National Science Week: physics in August

This month is our bumper National Science Week edition of the AIP Bulletin. Science Week kicks off on Saturday 13 August and runs until the following Sunday 21 August.

Federally, things have settled down following last month’s election, with Government departments no longer in caretaker mode.

We are looking forward to working with Greg Hunt, the new Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science. It was great to see him visit Questacon almost immediately after he was appointed and hear him speak on how critical science and innovation are to Australia’s future prosperity. His instruction to the CSIRO to renew its focus on climate science is also very encouraging.

There is a wealth of great physics coming up in this year’s Joint Asia-Pacific Physics Conference and AIP Congress in Brisbane in early December. With the deadline for abstracts having just passed, we have almost 650 abstracts received for presentations and posters. More regarding the Congress below.

Meanwhile this year’s AIP Women in Physics guest lecturer, Catalina Curceanu, continues to enlighten students and the public on dark energy and particle physics at venues across the country. See below for details about Catalina’s talks, as well as the Queensland Branch’s Youth Lecture Tour and the laser-shows being held in Townsville, Cairns and Atherton to celebrate the centenary of Nobel Physics Laureate Aleksandr Prokhorov’s birth.

Warrick Couch
President, Australian Institute of Physics

National Science Week

Australia’s annual celebration of all things science and tech runs from 13 to 21 August.

Physics events include:

  • Particle physicist Brian Cox in shows across the country
  • The AIP’s Women in Physics tour (see below)
  • Space historian and retro rocket science enthusiast Amy Shira Teitel
  • Harvard physicist and education revolutionary Eric Mazur

See the National Science Week website for more.

The schools theme this year is Drones, Droids and Robots, centring on the real-world application of autonomous technologies in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, medicine and space/ocean exploration.

Science Week ambassadors include Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, and spokespeople include physicist/MarsOne candidate Josh Richard, and biophysicist/Olympic swim team member Cameron McEvoy.

Women in Physics tour underway

Catalina Curceanu’s talks range from dark energy’s role in the evolution of the Universe and the physics that makes the Sun shine, to opportunities and challenges of a career in particle physics.

Events include:

  • Tasmania, 8–9 August
  • NSW, 10–12 August
  • Queensland, 15–16 August
  • South Australia, 17–18 August
  • Western Australia, 19 August
  • ACT, 22 August
  • Victoria, 23–25 August.

Full list of talks at Science Week website
Background on the annual AIP Women in Physics lecture tour

Astrobiology and the Queensland Youth Lecture Series

The search for exoplanets and life outside our Solar System continues in Queensland this month, with Jonti Horner – an astronomer and astrobiologist from the University of Southern Queensland.

The Mount Isa lecture will be delivered by Helen Maynard-Casely, a planetary scientist at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).

For more details, contact Scott Adamson.

2016 Physics Congress in Brisbane

We have received almost 650 abstracts for presentations and posters for this year’s joint Asia-Pacific and Australian Physics Congress in Brisbane, with over 200 coming from overseas. The Congress will unite the brightest physicists from Australia and the Asia Pacific region for a week-long program of science and networking.

  • Brisbane, 4–8 December 2016
  • Registration at
  • Meeting Honorary Chair: Brian Schmidt
  • Meeting co-Chairs: Warrick Couch and Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop
  • Joint 13th Asian-Pacific Physics Conference and 22nd AIP Congress

Applications for travel grant close 15 August. Grants are also available to assist parents with childcare costs, such as additional childcare required at home or childcare required in Brisbane. Applications must be received by September.

Laser shows recognise FNQ-born Nobel physicist

A series of spectacular laser shows next week will celebrate the one-hundredth birthday of Alexander Prokhorov, the Queensland-born Soviet physicist who won the 1964 Nobel Physics Prize for pioneering work in the development of lasers and masers.

With the Australian Optical Society, the AIP has been working over the last month to celebrate Prokhorov’s achievements.

Resulting coverage includes a great article on the ABC (you can catch up here) and TV coverage with ANU laser physicist Hans Bachor.

The Prokhorov laser show will tour Queensland during National Science Week:

Physicists up for Eureka prizes

Good luck to the all the physicists and physics projects named as finalists for the Australian Museum’s Eureka Prizes.

The winners will be announced at Sydney Town Hall on 31 August. If you are familiar with any of the finalists, send them a note to wish them luck.


Reach a bigger audience. The Australian physics events calendar is the definitive source for physics events around the country. If your physics event isn’t listed here, ask us about adding it, having it included in these regular bulletins, and tweeted from the AusPhysics account.

Australian Capital Territory

An evening with space history nerd Amy Shira Teitel
Tues, 15 Aug, 2016, 5.30pm
CSIRO Discovery Centre, Acton

Physics in the pub variety night
Wed, 17 Aug 2016, 7pm
Smiths Alternative Bookshop, Civic,

Mt Stromlo Observatory public night
Fri 19 Aug 2016, 7pm
Mt Stromlo Observatory, Weston Creek ACT

Water exploration in the solar system: the restless hunt for life
Sun, 21 Aug 2016, 2pm
The Shine Dome

New South Wales

From 6 Aug to 30 Sep 2016
Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo, Sydney

Catalina Curceanu Women in Physics at North Sydney Girls High School
Wed, 10 Aug 2016, 2pm
North Sydney Girls High School

Women in Physics Sydney Observatory Special Public Lecture
Wed, 10 Aug 2016, 6pm
Sydney Observatory

Brian Cox – A Journey into Deep Space
Wed, 10 Aug 2016, 7:30pm
State Theatre

Catalina Curceanu Women in Physics Wollongong
Thu, 11 Aug 2016, 2pm
St Marys Star of the Sea

From the Big Bang to Black Holes. Quo Vadis the Universe?
Thu, 11 Aug 2016, 6:30pm
Science Centre & Planetarium, Wollongong

Professor Brian Cox – A Journey into Deep Space
Thu, 11 Aug 2016, 7:30pm
State Theatre

Alan Duffy: The World’s greatest experiment
Fri, 12 Aug 2016, 6.30pm
Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo, Sydney

Curator tours: Collider
Mon, 15 Aug to Fri, 19 Aug 2016
Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo, Sydney

Nanotainment: entertainment at the nano-scale
Tues, 16 Aug, 2016, 6.30pm
University of Sydney

Chris Tinney: The Einstein Lecture
Wed, 17 Aug 2016, 6pm
Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo, Sydney

Faith and Fusion: an MIT physicist explores science and the sources of truth
Thu, 18 Aug, 2016, 6pm
The Scots Church, Sydney

Amy Shira Teitel talks science
Thu, 18 Aug, 2016, 6pm
Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo, Sydney

Build a Lego Atlas Particle Accelerator
Sat, 20 Aug and Sun, 21 Aug, 2016, 10.30am–4.30pm
Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo, Sydney

Northern Territory

Uluru astronomy weekend
Fri 26 Aug to Sun 28 Aug, 2016
Yulara Resort, NT

Rocks from Space: Sunshine Coast
Tue, 9 Aug 2016, 9am
Ken Thamm Centre Lecture Theatre

Rocks from Space: Townsville
Thu, 11 Aug 2016, 1pm
Flexible Learning Area St Margaret Mary’s College

Rocks from Space: Cairns
Fri, 12 Aug 2016, 1pm
The Auditorium

Physics of the Sun
Wed, 17 Aug 2016, 10am
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane

Laser show highlighting FNQ’s Nobel hero
Wed, 17 Aug 2016, 5.30pm
Museum of Tropical Queensland, Townsville

Laser show highlighting FNQ’s Nobel hero
Thu, 18 Aug 2016, 5.30pm
James Cook University, Cairns

Laser show highlighting FNQ’s Nobel hero
Sat, 20 Aug 2016, 10am
Atherton State High School, Atherton

AIP Congress – in association with the Asia Pacific Physics Conference
Sun, 4 Dec 2016
Brisbane Convention Centre

South Australia

Quantum Conversations opening night
11 Aug, 2016, 6pm
The Artisan Cafe, Blackwood

Brian Cox – A Journey into Deep Space
Tue, 16 Aug 2016, 7:30pm
Adelaide Entertainment Centre – Theatre

Women in Physics Lecture: University of Adelaide
Wed, 17 Aug 2016, 6:30pm
Kerr Grant Lecture Theatre, Physics Building

Amy Shira Teitel: death of the Dyna-Soar
Wed, 24 Aug, 2016, 7pm
The Governor Hindmarsh, Hindmarsh

Amy Shira-Teitel: space-flight historian
Fri, 12 Aug to Sun, 14 Aug, 2016 from 6pm
Civic Centre, Ulverstone

Quantum mechanics: the brightest idea of all time
Sat, 13 Aug, 2016, 10am
Princess Wharf, Hobart

Amy Shira-Teitel: space historian
Sat, 13 Aug, 2016 11am
Princess Wharf, Hobart

Reflections on a career in astrophysics
Mon, 15 Aug, 6pm
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Battery Point Hobart

What’s Happening Down South and Why Should We Care?
Tue, 16 Aug 2016, 6pm
Stanley Burbury Theatre, University Centre, Sandy Bay campus

What’s Happening Down South and Why Should We Care?
Wed, 17 Aug 2016, 6pm
Sir Raymond Ferrall Centre, University of Tasmania Newnham campus

Mount Burnett Observatory members night
Fridays in August, 8pm
420 Paternoster Road, Mount Burnett, VIC

The Science of earthquakes
Mon, 15 Aug 2016, 6pm
The University of Melbourne, Carlton

ANSTO Fact or Fiction
Tue, 16 Aug 2016, 7am
Australian Synchrotron

Eric Mazur in Conversation: PBL and flipped learning
Thu, 18 Aug 2016, 12.30pm
Monash University, Clayton

Eric Mazur: Robots won’t replace teachers, will they?
Thu, 18 Aug 2016, 6pm
State Library, Melbourne

Quantum mechanics for the people
Fri, 19 Aug, 2016, 5.30pm
RMIT Design Hub, Carlton

State of the Universe VI: The Olympic Edition
Fri, 19 Aug 2016, 6:30pm
Swinburne University, Hawthorn Campus, ATC building, ATC101 (Enter from Burwood Road)

Eric Mazur: teaching with technology in the 21st century
Fri 19 Aug 2016, 1pm
Monash Business School, CBD Melbourne

Catalina Curceanu: Where are the “others”? A glimpse into the Fermi paradox
Tue, 23 Aug 2016, 1:30pm
Melbourne Girls’ College

Catalina Curceanu: From the Big Bang to Black Holes. Quo Vadis the Universe?
Wed, 24 Aug 2016, 9:30am
Camberwell Girls’ Grammar School

Catalina Curceanu: Where are the “others”? A glimpse into the Fermi paradox
Thu, 25 Aug 2016, 12:30pm
Geoffery Blainey Auditorium, Ballarat

Catalina Curceanu: Girls in Physics breakfast
Thu, 25 Aug 2016, 7am
Hawthorn Arts Centre, Hawthorn

Western Australia

Brian Cox – A Journey into Deep Space
Thu, 18 Aug 2016, 7:30pm
Riverside Theatre

Catalina Curceanu: modern quantum technology – the offspring of Schrodinger’s famous cat
Fri, 19 Aug 2016, 11am
Murdoch University

The Universe’s zoo: from quarks to black holes. How well do we understand the Universe?
Fri, 19 Aug 2016, 6pm
Ross Lecture Theatre

OSA Congress: Photonics and Fiber Technology
5 Sep 2016, SMC Conference & Function Centre, Sydney

Topological matter, strings, and K-theory conference
5 September 2016, The University of Adelaide

International Conference on Nuclear Physics (INPC2016)
11–16 September 2016, Adelaide Convention Centre

ARPS2016: Australian Radiation Protection Society Conference
11-14 September 2016, Adelaide Convention Centre, SA

The changing face of galaxies: uncovering transformational physics
18–23 September 2016, Wrest Point Hotel, Hobart

ICEAA — 2016 International Conference on Electromagnetics in Advanced Applications
19–23 September 2016, Cairns, Queensland

IEEE-APS Topical Conference on Antennas and Propagation in Wireless Communications (APWC)
19–23 September 2016, Cairns, Queensland

Boden Research Conference 2016 Animal, Vegetal, Mineral?
19 September 2016, Yallingup, WA

SPIE Bio-Photonics Australasia 2016
16–16 October 2016, SA

Understanding the origins of the Galaxy and its stellar content
21-25 November 2016, Shine Dome Canberra

NEW Australian Synchrotron User Meeting 2016
24 November 2016, Australian Synchrotron, Clayton, VIC

IAU Symposia: The lives and death-throes of massive stars
28 November to 2 December 2016, Auckland NZ

2016 AIP Congress (in association with the Asia-Pacific Physics Conference)
4–8 December 2016, Brisbane Convention Centre, Brisbane, QLD

Conference on Optoelectronic and Microelectronic Materials and Devices COMMAD 2016 (Colombo Theaters, UNSW)
12–14 December 2016, UNSW Sydney

Wagga 2017 – The 41st Annual Condensed Matter and Materials Meeting
31 January to 3 February, Wagga Wagga Campus Charles Stuart University

International Conference on Advanced Materials & Nanotechnology
12–16 February 2017, Queenstown, NZ

NEW Cosmic stars Astronomy and Space Science Education Workshop
Sat, 4 Mar 2017
Giralang Primary School

International Conference on Photonic, Electronic and Atomic Collisions (ICPEAC XXX)
26 July to 1 August 2017, Cairns
Note the AIP student travel scheme for AIP student members will be available for this conference.