 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    The physics community is saddened by the passing of Professor Robert ‘Bob’ Crompton AM FAA, who was our former AIP President (1993-94) and an Honorary Fellow.

    Bob was one of our earliest members (#11), having transferred from the British institute of Physics nearly 60 years ago.

    A keen physicist from a young age, Bob had a happy childhood playing with Meccano sets and building electric motors to power gramophones, clocks, and his toys. He went on to undertake a cadetship at the University of Adelaide, where he would use his love for building things to make equipment such as an automated Wilson cloud chamber for the physics laboratory. He graduated in 1949 with honours.

    Afterwards, Bob became one of the first students at the University of Adelaide to undertake a PhD in physics and graduated in 1954. His thesis focused on collisions between electrons and gas molecules. He again made use of his practical skills by glassblowing his own equipment and building his own research apparatus. While at the university, he also lectured in physics between 1950 and 1960, eventually forming a small research group.

    In 1961, Bob transferred his research group to the newly formed Research School of Physical Sciences at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. His group grew and became world-renowned for electron swarm physics - in particular, for investigating the behaviour of electrons when they collide and rebound from gas molecules. Bob remained with ANU until he retired in 1991.

    Bob’s achievements were recognised with several awards throughout his career, including his appointment as a Member of Australia in 1999 for his services to science and the community. He was elected Fellow also of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS; in 1979), the American Physical Society (1995), and the British Institute of Physics.

    Throughout his career, he served in many professional organisations, including as the ACT Branch Chair of the AIP (1973-74), Chair of the Australian Journals of Scientific Research Board (1982-87), and Member of the National Committee for Physics at AAS (1969-76) as well as its Chair (1976-1979).

    • Read more on his Bob’s life and career here.


    Tributes to Bob from our members and colleagues

    Professor Anthony Thomas FAIP (University of Adelaide) remembers Bob as a ‘very good president of the AIP’ along with memories of his other contributions and that he was a ‘delightful person’.

    Of Bob's passing, Immediate Past President Jodie Bradby said: “Sad news. The Helen and Bob Crompton endowment set up at ANU Physics has supported PhD student travel for years. He was the kindest man who always had a moment for a chat.”

    Stuart Midgely remembers Bob's encouragement of young physicists: "This is indeed very sad. Bob was a great man who did wonders for students and aspiring physicists through his work with the physics Olympiad."

    Colin Taylor said: "When Bob passed, the world lost a giant of physics and an extraordinary human."

    Anna Binnie remembers Bob's leadership and kindness:

    "Bob was one of nature's true gentlemen. He was always supportive & encouraging of students. He was especially supportive of establishing the Women in Physics Group in the AIP.

    He was the first Chair of the Australian Science Olympiad. He felt that a teacher on the Board of the Australian Science Olympiads would provide input on student welfare and support. To this end he invited me to join the Board. In its early days, Bob would personally collect me from the airport and Helen, his wife, used to provide us with sandwiches at lunch time. In those days we met at the ANU. I shall especially miss him.”

    We send our condolences to Bob’s family and friends. Vale Bob, you will be missed.


    Photo: Credit - AAS.

  • 1 Jun 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    As reported by the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration.

    Astronomers have unveiled the first image of the supermassive black hole at the centre of our own Milky Way galaxy. This result provides overwhelming evidence that the object is indeed a black hole and yields valuable clues about the workings of such giants, which are thought to reside at the centre of most galaxies. The image was produced by a global research team called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration, using observations from a worldwide network of radio telescopes.

    The image is a long-anticipated look at the massive object that sits at the very centre of our galaxy. Scientists had previously seen stars orbiting around something invisible, compact, and very massive at the centre of the Milky Way. This strongly suggested that this object — known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*, pronounced "sadge-ay-star") — is a black hole, and today’s image provides the first direct visual evidence of it.

    Although we cannot see the black hole itself, because it is completely dark, glowing gas around it reveals a telltale signature: a dark central region (called a “shadow”) surrounded by a bright ring-like structure. The new view captures light bent by the powerful gravity of the black hole, which is four million times more massive than our Sun.

    “We were stunned by how well the size of the ring agreed with predictions from Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity," said EHT Project Scientist Geoffrey Bower from the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Academia Sinica, Taipei. "These unprecedented observations have greatly improved our understanding of what happens at the very centre of our galaxy and offer new insights on how these giant black holes interact with their surroundings.” The EHT team's results are being published today in a special issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    Because the black hole is about 27,000 light-years away from Earth, it appears to us to have about the same size in the sky as a donut on the Moon. To image it, the team created the powerful EHT, which linked together eight existing radio observatories across the planet to form a single “Earth-sized” virtual telescope. The EHT observed Sgr A* on multiple nights, collecting data for many hours in a row, similar to using a long exposure time on a camera.

    The breakthrough follows the EHT collaboration’s 2019 release of the first image of a black hole, called M87*, at the centre of the more distant Messier 87 galaxy. 

    Read the full media release here.
  • 1 Jun 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    More than 20 specialist topic streams & special events

    • Submit abstracts for the 24th AIP Congress here.

    Register now and get the most out of attending this year’s AIP Congress in Adelaide from 11 – 16 Dec by attending networking events, practical workshops, a pitchfest and more.

    Not only does the program feature 20 specialist topic streams in physics, the Congress will also be hosting a range of special events in which you can actively participate – no need to just sit and listen to talks all day!

    The Congress is co-locating with the 7th International Workshop on Speciality Optical Fibres (WSOF), a technical workshop and exhibition focused on advances and innovations in speciality optical fibres and their applications. You’ll get the chance to be involved in a tutorial, one-on-one discussions, listen to talks, and see the latest product offerings from industrial partners. 

    Other special events associated with the Congress program* include the:

    • Army Quantum Technology Workshop; hear the latest in the Army’s interests and intentions in quantum technology, as well as build collaborations and workshop ideas with the Army to help gain and retain a quantum advantage

    • Army Quantum Next Generation Pitchfest; learn how Australia’s talented postgraduate students, early career researchers and early-stage start-up entrepreneurs will tackle current quantum technology challenges

    • Physics Education-themed High Tea; listen to a keynote presentation and discuss the nexus between high school physics teaching and university physics courses

    • Diversity and Equity Group in Australian Physics (DE-GAP) Breakfast; get involved in a networking session, keynote presentation, and breakfast
       
    • Conference on Optoelectronic and Microelectronic Materials and Devices (COMMAD);  discuss developments in semiconductors, including microelectronic and optoelectronic materials, as well as nanoscale and quantum technologies

    • Precision and Quantum Sensing Workshop (PQS2022); discuss with researchers and industry experts applications of precision quantum sensing, including in defence

    *Please ensure that you indicate to attend these special events when you register.

    There will also be two associated workshops occurring before the Congress:

    • Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) Workshop: fabricating photonic and optical components
    • Workshop on 3D Printing of Photonics Materials


    More info on the Congress

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

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

    Submission of abstracts is openuntil 15 Jul and registration is open until 2 Dec.

    Please visit the official Congress website for regular updates.


  • 1 Jun 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Physicists well-represented in the recent announcement of 2022 Fellows

    Three physicists have been announced as 2022 Fellows, including an astronomer, an applied physicist, and an astrophysicist.

    “Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science are among the nation’s most distinguished scientists, elected by their peers for ground-breaking research and contributions that have had clear impact,” says Professor Chennupati Jagadish FAIP, President of the Australian Academy of Science, nanotechnologist and materials scientist.

    22 new Fellows were elected this year. Half were women, the first time that gender parity has been achieved in the annual election of new Fellows. 

    The newly elected physicists are:

    • Prof Marcela Bilek (University of Sydney); who develops environmentally-friendly, plasma-based processes to make new materials and modify surfaces of materials. She was previously involved in making a hydrogel that improves how manufactured implants attach to surrounding tissue.

    • Prof Matthew Bailes (Swinburne University): who develops instruments, including a supercomputer for detecting pulsars and mysterious fast radio bursts from space. He’s the director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery and founded the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University in 1998.

    • Prof Naomi McClure-Griffiths (Australian National University); for furthering our understanding about how the Milky Way and neighbouring galaxies evolved by studying their interstellar gas and magnetic fields. She’s a co-principal investigator of two large observational surveys underway with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP).

    Read the media release from the Academy: https://www.science.org.au/news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/two-firsts-academy-announces-2022-fellows?TW

    Photo credit: Australian Academy of Science

  • 1 Jun 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    2022 Early Career Women in STEMM writing workshop

    Early career women in STEMM are invited to register for a free workshop aimed at strengthening their scientific writing and critical thinking skills.

    The AIP is a proud co-sponsor of the workshop, which is designed to increase the number of female academics in STEMM-related departments by providing training and mentorship that they might not have at their home institutions.

    The program features writing sessions as well as panel sessions and opportunities for Q & A with nine high-profile academic mentors.

    Attendees will also benefit from keynote presentations from senior mentors, including Professor Chennupati Jagadish FAIP (President of the Australian Academy of Science) and Professor Julie Cairney (The University of Sydney’s Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research – Enterprise and Engagement, and CEO of Microscopy Australia).

    The workshop will be held at The University of Sydney on 28 – 30 Sep 2022.

    Applications for the workshop close 11:55pm 31 Aug.

    The cost of registration and catering will be covered by the event sponsorship.

    Successful applicants will be notified 5 Sep.

    Visit the workshop webpage here for more details and how to register.


  • 2 May 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    The 2022 Women in Physics Lectureship tour kicks off at the end of May and runs through to September.

    Astrophysicist Associate Professor Katarina Miljkovic from Curtin University will be giving a lecture series entitled ‘Impacts! Rocks from space colliding with planets’.

    Only in the mid-20th century was it confirmed that impact craters on planets are formed by meteorite strikes. Since then, many space missions have mapped planetary surfaces and provided data about impact craters. Impacts have played a key role in the evolution of rocky planet surfaces.

    Assoc Prof Miljkovic will outline her work on the physics behind the impact process. She is advancing our understanding of the structure and evolution of the Solar System by using data from the NASA space missions with which she collaborates.

    The Women in Physics Lectureship is awarded annually to recognise and publicise significant contributions by a woman to advancing a field of physics and to inspire future physicists.

    Assoc Prof Miljkovic will be giving her lecture to schools, academics, and the general public.

    Catch a speak peek of what she’ll be talking about in Impact: Beyond the Night Sky (2020), a short documentary written and directed by Kath Dooley. This immerse, 360, virtual-reality documentary was a finalist in the best experimental film category at the 2022 Atom Awards

    The currently confirmed dates for the lecture tour are:

    • NSW: 30 May – 1 Jun
    • ACT: 2 – 3 Jun
    • QLD: 18 – 20 Jul
    • VIC: 27 – 28 Jul
    • TAS: 8 – 10 Aug
    • SA: 6 – 8 Sep
    • WA: 22 Sep

    Further tour dates in WA are TBA. Watch out on social media and in next month’s newsletter for venues and times.

    “When imagining the space in our Solar System, many people think of a dark silent void but the space around us is not empty; it is filled with particles, with dust, and with rocks – some very small and some large.  The history of our Universe is a history of impacts - when things collide.”
    – Assoc Prof Katarina Miljkovic in Impact: Beyond the Night Sky (2020).

    Photo credit: TAKE2STEM.

  • 2 May 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Registrations and the Call for Abstracts are now open for the 24th AIP Congress

    • Register now and submit abstracts at the official Congress website here.

    Register to attend our AIP Congress in Adelaide this December and you’ll be able to watch two Nobel Prize winners – Professors Donna Strickland and Kip Thorne – give plenary talks.

    Full registration for the Congress also includes the Welcome Reception, catered poster sessions and the Congress dinner.


    Intense lasers and gravitational waves

    Professor Donna Strickland (University of Waterloo) was jointly awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics with Professor Gérard Mourou for developing chirped pulse amplification, a method of creating very intense, ultrashort laser pulses without destroying the amplifying material. Modern applications of this technology in medicine and industry include its use in laser eye surgery and in the machining of small glass parts employed in mobile phones.

    At the time of her award, Professor Strickland was only the third woman to have won the Nobel Prize in Physics. She was also awarded the 2019 Geoffrey Frew Fellowship from the Australian Academy of Science and Australian and New Zealand Optical Society.

    Professor Kip Thorne (Caltech) won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics with Professors Rainer Weiss and Barry C. Barish for their contributions to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave (LIGO) detector and the observation of gravitational waves. Professor Thorne co-founded the LIGO Project in 1984. The first gravitational waves were detected by LIGO in 2015 from a collision of blackholes. This confirmed an important prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

    Prof Thorne’s research has also covered black holes and wormholes. He was the science advisor and an executive producer of Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi film Interstellar (2014).

    Other confirmed plenary speakers at the Congress include Professors Ania Bleszynski Jayich (University of California, Santa Barbara), Noah Finkelstein (University of Colorado), Laura Greene (Florida State University), Jeremy O’Brien (University of Western Australia and PsiQuantum) and Jirina Stone (University of Oxford). 

    The list of plenary speakers (to be updated as more details become available) can be found here.

    More info on the Congress

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

    We will be co-locating with the Australian and New Zealand Conference on Optics and Photonics (ANZCOP) and the 7th International Workshop on Speciality Optical Fibres (WSOF).

    Submission of abstracts is open until 15 Jul and registrations are open until 2 Dec.

    Please visit the Congress website for more information. It is updated regularly.

    Photo credit:  University of Waterloo (Prof Strickland) and Caltech (Prof Thorne).

  • 2 May 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Good news - you can still nominate a physics star for an AIP award!

    The closing date has been extended to 15 May for the following awards:

    • Walter Boas Medal – for original research that makes an important contribution to physics in Australia
    • Harrie Massey Medal – for outstanding contributions to physics made by an Australian citizen anywhere in the world, or by an Australian resident for work carried out in Australia
    • Ruby Payne-Scott Award– for outstanding contributions to physics made by an exceptionally promising early-career researcher
    • Women in Leadership Medal – for outstanding leadership by a female physicist
    • Physics Communication Award – for an excellent communicator who makes the public aware of the excitement and importance of physics
    • Alan Walsh Medal – for outstanding accomplishments in applying physics in industry
    • Physics Education Medal - for outstanding contributions to tertiary physics education in Australia

    Nominations are also open for the following awards, which close 1 Jun:

    Don’t miss out on your chance to let a colleague know how much their efforts are appreciated.

    Some awards also allow self-nomination, so please check the individual awards.

    Photo credit:  Orion’s Dreamy Stars by NASA/JPL-Caltech.
  • 2 May 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    As reported in a media release from the office of the Minister for Science and Technology.

    Australia and the United States have agreed to work together on enhancing Earth observation from space, further securing the data that is central to our everyday lives and driving growth in our local space sector.

    A joint Statement of Intent between the Australian Space Agency and NASA has been signed at the Colorado Space Symposium, after the Morrison Government in its recent Budget committed almost $1.2 billion to Australia’s first ever National Space Mission for Earth Observation.

    The first phase of the National Space Mission will include Australia designing, building and operating four satellites that will capture globally unique data, carving out an important role for Australia internationally.

    The Minister for Science and Technology, Melissa Price, said the signing was an important part of locking in Australia’s access to the valuable data on which it relies, as well as its place in the global space community.

    “For us to unleash the full power of Earth observation we need to work with our closest international partners to share data and learn from one another,” Minister Price said.

    “The United States has long been a global leader in land imaging from space.

    “In fact, their data has been helping Australians for decades. This signing is the first step toward Australia contributing to and enhancing this critical network for the benefit of both our nations.

    “Our Government’s $1.2-billion investment in the National Space Mission for Earth Observation in the 2022-23 Budget is the most significant in Australia’s history, and it’s because of investments like this that global players like NASA are wanting to work with us.”

    Read the full media release here.
    Read the NASA media release
    here.

    Photo credit: NASA.

AIP news and bulletin posts prior to 20 June 2021 can be found here.

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