Physics Course Review: A Survey

VCAA is conducting a review of the Physics Study Design.  They have asked Vicphysics to conduct a survey of physics teachers on aspects of Units 1 and 2 of the current study design to inform the development of the next study design.

The survey is anonymous and responses will be treated with strict confidentiality.  Vicphysics will provide the VCAA with a report of the aggregated data.  The survey will close on 18th October.

The survey can be accessed here.

Also your chance to offer a workshop at next year’s Physics Teachers Conference closes during the holidays, on 30th September.  The conference will be on Friday, 14th February at La Trobe University.  To register a workshop, click here  .

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 17th October at Melbourne Girls’ College starting at 5:00pm.  Teachers are welcome to these meetings. If you wish to come, please email Vicphysics

Frances Sidari (Pres), Jane Coyle (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe (Sec) and Terry Tan (Treas)

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New PI Resources. Vicphys News 5/T3/19

The Perimeter Institute has just released some new Resources that will fit nicely with the Fields Area of Study and another that addresses Relativity, Light as a particle and Charges in electric and magnetic fields.  Their quality material is always worth considering.

Also if you wish to offer a workshop at next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference, you have until next week to register the details.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 19th September at Melbourne Girls’ College starting at 5:00pm.  Teachers are welcome to these meetings. If you wish to come, please email Vicphysics

Frances Sidari (Pres), Jane Coyle (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe (Sec) and Terry Tan (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1. New Resources from Perimeter Institute
  2. Entries for Physics Competitions entries are due early next term
  3. Tutoring positions
  4. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
  5. Reminder: Offering a workshop at the Physics Teachers’ Conference
  6. Events for Students and General Public
  • 20th September, The Never-Ending Story of a Star, 6:30pm, Swinburne University
  • Holiday programs: Astro Tours, 24th Sept, 2nd Oct, Swinburne University
  • Holiday Program: Scienceworks: Building Roads and Bridges

7. Events for Teachers

8. Physics News from the Web

  • Cosmic clash over Hubble Constant shows no sign of abating
  • Healthcare can worsen global climate crisis
  • Ready, Set, Bake – Physics of Baking
1. New Resources from Perimeter Institute
The Perimeter Institute continues to produce high quality educational material that is free to download.  Their latest releases are:

  • Contemporary Physics: Students consider the challenges of space travel and learn about gravity assist manoeuvres and magnetic accelerators. Conservation of energy and the motion of charged particles in magnetic fields are applied as students examine how particle detectors work. Relativistic effects, such as time dilation and length contraction, are explored using hands-on activities. The diffraction of light is used to introduce Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, which is also the topic of the engaging, accompanying video. The final activity combines Bohr’s quantum hypothesis with the de Broglie wave relation to provide an explanation for discrete energy levels
  • Fields is focused on establishing the reality of electric, magnetic, and gravitational fields. Activities begin with an exploration of the nature of fields and the models that describe them. Students develop a physical model for electric fields and then test it using LEDs. They construct mathematical models that describe electric and magnetic fields and compare these to Maxwell’s equations. Students further explore the reality of fields as they investigate how auroras form. The nature of the gravitational field—as understood by Einstein—is applied to the orbit of Mercury to provide a model for orbital precession. The final activity is a design challenge that introduces students to magnetohydrodynamic propulsion.

2.  Physics Competitions entries are due early next term
Vicphysics runs three competitions:

3. Tutoring positions
Vicphysics is regularly approached by teachers or parents seeking a physics tutor.
A tutor is sought for a Year 11 student in St Kilda.  If you are interested, please email Vicphysics and contact details will be passed on.

4. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
Last year 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.  Several schools placed notices.
The web page also lists the Government schools seeking a physics teachers, currently there are five.
The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for the service.

5. Reminder: Offering a workshop at the Physics Teachers’ Conference
The chance to offer a workshop at next year’s Physics Teachers Conference closes on 30th September
The conference will be on Friday, 14th February at La Trobe University.  To register, click here

6.  Events for Students and General Public

a) The Never-Ending Story of a Star , 6:30pm, 20th September, Swinburne University
Speaker: Renee Spiewak, OzGrav Centre of Excellence, Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University
Click here for details of her talk and the location of the venue.
Audio recordings of the lectures held earlier this year are available at the website link above.
b) Holiday Programs: Astro Tour, Swinburne University: 24th Sept at 11:00am, 3rd Oct at 3:00pm.  Cost: $10 per person.  Duration: 50 minutes. To book and more details, click here.
c) Holiday Program: Scienceworks   Building Roads and Bridges. Activities for all ages

7.  Events for Teachers

a) ANSTO PD Day, Weds, 2nd October, Australian Synchrotron

ANSTO is offering a PD at the Australian Synchrotron  The program will look at a number of syllabus-focused educational resources to teach areas of the Year 9 Science curriculum and Year 12 Physics. You will also hear from prominent scientists and have a tour of the Australian Synchrotron.
Cost: $55, Lunch is not provided.
To book, click here.

8.   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.

Cosmic clash over Hubble constant shows no sign of abating

A new way to measure absolute distances in the universe has allowed scientists to work out a new value for the Hubble constant, which tells us how quickly our local universe is expanding. The latest expansion rate is consistent with other direct measures obtained from relatively nearby space, but in conflict with others that rely on the universe-wide spatial features of primordial radiation. This disparity has become more pronounced in recent years and suggests that our current understanding of cosmic evolution may need an overhaul.

Healthcare can worsen global climate crisis
If the global healthcare sector were a country, it would be the fifth-largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter on the planet, according to a new report. Its authors, who argue for zero carbon emissions, say it is the first ever estimate of healthcare’s global climate footprint.
While fossil-fuel burning is responsible for more than half of the footprint, the report says there are several other causes, including the gases used to ensure that patients undergoing surgery feel no pain.

Ready, Set, Bake – Physics of Baking
Baking is like a scientific experiment, combining the reactions of chemistry, the processes of biology and the laws of physics. Rahul Mandal, a metrology researcher by training, talks about how his scientific thinking helped him become a baker and win The Great British Bake Off in 2018
The article also has a link to Robert Crease’s article on the Physics of Bread.

Physics Conf and PD Budgets, Vicphys News 4/T3/19

PD budgets in schools are very tight. One way to extend the funds is to not pay the conference fee by presenting a workshop at the conference, better still, ask a colleague to join you in the workshop and you both don’t have to pay the fee.

The chance to offer a workshop at next year’s Physics Teachers Conference closes on 30th September

The conference will be on Friday, 14th February at La Trobe University.  To register, click here

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 19th September at Melbourne Girls’ College starting at 5:00pm.  Teachers are welcome to these meetings. If you wish to come, please email Vicphysics

Frances Sidari (Pres), Jane Coyle (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe (Sec) and Terry Tan (Treas)

Peter Mac Open Day – Regional Physics talks. VicPhys News 2/T3/19

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre is holding its annual Open Day on Sunday, 25th August.
There are day-time physics talks for secondary students in Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong in late August. Booking is required.
Bookings for the Girls in Physics Breakfast at Monash University close on 19th August.
The previous newsletter has an extensive list of events on Apollo 11 and for National Science Week as well as an invitation to present at next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference. Check your emails or click here for details.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Tuesday, 23rd July at Swinburne Senior Secondary College starting at 5:00pm. Note the change of date and venue for this meeting. Teachers are welcome to these meetings. If you wish to come, please email Vicphysics

Frances Sidari (Pres), Jane Coyle (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe (Sec) and Terry Tan (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1. Poster Competition for Unit 2 Practical Investigation
  2. Events for Students and the General Public

3. Events for Teachers

4. Physics News from the Web

  •  Physicist creates remarkable tennis ball towers including one with 46 tennis balls – All with the force of Friction.
  • Solar panel generates fresh water and electricity
  • Simple system brings body-powered electricity a step closer
1. Poster Competition for Unit 2 Practical Investigation

  The Poster Competition is designed to award quality student work and to provide exemplars of quality investigations. There is a maximum of ten prizes, with a list of criteria on this webpage.  Entries need to be submitted as a one page pdf.  The posters should be sent as an email attachment by the teacher to Vicphysics by the second Friday of Term 4.  Successful entries with judges’ comments are also on the webpage.
2.   Events for Students and the General Public
a) ANSTO Big Ideas Forum,  Applications now open.
The ANSTO Big Ideas Forum brings 22 Year 10 students and 11 teachers from across Australia to Sydney to meet world-class researchers and go hands-on with amazing technology.  Applications must be for two students and one teacher.
When: Monday 11 November -Thursday 14 November, 2019
Applications opened:  Friday 31 May 2019. To apply you film a 40-second video of your two students explaining:“What problem would you like to solve through science for the future of our society?”,
This event is free – flights, travel, accommodation and meals are covered by ANSTO.
For more details click here   Applications close late August.

b) July Lectures in Physics: The Moon, 6:30pm Fridays in July, University of Melbourne

  • 26th July, The Physics of the Apollo Moon Mission in 1969: Do Astronauts obey Kepler’s Laws?

Venue: Basement Theatre B117, Glyn Davis Building.
For more details, click here. There is information about the lecture as well as a link to book.

c) 30th July, 50 Years of Apollo, 6:30pm, Monash University

Speaker: Prof John Lattanzio, Monash University
Abstract: July 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing.  I will present some of the interesting challenges, decisions and methods used to achieve this goal.  In addition to Apollo 11 I will cover the Apollo 1 fire, the Apollo 12 lightning strike and the near disastrous oxygen tank explosion on Apollo 13, as well as the decision structure at Mission Control in Houston. There are many fascinating, inspiring and humorous aspects that are not well known. I will also explain the 1201 and 1202 errors, and why Apollo 11 landed despite them.
Venue: Theatre S3, 16 Rainforest Walk, Monash University, Clayton (Map)  Flyer

d) 25th August, 10:00am – 2:00pm, Peter Mac Open Day
On Sunday, 25th August Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre has an Open Day on Medical Radiations covering Medical Imaging, Radiation Therapy and Nuclear Medicine. Tours are available.  Peter Mac is at 305 Grattan St, Melbourne. A flyer can be downloaded from here under ‘Open Days’.

e) 26th, 27th August, Physics Talks in Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong
Three free talks by Dr Helen Maynard-Casely, the AIP Women in Physics Lecturer for 2019 as part of her national tour.

  • 26th August, Bendigo, “How Neutrons can save the World” 1:30pm – 2:30pm, Latrobe University, Bendigo Campus.  Check our website here , under ‘Day programs’ for the flyer and details on how to book.
  • 27th August, Ballarat, “Journeying to the Centre of Planets” 10:15am – 11:30am, Federation University, Mt Helen campus as part of a full day’s program. Check here for details of the full program and how to book.
  • 27th August, Geelong, “How Neutrons can save the World” 1:45pm – 2:45pm, Western Heights Secondary College, Vines Rd, Hamlyn Heights.  Check our website, here , under ‘Day programs’ for the flyer.  To book email Vicphysics with your student numbers and their Year level(s).

f) 27th August, Girls in STEM and the Future of Work, 5:00pm – 7:30pm, Engineers Australia, 600 Bourke St
“An exciting, interactive evening for girls in Years 9,10 & 11.  Come along to be inspired and learn all about your future STEM career options & the future of work! 
Refreshments served, door prizes, gift bags, interactive workshops & more!”
Cost: Free
Venue: Engineers Australia, Level 31, 600 Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
To book: Click here. Please note demand is high for this event and they want as many students to attend as possible, as such they are limiting attendance to female secondary students and preferably only one accompanying parent.

g) 28th August: Girls in Physics Breakfast at Monash University

This is our fourth year of running Girls in Physics Breakfasts. The aims of the program are:

  • to encourage girls in Years 10 to 12 to appreciate the diversity of careers that studying physics enables,
  • to appreciate the satisfaction that comes from a challenging career in science, and
  • to be aware of the success that women can achieve in the physical sciences.

The one remaining Breakfast for this year is on 28th August at Monash University, Clayton campus, see details below.
At each breakfast, students share a table with two or three women who are either have a career in physics or engineering, or are at university as undergraduates or postgraduates.  At the table, discussion ensures about what the women do, what they like about it as well as their training, future prospects, etc.  As a student at one of  early breakfasts told her teacher, ‘I was talking to a guest at my table and her career sounded so amazing.  Then I realised that in 8 years that could be me.  I got so excited.

There is also a guest speaker at each breakfast who presents a talk on her area of expertise.  After the talk there are activities on Careers in STEM and Q & A panel with three of the guests.

The date, venue, speaker, topic and Trybooking link is:

  • 28th August, Clayton Speaker: Dr Helen Maynard-Casely, ANSTO. Topic: How neutrons can save the world. Closing date: 4:00pm, 19th August.  Trybookings.

Further details: For promotional flyer and more details on the talk, etc, go to our website.
Numbers:  There is an initial maximum of  6 students per school, to ensure that more schools that can participate. On 8th August, extra spots will be opened up to schools that have already booked.
Cost: $15 per student with teachers free, a discounted fee is available to schools with a low ICSEA rank.
See the specific Trybookings link for details.

The Guardian newspaper has just produced a 15 page booklet on Women in Engineering.  It is full of stories about different sectors, articles on current issues, as well as many profiles.

3.  Events for Teachers

a) ANSTO PD Day, Weds, 2nd October, Australian Synchrotron

ANSTO is offering a PD at the Australian Synchrotron  The program will look at a number of syllabus-focused educational resources to teach areas of the Year 9 Science curriculum and Year 12 Physics. You will also hear from prominent scientists and have a tour of the Australian Synchrotron.
Cost: $55, Lunch is not provided.
To book, click here.

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.

Physicist creates remarkable tennis ball towers including one with 46 tennis balls – All with the force of friction.
Andria Rogava, a physicist from Ilia State University in Georgia, reveals how simple friction allows bizarre towers to be built using tennis balls – and wonders how far could you go?
As a physicist and keen tennis player, Andria Rogiava would like to share an amusing “discovery” he recently made. ‘In my office, I have about 20 used tennis balls and so decided to try building some tennis-ball “pyramids”.

As you might expect, a four-level pyramid has a triangular cross-section, with 10 balls at the bottom, followed by six in the next layer, then three and finally one ball on top. When I carefully removed the three corner balls from the bottom layer plus the upper-most ball, I ended up a with a beautiful, symmetric structure of 16 balls with three hexagonal and three triangular sides.’

Solar panel generates fresh water and electricity

A new system for removing salt from seawater using the waste heat from solar panels has been created by Peng Wang and colleagues at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. The team installed a multistage membrane distillation (MSMD) device directly underneath the solar panels so that the system occupies the same footprint as the solar panels.

Simple system brings body-powered electricity a step closer

A simple body-integrated self-powered system (BISS) can convert mechanical motions of the human body into electrical energy by exploiting the triboelectric effect. The device works without the need for complicated structures or high-cost production and maintenance thanks to research by a team in China, led by Zhou Li and Zhong Lin Wang at Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems.

Physics webinars; NH exam paper. VicPhys News 3/T3/19

VCAA will be holding webinars on school-based assessment later this term in a number of subjects including physics. They have also released the Northern Hemisphere (NH) VCE Physics Exam paper for 2019, which will be useful revision for the November paper. Vicphysics has prepared solutions.

There are day-time physics talks for secondary students in Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong in late August.  Booking is required. Bookings are also open for the last Girls in Physics Breakfast of 2019 to be held at Monash University and they close on 19th August.

The first newsletter of this term has an extensive list of events on Apollo 11 and for National Science Week as well as an invitation to present at next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference. Check your emails or click here for details.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 22nd August at Melbourne Girls’ College starting at 5:00pm.  Teachers are welcome to these meetings. If you wish to come, please email Vicphysics

Frances Sidari (Pres), Jane Coyle (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe (Sec) and Terry Tan (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1. VCAA Webinars on School-based Assessment in VCE Physics
  2. Northern Hemisphere 2019 VCE Physics Exam Paper and Solutions
  3. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
  4. Events for Students and the General Public

5. Events for Teachers

6. Physics News from the Web

  • Delignified wood could help cool down buildings
  • Physicists make moving pictures at trillions of frames per second
  • Dumb Or Overly Forced Astronomical Acronyms Site (DOOFAAS)
  • A global 100% renewable energy system

 

1.  VCAA Webinars on School-based Assessment in VCE Physics
VCAA is running two webinars on School-based assessment on Monday 19th August and Wednesday 28th August. They will run from 3:45pm – 5:00pm.  Bookings close one week before each event.
Key messages from the 2019 Unit 3 School-based Assessment Audit will also be discussed. 
For more details and to register click here.

2. Northern Hemisphere (NH) VCE Physics Exam Paper for 2019 and Solutions
VCAA has released this year’s NH Physics Paper. It can be downloaded from here . Physics is at the bottom of the list.
Vicphysics has produced detailed solutions to help students when they use the paper in their revision. The solutions also have a suggested marking scheme.  The solutions are available on our website here .  This webpage also has a copy of this paper as well as previous NH papers along with VCAA’s solutions, but the solutions do not have a marking scheme nor statistics on each question.
The stems of some exam questions can be used to generate other questions that can provide extra revision. There are several of these questions at the end of the solutions.

3. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
Last year 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.  Several schools placed notices.
The web page also lists the Government schools seeking a physics teachers, currently there are five.

The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for the service.

4.   Events for Students and the General Public

a) ANSTO Big Ideas Forum,  Applications now open.
The ANSTO Big Ideas Forum brings 22 Year 10 students and 11 teachers from across Australia to Sydney to meet world-class researchers and go hands-on with amazing technology.  Applications must be for two students and one teacher.
When: Monday 11 November -Thursday 14 November, 2019
Applications opened:  Friday 31 May 2019. To apply you film a 40-second video of your two students explaining:“What problem would you like to solve through science for the future of our society?”,
This event is free – flights, travel, accommodation and meals are covered by ANSTO.
For more details click here   Applications close late August.

b) 30th July, 50 Years of Apollo, 6:30pm, Monash University
Speaker: Prof John Lattanzio, Monash University
Abstract: July 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing.  I will present some of the interesting challenges, decisions and methods used to achieve this goal.  In addition to Apollo 11 I will cover the Apollo 1 fire, the Apollo 12 lightning strike and the near disastrous oxygen tank explosion on Apollo 13, as well as the decision structure at Mission Control in Houston. There are many fascinating, inspiring and humorous aspects that are not well known. I will also explain the 1201 and 1202 errors, and why Apollo 11 landed despite them.
Venue: Theatre S3, 16 Rainforest Walk, Monash University, Clayton (Map) Flyer

c) 25th August, 10:00am – 2:00pm, Peter Mac Open Day
On Sunday, 25th August Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre has an Open Day on Medical Radiations covering Medical Imaging, Radiation Therapy and Nuclear Medicine. Tours are available.  Peter Mac is at 305 Grattan St, Melbourne. A flyer can be downloaded from here under ‘Open Days’.

d) 26th, 27th August, Physics Talks in Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong
Three free talks by Dr Helen Maynard-Casely, the AIP Women in Physics Lecturer for 2019 as part of her national tour.

  • 26th August, Bendigo, “How Neutrons can save the World” 1:30pm – 2:30pm, Latrobe University, Bendigo Campus.  Check our website here , under ‘Day programs’ for the flyer and details on how to book.
  • 27th August, Ballarat, “Journeying to the Centre of Planets” 10:15am – 11:30am, Federation University, Mt Helen campus as part of a full day’s program. Check here for details of the full program and how to book.
  • 27th August, Geelong, “How Neutrons can save the World” 1:45pm – 2:45pm, Western Heights Secondary College, Vines Rd, Hamlyn Heights.  Check our website, here , under ‘Day programs’ for the flyer.  To book email Vicphysics with your student numbers and their Year level(s).

e) 27th August, Girls in STEM and the Future of Work, 5:00pm – 7:30pm, Engineers Australia, 600 Bourke St
“An exciting, interactive evening for girls in Years 9,10 & 11.  Come along to be inspired and learn all about your future STEM career options & the future of work! 
Refreshments served, door prizes, gift bags, interactive workshops & more!”
Cost: Free
Venue: Engineers Australia, Level 31, 600 Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
To book: Click here. Please note demand is high for this event and they want as many students to attend as possible, as such they are limiting attendance to female secondary students and preferably only one accompanying parent.

f) 28th August: Girls in Physics Breakfast at Monash University

This is our fourth year of running Girls in Physics Breakfasts. The aims of the program are:

  • to encourage girls in Years 10 to 12 to appreciate the diversity of careers that studying physics enables,
  • to appreciate the satisfaction that comes from a challenging career in science, and
  • to be aware of the success that women can achieve in the physical sciences.

The one remaining Breakfast for this year is on 28th August at Monash University, Clayton campus, see details below.
At each breakfast, students share a table with two or three women who are either have a career in physics or engineering, or are at university as undergraduates or postgraduates.  At the table, discussion ensures about what the women do, what they like about it as well as their training, future prospects, etc.  As a student at one of  early breakfasts told her teacher, ‘I was talking to a guest at my table and her career sounded so amazing.  Then I realised that in 8 years that could be me.  I got so excited.

There is also a guest speaker at each breakfast who presents a talk on her area of expertise.  After the talk there are activities on Careers in STEM and Q & A panel with three of the guests.

The date, venue, speaker, topic and Trybooking link is:

  • 28th August, Clayton Speaker: Dr Helen Maynard-Casely, ANSTO. Topic: How neutrons can save the world. Closing date: 4:00pm, 19th August.  Trybookings.

Further details: For promotional flyer and more details on the talk, etc, go to our website.
Numbers:  There is an initial maximum of  6 students per school, to ensure that more schools that can participate. On 8th August, extra spots will be opened up to schools that have already booked.
Cost: $15 per student with teachers free, a discounted fee is available to schools with a low ICSEA rank.
See the specific Trybookings link for details.

The Guardian newspaper has just produced a 15 page booklet on Women in Engineering.  It is full of stories about different sectors, articles on current issues, as well as many profiles.

5.  Events for Teachers

a) STEAM Futures Conference, 23rd August, Viewbank College
Viewbank College is hosting an opportunity for principals and teachers of ALL faculties (special emphasis on humanities, languages and arts integrating with STEAM) and features:

  • Presentations from leading scientists and researchers including the Super STARS of STEM (celebrity Australian female scientists and technologists – role models for young women and girls) – on cutting edge technology and research
  • Presentations on work force trends from CEOs and business leaders of new and emerging technology-based industries
  • Hands-on workshops on ready to use integrated classroom activities using emerging technologies from innovative educators and teachers.
  • Trade stalls with business and volunteer organisations to help your STEAM journey.
  • Opportunity to network with presenters and teachers from participating schools to form a community of STEAM Change makers.

Cost: $200 per person.  Discounts apply for bookings of 3 or more.
Venue: Viewbank College, Warren Rd, Rosanna
For more details click here.

b) ANSTO PD Day, Weds, 2nd October, Australian Synchrotron

ANSTO is offering a PD at the Australian Synchrotron  The program will look at a number of syllabus-focused educational resources to teach areas of the Year 9 Science curriculum and Year 12 Physics. You will also hear from prominent scientists and have a tour of the Australian Synchrotron.
Cost: $55, Lunch is not provided.
To book, click here.

6.   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.

Delignified wood could help cool down buildings
A new passive radiative “cooling wood” that reflects infrared radiation could reduce the energy costs associated with cooling buildings by between 20 and 60%. The material, which is more than eight times stronger than natural wood, is made by removing the lignin from wood and then compressing the delignified structure.

Physicists make moving pictures at trillions of frames per second

A new technique for the ultrafast imaging of nonluminous objects has been unveiled by Feng Chenand colleagues at Xi’an Jiaotong University in China. Their system captures up to 60 high-resolution images at a rate of almost 4 trillion frames per second by storing frames in overlapping subregions of a charge-couple device (CCD) array. The technique could soon be used to explore a variety of high-speed physical processes in unprecedented levels of detail.

Today’s fastest cameras use CCDs to capture the motions of molecules at speeds of over a trillion frames per second. This is done by temporarily storing consecutive image frames on separate subregions of the CCD, before moving the frames into longer-term storage. However, only a handful of consecutive frames can be captured in this way because the CCD array will quickly run out of space for new subregions – which cannot normally overlap.

Dumb Or Overly Forced Astronomical Acronyms Site (DOOFAAS)

Every once in a while you come across a website that renews your faith in the Internet. The Dumb Or Overly Forced Astronomical Acronyms Site (or DOOFAAS) site has done just that by listing a whopping 427 dodgy acronyms dreamt up by astronomers.

Classics include the bonzer CANGAROO (Collaboration between Australian and Nippon for a Gamma Ray Observatory in the Outback) and the expletive GADZOOKS! (Gadolinium Antineutrino Detector Zealously Outperforming Old Kamiokande, Super!).

A global 100% renewable energy system

new report by LUT University in Finland and the Energy Watch Group (EWG) in Germany outlines a cross-sector, global 100% renewable energy system, backing up the version it releasedlast year. The full modelling study simulates a total global energy transition in the electricity, heat, transport and desalination sectors by 2050. It claims that a transition to 100% renewable energy would lead to a system that was economically competitive with the current fossil and nuclear-based system. It could also, the study says, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the energy system to zero by 2050, or perhaps earlier, without relying on negative CO2 emission technologies.

Apollo 11, Nat’l Sci Week. VicPhys News 1/T3/19

There are many Apollo 11 events on this week in Melbourne and elsewhere, the July Lectures in Physics continue and National Science Week events start in a few weeks.

It is also now time to think about offering a workshop at next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference.

This newsletter has an article on trends and projections on the participation in VCE Physics. How many students will be doing VCE physics in 5 years time?

Bookings are open for the last Girls in Physics Breakfast of 2019 at Monash University on 28th August.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Tuesday, 23rd July at Melbourne Girls’ College starting at 5:00pm. Note the change of date.  Teachers are welcome to these meetings. If you wish to come, please email Vicphysics

Frances Sidari (Pres), Jane Coyle (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe (Sec) and Terry Tan (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1. Call for Conference Presenters for 2020 Physics Teachers’ Conference
  2. Apollo 11 Events
  3. National Science Week Events
  4. Participation in VCE Physics: Trends and Projections
  5. Events for Students and the General Public

6. Events for Teachers

7. Physics News from the Web

  •  New device excels at making hydrogen using concentrated sunlight.
  •  Summer weather extremes linked to stalled Rossby waves in the jet stream
  • QB or not QB – that is the question for quantum physicists and philosophers.
1.  Call for Conference Presenters for 2020 Physics Teachers’ Conference.
We invite you to consider presenting a workshop for your colleagues at next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference. We all have much to share. The conference will be on Friday, 14th February at La Trobe University.

A distinctive feature of the Physics Teachers’ Conference over the years has been the large number of teachers who offer workshops about what they do.  These workshops are not only beneficial for other teachers, but they also significantly enhance the curriculum vitae of the presenters and their own personal skills. With the new course bedding down, the conference is an ideal forum for you to share your ideas on teaching the new content and the different ways of assessing.

If you would like to offer a workshop, please register the workshop on the STAV website, here.  Theclosing date for registrations is Friday, 20th September.

  • The presenter and only one co-presenter are free of charge for the session they are presenting.
  • All such presenters are able to register “free of charge” for other sessions at this conference.
  • All subsequent co-presenters are charged $75 each and need to register to attend sessions.
  • Presenters are not paid any fee nor is CRT covered.

2.. Apollo 11 Events
There are several Apollo 11 related events this week and in the coming weeks.  They are across Victoria.

Ongoing:
Geelong Gallery: The Moon.  Through to 1st September: Free
Venue: Geelong Gallery 2, Little Malop St, Geelong.
Tours each Saturday from 11.00am and on Sundays from 11.00am and 2.00pm.
Gippsland Gallery: Space – 50 years since Man first stepped on the Moon.  20th July to 8th September: Free
Venue: Gippsland Art Gallery, 70 Foster St, Sale
Online:
A real time journey of the Apollo mission 

A real-time journey through the first landing on the Moon This website consists entirely of original historical mission material including real-time elements: All mission control film footage, All TV transmissions and onboard film footage, 2,000 photographs, 11,000 hours of Mission Control audio, 240 hours of space-to-ground audio, All onboard recorder audio, 15,000 searchable utterances, Post-mission commentary and Astromaterials sample data. (Supplied by Sandor Kazi)

3. National Science Week Events

4. Participation in VCE Physics: Trends and Projections
The number of students doing VCE Units 3 & 4 has been about 7500 for the last few years. Based on current trends and the number of students now in primary and secondary schools, this number should reach 8500 in 2024 and 9500 in 2030.
A full analysis is provided on our website here , but key aspects are covered below.
Student numbers at Year 12 are affected by population changes and changes in the retention rate (i.e. the percentage of Year 10 students who stay on to Year 12).  To get a meaningful measure of the intrinsic popularity of the subject, it is better to express the number of physics students as a percentage of the age cohort and see how this has varied over time.

The graph on the right shows much variation over the years.  There is a noticeable spike in 1992 coinciding with the introduction of the VCE.  Much political discussion on science education focusses on the decline post 1992, but research on the increase pre 1992 may be more fruitful.

Graphs of the proportion of Year 10 students who do Year 11 Physics the following year and the proportion of students doing Unit 2 who do Unit 3 the following year, both reveal interesting data.  The percentage of Year 10 students choosing to do Unit 1 Physics in Year 11 has been slowly declined from 1996 to 2010 with some levelling out since then.  This drop off has been somewhat countered by an increase of the retention from Unit 2 to Unit 3.


The projected student numbers to 2024 and 2030 are based on current student numbers from Foundation Year to Year 11 and assume the current participation rate of the age cohort is unchanged.

5.   Events for Students and the General Public

a) ANSTO Big Ideas Forum,  Applications now open.
The ANSTO Big Ideas Forum brings 22 Year 10 students and 11 teachers from across Australia to Sydney to meet world-class researchers and go hands-on with amazing technology.  Applications must be for two students and one teacher.
When: Monday 11 November -Thursday 14 November, 2019
Applications opened:  Friday 31 May 2019. To apply you film a 40-second video of your two students explaining:“What problem would you like to solve through science for the future of our society?”,
This event is free – flights, travel, accommodation and meals are covered by ANSTO.
For more details click here   Applications close late August.

b) July Lectures in Physics: The Moon, 6:30pm Fridays in July, University of Melbourne

  • 19th July, Shining a light on Solar System Geology, Dr Helen Brand
  • 26th July, The Physics of the Apollo Moon Mission in 1969: Do Astronauts obey Kepler’s Laws?

Venue: Basement Theatre B117, Glyn Davis Building.
For more details, click here. There is information about each lecture as well as a link to book for each lecture.

c) 19th  July, Space Law: It’s not Rocket Science, 6:30pm, Swinburne University
Lecturer is Dr Kim Ellis, Swinburne University.  This will be an informative lecture on how Australia is making a splash on the international space arena as the Australian Space Agency turns one. We will also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
Venue: EN Building, Lecture Theatre 101
Check here for details of map and to book.

d) 30th July, 50 Years of Apollo, 6:30pm, Monash University
Speaker: Prof John Lattanzio, Monash University
Abstract: July 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing.  I will present some of the interesting challenges, decisions and methods used to achieve this goal.  In addition to Apollo 11 I will cover the Apollo 1 fire, the Apollo 12 lightning strike and the near disastrous oxygen tank explosion on Apollo 13, as well as the decision structure at Mission Control in Houston. There are many fascinating, inspiring and humorous aspects that are not well known. I will also explain the 1201 and 1202 errors, and why Apollo 11 landed despite them.
Venue: Theatre S3, 16 Rainforest Walk, Monash University, Clayton
Flyer

e) 27th August, Girls in STEM and the Future of Work, 5:00pm – 7:30pm, Engineers Australia, 600 Bourke St
“An exciting, interactive evening for girls in Years 9,10 & 11.  Come along to be inspired and learn all about your future STEM career options & the future of work! 
Refreshments served, door prizes, gift bags, interactive workshops & more!”
Cost: Free
Venue: Engineers Australia, Level 31, 600 Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
To book: Click here. Please note demand is high for this event and they want as many students to attend as possible, as such they are limiting attendance to female secondary students and preferably only one accompanying parent.

e) 28th August: Girls in Physics Breakfast at Monash University

This is our fourth year of running Girls in Physics Breakfasts. The aims of the program are:

  • to encourage girls in Years 10 to 12 to appreciate the diversity of careers that studying physics enables,
  • to appreciate the satisfaction that comes from a challenging career in science, and
  • to be aware of the success that women can achieve in the physical sciences.

The one remaining Breakfast for this year is on 28th August at Monash University, Clayton campus, see details below.
At each breakfast, students share a table with two or three women who are either have a career in physics or engineering, or are at university as undergraduates or postgraduates.  At the table, discussion ensures about what the women do, what they like about it as well as their training, future prospects, etc.  As a student at one of  early breakfasts told her teacher, ‘I was talking to a guest at my table and her career sounded so amazing.  Then I realised that in 8 years that could be me.  I got so excited.

There is also a guest speaker at each breakfast who presents a talk on her area of expertise.  After the talk there are activities on Careers in STEM and Q & A panel with three of the guests.

The date, venue, speaker, topic and Trybooking link is:

  • 28th August, Clayton Speaker: Dr Helen Maynard-Casely, ANSTO. Topic: How neutrons can save the world. Closing date: 4:00pm, 19th August.  Trybookings.

Further details: For promotional flyer and more details on the talk, etc, go to our website.
Numbers:  There is an initial maximum of  6 students per school, to ensure that more schools that can participate. On 8th August, extra spots will be opened up to schools that have already booked.
Cost: $15 per student with teachers free, a discounted fee is available to schools with a low ICSEA rank.
See the specific Trybookings link for details.

The Guardian newspaper has just produced a 15 page booklet on Women in Engineering.  It is full of stories about different sectors, articles on current issues, as well as many profiles.

6.  Events for Teachers

a) ANSTO PD Day, Weds, 2nd October, Australian Synchrotron

ANSTO is offering a PD at the Australian Synchrotron  The program will look at a number of syllabus-focused educational resources to teach areas of the Year 9 Science curriculum and Year 12 Physics. You will also hear from prominent scientists and have a tour of the Australian Synchrotron.
Cost: $55, Lunch is not provided.
To book, click here.

7.   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.

New device excels at making hydrogen using concentrated sunlight

The large-scale and renewable production of hydrogen could soon be possible thanks to a new photoelectrochemical device that is driven by concentrated sunlight. When scaled-up, the technology could revolutionize how hydrogen is produced and make the gas a viable alternative to fossil fuels.

Sunlight and water are both in great abundance on Earth so using light to split water molecules to create hydrogen fuel has great potential for creating a clean and renewable energy source. Now mechanical engineers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), led bySophia Haussener, have created an electrochemical device that uses concentrated solar radiation to create hydrogen fuel from water with no undesirable byproducts.

Summer weather extremes linked to stalled Rossby waves in the jet stream

Early summer heatwaves in Western Europe and North America set new temperature records in 2018, while other regions of the northern hemisphere were hit with torrential rain and severe flooding. Now researchers in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands say that these events were linked by a pattern of stalled waves in the jet stream. They add that this wave pattern appears to have increased in frequency and persistence in recent years and may occur more frequently in the future due to climate change.

The northern jet stream is a river of fast-moving air that circles the northern hemisphere in the mid-latitudes. Travelling from east to west at an altitude of around 10 km, these winds drive large-scale weather systems around the globe.

Jet-stream winds generally travel at the same latitude, but they can shift into a wave-like pattern, known as Rossby waves, where they meander from north to south and back again. When this happens, warm air fills the peaks of the wave, while cold polar air drops into the troughs. Rossby waves normally continue to move from east to west – shifting high- and low-pressure weather systems with them. However, they can also stall – which can lead to heatwaves, droughts and floods as the regions of hot and cold air hover over the same regions for days, or even weeks.

Other sources: Rossby Waves and Extreme Weather (Youtube),  What is a Rossby Wave? , Rossby Waves and the Polar Vortex .

QB or not QB – that is the question for quantum physicists and philosophers
Philosophers can learn much from a row in the physics community, says Robert P Crease.  “It is a bad sign,” the Nobel-prize-winning theorist Steven Weinberg wrote recently, “that physicists who are most comfortable with quantum mechanics do not agree with one another about what it all means.”

Well, that’s Weinberg’s view. I don’t find those disagreements a bad sign – just a sign that philosophical issues are in play. Yes, quantum mechanics is full of puzzles. Is, for example, the wave function real or a book-keeping device? What does “reduction of the wave function” mean? And if the many-worlds idea is untestable, can it be true?

The meaning of quantum mechanics is made even more perplexing by several thought experiments that seem to reach impossible results. One is “Wigner’s friend”, in which an observer of a quantum measurement and an observer of that person are shown to make different statements about the quantum state being measured. Another is Schrödinger’s cat, in which quantum mechanics declares an unobserved feline to be half-dead, half-alive.

The Moon: July lectures; Apollo 11. Vicphys News 6/T2/19

Next week the July Lectures in Physics start.  This year the theme is the Moon to celebrate 50 years since the Apollo 11 landing.  The first talk is by Prof David Jamieson on the Physics of the Earth-Moon system.  Melbourne University is also offering a full day program on 19th July, based on the lecture series, for female secondary students and is also covering the CRT replacement for teachers.

Bookings are open for the last Girls in Physics Breakfast of 2019 at Monash University on 28th August.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 25th July at Melbourne Girls’ College starting at 5:00pm. Teachers are welcome to these meetings. If you wish to come, please email Vicphysics

Frances Sidari (Pres), Jane Coyle (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe (Sec) and Terry Tan (Treas)
Table of Contents

  1. Australia and Apollo 11: A new CSIRO website
  2. Impressive Video of a solar eclipse, shot by Phil Hart
  3. Events for Students and the General Public

4. Events for Teachers

5. Physics News from the Web

  •   ‘Thermal inductor’ could convert boiling water to ice with no energy input
  •    New ‘flexoelectret’ material could create high voltages when bent
  •    Mimicking squid skin to improve thermoregualting blankets
1. Australia and Apollo 11: A new CSIRO website
The CSIRO has established a separate website to celebrate 50 years since the Moon landing of Apollo 11.  The website has educational resources for primary and secondary students as well as information on Australia’s role in Apollo 11, Apollo 11 technology and future space technology.
Their webpage with a Calendar of events covers Australia and until 2020.  Forthcoming Victorian events include:

  • Apollo 11 The Imax Experience at Melbourne Museum.  July 11 onwards
  • Musical Explorations: The Sounds of Space.  Melbourne Recital Centre.  12:00pm, 18th July, $10
  • Moon Landing ‘Live’.  Sun Theatre, Yarraville, 12:00pm – 5:00pm, 21st July. $35
  • Stories from the Cosmos: What indigenuous storytelling can teach us. The Royal Society of Victoria.  6:00pm, 14th August. Free

Parkes Telescope has an Open Day on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st July.

The Australian Telescope National Facility (ATNF) also has a webpage of resources for teachers.  It includes a link to a separate webpage on ‘Using Authentic Astronomical Data in the Classroom’ as well as numerous downloadable resource documents.

2.  Impressive Video of a Solar Eclipse.  Shot by Phil Hart
Phil Hart has a passion for astronomical photography.  He has recently produced a video of the total solar eclipse as seen from the mountains in Idaho, USA.  It features impressive scenes of the corona.
The video can be seen here. His blog has background details of the telescopes and cameras he used.

3.   Events for Students and the General Public

a) ANSTO Big Ideas Forum,  Applications now open.
The ANSTO Big Ideas Forum brings 22 Year 10 students and 11 teachers from across Australia to Sydney to meet world-class researchers and go hands-on with amazing technology.  Applications must be for two students and one teacher.
When: Monday 11 November -Thursday 14 November, 2019
Applications opened:  Friday 31 May 2019. To apply you film a 40-second video of your two students explaining:“What problem would you like to solve through science for the future of our society?”,
This event is free – flights, travel, accommodation and meals are covered by ANSTO.
For more details click here   Applications close late August.

b) Science X Art: Elements in everyday life.  A periodic table themed Art Competition.  Entries close 28th June
The competition has primary, middle school and senior school categories.
Each participating school is welcome to submit their top 5 entries per competition category to the Australian Academy of Science.
The theme for the senior school category is ‘Alternative representations of the periodic table‘, with the aim of evaluating Mendeleev’s representation of the periodic table by communication of alternative methods of its representation using different principles (e.g. order by elemental abundance) or to specific audiences (eg. visually impaired).  The medium must be a diagram or a photo and supported by 150 word explanatory description. Individual or team (maximum 2 students) entries are permitted.Entries will be judged on creativity, scientific merit, and demonstration of novelty through image and description.

The closing date is 28th June, with winners announced in National Science Week.
For more details and resources, and to enter, click here.

c) July Lectures in Physics: The Moon, 6:30pm Fridays in July, University of Melbourne

  • 5th July, The Double Planet: The Physics of the Earth-Moon System with Prof David Jamieson
  • 12th July, Oxygen in Physics: From the Moon to the FREO2 project, Dr Roger Rassool
  • 19th July, Shining a light on Solar System Geology, Dr Helen Brand
  • 26th July, The Physics of the Apollo Moon Mission in 1969: Do Astronauts obey Kepler’s Laws?

Venue: Basement Theatre B117, Glyn Davis Building.
For more details, click here. There is information about each lecture as well as a link to book for each lecture.

d) 19th July, Girls in Physics Day, University of Melbourne
The University of Melbourne’s School of Physics is presenting a day program for female secondary school students, encouraging them to study physics and be involved in the physics community.
The day will consist of a series of lectures, plus a science show and laboratory tours. There will also be prizes for the best question asked after each talk. During the day, the students and teachers will be encouraged to engage with various female staff and students of the School of Physics.
The talks presented on the day will be a short version of the July Lectures in Physics 2019, which is held every Friday evening in July at the University. See details above
Venue: Laby Theatre
Time: 9:00am – 3:00pm
Registrations are essential: click here .  Morning tea and a light lunch will be provided.
Students must be accompanied by a teacher. There are places available for up to 10 students per school.
Teachers will be able to claim reimbursement for CRT and transport costs for up to $350. After the event, please raise an invoice to: The University of Melbourne, School of Physics Parkville 3010 and email kwaring@unimelb.edu.au with copies of receipts.

The Guardian newspaper has just produced a 15 page booklet on Women in Engineering.  It is full of stories about different sectors, articles on current issues, as well as many profiles.

e) 19th July, Astrophysics Lecture 6:30pm, Swinburne University
Lecturer is Dr Kim Ellis, Swinburne University.  The topic is yet to be announced.  Check here for details.

f) 28th August: Girls in Physics Breakfast at Monash University

This is our fourth year of running Girls in Physics Breakfasts. The aims of the program are:

  • to encourage girls in Years 10 to 12 to appreciate the diversity of careers that studying physics enables,
  • to appreciate the satisfaction that comes from a challenging career in science, and
  • to be aware of the success that women can achieve in the physical sciences.

The one remaining Breakfast for this year is on 28th August at Monash University, Clayton campus, see details below.
At each breakfast, students share a table with two or three women who are either have a career in physics or engineering, or are at university as undergraduates or postgraduates.  At the table, discussion ensures about what the women do, what they like about it as well as their training, future prospects, etc.  As a student at one of  early breakfasts told her teacher, ‘I was talking to a guest at my table and her career sounded so amazing.  Then I realised that in 8 years that could be me.  I got so excited.

There is also a guest speaker at each breakfast who presents a talk on her area of expertise.  After the talk there are activities on Careers in STEM and Q & A panel with three of the guests.

The date, venue, speaker, topic and Trybooking link is:

  • 28th August, Clayton Speaker: Dr Helen Maynard-Casely, ANSTO. Topic: How neutrons can save the world. Closing date: 4:00pm, 19th August.  Trybookings.

Further details: For promotional flyer and more details on the talk, etc, go to our website.
Numbers:  There is an initial maximum of  6 students per school, to ensure that more schools that can participate. On 8th August, spots will be opened up to schools that have already booked.
Cost: $15 per student with teachers free, a discounted fee is available to schools with a low ICSEA rank.
See the specific Trybookings link for details.

The Guardian newspaper has just produced a 15 page booklet on Women in Engineering.  It is full of stories about different sectors, articles on current issues, as well as many profiles.

4.  Events for Teachers

a) ANSTO PD Day, Weds, 2nd October, Australian Synchrotron

ANSTO is offering a PD at the Australian Synchrotron  The program will look at a number of syllabus-focused educational resources to teach areas of the Year 9 Science curriculum and Year 12 Physics. You will also hear from prominent scientists and have a tour of the Australian Synchrotron.
Cost: $55, Lunch is not provided.
To book, click here.

5.   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.
a) ‘Thermal inductor’ could convert boiling water to ice with no energy input

A consequence of the second law of thermodynamics is that heat spontaneously flows from hot to cold, not the other way around. But now researchers in Switzerland have now shown that, if two reservoirs at different temperatures are connected using a passive thermoelectric element, “thermal inertia” can allow the hot reservoir to cool down to below the temperature of the cold reservoir. While this does not violate the second law, thermoelectic materials available today are not good enough for the effect to be exploited in practical devices. However, the researchers believe it could one day be used in refrigeration.

The thermoelectric effect is a well-known phenomenon whereby some materials convert a temperature difference into a potential difference. Heating one end of a metal, for example, causes the excited electrons at the hot end to diffuse towards the cold end. The effect also works in reverse: applying an electric current to a thermoelectric material leads creates a temperature gradient. This is the basis of thermoelectric coolers, which are widely used in computers, hotel minibars and other situations where the compressor required by a standard refrigerator would be unfeasible.
b) New ‘flexoelectret’ material could create high voltages when bent
A soft dielectric material that could create a relatively high voltage when bent has been created by physicists in China. Qian Deng and colleagues at Xi’an Jiaotong University describe their material as the first-ever “flexoelectret”. It was made by embedding a charged polymer layer in the middle of a dielectric silicone rubber material. With some improvements, the new material could find a wide range of applications including wearable electronics.

When some materials are deformed non-uniformly, a strain gradient drives positive and negative ions apart to create a voltage across the material. Known as flexoelectricity, this effect is observed in many dielectric materials, including crystals, polymers, and semiconductors

c) Mimicking squid skin to improve thermoregulating blankets

Engineers at the University of California, Irvine, have made a new and improved space blanket that allows users to control their temperature. The blanket, inspired by the adaptive properties of cephalopod skin, comprises a soft and stretchable polymer matrix that is transparent to infrared radiation covered with an array of infrared-deflecting metal domains anchored within the matrix.

Reflecting infrared radiation (heat) is important for many technologies, including electronic circuits, aircraft and spacecraft components, hospital warming devices, building insulation and speciality textiles and clothing. The drawback to most infrared-deflecting materials, however, is that they are static and unable to respond and adapt to changing environmental conditions. Although some adaptive systems have been developed, they are relatively expensive, energy inefficient and cumbersome.

Among passive thermal management systems, the “space blanket”, developed by NASA in the 1960s, is one of the most well-known. It generally consists of a plastic sheet overlaid with a thin continuous layer of metal such as aluminium. This hybrid structure, which has remained fundamentally unchanged since its conception, is very efficient at reflecting infrared radiation. It is thus routinely employed, in its various forms, in applications such as packaging and emergency covering.  Athletes also use it as a protective shield that prevents them from losing too much body heat after a race.