Nominate for an AIP Executive role; Quantum pancakes; Physics in the Pub; awards and nominations

I’m pleased to announce the nominated ticket for the Executive for the AIP for 2019. Read on for more information and the process for election.

The NSW AIP Branch is calling for nominations for its annual NSW Community Outreach to Physics Award, worth $500. The Award recognises an individual who is a role model to the physics community, promotes student interest in physics, and is an effective physics educator. Nominations close Friday 12 October.

If you know an outstanding physics teacher in Queensland, nominate them for the very first Outstanding Physics Teacher Award. The AIP Queensland Branch is inviting you to nominate high school physics teachers that have made a significant impact to physics education.

This month brings a lot of exciting news. There will be more on the Nobel Prize for physics―just awarded to Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland for work in laser physics. Donna Strickland is the first woman in 55 years to be honoured for the Nobel Prize for physics. Stay tuned to our Twitter account for updates. The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science will also be announced later in October. This year mathematics and technology teachers are eligible for nomination in the Science Teaching Prize for the first time.

If you’re in Brisbane on Thursday 11 October, head to Phil Dooley’s Physics in the Pub event. It’s a great opportunity to support local physicists in a friendly, informal environment. Contact Phil directly if you’d like to get involved, or register on EventBrite.

Nominations for the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) Clunies Ross Awards are closing this month on Friday 26 October. Even if you applied last year and were unsuccessful, try again, or encourage others to apply. More information below.

Last month we learned of changes to the HSC physics syllabus in NSW. The new syllabus focusses on physics and its modern uses, rather than its history and development, but the changes have also meant that women and contributions to physics by women have been entirely removed.

As Kathryn Ross and Tom Gordon pointed out in an article in The Conversation, the new syllabus mentions 25 scientists by name and all are men. The danger here is ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’: students will find no female role models in the syllabus, and may come away with the idea that physics is not a field for women. The AIP is committed to gender equity through initiatives like the Women in Physics lecture tour, and we will continue to strive for gender balance in Australian physics. I have written a letter to the NSW Minister for Education expressing these concerns.

Kind regards,

Andrew Peele
President, Australian Institute of Physics

AIP News

Nominations for AIP roles on the Executive

Every two years the Australian Institute of Physics elects a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Registrar. The current President and Vice President may not seek re-election for their current positions.

Any AIP member can nominate a candidate for these positions. In accordance with our process, the current Executive has nominated the following:

  • Jodie Bradby (as President)
  • Roger Rassool (as Vice President)
  • Kirrily Rule (as Secretary)
  • Stephen Collins (as Registrar)
  • Judith Pollard (as Treasurer).

If you’d like to submit a nomination for any of these positions, please send it with a named and signed nominator and two seconders (all of whom must be financial AIP Members, Fellows or Honorary Fellows), along with a signed letter of consent from the nominee, to, or by mail to AIP, PO Box 546, East Melbourne Vic. 3127 Australia.

Nominations close 26 October 2018.

NSW AIP Branch: NSW Community Outreach to Physics $500 Award

The NSW AIP branch is calling for nominations for its annual NSW Community Outreach to Physics Award.

The annual award recognises the work of individuals from NSW for community outreach to the discipline of physics. This Award is given to an individual who has made a notable contribution to outreach and physics education, with a demonstrated passion for the study of physics in NSW.

The Award is open to everyone in NSW and will consist of a $500 monetary award and a certificate citing the achievements of the individual.

Nominees will need to write a statement of up to 500 words responding to the following criteria:

  • Worked to engage the academic community with physics or academic pursuits.
  • Effectively developed community events for the public, or other activities that engage our physics community.
  • Increased awareness, knowledge and experiential learning opportunities for students in relation to physics community development and grassroots work.

For details about eligibility and criteria, head to 

Nominations for the Award will close on Friday 12 October 2018. 

QLD AIP’s Outstanding Physics Teacher Award—nominate today!

Know someone in Queensland who deserves recognition for their teaching? Nominations for the very first Outstanding Physics Teacher Award are now open until Friday 19 October. The AIP Queensland Branch is inviting you to nominate high school physics teachers who have made a positive impact in physics education.

Applicants will be judged on the following criteria:

  1. Promote student interest in physics by providing an environment that stimulates student curiosity and learning.
  2. Use, develop or write innovative instructional materials and new technologies and approaches to the teaching of physics.
  3. Be a positive role model or mentor for other teachers of physics.
  4. Participate in professional development activities in science as a facilitator and continuous development as an effective science educator, with a focus on physics.

Fill out this nomination form and email a copy to
For more information follow the link:
Nominations close Friday 19 October. 

NSW AIP Branch: Annual Postgraduate Awards Day Tuesday 13 November

In case you missed it in last month’s bulletin, the NSW AIP Branch is inviting NSW universities to nominate one student to compete at its Annual Postgraduate Awards Day on Tuesday 13 November 2018.

Students need to prepare a 20-minute presentation about their postgraduate research in physics to compete. They have a chance of winning $500 and the postgraduate medal at the event. The Jak Kelly Scholarship prize of $500 will be awarded as a separate award category on the day.

Encourage postgraduate students to apply by Friday 5 October 2018. Email the title and abstract of the nominee’s research to Frederick Osman at

For more information on how to apply, visit:

Other Physics News & Opportunities

Quantum pancake reveals clues to better electronics

A cloud of ultracold atoms squashed into a quantum pancake has revealed never-before seen quantum effects that could lead to more efficient electronics, including high-temperature superconductors.

“We’re seeing quantum mechanics that’s visible on a macroscopic scale,” says project leader Chris Vale, a researcher at Swinburne University’s Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies.

The team used laser beams focussed into a flat plane to create a tiny atom-thick pancake of lithium-6 gas, then set it vibrating with a magnetic field. Shining another laser from below, they measured the vibration frequency of the gas cloud by watching the shadow of the cloud on a camera.

The frequency of this radial vibration, known as a breathing mode, gave the telltale sign of a quantum anomaly: it vibrated 2.5% faster than the classical model predicted. The quantum effect is due to strong interactions between the gas particles.

The power of the experiments at Swinburne is their simplicity, says Chris—the microscopic properties of the lithium atoms and their interactions are precisely known, which is not always possible in more complex materials.

“In a sense, our cold atoms are acting as a quantum simulator, where we can test models of many-body physics,” Chris says.

Read the full article originally published in Cosmos, written by Phil Dooley:

Physics in the Pub coming to Brisbane Thursday 11 October

Beers and bosons: Physics in the Pub is coming to Brisbane—Phil Dooley is hosting the popular event which brings local physicists together to talk to the public about their research in an informal setting. 

Grab a drink and a snack and settle in for talks, quizzes, stand up songs and even poetry.

The free event will take place at Bar Barbara in Fortitude Valley on Thursday 11 October, starting at 6.30pm.

Register your interest here:

To get involved or for more information, contact Phil on

Nominations for the 2019 ATSE Clunies Ross Awards open until 26 October

There is still time to nominate for the Clunies Ross Awards, closing at 2pm on Friday 26 October.

The Awards continue their 27-year tradition of celebrating Australian scientists, entrepreneurs and visionaries by recognising the technological innovations that have helped Australia to remain a strong competitor in the global technology industry.

The awards are split into three categories with a single winner in each category. The Clunies Ross Entrepreneur of the Year Award is open to an individual winner only, and the Knowledge Commercialisation Award and the Innovation Award are open to an individual or a small team (normally of up to three people).

Nominate, or encourage others to apply here:

Nominations close at 2pm Friday 26 October 2018.

AIP members enjoy 25% discount for World Scientific books

In case you missed it in last month’s bulletin, AIP members can now enjoy 25 per cent off World Scientific books by entering the promo code ‘WSAIPMEM25’ at checkout.

World Scientific Publishing is a leading international independent publisher of books and journals for the scholarly, research and professional communities.

To find out more about World Scientific, please visit

Aussie Physics in the News

ANU touts tiny camera lens for quantum information transfer

Gravitational waves inspire arts festival show

It’s rocket science as students enter the space race

New fractal promises faster hospital imaging

Photonic chips harness sound waves to speed up local networks

Quantum pancake reveals clues to better electronics

Quantum Physics Allows for Chicken AND Egg to Come First

Unexpected find from a neutron star forces a rethink on radio jets

UNSW Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons to participate in 100 Years of Mateship initiative in Washington DC

Books for review

If you are interested in reviewing any of these books for publication in Australian Physics, please contact the Australian Physics editors Peter Kappen and David Hoxley at

  • Diffusive Spreading in Nature, Technology and Society by Armin Bunde, Jurgen Caro, Jorg Karger, Gero Vogl
  • Lectures on General Relativity, Cosmology and Quantum Black Holes by Badis Ydri
  • The Quantum Labryrinth—How Richard Feynman and John Wheeler Revolutionized Time and Relativity by Paul Halpern
  • Gravity, Magnetic and Electromagnetic Gradiometry by Alexey V Veryaskin (ebook)
  • Thermal Properties of Matter by Joe Khachan (ebook)
  • Semiconductor Integrated Optics for Switching Light by Charlie ironside (ebook)
  • The Black Book of Quantum Chromodynamics by John Campbell, Joey Huston, and Frank Krauss (printed copy)


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. Alternatively, feel free to submit your event to the AIP calendar for members to access.

There are no upcoming events

Western Sydney University NMR MRI & Diffusion Symposium/Workshop
November 8 @ 9am

AIP eventAnnual Postgraduate Awards Day – NSW AIP Branch
November 13 @ 2pm
University of New South Wales

AIP eventSuperheroes Superconductors & Quantum electronics: Pub Physics
October 11 @ 6:30pm-9pm
Bar Barbara, Fortitude Valley,
105/38 Warner St, Fortitude Valley, 4006, Brisbane, QLD

Engineering and Physical Sciences in Medicine Conference 2018
October 28-31
Adelaide Convention Centre

There are no upcoming events

October 11 @ 6pm
RMIT University, Melbourne CBD Campus

AIP event2018 AIP Western Australian Postgraduate Conference
November 15
Crawley, Western Australia

AIP event denotes AIP events


[FINLAND] 31st Materials Science and Engineering Conference: Advancement & Innovations
15-17 October 2018
Radisson Blu Seaside Hotel
Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland

[SA] Engineering and Physical Sciences in Medicine Conference 2018
28 – 31 October 2018
Adelaide Convention Centre, SA

[WA] South Pacific Environmental Radioactivity Association Conference 2018
6 – 9 November 2018
University of Western Australia
Perth, WA

[NSW] 17th Australian Space Research Conference 2018
13 – 15 November 2018
University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW

[WA] 2018 AIP Congress
9 -14 December 2018
University of Western Australia
Perth, WA

[NSW] 43rd Condensed Matter & Materials Meeting (“Wagga 2019”)
5 – 8 February 2019
Wagga Wagga, NSW

[JAPAN] International Conference on Optics, Lasers & Photonics
13 – 14 May 2019
Tokyo, Japan

[USA] International Summit on Optics, Photonics and Laser Technologies
3 – 5 June 2019
Crowne Plaza Hotel San Francisco Airport
San Francisco, USA

Contributions and contact details

Please get in contact if you have any queries about physics in Australia:

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