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The AIP monthly bulletin reaches over 4000 scientists, future scientists and stakeholders. To subscribe to the AIP bulletin, please email aip@aip.org.auTo provide physics news, please email physics@scienceinpublic.com.au. To advertise in the bulletin, see our Jobs page.

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  • 1 Aug 2023 10:07 AM | Anonymous

    Front cover of the Universities Accord interim report

    Last week, the Universities Accord interim report was released. In November 2022, Education Minister Jason Clare appointed a panel to conduct a review to drive lasting reform in Australia’s higher education system, to deliver a system that meets the current and future needs of the nation, and targets to achieve this.

    The Australian Institute of Physics, the professional body representing Australian physicists, considers this interim report a missed opportunity to recommend the real changes that are needed to secure Australia’s future. We hope the final report will go further.

    The report includes several potential proposals including significantly increasing immediate investment in the Australian Research Council, increasing PhD stipend rate, and moving NCRIS to sustainable ongoing funding. The AIP would like to see these proposals elevated to priority actions in the final report.

    However, the failure to recommend a visionary scale-up of Australia’s research sector, to drive stronger job creation, is a significant missed opportunity. Only with stronger investment in research can science address the challenges of the future. This is particularly concerning in light of the latest official data (published in May 2023) that shows that Australian Government investment in R&D has plummeted to its lowest level since 1978.

    We share the view of Science & Technology Australia president Professor Mark Hutchinson that “The final report should enshrine an ambitious target for Australia’s R&D investment – mirroring the 3% of GDP target the Australian Labor Party promised the Australian people before the last election – and recommend a plan and timetable to achieve it.”

  • 31 Jul 2023 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    (Original text adapted from Macquarie University)

    It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Emeritus Professor James (Jim) Piper AM on 20 July. Jim was a Fellow of the AIP and the winner of our first Boas Medal.

    A true pioneer of laser physics in Australia, Professor Piper served the University for a remarkable 38 years, including 10 years as Macquarie University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) from 2003 to 2013.

    Professor Piper joined Macquarie University in 1975 following his postdoctoral period at Oxford University. In the years that followed, he established the University as a leading international centre for lasers, photonics and optics. Many of Professor Piper’s extraordinary achievements as a physicist are documented in the Encyclopedia of Australian Science and Innovation.

    Professor Piper remained active in research after his retirement, securing an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage grant in 2020 to develop a lanthanide-doped nanomaterial for use in anti-counterfeit security inks. The Linkage program  was a scheme that Professor Piper  was instrumental in establishing, having served on the Australian Research Council for 10 years.

    As Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Piper is credited with establishing the foundations for Macquarie’s trajectory as a research institution. He developed the University’s first strategic research plan and established the CORE (Concentrations of Research Excellence) program, which nurtured many of Macquarie’s current research leaders.

    The Jim Piper Award for Excellence in Research Leadership is awarded every two years in his honour, recognising Macquarie academics who share with Professor Piper the rare combination of outstanding proficiency in both research and leadership.

    In 2014, Professor Piper was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for “significant service to tertiary education, particularly through research in applied laser physics”.

    Despite the volume of his professional achievements, it is Professor Piper’s character for which he will be most fondly remembered by his colleagues. He was esteemed for his generosity, down-to-earth manner and sense of humour, and will be much missed by those who knew him, including the many students and colleagues who benefited from his mentorship.

    We celebrate Professor Piper’s enduring imprint on Macquarie University and Australian science.

    S Bruce Dowton MD
    Vice-Chancellor and President

    (Image credit: Macquarie University)

  • 3 Jul 2023 1:48 PM | Anonymous

    AIP logoThe AIP Executive is looking for an enthusiastic Awards Officer to administer the AIP’s awards, which are among our highest-profile activities.

    The Awards Officer manages the administration of the AIP awards – from communicating with state Branches and recruiting selection panel members, to arranging for the awards to be presented to the winners at the AIP Congress or Summer Meeting.

    The Awards Officer is a member of the AIP National Executive, attends Executive and Council meetings, and is a full participant in Executive level conversations and decisions.

    The new appointee will replace Dr Joanna Turner, who will be stepping down from the role after four years of service.

    “It’s a great way to grow your network across the Australian physics community, and make connections with those working in many physics sub-disciplines,” says Joanna.

    It is expected that the Awards Officer would perform this role for 2 to 3 years.

    If you are interested in finding out more, please contact us at executive@aip.org.au today.


  • 2 Jul 2023 1:50 PM | Anonymous

    “Physics is a creative and innovative discipline at the forefront of technology – nearly every technological device we have today started as an idea in a physicist's mind. As I’ve moved through my career, I've noted that physicists are often called upon to solve the hard and complex problems,” says AIP Vice President Dr Stuart Midgley.

    “Their strong analytical skills and robust training allow them to see patterns and identify traits which are unobserved by others. Their creative minds allow them to find solutions to problems and then test and prove the effectiveness. Their desire to ‘know’ means they don’t give up until they work it out,” says Stuart.

    This year the AIP Executive welcomed Stuart as Vice President, supporting President Nicole Bell.

    Stuart has a PhD in computational theoretical physics from the University of Western Australia (Quantum Waveguide Theory) and has worked in academia, national computing facilities and industry.

    With over 25 years’ experience in the high-performance computing sector, Stuart has been using, programming, administering, designing, building, and now ‘evangelising’ some of the largest HPC systems in the world.

    He is currently Program Leader for High Performance Computing at Defence Science Technology Group.

    “I see the next couple of decades as an exciting time to be a physicist!

    Stuart says several significant announcements from the Australian Government have recently highlighted the need for strong physicist pipelines from all of our institutions, such as:

    • Defence strategic review
    • AUKUS, including nuclear submarines, Quantum, AI, hypersonics etc.
    • Quantum Strategy.

    “While these announcements will lead to direct employment of physicists, the largest opportunity is in the private sector. All of these announcements have industry engagement at their heart. Solving real-world problems for immediate concerns will drive a huge uptake of physicists in industry,' he says.

    “To support these announcements, the ambitions of physicists and our community, the AIP is on a course to aid and assist the transition of our members and peers from the academic environment into industry.

    “As we see in the #PhysicsGotMeHere profiles, there are endless versions of what a career in physics might look like. Upcoming pieces on the careers of our life-members will show the breadth and enthusiasm the physics community even into retirement.

    “We are working on a nationwide jobs fair activity to connect industry with physicists.  We will continue to showcase members and their activities, highlighting where a creative mind and strong problem-solving skills can take you.

    “For me, success is when ASX listed companies have a position with title “Chief Physicist” – that person to whom you take all the ‘unsolvable’ problems.”

    You can contact Stuart at vicepresident@aip.org.au or

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/hpcaddict @HPCAddict

  • 4 Jun 2023 6:30 PM | Anonymous

    Join us for a Public Lecture with 2023 Shaw Prize recipient Professor Matthew Bailes at The University of Tasmania and online. Thursday 8 June, 6:30PM AEST.  

    In this talk, Matthew will take you on a virtual tour of Einstein's Universe, and what we've learnt about it, using neutron stars, black holes and some of the world's most powerful telescopes.

    The Zoom details for this lecture are:

    Topic: AIP June Public Lecture - Exploring Einstein's Universe
    Time: Jun 8, 2023 06:30 PM Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

    Join Zoom Meeting
    https://utas.zoom.us/j/87807329707

    Meeting ID: 878 0732 9707 Dial in by Phone: +61 3 7018 2005 Australia

    Join by H.323/SIP
    87807329707@zoom.aarnet.edu.au





  • 31 May 2023 3:32 PM | Anonymous

    We welcome Dr Michael Schmidt, Senior Lecturer at UNSW and Research Director of UNSW School of Physics, to the role of AIP Honorary Secretary.

    Michael is a theoretical particle physicist working on physics beyond the Standard Model.

    “My main research focus is the physics of neutrinos, very light fundamental particles, and their connection to other physics, like ‘flavour physics’ and early universe physics,” he says.

    “My main research questions are around the origin of neutrino masses and explanations for the three-fold replication (flavours) of all matter, their masses and interactions.”

    Michael takes over the secretary role from Associate Professor Kirrily Rule, who recently stepped down after six years of dedicated service in the role.

    The Honorary National Secretary is a company director of the AIP, contributing to strategic decisions and helping to coordinate the Institute's day-to-day activities.

    “I have a particular passion for fundamental physics, and the role of honorary secretary provides a great opportunity to engage with other physicists, advocate for physics research and development, and raise awareness of the importance of physics in society,” says Michael.

    “As secretary, I look forward to enhancing member engagement, to encourage more active physicists to join AIP, and of course, to ensure the effective functioning of the AIP so it can keep being a strong voice for the Australian physics community.”

    You can connect with Michael:

    Email: m.schmidt@unsw.edu.au, secretary@aip.org.au

    Twitter: @micha_a_schmidt

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/micha-a-schmidt/

    Mastodon: @micha_a_schmidt@sciencemastodon.com 

  • 24 May 2023 1:18 PM | Anonymous

    IUPAP Commission C18 (Mathematical Physics) is calling for nominations for the IUPAP Early Career Scientist Prize in Mathematical Physics (formerly known as Young Scientist Prize) .

    The prize recognises exceptional achievements in mathematical physics by scientists at relatively early stages of their careers. It is awarded triennially to up to three young scientists satisfying the following criteria:

    • The recipients of the awards in a given year should have a maximum of 8 years of research experience (excluding career interruptions) following their PhD, on January 1 of that year (in this case, 1 January 2024).
    • The recipients should have performed original work of outstanding scientific quality in mathematical physics.
    • Preference may be given to young mathematical physicists from under- represented groups and geographical regions.
    • The awards will be presented at the International Congress of Mathematical Physics in July 2024 in Strasbourg.

    Your nomination should include:

    • a brief description of the achievements of the candidate that supports the nomination
    • your curriculum vitae (CV)
    • a list of publications (or current links to that information online).

    Please submit  your nomination to:

    The deadline for nominations is 30 September 2023.

    See further information about the prize, including past recipients.


  • 1 May 2023 10:53 AM | Anonymous

    Adapted from the Office for the Hon Ed Husic, Minister for Industry and Science.

    Seventy years ago, Australia’s first nuclear science research facility opened at Lucas Heights.

    It was a landmark moment for our scientific community and the Australian public.

    Since 18 April 1953, Lucas Heights has hosted some of the most sophisticated public research work ever conducted on our shores.

    It has made possible life-changing advances in the diagnoses and treatment of cancer and other diseases.

    It has helped our scientists confront environmental challenges and support industry and advanced manufacturing, including when it used its own technology to find a missing radioactive capsule in mid-west Western Australia a few months ago.

    The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s (ANSTO) stewardship has led it to become one of Australia’s most recognised and respected scientific research bodies.

    “ANSTO and its nuclear facilities have made an incredible contribution to Australian life,” says Ed Husic, Minister for Industry and Science.

    “It’s estimated every Australian will have an average of two procedures using nuclear medicine throughout their lives.

    “In particular, countless cancer patients have had their lives extended with radiotherapy treatments made available through ANSTO.

    “For seven decades our publicly funded nuclear research has also supported our industrial growth and helped confront environmental challenges.”

    Read more on the ANSTO website.
  • 24 Apr 2023 3:56 PM | Anonymous

    Front cover of 'Trusting Australia's Ability: Review of the Australian Research Council Act 2001'The Australian Institute of Physics (AIP) welcomes the recommendations of the ARC Review report , which reflect the major issues we highlighted in our submission to the ARC Review consultation process.

    Our advocacy efforts to lobby for a modernised ARC are summarised in a recent COSMOS article

    The AIP hopes to see the implementation of these recommendations as soon as possible.


  • 14 Apr 2023 10:55 AM | Anonymous

    The Australian Institute of Physics (AIP) is excited to announce our agreement with The Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) for their 2023 Mentoring Program. This opportunity is available to AIP Early Career Research (ECR) members who are looking to gain unique knowledge, insights, and advice from industry experts while developing their career paths.

    We are thrilled to offer up to 10 AIP ECRs the chance to participate in this program. The AIP will cover half of the cost ($150), while the member taking part will pay the remaining half ($150).

    The RACI Mentoring Program offers students and early career researchers the chance to receive regular guidance and support, career advice, and support throughout the process of finding a job. It also provides networking opportunities through facilitated networking events where mentors can introduce mentees to contacts.

    The program is open to all early career AIP members and student members, including undergraduate or postgraduate students, postdocs, and ECR staff.

    AIP members can apply by contacting us at aip@aip.org.au . The application deadline is 23 April, so interested parties should act quickly.

    Mentoring is a two-way process, and the ideal mentee will be energetic, enthusiastic, and willing to actively participate in the mentoring process, which typically requires approximately 2-3 hours per month, as well as occasional networking events. This program is particularly well-suited for students who will be completing their studies in 2023 and are looking to get a head start on their career path.

    The RACI Mentoring Program has been highly successful, with 80% of students finding a job within one month of graduation. We believe that this program can help AIP members achieve similar success and reach their full potential. Please email us to express your interest in the program, and we will provide you with all the necessary information to apply.

    We look forward to hearing from you and helping you take the next step in your career.


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