AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS

Promoting the role of Physics in research, education, industry and the community

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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.

To advertise in the bulletin, see our Jobs page.

  • 2 May 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous
    • Exploring the connections between first nations, land, and country through science and art;
    • CSIRO’s Dr Keith Banner named Physical Scientist of the Year;
    • Australia’s contribution to the James Webb Telescope; and
    • Addressing the underrepresentation of women in physics academia and education.

    These topics all feature in the first edition for 2022 of Australian Physics magazine.

    AIP members can read the edition online here.

    The cover of the edition showcases the beautiful artwork of Sean James Cassidy in collaboration with Wiradjuri artists Scott Turnbull and Scott Sauce Towney.

    The collaborative artwork depicts two goannas joined at the hip, representing an Elder mentoring a student. The goanna is the totem of the Wiradjuri Nation. The figure eight shape the two goannas make refers to the eight Aboriginal ways of learning, which include story sharing, community links, and learning maps (see Page 20 of the magazine). 

    The artwork is part of an installation in the Rotary Peace Park in Parkes, NSW. It also now is proudly displayed on our website, together with our acknowledgement of Country.

    The Jan – Mar edition also includes an obituary to former AIP President, Emeritus Professor Tony Klein, AM FAA. He was also the recipient of our 1990 Walter Boas Medal and appointed an Honorary Fellow of the AIP in the late 1990s.

    You can also read the #PhysicsGotMeHere career profiles of mathematical biologist Dr James McCaw (University of Melbourne) and paediatric intensive care doctor Dr Rebecca Pearce (Monash Children’s Hospital).

    If you are not currently an AIP member and want to receive the Australian Magazine and/or access the latest editions online, you can view membership options here and join here.

  • 8 Apr 2022 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    Didn't see the email bulletin for Apr AIP news? Good news - you can read it here.

    Highlights: 

    • Research independence bill defeated but unites research sector - AIP President speaks at the Senate inquiry
    • 24th AIP Congress in Adelaide in December - Optics and photonics, the latest industry tech, and catered poster sessions will feature at this year's Congress
    • Nominations for 11 AIP awards open
    • Odd radio circles: a closer look
    • A conduit between academics & the public: Ben Keirnan #PhysicsGotMeHere

    Never miss out on future AIP bulletins by emailing physics@scienceinpublic.com.au to subscribe. 

  • 1 Apr 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Optics and photonics, the latest industry tech, and catered poster sessions will feature at this year’s AIP Congress

    With the easing of restrictions across Australia, we look forward to welcoming you to Adelaide in December for the first, large, in-person meeting of the Australian physics community since the AIP Congress in Perth in 2018.

    The 24th AIP Congress will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 11-16 December. The Convention Centre is conveniently located on the picturesque banks of the Torrens Lake in the heart of the city.

    This year, we are delighted to be co-locating with the Australian and New Zealand Conference on Optics and Photonics (ANZCOP) and the 7th International Workshop on Speciality Optical Fibers (WSOF).

    The Congress will feature a forum where industry partners will exhibit their latest technology and product offerings. You can mingle with industry partners and your colleagues in the Exhibition Area, where catered poster sessions with morning and afternoon teas and lunches will take place daily.

    Following the welcome reception on Sun 11 Dec, the five-day program will include plenary and invited talks, as well as contributed talks and posters, a public lecture, and teacher-focused sessions.

    Key dates and registration fees will be available on the Congress website here*.

    Information on sponsors and the exhibition prospectus is available here.

    *Please regularly check the website as it is being constantly updated.

  • 1 Apr 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Let your colleagues and students know what an excellent job they’re doing by nominating them for this year’s AIP awards.

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

    You must submit your nominations by 1 May for most of the awards. Click on the links for the awards below for their individual deadlines.

    Members of the AIP can nominate colleagues for the:

    We also would like to draw attention to two new awards:

    Students may be eligible for the:

    • Bragg Gold Medal – for the most outstanding PhD thesis in physics by a student at an Australian university; and
    • TH Laby Medal – outstanding Honours or Masters thesis in physics by a student at an Australian university

    Please visit the AIP website to access nomination forms and other important information about eligibility and who can nominate.

    Last year’s winners include Associate Professor Katarina Miljkovic (Curtin University) – 2022 WiP Lectureship; Prof Howard Wiseman (Griffith University) – Walter Boas Medal; and Emeritus Professor Bruce McKellar FAIP and Dr Marc Duldig FAIP – Outstanding Service to Physics Award.

    See here for a list of the 2021 winners of our other awards.

  • 1 Apr 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    As reported by CSIRO.

    First revealed by the ASKAP radio telescope, owned and operated by Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, odd radio circles quickly became objects of fascination. Theories on what caused them ranged from galactic shockwaves to the throats of wormholes.

    A new detailed image, captured by the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory’s MeerKAT radio telescope and published today in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (DOI 10.1093/mnras/stac701 and available on arXive), is providing researchers with more information to help narrow down those theories.

    There are now three leading theories to explain what causes ORCs:

    ·       They could be the remnant of a huge explosion at the centre of their host galaxy, like the merger of two supermassive black holes;

    ·       They could be powerful jets of energetic particles spewing out of the galaxy’s centre; or

    ·       They might be the result of a starburst ‘termination shock’ from the production of stars in the galaxy.

    To date ORCs have only been detected using radio telescopes, with no signs of them when researchers have looked for them using optical, infrared, or X-ray telescopes.

    Dr Jordan Collier of the Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy, who compiled the image from MeerKAT data said continuing to observe these odd radio circles will provide researchers with more clues.

    “People often want to explain their observations and show that it aligns with our best knowledge. To me, it’s much more exciting to discover something new, that defies our current understanding,” Dr Collier said.

    The rings are enormous – about a million light years across, which is 16 times bigger than our own galaxy. Despite this, odd radio circles are hard to see.

    Professor Ray Norris from Western Sydney University and CSIRO, one of the authors on the paper, said only five odd radio circles have ever been revealed in space.

    Read the full media release.

    Photo: Artist’s impression of odd radio circles. Credit – CSIRO.

  • 1 Apr 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said of volunteering: “you will get satisfaction out of doing something to give back to the community that you never get in any other way".  

    The AIP is predominantly a volunteer-run organisation, and it can function only with the generous donation of time and effort by many people.

    Thank you to all our volunteers for your work in supporting and promoting the Australian physics community.

    Welcome back to our ongoing volunteers and a warm welcome the following new volunteers:

    TAS Secretary: Georgia Stewart
    ACT Secretary: Jess Moore
    VIC Chair:  Andrew Martin
    VIC Vice Chair:  Valentina Baccetti
    VIC Secretary:  Elizabeth Hinde
    VIC Treasurer:  David Simpson
    QLD Secretary: Sergei Slussarenko
    QLD Treasurer: Scott Adamson
    Women in Physics Tour Organizer: Pourandokht Naseri Hudson
    ACT: Committee: Louise Starr, Ivo Seitenzahl, Taiki Tanaka and Bryce Henson
    QLD: Committee: Dongchen Qi and Terry Turner
    WA Committee: Kate Putman and John Brookes (PEG rep)

    A full list of all our awesome volunteers is here.

  • 1 Apr 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Financial support for physics Honours students is available at the Australian National University (ANU) Research School of Physics.

    The Research School is offering two opportunities:

    • The Dunbar Physics Honours Scholarship
    • The Love Physics Bursary


    The Dunbar Physics Honours Scholarship is available for students who have applied for a Bachelor of Science, Science (Advanced) or Philosophy Honours program in Physics within the Research School of Physics. Applicants must be Australian/New Zealand citizens (or Australian permanent residents) and have at least a Distinction average.

    The scholarship comes with a stipend of up to $15,000.

    There are two rounds of offers for this scholarship each year: one for commencement in Semester 1, and one for commencement in Semester 2.

    Applications for commencement in Semester 2, 2022 open on 1 Apr.

    • More information on the scholarship can be found here.


    The Love Physics Bursary is available to assist students from regional and remote areas to relocate to Canberra to pursue a physics Honours specialisation.

    Successful applications will receive $2,500 towards their relocation expenses.

    Established in 2015, the bursary is funded by a generous bequest from the late Emeritus Professor John Love.

    Applications for the bursary are open between 1 Oct – 30 Nov.

    • More information on the bursary can be found here.


  • 21 Mar 2022 6:45 PM | Anonymous

    Today, the Australian Senate E&E Committee majority recommended that the Senate does not pass the Australian Research Council Amendment (Ensuring Research Independence) Bill 2018.

    It is unfortunate that the opportunity was lost to bring the Australian system in line with the Haldane Principle of an independent agency, where only the funding rules are defined by the government. This is the case in, for example, the UK, EU, and the US.

    Despite this disappointing outcome, it was good to see the whole research sector united with this vision of research independence.

  • 4 Mar 2022 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    Did you miss the email bulletin for Mar AIP news? Good news – you can read it here.

    Highlights:

    • More than a singular highlight – The 11th Australasian Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation, including 2020 Nobel Prize winner Prof Sir Roger Penrose’s public lecture.
    • Changes to the AIP Constitution passed unanimously – 2022 AIP Annual General Meeting
    • From refugee to theoretical physicist to STEM Ambassador: Professor Tien Kieu #PhysicsGotMeHere
    • Solar terrestrial & space physics: coming in Australian Physics magazine

    Never miss out on future AIP bulletins by emailing physics@scienceinpublic.com.au to subscribe.


  • 1 Mar 2022 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Report on the 11th Australasian Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation

    ‘From Black-Hole Singularities to Cyclic Cosmology’, a public lecture by Professor Sir Roger Penrose, was one of the highlights of the recent 11th Australasian Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation (ACGRG).

    You can re-watch the lecture online here

    Prof Penrose was jointly awarded the 2020 Physics Nobel Prize with Profs Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for their work on black holes.

    However, he said in his invited lecture, he did not really show “… that black holes are a robust prediction of general relativity, which is what the [Nobel Prize] citation says, but that singularities are”.


    Other lessons on general relativity, gravitation, and teaching science

    The purpose of the ACGRG is to provide a regional forum for members to discuss general relativity, foster collaboration, and promote ideas and insight into the nature of gravity.

    The ACGRG also featured a scientific meeting held at the Hobart Campus of the University of Tasmania (UTAS), 2-4 Feb. 

    The topics of other invited talks ranged from observations of gravitational waves from mergers of neutron-stars, black holes, and novel sources, to using numerical relativity as a tool for cosmology.

    The invited talks can be found and re-watched here.

    Dr Krzysztof Bolejko, AIP Tas Chair, was also elected as President of the Australian Society for General Relativity and Gravitation during the meeting. 

    The third part of the conference, the Science Professional Learning Workshop, brought together scientists and teachers of science at the primary school and high school (Years 11 and 12) levels to discuss the new science curriculum and how best to teach difficult scientific concepts such as ‘wave-particle duality’ to young people.

    Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the workshop was run separately on 2-3 Dec 2021 at the Launceston Campus of UTAS.

    The ACGRG was organised by the AIP Tasmanian Branch and our cognate society, the Australasian Society for General Relativity and Gravitation.


    Photo: 2020 Physics Nobel Prize winner Prof Sir Roger Penrose. Credit – Wikipedia.

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

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