Conf Landing Page, Holiday Reading. VicPhys News 8/T4/20

The landing page for next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference is up and running. This will be where you access the various workshops during the virtual conference as well as network with other participants. You can also register from this page as well.  The landing page has been designed and hosted by Monash Tech School.

There is also a list of stimulating articles for some holiday reading.

Jobs:  Five schools are seeking physics teachers.  See details below.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be the AGM on Thursday, 16th December.

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents
       1. 2021 Physics Teachers’ Conference, Friday, 19th February – A Virtual Conference

       2. Some holiday reading from Physics Education, the IOP Journal:

  • Balls rolling down a playground slide. What factors influence their motion?
  • Introducing the trapezoidal pendulum: dynamics of coupled pendula – ideal for distance teaching
  • Velocity, acceleration, jerk, snap and vibration: forces in our bodies during a roller coaster ride
  • Designing inquiry-based learning environments for quantum physics education in secondary schools
  • and many more

       3.  Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position?

 4. Events for Students

  •  COSPAR-K, A free STEM Event, 29th Jan – 2nd Feb

       5Physics News from the Web

  • Metal-organic magnets break records
  • Graphene-based memristor is ideal for artificial neural networks, say researchers
  • Physics challenges for green aviation

1. 2021 Physics Teachers’ Conference, Friday, 19th February – A Virtual Conference.
Vicphysics and STAV are partnering with Monash Tech School to bring you an innovative virtual conference experience that will allow you to network, interact with sponsors, attend live workshops and keynotes and access a wealth of pre-recorded material.

The highly topical keynote by climate modeller Professor Todd Lane will be followed by a small group discussion session in which you can exchange ideas and resources for teaching climate change in your classroom.

The Chief Assessor, Andrew Hanson, has kindly agreed to pre-record a complete review of the 2020 exam.  He will lead a live session  specifically focussed on your questions and the key issues arising from the paper.

In addition to pre-recorded sessions, post conference you will have access to all live workshops and their resources up until December 31.

We are welcoming presenters from interstate and we are excited by the potential for expanding our reach to teachers for whom the physical location of the conference was previously a barrier.

Click here to preview the conference landing page and to access the program and registration.
The live sessions are scheduled for Friday, February 19 and on-demand material, including Andrew Hansen’s exam review, will be available to view from Friday, February 12.

Looking forward to an exciting and inspiring VCE Physcon 2021!

See you online,
Dr Barbara McKinnon
Conference Organiser
Vicphysics Teachers’ Network Inc

P.S. Interstate teachers who are individual members of their local state science teachers’ association can register at STAV individual member rates.

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 2. Some holiday reading from Physics Education, the IOP Journal
Some articles in the Physics Education Journal are designated ‘Open Access’, which means you do not need to subscribe to the Journal to read the full article.  To access the list of articles you first click here to access the Journal’s webpage, then you select ‘Open Access’ from the options on the left.
Some of the 62 articles are:

  • Balls rolling down a playground slide. What factors influence their motion?
  • Introducing the trapezoidal pendulum: dynamics of coupled pendula ideal for distance teaching
  • Velocity, acceleration, jerk, snap and vibration: forces in our bodies during a roller coaster ride
  • Designing inquiry-based learning environments for quantum physics education in secondary schools
  • Smartphones and Newton’s First Law in escalators and roller coasters.

 3. Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position?Now is the time of year when schools begin advertising positions for next year.  The Vicphysics Teachers’ Network has a Job Ads page to assist schools in finding a physics teacher.

There are five schools seeking a physics teacher:

  • Nossal High School (closing date: 10/12/2020)
  • Alexandra Secondary College (Closing date: 13/12/20)
  • Sunbury College (Closing date: 14/12/20)
  • Viewbank College (Closing date: 17/12/20)
  • Charles LaTrobe P-12 College (Quantum Victoria) (closing date: 21/12/2020)

This webpage is updated every weekend.  The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service. Return to top

4Events for Students
a) COSPAR-K. A free Space STEM Event: Friday, 29th Jan – Tuesday, 2nd Feb, 2021
COSPAR-K is to be held in Sydney, but because of COVID-19, it is going virtual, allowing students from around Australia to participate.
The organisers’ aim is to provide FREE access to everyone interested so they can “ask questions of their keynote speakers, spark ideas from presentations and take part in activities from wherever they are”.

The website describes the aspects of the program that have been confirmed so far including some speakers.  You can register to be kept informed. The original event was to have a conference format with activities for students on some of the days at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.  However COVID-19 has required a move to virtual and a drastic re-think about what can be offered and how, but the event is well resourced, so a watching brief is justified.

Bookings are now open.

COSPAR-K TV will be delivered via the NSW Department of Education in collaboration with the STEM Industry Schools Partnerships program.  Return to top

5.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).

a) Metal–organic magnets break records
Researchers have shown that certain metal-organic materials can act as permanent magnets at temperatures of up to 242 °C, while remaining magnetized in external magnetic fields as strong as 7500 oersteds – 25 times higher than other “molecular magnets” reported previously. Both values are comparable to various purely inorganic magnets available on the market today, suggesting a range of possible applications for magnets made from these lightweight and abundant materials.

Room-temperature magnets are usually made from pure metals, metal oxides or intermetallic compounds. Despite their ubiquity – they are crucial components of data processing and storage devices, electrical motors, renewable energy technologies and more – they suffer from several drawbacks. They are heavy, require a lot of energy to fabricate, and are made from raw materials that are sometimes difficult to source – especially for widely used rare-earth-based magnets like NdFeB and SmCo.

b) Graphene-based memristor is ideal for artificial neural networks, say researchers
A graphene-based memory resistor (memristor) that can exist in many different states has been designed and demonstrated by scientists at Pennsylvania State University.

Using simulations and experiments, the team showed how the device can be used to substantially improve the performance of artificial neural networks – systems that could someday rival and even replace conventional computers.

Despite decades of relentless growth, advances in the semiconductor technologies used in digital computing are showing clear signs of slowing down. To keep up with a growing demand for computing power, researchers are developing new technologies that mimic the operation of neurons the human brain – which perform both the storage and processing of information. This has the potential of being much more efficient than current computer architectures, which require both time and energy to shuttle data between separate storage and processing components.

c) Physics challenges for green aviation
Aviation’s contribution to the world’s CO2 emissions has risen from zero to 2% within the last century despite the fact that the fuel burned per passenger-kilometre has plummeted.

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Physics Conf Program out. VicPhys News 7/T4/20

The program for next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference has been released. 

This newsletter also has details of a promising site of innovative resources recommended by Gary Bass.

Also our website has been moved to a new server with positive results so far and two teachers are seeking assistance with their educational research.

Jobs:  Twelve schools are seeking physics teachers.  See details below.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be the AGM on Thursday, 16th December.

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents
       1. 2021 Physics Teachers’ Conference, Friday, 19th February – A Virtual Conference
       2. Physics Days at Luna Park in 2021
       3. Science Education Research: Are you interested in helping researchers?

  • What influences student enrolment into VCE Physics and Specialist Mathematics?
  • How do Science Centres contribute to teacher professional development?

       4. Resources on Scientific Abilities
       5.  Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position?

  6. Updated Website
 7. Events for Students

  •  COSPAR-K, A free STEM Event, 29th Jan – 2nd Feb

       8Physics News from the Web

  • Do colliding stars or supernovae produce heavy elements?
  • Ferroelectricity: 100 years on
  • Controversy erupts among astronomers over whether phosphine really was discovered on Venus

1. 2021 Physics Teachers’ Conference, Friday, 19th February – A Virtual Conference.
The Program and Registration form are now available on the STAV website and on the Vicphysics website. You can also book online through the STAV website.

There will be three live sessions with twenty five choices of workshops covering curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, technology as well as extension topics.

The live program will conclude with a review of the 2020 VCE examination led by the Chief Assessor, Andrew Hansen.  Andrew will pre-record a detailed review of the paper which registered participants will be able to access in the week prior to the conference and then post questions and comments to be addressed as part of the live session on the Friday.

In addition, there will be the opportunity to network with colleagues, interact with exhibitors and to access several pre-recorded presentations that will be available on demand.

All sessions will be recorded and available for viewing by participants after February 19th.

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2. Physics Days at Luna Park in 2021
The dates for next year are Tuesday 9th March through to Friday, 12th March.
There may be COVID restrictions on ride capacities, etc.  
The cost next year will be $27.90 per student with teachers free.
The Luna Park website is now taking bookings.  There is also a link on the website if you wish to book a datalogger.
Check our website for worksheets etc. Return to top

3. Science Education Research: Are you interested in helping researchers?
a) What influences student enrolment in VCE Physics and Specialists Maths?
Jacqueline Wozniak, a local physics teacher, has enrolled in a Masters of Philosophy at The University of Melbourne.  She is seeking schools to administer a 15 minute, web-based student survey.  She has ethics approval from the University of Melbourne for the research survey.  Following the survey, a report could be generated for your school with information for your curriculum leaders about subject selection and student attitudes and beliefs about different disciplines. Jacqueline is interested in all school settings and students from years 7 to 11. If you are would like to find out more about this research or conducting the survey, please contact Jacqueline.

Jacqueline’s motivation for the research:
“I am interested in what influences student enrolment into VCE Physics and Specialist Mathematics. After reviewing the literature that aims to identify and explain subject selection, I have found a gap in the research. Most research is specifically about STEM, Mathematics or Science in general. As such, this skews the data as there has been an increase in uptake of other Sciences and levels of mathematics, but not Physics or advanced Mathematics. There is also a push to invest in these particular areas for future economic growth, but this is at risk if students are not interested in these fields at high school. The current tools to research this question do not allow comparative judgements about student attitudes and beliefs, do not target these specific areas and are limited in their application and longitudinal scope.”b) How do Science Centre contribute to teacher professional development?
 A PhD student from the University of Melbourne is inviting teachers to complete a 10 – 15 minute survey. 

The aim of the questionnaire is to determine the benefits teachers perceive from their interactions with science centres. It is hoped this research will be able to suggest ways to support science teachers’ professional growth through their interactions with science centres. In this research teachers’ professional growth refers to the wide range of changes that teachers experience throughout their career such as changes to knowledge, skills, beliefs and motivation.
The survey is available here. Return to top4. Resources on Scientific Abilities
The Rutgers Physics and Astronomy Education Research group has developed am extensive set of resources that focus on the development and assessment of scientific abilities.
Their website includes:

  • several rubrics covering different aspects such as designing an experiment, communicating a scientific idea, analysing data, etc.
  • about 20 online practical activities across motion, electricity and magnetism,
  • a number of formative assessment tasks including one on ‘video problems’ and 
  • modelling activities.

These are freely available, but by registering, at no cost, you gain access to the instructor site.
Recommended by Gary Bass. Return to top

5. Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position?Now is the time of year when schools begin advertising positions for next year.  The Vicphysics Teachers’ Network has a Job Ads page to assist schools in finding a physics teacher.

There are twelve schools seeking a physics teacher:

  • Rosebud Secondary College (Closing date: 1/12/20)
  • Auburn High School (Closing date: 2/12/20)
  • Brighton Secondary College (Closing date: 3/12/20)
  • Broadford Secondary College (Closing date: 7/12/20)
  • MacRobertson Girls’ High School (closing date: 7/12/2020)
  • Bayside P-12 College (closing date: 8/12/2020)
  • Lyndale Secondary College (closing date: 8/12/2020)
  • Mullauna Secondary College (closing date: 8/12/2020)
  • Charles LaTrobe P-12 College (Quantum Victoria) (closing date: 8/12/2020)
  • Nossal High School (closing date: 10/12/2020)
  • Rochester Secondary College (Closing date: 10/12/20)
  • Alexandra Secondary College (Closing date: 13/12/20)

This webpage is updated every weekend.  The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service.  Return to top

6. Updated Website

The previous newsletter mentioned timeout and speed problems with the website.  To address these issues the website has been moved to a better resourced host server.  So far, as of yesterday, there have not been any problems.

The initial subscription is free and expires at the end of February, 2021.  Subscriptions for beyond February can be paid from the beginning of the school year next year.

The Vicphysics home page describes the various subscription options. There is also a ‘Step by Step Guide to Setting up a Subscription’ that can be downloaded from home page or accessed here. Return to top

7Events for Students
a) COSPAR-K. A free Space STEM Event: Friday, 29th Jan – Tuesday, 2nd Feb, 2021
COSPAR-K is to be held in Sydney, but because of COVID-19, it is going virtual, allowing students from around Australia to participate.
The organisers’ aim is to provide FREE access to everyone interested so they can “ask questions of their keynote speakers, spark ideas from presentations and take part in activities from wherever they are”.

The website describes the aspects of the program that have been confirmed so far including some speakers.  You can register to be kept informed. The original event was to have a conference format with activities for students on some of the days at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.  However COVID-19 has required a move to virtual and a drastic re-think about what can be offered and how, but the event is well resourced, so a watching brief is justified.

Bookings are now open.

COSPAR-K TV will be delivered via the NSW Department of Education in collaboration with the STEM Industry Schools Partnerships program. Return to top

8.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).

a) Do colliding neutron stars or supernovae produce heavy elements?
The mystery of where heavy elements such as gold and silver come from has deepened with research groups clashing over whether binary neutron-star mergers can account for the abundance of those elements in the universe.

On 17 August 2017 a burst of gravitational waves was detected by the LIGO and Virgo detectors. Astronomers quickly turned their telescopes towards the source of the waves and observed the afterglow of a kilonova – the collision of two neutron stars – in a galaxy 140 million light-years away.

The light of the kilonova was powered by the radioactive decay of large amounts of heavy elements.

b) Ferroelectricity: 100 years on
Great discoveries are sometimes made without anyone realising quite how important they will be. C V Raman, for example, won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930 for discovering that light can change energy when it scatters, yet Raman spectroscopy did not become a valuable research tool until well after the laser was invented in 1960. Similarly, few could have imagined that Paul Dirac’s far-fetched yet bold proposal of antiparticles – for which he won the 1933 Nobel prize – would lead to positron emission tomography half a century later.

But there is a lesser known – yet important – discovery that also went largely unrecognized at the time. It was made 100 years ago in 1920 by Joseph Valasek (1897–1993), who was then a graduate student working under the supervision of William Swann at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, US. Seeking to develop a seismograph to measure the vibrations from earthquakes, Valasek wondered if this could be done with piezoelectric crystals, which create an electric signal when squeezed.

c) Controversy erupts among astronomers over whether phosphine really was discovered on Venus
Doubt has been cast on the supposed discovery of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus after several papers were published on the arXiv preprint server challenging the result. The discovery had been announced in September when a team of researchers led by Jane Greaves of Cardiff University, UK, claimed it had observed the spectral fingerprint of phosphine (PH3) in the clouds of Venus. If true, the paper would have been our strongest evidence yet of life beyond Earth, but the tone of some of the resulting criticism – as well as a surprising statement from an international body over the press coverage of the work – has outraged astronomers.

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Website issues. VicPhys News 6/T4/20

In the last few weeks teachers have experienced timeout errors with the Vicphysics website. We have endeavoured to identify the cause.  The CPU usage goes to 100% often during the day, slowing the website down and restricting access.

Earlier this term the website was moved to WordPress. Our website has a large number of files and WordPress also has high memory demands, because of the numerous plug-ins that are needed.  Our hosting plan was upgraded in anticipation of this.

It was not clear if any of the extra plug-ins were causing the timeout or 503 errors. However a culprit has not be identified, so the website will now be moved to another hosting service with a larger capacity and improved functionality.

The changeover is likely to be done this week.  In the meantime if you would like any specific documents, please email your request to Vicphysics.

We apologise for this inconvenience and hope smooth service will resume shortly.

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 26th November online, starting at 5:30pm.   The meeting will be preparing Vicphysics’ review of the VCE Physics Exam paper. If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Luna Park Physics Days, Dark Universe webinar. VicPhys News 5/T4/20

The dates for Physics Days at Luna Park in 2021 have been decided.

Prof Alan Duffy from Swinburne Univerity is giving a webinar on the Dark Universe this Wednesday at 5:00 pm.  It will be of interest to students and teachers alike.

Jobs:  Six schools are seeking physics teachers.  See details below.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 26th November by Video Conference starting at 5:30pm.  The focus of the meeting will be to prepare Vicphysics’ response to the exam paper held on 24th November. If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents
       1. Physics Days at Luna Park in 2021
       2. Tutoring in 2021
           
 a)  Tutor sought for a student doing Units 3 & 4 in 2021
            b)  Listing of tutors on Vicphysics website to be offered in 2021
       3.  Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position?
  4. Updated Website
 5. Events for Students

  •  COSPAR-K, A free STEM Event, 29th Jan – 2nd Feb

6.Events for Teachers

  • The Dark Universe: Webinar with Prof Alan Duffy, 5:00pm, Weds, 18th November

       7Physics News from the Web

  • Rippling graphene harvests thermal energy from brownian motion
  • Very high energy electrons could treat tumours deep within the body
  • Optical microscopy – how small can it go?

1Physics Days at Luna Park in 2021

The dates for next year are Tuesday 9th March through to Friday, 12th March.
There may be COVID restrictions on ride capacities, etc.
Check our website for more details of the price, worksheets etc.
Luna Park expects to be open to the general public in early December.

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2. Tutoring in 2021
a) A parent in Vermont South is seeking a tutor for their child who is doing Units 3 & 4 next year. Remote tutoring is acceptable.  If interested, please contact Vicphysics and the parent’s contact details will be forwarded.
b) Tutor Listing Service
To assist parents, teachers and students to find a tutor, next year the Vicphysics website will provide a listing service for tutors.  Later this year, a page on the Vicphysics website will be set up for teachers who tutor and coaching colleges to lodge their details and to be put on the list.  There will be a fee for this service.

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3. Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position?Now is the time of year when schools begin advertising positions for next year.  The Vicphysics Teachers’ Network has a Job Ads page to assist schools in finding a physics teacher.

There are six schools seeking a physics teacher:

  • Trafalgar High School (closing date:18/11/2020)
  • Cheltenham Secondary College (closing date:15/11/2020)
  • Coburg High School (closing date: 22/11/2020)
  • Western Heights Secondary College (closing date: 22/11/2020)
  • Viewbank College (closing date: 26/11/2020)
  • Oberon High School (closing date: 26/11/2020)

This webpage is updated every weekend.  The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service.

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4. Updated Website
As previous newsletters have described, the website has moved to a subscription model as well as changing to WordPress. There are now over 200 subscribers.

The previous newsletter wand the Vicphysics home page describes the various subscription options. There is also a ‘Step by Step Guide to Setting up a Subscription’ that can be downloaded from home page or accessed here.

The initial subscription is free and expires at the end of February, 2021.  Subscriptions for beyond February can be paid from the beginning of the school year next year. 

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5Events for Students
a) COSPAR-K. A free Space STEM Event: Friday, 29th Jan – Tuesday, 2nd Feb, 2021

COSPAR-K is to be held in Sydney, but because of COVID-19, it is going virtual, allowing students from around Australia to participate.

The organisers’ aim is to provide FREE access to everyone interested so they can “ask questions of their keynote speakers, spark ideas from presentations and take part in activities from wherever they are”.

The website describes the aspects of the program that have been confirmed so far including some speakers.  You can register to be kept informed. The original event was to have a conference format with activities for students on some of the days at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.  However COVID-19 has required a move to virtual and a drastic re-think about what can be offered and how, but the event is well resourced, so a watching brief is justified.

Bookings open mid-November.

COSPAR-K TV will be delivered via the NSW Department of Education in collaboration with the STEM Industry Schools Partnerships program. Return to top6. Events for Teachers

  • The Dark Universe: Webinar with Prof Alan Duffy, 5:00pm, Weds 18th November

Caulfield Grammar School is hosting a live Teams chat with Prof Alan Duffy from Swinburne University on Wednesday the 18th of November at 5.00 pm.

He will take participants to the edge of knowledge and provide a tantalising view into the vastness of space.  He will unpack the mysteries of black holes, dark energy, dark matter and the recent discovery of possible life on Venus.

Abstract – It has been an overwhelming year for biomedical research (Covid-19) as well as exploration of our universe and our closest neighbours. The Dark universe has been something that has captured our imagination since humans walks on this planet. Recently, we have seen an explosion of discoveries, observations and challenges to our theories of the nature of our universe and life on other planets.

Click here to register.

You are welcome to share this link with your students. 

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7.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).

a) Rippling graphene harvests thermal energy from brownian motion
The rippling thermal motion of a tiny piece of graphene has been harnessed by a special circuit that delivers low-voltage electrical energy. The system was created by researchers in US and Spain, who say that if it could be duplicated enough times on a chip, it could deliver “clean, limitless, low-voltage power for small devices”.

Brownian motion is the random movement of a tiny particle that is buffeted by atoms or molecules in a liquid or gas – and the idea of harnessing this motion to do useful work has a long and chequered history.  In the early 1960s, the Nobel laureate Richard Feynman popularized a thought experiment known as the “Brownian ratchet”, which had been conceived in 1912 by the Polish physicist Marian Smoluchowski. 

b) Very high-energy electrons could treat tumours deep within the body
Very high-energy electrons (VHEEs), typically defined as those above 40 MeV, provide a potential new radiotherapy modality with dosimetric advantages. Beams of such electrons penetrate deep into the patient, enabling treatment of deep-seated tumours that photon-based irradiation may not reach.
 

c) Optical microscopy – how small can it go?
Microscopy has come a long way since the compound microscopes of the 17th century that Hooke used, where two convex lenses produced a magnified image. As well as optical microscopy, which uses primarily visible light, we now have a host of other imaging techniques based on electrons, X-rays, atomic forces and other approaches besides. Many of these achieve far greater resolutions than optical microscopy, so can this traditional technique ever catch up? What will then limit its scope, and why even bother trying to improve something so old-fashioned?

Even as other techniques were resolving atoms, optical microscopy retained a fan base because, in some ways, you could still see more optically. When an object is illuminated with a pulse of light it can do a number of things with the energy. The object can scatter, transmit or absorb the light, making molecules vibrate in different ways, exciting electrons into different orbitals or causing them to resonate in unison. Spectral maps of what light does at different wavelengths therefore give researchers vital information about the chemical and structural composition of a sample, and its environment. Other techniques might give a level of energy-dependent response, but optical spectra are especially rich.

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Phys Conf, More Resources. VicPhys News 4/T4/20

The Call for Presenters for next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference closes on Thursday, 12th November.  The Conference will be on Friday, 19th February.  The keynote speaker is also announced.

The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) continues to identify and promote online resources as schools manage COVID. Four more are described here.

Many teachers have already subscribed for the ‘Teachers’ section on our updated website.  We have added a Step by Step Guide which may be useful if you are planning a school subscription.

Jobs:  Ten schools are seeking physics teachers.  See details below.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 11th November by Video Conference starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents
       1. 2021 Physics Teachers’ Conference – a Virtual Conference Call for Presenters
       2. Updated Website

3. More resources from the AAPT
           a) Physics in the 21st Century: A course for Physics Teachers
           b) Rocket Science: A Digi Kit for High School Physics
           c) Star Spectra Science: A Digi Kit
           d) Exploring Physical Phenomena: What happens when light from the Sun shines on the Earth. An open source text book.
       4.  Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position?
 5. Events for Students

  •  COSPAR-K, A free STEM Event, 29th Jan – 2nd Feb

6Physics News from the Web

  • Fundamental constants set upper limit for the speed of sound
  • Air-breathing rockets: the future of space flight
  • Pathways to scalable quantum technologies

1. 2021 Physics Teachers’ Conference – Call for Presenters 
The 2021 VCE Physics Teachers’ conference will be an online event, which creates exciting opportunities to include a broader range of participants and presenters.
The online format allows for i) prerecorded presentations with or without a live Q&A at the end, ii) live presentations, iii) use of breakout facilities or  any other mode you might propose.

We encourage you to take this opportunity to share aspects of your practice.

To offer a workshop, please enter the details here by 12th November.

The keynote address at the conference is titled Telling the future: The latest advances in climate modelling and will be presented by Prof Todd Lane, Professor in atmospheric science at The University of Melbourne and the Deputy Director of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes.

More details about the conference are on our website.

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2. Updated Website
As the previous newsletter described, the website has moved to a subscription model as well as changing to WordPress.
A subscription will provide access to the resources in the ‘Teachers’ section of this website.  All the other sections, ‘Events’, Students, Issues, etc in the top banner of the website will continue to open to all.  The ‘Teachers’ section includes resources for each Area of Study, exam solutions, support for practical activities and investigations, sources of apps and applets, plus much more.   The email newsletter will continue to be sent to any one who requests it.

The last newsletter and the Vicphysics home page describes the various subscription options. There is also a ‘Step by Step Guide to Setting up a Subscription’ that can be downloaded from home page or accessed here.

The initial subscription is free and expires at the end of February, 2021.  Subscriptions for beyond February can be paid from the beginning of the school year next year. 

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3. More resources from the AAPT (American Association of Physics Teachers)
a)Physics in the 21st century: A course for Physics Teachers
Physics in the 21st Century‘ is a free 11 unit online course in modern physics for physics teachers, undergraduate students and adult learners.
It includes 3 components: i) written text arranged in units, ii) short video segments, and iii) interactive web modules.
Topics include fundamental particles and interactions, gravity, string theory, dark matter and dark energy. More advanced learners can explore quantum mechanics, manipulating light, and biophysics. A comprehensive Facilitator’s Guide supports teachers with an overview of rapidly-advancing knowledge in subatomic-scale experimentation.

It was produced by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Science Media Group in association with the Harvard University Department of Physics. b) Rocket Science A Digi Kit for High School Physics
The AAPT Digi Kit, ‘Rocket Science‘, ‘blends physics and engineering as students use thrust curves to explore impulse and predict the motion and maximum height of a model rocket. The lesson plan explains how to use a force probe to record data, calculate impulse, and predict how high the rocket will go. The Digi Kit’s supplementary resources include model rocket simulations, hands-on classroom activities, interactive tutorials, and background information on model rocketry.  c) Star Spectra Science: A Digi Kit
This AAPT Digi Kit ‘Star Spectra Science‘ provides links to simulations, spectral analysis data, digital labs on cosmic spectra and atomic emission spectra, and background information on star classification systems, the role of energy in emission and absorption phenomena, and instruments used for detection of star spectra.

The website also includes lessons (with assessments) and tutorials.

d) Exploring Physical Phenomena: What happens when light from the Sun shines on the Earth – An open source textbook
This open source textbook was developed by Oregon University as part of a physics course for elementary and middle school teachers.  It also provides resources relevant to general science courses, hallway exhibits and outreach activities. Emphasis is upon questioning, predicting, exploring, and discussing what one thinks and why. Units include the nature of light phenomena, the nature of thermal phenomena, the influence of light and thermal phenomena on local weather, the influence of light and thermal phenomena on global climate change, and the nature of astronomical phenomena such as the phases of the moon.

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4. Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position?Now is the time of year when schools begin advertising positions for next year.  The Vicphysics Teachers’ Network has a Job Ads page to assist schools in finding a physics teacher.

There are ten schools seeking a physics teacher:

  • Trafalgar High School (closing date:18/11/2020)
  • Cheltenham Secondary College (closing date:15/11/2020)
  • Sunbury Downs Secondary College (closing date:12/11/2020)
  • Boronia K-12 College (closing date:12/11/2020)
  • Rosebud Secondary College (closing date:11/11/2020)
  • Broadford Secondary College (closing date:11/11/2020)
  • Phoenix P-12 Community College (closing date:09/11/2020)
  • Lyndale Secondary College (closing date: 08/11/2020)
  • Hazel Glen College (closing date: 08/11/2020)
  • Greater Shepparton Secondary College (closing date: 05/11/2020)

This webpage is updated every weekend.  The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service. 

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5Events for Students
a) COSPAR-K. A free Space STEM Event: Friday, 29th Jan – Tuesday, 2nd Feb, 2021
COSPAR-K is to be held in Sydney, but because of COVID-19, it is going virtual, allowing students from around Australia to participate.
The organisers’ aim is to provide FREE access to everyone interested so they can “ask questions of their keynote speakers, spark ideas from presentations and take part in activities from wherever they are”.

The website describes the aspects of the program that have been confirmed so far including some speakers.  You can register to be kept informed. The original event was to have a conference format with activities for students on some of the days at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.  However COVID-19 has required a move to virtual and a drastic re-think about what can be offered and how, but the event is well resourced, so a watching brief is justified.

Bookings open mid-November.

COSPAR-K TV will be delivered via the NSW Department of Education in collaboration with the STEM Industry Schools Partnerships program. 

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6.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).

a) Fundamental constants set upper limit for the speed of sound
The upper limit on the speed of sound in solids and liquids depends on just two dimensionless quantities – the fine structure constant and the proton-to-electron mass ratio. That is the surprising conclusion of physicists in the UK and Russia, who calculate that the speed limit is twice that of the highest speed of sound measured to date.

Sound propagates as a series of compressions and rarefactions in an elastic medium, with its speed varying significantly from one material to another. Typically, sound is slowest in gases, higher in liquids and higher still in solids.   
 In  air at ambient conditions sound travels at about 340 m/s, while in water it reaches about 1500 m/s and in iron more than 5000 m/s.
 

Courtesy John Gay/ US Navy  

b) Air-breathing rocket engines: the future of space flight
Reusable vehicles are vital to make access to space more affordable, but conventional rocket engines have their limits. Oliver Nailard describes how UK firm Reaction Engines hopes to revolutionize space access with a new class of propulsion system, the Synergetic Air Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE)

c) Pathways to scalable quantum technologies : A 40 min podcast

Michelle Simmons is director of Australia’s Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology. She talks about how her early work on fabricating solar cells kindled a passion for building electronic devices that she now pursues by leading a research group at the University of New South Wales that is building solid-state quantum computing devices at the atomic scale.
Prof Simmons was the keynote speaker at the 2007 Physics Teachers Conference, was the Australian of the Year in 2018 and received an AO in 2019 in recognition of her “distinguished service to science education as a leader in quantum and atomic electronics and as a role model”.

Jelena Vučković is Professor of Electrical Engineering and by courtesy, professor of Applied Physics at Stanford University. There, she leads the Nanoscale and Quantum Photonics Lab and focuses on using impurities in diamond to create quantum devices. Vučković talks about the challenges involved in creating scalable quantum computers and also reflects on the roles that engineers and physicists play in the development of quantum technologies.

Michelle and Jelena were the plenary speakers at the international Quantum 2020 Virtual Conference held in October this year.

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Call for Conf Presenters, New Website is Live. VicPhys News 3/T4/20

  • The Call for Presenters at next years’ Physics Teachers’ Conference is now open.
  • The new website is now live.  You will need to be a subscriber to access the ‘Teachers’ section.

We hope we have a diverse range of conference workshops and the design of the website meets with your approval.

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 11th November online, starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

1. 2021 Physics Teachers’ Conference – Call for Presenters 

The 2021 VCE Physics Teachers’ Conference on Friday, 19th February, will be an online event, which creates exciting opportunities to include a broader range of participants and presenters.

The online format allows for i) prerecorded presentations with or without a live Q&A at the end, ii) live presentations, iii) use of breakout facilities or  any other mode you might propose.

The host for the conference will be Monash Tech School, so we will have access studios and lecture spaces, so if you want room to show demonstrations, etc, that can be arranged. The format will also allow panel discussions, small group discussions as well as the traditional styles.

We encourage you to take this opportunity to share aspects of your practice.

To offer a workshop, please enter the details here.

2. New Website is Live: A Subscription model

Setting up a subscription and accessing resources

The steps:

  1. The website has been changed to WordPress so you should clear your browser cache first to avoid trying to open the old version.
  2. New features on the home page are:
    1. ‘My Account’ and ‘Cart’ at the top right,
    2. ‘Subscribe’ at the right end of the usual list of sections, and
    3. At the very bottom, description of the Subscription options
  3. To access the ‘Teachers’ resources you need to be a subscriber.  There are four types of subscriber (see the table below for the fees):
    1. Individual,
    2. School (up to four teachers),
    3. Retiree and
    4. Pre-Service. 
  4. The subscription fees will be introduced in stages.
    1. Free subscription until the end of February in 2021.
    2. Renewal notices emailed at the beginning of the 2021 school year, after which paid subscription can be made.
    3. Paid annual subscription by 1st March, 2021
  5. Select your subscription.  Note: If you are setting up a School subscription, there are additional steps, see details below.
  6. Select ‘View Cart’ or open ‘Cart’ at the top right of the screen.  This will show your chosen subscription with a total fee of $0.  Underneath this, is a statement about ‘Recurring totals’.  This is what you will need to pay to renew your subscription next year by the end of February, 2021.
  7. Select ‘Proceed to Checkout’. Here you enter your name, school or university, work address and email address, your phone number is optional.
  8. When you are finished, remember to tick the box about the website’s terms and conditions and then select ‘Place order’.
  9. You will now receive two emails. 
    1. Your receipt for the subscription and
    2. An email with your password.  Note: The software generates a username for you which is based on your name, which for security reasons, you are not able to change.  So you may wish to instead use your email address to log in.
  10. You now have access to the resources under ‘Teachers’. 
  11. If you wish to change your password, you can do that by clicking on ‘My Account’ at the top of the screen which opens your Dashboard and then you can open ‘Account’ to change the password.

 School Subscription:
If you select a School subscription and then select ‘View Cart’ you are asked to provide the name of the school. 
 
There is also a tick box ‘Take a seat. Optional: Use a seat to add me as a member’.  This is to cover the situation in a school where the school bursar manages and pays for the subscription.  In which case, they don’t tick the box, leaving space for four teachers to be part of the school subscription.  If the senior physics teacher is managing the subscription, then they should tick the box and there will be space for three other names.
 
The above steps 5 – 11 then follow.
 
The My Account Dashboard for the School subscriptions has an extra entry ‘School’.  If you click on this, it displays a table where you can enter the names and email addresses of teachers who are to be part of this School subscription.  Each will then receive an email inviting them to register their details.

All the other sections, ‘Events’, Students, Issues, etc in the top banner of the website will continue to open to all. 

Subscription benefits include:

  • Access to the Teachers section of this website.  The ‘Teachers’ section includes resources for each Area of Study, exam solutions, support for practical activities and investigations, sources of apps and applets, plus much more.   The email newsletter will continue to be sent to any one who requests it.
  • Discounts on registration for in-services,
  • Discounts on student entries for competitions.

The subscription fee structure is:

     Subscription Fee:
(until end of Feb 2021)
        Subscription Fee:  *
(1st March 2021 to end of Feb 2022)
IndividualZero$50
School (max: 4)Zero$100
RetireeZero$30
Pre-ServiceZero$30

* Can be paid from the beginning of the 2021 school year.

Payment by credit card is preferred, but if a school does not have a credit card, an invoice can be issued, with subscription enabled once funds are transferred to the Vicphysics bank account.
 
Other changes to the Website
To incorporate e-commerce the website needed to be moved to WordPress.  There are minor changes to the appearance of the various webpages, but the structure and content is unchanged.

The new website will have tiered drop-down menus at the top of the home page under the headings from ‘Events’ to Teachers’, Issues’ and finally ‘News’ , so that sub-menus can be seen as you move the cursor along.  This way the full structure of the website can be revealed.

There is one significant change in moving from MODx to WordPress and that is to the URL for various webpages. In  MODx the URL for the Luna Park worksheets, for example, was just vicphysics.org/worksheets.html, whereas WordPress requires the full lineage of the webpage, so it will be now vicphysics.org/events/lunapark/worksheets/ .  So any old links to the various webpages in your favourites will no longer work.With such a significant change in the website, there will be the occasional oversight, so if you find any problems or broken links, please let us now.

Conf: Call for Presenters; Nobel Prize. VicPhys News 2/T4/20

The Call for Presenters for next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference is now open.  The Conference will be on Friday, 19th February,

The Nobel Prize in Physics for 2020 was awarded last week. See below for resources

Jobs: Six schools are seeking physics teachers, five Government and one non-Government. See details below.

Later this week, we will be moving the website to a subscription model for access to the resources in the ‘Teachers’ section of the website.  Check below for details.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 14th October by Video Conference starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents
       1. 2021 Physics Teachers’ Conference – a Virtual Conference Call for Presenters
       2. Nobel Prize in Physics

       3. Website changes: Subscription model
       4.  Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position5. Events for Students COSPAR-K, A free STEM Event, 29th Jan – 2nd Feb

6.Events for TeachersFailure of the West Gate Bridge: What we know 50 years on.  5:30pm, Thurs, 15th October (Zoom)       

7Physics News from the Web Overlooked for the Nobel: Lise MeitnerOverlooked for the Nobel: Chien-Shiung WuOverlooked for the Nobel: Jocelyn Bell Burnell

1. 2021 Physics Teachers’ Conference – Call for Presenters 
The 2021 VCE Physics Teachers’ conference will be an online event, which creates exciting opportunities to include a broader range of participants and presenters.

The online format allows for i) prerecorded presentations with or without a live Q&A at the end, ii) live presentations, iii) use of breakout facilities or  any other mode you might propose.

We encourage you to take this opportunity to share aspects of your practice.

To offer a workshop, please enter the details here. 

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2. Nobel Prize for Physics

The 2020 Nobel Prize for Physics has been awarded to Roger Penrose “for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity” and to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez “for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy.”
The following resources provide a context and background to the award:


a) The Nobel Prize website has a popular summary .  The summary is also available as an 8 page pdf
b) The website also has an advanced summary  and is also available as a 21 page pdf . This version obviously goes to a greater depth, but it is not impossible and the content is well explained.
c) Nobel Prize Posters.  Each year the Nobel Committee produces a high quality poster describing what the Prize was awarded for.  They make very attractive classroom display material. They can be downloaded as a pdf and printed.  The posters are usually not available until the December after the announcement, but posters from previous years can still be downloaded.
d) The News Story from PhysicsWorld . An engaging summing up.
e) A video interview with Roger Penrose from 2015 discussing his career in mathematical physics. 9:16 min.


The Nobel Prize website has some educational resources:

Interactive visualisations of the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2019 (structure of the universe and discovery of exo-planets) Nobel Prize Lessons for the prizes in the years 2017 – 2019 

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3. Website changes: Subscription modelLater this week, the website will move to a subscription model.  This will provide access to the resources in the ‘Teachers’ section of this website.  All the other sections, ‘Events’, Students, Issues, etc in the top banner of the website will continue to open to all.  The ‘Teachers’ section includes resources for each Area of Study, exam solutions, support for practical activities and investigations, sources of apps and applets, plus much more.   The email newsletter will continue to be sent to any one who requests it.Subscriptions will be free until the end of February next year.  The paid subscriptions, once they commence in March 2021, will enable Vicphysics to continue to support physics teachers and physics students.Subscription benefits include:Access to the Teachers section of this website,Discounts on registration for in-services,Discounts on student entries for competitions.Once the new website is installed, o access the resources under ‘Teachers’ you will need to login with a username and password, which you can generate through the ‘Subscribe’ option on the home page.

For continued benefits beyond the end of February, 2021, a paid subscription is required, which can be made at any time before then.  See table below for details. 

 Payment by credit card is preferred, but if a school does not have a credit card, an invoice can be issued, with subscription enabled once funds are transferred to the Vicphysics bank account.

For a School subscription there is a limit of four teachers. The person who arranges the school subscription and makes the payment will be the ‘owner’ of the subscription and they enter the email addresses of the other teachers, who will then be invited to join this subscription and then enter their details and obtain their own username and password.

Other changes to the Website
To incorporate e-commerce the website needed to be moved to WordPress.  There are minor changes to the appearance of the various webpages, but the structure and content is unchanged.

The new website will have tiered dropdown menus at the top of the home page under the headings from ‘Events’ to Teachers’, Issues’ and finally ‘News’ , so that sub-menus can be seen as you move the cursor down drop down menu.  This way the full structure of the website can be revealed.

There is one significant change in moving from MODx to WordPress and that is to the URL for various webpages. In  MODx the URL for the Luna Park worksheets, for example, was just vicphysics.org/worksheets.html, whereas WordPress requires the full lineage of the webpage, so it will be now vicphysics.org/events/lunapark/worksheets.html .  So any old links to the various webpages in your favourites will no longer work. 

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4. Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position?Now is the time of year when schools begin advertising positions for next year.  The Vicphysics Teachers’ Network has a Job Ads page to assist schools in finding a physics teacher.

There are four schools seeking a physics teacher:Balwyn High School (20/10), John Monash Science School (21/10), Hoppers Crossing College (22/10), and Mt Clear College (22/10).This webpage is updated every weekend.  The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service. 

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5Events for Students
a) COSPAR-K. A free Space STEM Event: Friday, 29th Jan – Tuesday, 2nd Feb, 2021
COSPAR-K is to be held in Sydney, but because of COVID-19, it is going virtual allowing students from around Australia to participate.
The organisers’ aim is to provide FREE access to everyone interested so they can “ask questions to their keynote speakers, spark ideas from presentations and take part in activities from wherever you are”.

The website describes the aspects of the program that have been confirmed so far including some speakers.  You can register to be kept informed. The original event was to have a conference format with activities for students on some of the days at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.  However COVID-19 has required a move to virtual and a  drastic re-think about what can be offered and how, but the event is well resourced, so a watching brief is justified.

COSPAR-K TV will be delivered via the NSW Department of Education in collaboration with the STEM Industry Schools Partnerships program. 

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6. Events for Teachers
 Failure of the West Gate Bridge: What we know 50 years on. 5:30pm -7:00pm, Thurs, 15th October.
This will be a Zoom event organised by the Forensic Engineering Society of Australia. To participate you will need to register on their website .

The speakers are:Prof Raphael Grezbieta, Monash University. Prof Grezbieta did his PhD with Prof Noel Murray, who was one of two key university experts who assisted in the Royal Commission on the Westgate Bridge failure; andDr Ian Thomas, engineer and applied scientist working in risk assessment of sensitive developments near Major Hazard Facilities.Raphael will present a series of slides that will explain the technical engineering aspects of the failure mechanism and the underlying thin-walled structural design fault that was always going to result in the bridge failing in the manner it did. It is hoped that at the end of his talk, it will become clear to participants why one of the major findings of the Royal Commission was: ‘We assert that the basic cause of the tragedy at West Gate was the design inadequacies which led to the safety margins being much too low, and certainly lower than the specified values. …The calculations contain a great many errors of arithmetic and engineering principle…’

Ian will address the main causes of the failure and show how the redesign corrected these. Return to top7.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
a) Overlooked for the Nobel: Lise Meitner
The discovery of nuclear fission in 1938 is among the most momentous events in 20th-century physics. Within seven years, this experimental and theoretical breakthrough – made jointly by Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, who obtained the data, and by Lise Meitner and Otto Frisch, who interpreted it – led to the first atomic weapons. Less than a decade later, it led to the first nuclear power plants. If ever there was a discovery that should have won its instigators a Nobel Prize in Physics, nuclear fission is surely it.

b )Overlooked for the Nobel: Chien-Shiung Wu

The 1957 Nobel Prize for Physics was shared by Chen Ning Yang and Tsung-Dao Lee “for their penetrating investigation of the so-called parity laws which has led to important discoveries regarding the elementary particles”. However, some physicists argue that the Chinese-American physicist Chien-Shiung Wu should have shared the prize for providing the experimental evidence for Lee and Yang’s theoretical prediction of parity violation. Furthermore, some believe that Wu was denied the prize because she was a woman.

c) Overlooked for the Nobel: Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Famously, her PhD supervisor Antony Hewish won the 1974 Nobel prize for the pulsar discovery – sharing it with his astrophysicist colleague Martin Ryle – while Bell Burnell was left empty-handed.The omission might appear to be due to her gender. But speaking at the International Conference on Women in Physics in Birmingham, UK, in 2017, Bell Burnell attributed it to the fact that she was a PhD student at the time of the discovery in 1967 at the University of Cambridge.

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Website Changes. VicPhys News 1/T4/20

We will be shortly moving the website to a subscription model for access to the resources in the ‘Teachers’ section of the website.  Check below for details.

Next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference will be on Friday, 19th February, it will be a virtual conference. This presents challenges and opportunities, and importantly makes it easier for teachers in regional Victoria to attend.
Vicphysics is seeking:

  1. your views on what program features you want and
  2. whether you would be interested in presenting. 

Jobs: Six schools are seeking physics teachers, four Government and two non-Government. See details below.
More resources: With the US school year starting the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) has released a new set of resources.
Competition entries are due soon.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 14th October by Video Conference starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents
       1. Website changes: Subscription model
       2. 2021 Physics Teachers’ Conference – a Virtual Conference
       3. More resources for Practical Investigations in 2020

4.More resources from AAPT

  • DNA Science: Digi Kit for High School Physics
  • Collection of Physics Simulations
  • Sound: An interactive eBook
  • Laser Classroom: Laser and optics lessons and experiments
  • Exoplanet Atmospheres: A Digi Kit for Introductory Astronomy

 5. Competition entries are due soon
6.  Graduate Course on Science Education
       7.  Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position?
 8. Events for Students

  •  COSPAR-K, A free STEM Event, 29th Jan – 2nd Feb

9.Events for Teachers

  • Failure of the West Gate Bridge: What we know 50 years on.  5:30pm, Thurs, 15th October (Zoom)

10Physics News from the Web

  • Electrocaloric devices show potential for greener air conditioning
  • Industrial lasers generate atto-second light pulses
  • Astronomers  plan huge neutrino observatory in the Pacific Ocean

1. Website changes: Subscription model

Sometime in the week beginning 12th October, the website will move to a subscription model.  This will provide access to the resources in the ‘Teachers’ section of this website.  All the other sections, ‘Events’, Students, Issues, etc in the top banner of the website will continue to open to all.  The ‘Teachers’ section includes resources for each Area of Study, exam solutions, support for practical activities and investigations, sources of apps and applets, plus much more.   The email newsletter will continue to be sent to any one who requests it.

Subscriptions will be free until the end of February next year.  The paid subscriptions, once they commence in March 2021, will enable Vicphysics to continue to support physics teachers and physics students.

Subscription benefits include:

  • Access to the Teachers section of this website,
  • Discounts on registration for in-services,
  • Discounts on student entries for competitions.

From next week, to access the resources under ‘Teachers’ you will need to login with a username and password, which you can generate through the ‘Subscribe’ option on the home page.

For continued benefits beyond the end of February, 2021, a paid subscription is required, which can be made at any time before then.  See table below for details.

 Subscription Fee:
(until end of Feb 2021)
Subscription Fee:
(1st March 2021 to end of Feb 2022)
IndividualZero$50
School (max: 4)Zero$100
RetireeZero$30
Pre-ServiceZero$30

Payment by credit card is preferred, but if a school does not have a credit card, an invoice can be issued, with subscription enabled once funds are transferred to the Vicphysics bank account.

 For a School subscription there is a limit of four teachers. The person who arranges the school subscription and makes the payment will be the ‘owner’ of the subscription and they enter the email addresses of the other teachers, who will then be invited to join this subscription and then enter their details and obtain their own username and password.

Other changes to the Website
To incorporate e-commerce the website needed to be moved to WordPress.  There are minor changes to the appearance of the various webpages, but the structure and content is unchanged.

The new website will have tiered dropdown menus at the top of the home page under the headings from ‘Events’ to Teachers’, Issues’ and finally ‘News’ , so that sub-menus can be seen as you move the cursor down drop down menu.  This way the full structure of the website can be revealed.

There is one significant change in moving from MODx to WordPress and that is to the URL for various webpages. In  MODx the URL for the Luna Park worksheets, for example, was just vicphysics.org/worksheets.html, whereas WordPress requires the full lineage of the webpage, so it will be now vicphysics.org/events/lunapark/worksheets.html .  So any old links to the various webpages in your favourites will no longer work.

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2. 2021 Physics Teachers’ Conference – A Virtual Conference 
The 2021 VCE Physics Teachers’ conference will be an online event, which creates exciting opportunities to include a broader range of participants and presenters. The call for sessions is not likely to go out before next term, however it would greatly assist with our planning to have an indication of:
(i) your interest in presenting a workshop(s) and
(ii) what kind of workshops you would like to attend.
We are proposing workshops of no more than 50 minutes duration, including at least 20 minutes for discussion and interaction between the participants and the presenters.

Please let us know your plans and thoughts using this form

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3. More Resources for Practical Investigations in 2020
The Vicphysics Google Drive has videos for students to analyse on seven different topics and now data sets of four topics. Justin Vincent from Warrnambool College has supplied a two zip files of data, one investigating the terminal velocity of cupcake patties, the other on oscillating springs.  The data is in Logger Lite files and was recorded with a Go Motion Probe.

The full list of material can found be on the webpage on online teaching and learning.  To request access to the google drive, please email Vicphysics.

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4.  More Resources from AAPT
With the US school year starting and COVID-19 still having a major impact on schooling and society in general, the AAPT continues to generate resources for teachers and students.  These are some of recent releases.

a) DNA Science: Digi Kit for High School Physics
In this DigiKit from AAPT students analyse light patterns produced by a laser as it passes through a ballpoint pen spring, then use mathematics and modeling to make inferences about the structure of DNA using Franklin’s original “Photo 51” image.
The resource includes, lessons, videos, simulations and assessment as well as sections on the historical context and societal impacts. b) Collection of Physics Simulations
A collection of HTML5 simulations and Physlets compiled by Boston University.  There are over 60 physlets on Motion, 20 on Waves, 30 on Electrostatics, 17 on Magnetism, 10 on electromagnetism, 14 on Geometric optics, 8 on Interference and diffraction and 9 on Modern physics.
The simulations are well designed with short and precise explanations, but no worksheets.

c) Sound: an Interactive eBook
The book consists of 33 interactive simulations which require the reader to click buttons, move sliders, etc. in order to answer questions about the behavior of waves and sound in particular. There are also dozens of links to YouTube videos and other online resources that pertain to the topics being covered as well as suggestions for laboratory exercises and sound clips for understanding sound and music.
The topics covered are: Physics of vibrations, Waves, Sound and perception, Electromagnetism and sound reproduction.

d) Laser Classroom: Free Light, Laser and Optics Lessons and Experiments
The package has 32 activities covering primary, middle school and senior physics. 21 of these are relevant to senior physics. “The free downloadable optics lessons bring abstract concepts into focus and introduce the amazing science, technology, engineering and math of the basics like reflection, refraction and diffraction as well as applications like spectroscopy, invisibility and energy.”  You need to register to access the material.

e) Exoplanet Atmospheres: A Digi Kit for Introductory Astronomy
“This Digi Kit explores how scientists use spectral data gathered by space-based instruments to look for chemical “fingerprints” of an exoplanet’s atmosphere. Students will interpret transit light curves and graphs of Flux vs. Wavelength to apply their understanding.” Return to top5.  Competition entries are due soon.
a) Photo Contest and Video Contest entries are due the first Friday of Term 4
b) Poster Competition are due by the second Friday of Term 4. 

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6.  Graduate Course in Science and Physics Education
A newsletter last term promoted graduate course for Year 7 – 10 science teachers who have come from other disciplines.  The course still has positions available for science teachersDeakin University: Graduate Certificate in Science – Secondary Maths and Science Initiative for Out-of-Field Teachers (SMSI)
Deakin University is providing through the Victorian Department of Education a Grad Cert in Science for out-of-field teachers teaching 7-10.  There is an equivalent for Maths, but it is now oversubscribed.
It is being designed for both those teaching or planning to teach science 7-10, without a science background (or who feel they don’t have the background). It is fully funded by the Department and the teacher get a day time release a week.
It contains a unit on Physics (together with units in Biology, Chemistry, Earth & Space Sciences).
Unfortunately it looks as if it will be online in the first half of the year but Deakin University are hoping it will be face-to-face for the Physics (and Earth & Space Science) in the second half of the year, so lots of practical activities and industry experiences.
The SMSI is fully funded and participating teachers will not incur any out-of-pocket expenses. Participants from regional and rural schools will have travel, meals and accommodation reimbursed for any centrally based face to face learning days.  The offer will remain open until all places are filled.
For more details click here. Return to top7. Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position?Now is the time of year when schools begin advertising positions for next year.  The Vicphysics Teachers’ Network has a Job Ads page to assist schools in finding a physics teacher.

There are six schools seeking a physics teacher:

  • Marcellin College (closing date: 12th October)
  • Fintona Girls’ School (9th October)
  • Mill Park Secondary College (2, 7/10), Reservoir High School (9/10), Nossal High School (10/10) and Mansfield Secondary College (11/10).

This webpage is updated every weekend.  The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service. 

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8Events for Students
a) COSPAR-K. A free Space STEM Event: Friday, 29th Jan – Tuesday, 2nd Feb, 2021
COSPAR-K is to be held in Sydney, but because of COVID-19, it is going virtual allowing students from around Australia to participate.
The organisers’ aim is to provide FREE access to everyone interested so they can “ask questions to their keynote speakers, spark ideas from presentations and take part in activities from wherever you are”.

The website describes the aspects of the program that have been confirmed so far including some speakers.  You can register to be kept informed. The original event was to have a conference format with activities for students on some of the days at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.  However COVID-19 has required a move to virtual and a  drastic re-think about what can be offered and how, but the event is well resourced, so a watching brief is justified.

COSPAR-K TV will be delivered via the NSW Department of Education in collaboration with the STEM Industry Schools Partnerships program. 

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9. Events for Teachers
 Failure of the West Gate Bridge: What we know 50 years on. 5:30pm -7:00pm, Thurs, 15th October.
This will be a Zoom event organised by the Forensic Engineering Society of Australia. To participate you will need to register on their website .

The speakers are:

  • Prof Raphael Grezbieta, Monash University. Prof Grezbieta did his PhD with Prof Noel Murray, who was one of two key university experts who assisted in the Royal Commission on the Westgate Bridge failure; and
  • Dr Ian Thomas, engineer and applied scientist working in risk assessment of sensitive developments near Major Hazard Facilities.

Raphael will present a series of slides that will explain the technical engineering aspects of the failure mechanism and the underlying thin-walled structural design fault that was always going to result in the bridge failing in the manner it did. It is hoped that at the end of his talk, it will become clear to participants why one of the major findings of the Royal Commission was: ‘We assert that the basic cause of the tragedy at West Gate was the design inadequacies which led to the safety margins being much too low, and certainly lower than the specified values. …The calculations contain a great many errors of arithmetic and engineering principle…’

Ian will address the main causes of the failure and show how the redesign corrected these. 

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10.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).

a) Electrocaloric devices show potential for greener air conditioning
Ever-growing in their use, air conditioning systems use refrigerants that are powerful greenhouse gases. But independent teams in Europe and the US reckon they may have found a more environmentally friendly way to keep cool by using electricity to soak up heat by controlling the entropy of ceramic “electrocaloric” materials. They have shown how to increase the cooling power of the technique and say it could become competitive with conventional vapour-compression cooling systems.

Caloric materials can in principle do a similar job to refrigerants while emitting no pollution. The idea is to pump heat from a cool room to the hot outdoors, not by alternately compressing and expanding a fluid but instead by raising and lowering the entropy of a material by controlling its elastic, magnetic or electrical properties. In the latter case, this means using electric fields to control the polarization of dipole moments within a dielectric material.

b) Industrial lasers generate attosecond light pulses
Studies of ultrafast processes could become more widely accessible thanks to researchers at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in the US, who have shown that commercially available, industrial-grade lasers can generate attosecond pulses of light.

Researchers make attosecond-scale measurements by passing an attosecond light pulse through a material. When this pulse interacts with electrons inside the material, it gets distorted. By monitoring these distortions, scientists can create 3D maps of the electrons and make movies of their motion. As an example, the classical Bohr model of hydrogen indicates that an electron takes roughly 150 attoseconds (10-18s) to orbit the hydrogen nucleus. Measurements with attosecond precision therefore enable researchers to study motion at a subatomic scale, which is vital for understanding fundamental physics phenomena such as interactions between light and matter.

c) Astronomers plan huge neutrino observatory in the Pacific Ocean
Astrophysicists in Germany and North America have published plans to build the world’s larg­est neutrino telescope on the sea floor off the coast of Canada. The Pacific Ocean Neutrino Experiment (P-ONE) is designed to snare very-high-energy neutrinos generated by extreme events from beyond our galaxy.

Neutrino telescopes observe the Cerenkov radiation that is emitted when neutrinos passing through the Earth interact very occasionally with atomic nuclei resulting in the production of fast-moving secondary particles. Being uncharged and exceptionally inert, neutrinos can penetrate gas and dust as they travel through the universe, allowing astronomers in principle to identify the exceptionally energetic phenomena that generate them. Photons from such events, in contrast, are absorbed on their journey.

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Physics Conf in 2021- VicPhys News 9/T3/20

A date has been set for next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference has not been finalised but we predict it will be on mid February as in previous years, and the conference will be virtual. This presents challenges and opportunities, and importantly makes it easier for teachers in regional Victoria to attend.

Vicphysics is seeking:

  1. your views on what program features you want and
  2. whether you would be interested in presenting. 

Please complete the google.doc below.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 14th October by Video Conference starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents
       1. 2021 Physics Teachers’ Conference – a Virtual Conference
       2.  Practical Investigations in 2020 – More Resources
       3. Puzzling Light effects

       4.  Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position?
5. Events for Students

  •  COSPAR-K, A free STEM Event, 29th Jan – 2nd Feb

       6. Physics News from the Web

  • Has the COVID-19 lockdown changed the earth’s climate?
  • Quantum computers me be heading underground to shield from cosmic rays
  • Beating the Diffraction Limit with Sound

1. 2021 Physics Teachers’ Conference – A Virtual Conference 
The 2021 VCE Physics Teachers’ conference will be an online event, which creates exciting opportunities to include a broader range of participants and presenters. The call for sessions is not likely to go out before next term, however it would greatly assist with our planning to have an indication of:
(i) your interest in presenting a workshop(s) and
(ii) what kind of workshops you would like to attend.
We are proposing workshops of no more than 50 minutes duration, including at least 20 minutes for discussion and interaction between the participants and the presenters.

Please let us know your plans and thoughts using this form: google doc

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2. Practical Investigations for 2020 – More resources
A number of teachers along with Vicphysics have contributed videos of investigations and data files for students to analyse.  The titles have been listed in recent editions of this newsletter.  The resources are on the Vicphysics google drive and access is available to teachers who request it by emailing Vicphysics.  So far about 50 teachers have requested access.

There is now one extra source of data files.  Kelvin Barraclough has provided files and support notes on aircraft performance, both model and full size planes.  Much of the model plane data has been collected with a phone app.

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3. Puzzling Light Effects
One of us (DOK) recently took the two photos below. The photo on the left, of the top of the Eureka Tower, suggests light reflecting up from the gold surface.  The one of the left show multiple rainbow effects in a cloud at a small angle from the sun.
The images can also be downloaded from here. Explanations greatly received.

.Return to top4. Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position?The Vicphysics Teachers’ Network set up a Job Ads page on our website to assist schools in finding a physics teacher, either to be a LSL replacement or to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave.

There are four Government schools seeking a physics teacher:

  • Balwyn High School, Brighton Secondary College, Rochester Secondary College, St Albans Secondary College.

This webpage is updated every weekend.  The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service. Return to top5Events for Students
a) COSPAR-K. A free Space STEM Event: Friday, 29th Jan – Tuesday, 2nd Feb, 2021
COSPAR-K is to be held in Sydney, but because of COVID-19, it is going virtual allowing students from around Australia to participate.
The organisers’ aim is to provide FREE access to everyone interested so they can “ask questions to their keynote speakers, spark ideas from presentations and take part in activities from wherever you are”.

The website describes the aspects of the program that have been confirmed so far including some speakers.  You can register to be kept informed. The original event was to have a conference format with activities for students on some of the days at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.  However COVID-19 has required a move to virtual and a  drastic re-think about what can be offered and how, but the event is well resourced, so a watching brief is justified.

COSPAR-K TV will be delivered via the NSW Department of Education in collaboration with the STEM Industry Schools Partnerships program. Return to top
6.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
a) Has the COVID-19 lockdown changed Earth’s climate?
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.
The lockdown measures imposed by many nations due to the COVID-19 pandemic have led to air pollution falling dramatically, thereby offering scientists a rare opportunity to study its links with climate and weather. But it’s a complicated connection. 
b) Quantum computers may be heading underground to shield from cosmic rays
Such is their sensitivity to environmental noise, quantum computers might in future be shielded by thick layers of lead and even operated deep underground. So say physicists in the US, who have found that ionizing radiation significantly limits the coherence time of superconducting qubits. Indeed, they say that minimizing radiation effects will be crucial if general-purpose quantum computers are to be made using superconducting technology.
c) Beating the Diffraction Limit with Sound
A system that reconstructs and classifies acoustic images with far smaller features than the wavelength of sound they emit has been developed by at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.  Their technique beats the diffraction limit by combining a metamaterial lens with machine learning and could be adapted to work with light. The research could lead to new advances in image analysis and object classification, particularly in biomedical imaging.


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Practice Exams. Vicphys News 8/T3/20

Organising practice exams will be different this year. To help, VCAA is setting up an online platform for students to sit the 2019 exams.

Graduate Courses: In the past some Chemistry teachers have expressed interest in teaching physics.  Information is provided on two online courses that offer enhancement in a number of science areas.

Also now is the time of the year when schools are beginning to advertise positions for next year.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 9th September by Video Conference starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to participate, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents 

1. VCAA Online Practice Exams       
2.  Graduate courses in Science and Physics Education:Deakin University: Graduate Certificate in Science (Secondary Maths and Science Initiative (SMSI)UNSW: Graduate Certificate in Physics for Science Teachers
 3.  Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position?
 4. Physics News from the Web Tinted solar panels allow plants to grow efficiently on ‘agrivoltaic’ farmsThe power of authority: Why we need to rely on expertsDoomsday clock ticks closer to disaster.

1. VCAA Online Platform for Practice Exams
Organsing practice exams is a challenge this year.  VCAA is developing a new set of resources to assist teachers to prepare their students for external assessment.”From early September, the 2019 VCE written examinations will become progressively available on the Insight Assessment platform. The platform is a web-based application that enables assessments to be delivered to students online. Access to these examinations on the platform will assist teachers and students to identify any real or perceived gaps in learning that can then be addressed as part of their examination preparation.””The Insight Assessment platform will support teacher access to the 2019 VCE written examinations through:a clear and accessible registration processa set-up process that is quick and easyautomated assessment of multiple-choice sections of examination papers, enabling immediate feedbackimmediate access to student short- and extended-answer questions to provide timely, informed feedback.”VCAA is running a series of webinars for schools that haven’t used the platform on i) Weds 9th Sept at 3:30pm;  ii) Thursday, 17th Sept at 4:00pm and iii) Weds 30th Sept at 10:00am.

 for more details and to register for a webinar.  It is unknown at the stage when the physics paper will be available on the platform. The paper will be the full 2019 paper and will contain some questions that are not part of the 2020 study design.  This webpage on our website has information about which questions on the 2019 and previous exam papers are not relevant for 2020.  Solutions to all exams are available here.  Return to top

2.  Graduate Courses in Science and Physics Education
Two courses: One for Year 7 – 10 science teachers who have come from other disciplines and another for would-be Physics teachers who have come from other disciplinesa) Deakin University: Graduate Certificate in Science – Secondary Maths and Science Initiative for Out-of-Field Teachers (SMSI)

Check here


Deakin University is providing through the Victorian Department of Education a Grad Cert in Science for out-of-field teachers teaching 7-10.  There is an equivalent for Maths.
It is being designed for both those teaching or planning to teach science 7-10, without a science background (or who feel they don’t have the background). It is fully funded by the Department and the teacher get a day time release a week.
It contains a unit on Physics (together with units in Biology, Chemistry, Earth & Space Sciences).
Unfortunately it looks as if it will be online in the first half of the year but Deakin University are hoping it will be face-to-face for the Physics (and Earth & Space Science) in the second half of the year, so lots of practical activities and industry experiences.
The SMSI is fully funded and participating teachers will not incur any out-of-pocket expenses. Participants from regional and rural schools will have travel, meals and accommodation reimbursed for any centrally based face to face learning days.  The offer will remain open until all places are filled.

For more details click here.

b) UNSW: Graduate Certificate in Physics for Science Teachers (online)
The program is designed for qualified science and mathematics teachers who seek a qualification to teach physics. The courses are entirely online. Each course in this program is designed to be taken sequentially at a rate of one per term, allowing teachers to continue their work as a teacher while studying. The courses cover a general introduction to physics as well as specific branches of the discipline: mechanics, electromagnetism, thermal physics and modern physics, enabling participants to be confident in their ability to teach physics, explain core concepts and present interesting contexts for applications of the science.

The closing date for next cycle is some time in November.  The course cost is $15,600. The NSW government provides scholarships for teachers. A request to SMSI (see above) to cover this course as well may be worth a try.

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3. Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position?The Vicphysics Teachers’ Network set up a Job Ads page on our website to assist schools in finding a physics teacher, either to be a LSL replacement or to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave.

There are nine Government schools seeking a physics teacher:Balwyn High School, Bayside P-12 College, Fairhills High School, Gladstone Park Secondary College, Greater Shepparton Secondary College,  Rochester Secondary College, St Albans Secondary College,  Williamstown High School, and Woodmans Hill Secondary College (2)This webpage is updated every weekend.  The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service.  Return to top

4.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.

For more details click here

a) Tinted solar panels allow plants to grow efficiently on ‘agrivoltaic’ farms
Tinted solar panels could allow land to be used to grow crops and generate electricity simultaneously, with financial gains, according to researchers in the UK and Italy. The orange solar panels absorb some wavelengths of light, while allowing those that are best for plant growth to pass through. The team even claim that their setup can produce crops offering superior nutrition.

b) The power of authority: why we need to rely on experts
The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined why the authority of science is so important – and how it’s so easy to lose.

c) Doomsday clock ticks closer to disaster
For almost 75 years, the Doomsday Clock has monitored how close humankind is to global catastrophe. With the clock now closer to midnight than ever before, Rachel Brazil talks to physicists who say we must step up our efforts to prevent disaster.  Return to top