Physics Teacher positions, Nobel Prize, More resources. Vicphys News 1/T4/18

Vicphysics Teachers’ Network is often contacted by schools who are having difficulty finding a physics teacher to be a LSL replacement, to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave. So we have decided to set up a webpage for such short and long term physics teaching vacancies.  The first position is now on our website.

The 2018 Nobel Prize for Physics was announced last week. It was awarded for innovation on using lasers.  Resources for various audiences are listed below.

We also invite teachers to consider presenting a workshop for their colleagues at next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference. We have much to share. There is also information on new resources and a reminder that entries for our competitions are due.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be at 5pm on Thursday, 11th October at Melbourne Girls’ College.  All teachers are welcome to attend this or any other meeting.  If you would like to attend, please contact Vicphysics

The Vicphysics Executive Team
Frances Sidari (Pres), Bronwyn Quint (Vice-Pres), Barbara McKinnon (Sec), Terry Tan (Treas) and Dan O’Keeffe (Coord)

Table of Contents

  1. Seeking a Physics Teacher?  Seeking a job?
  2. 2018 Nobel Prize for Physics for innovations in laser physics
  3. Be a Conference Presenter
  4. Entries for our Physics Competitions are due.
  5. Another Poster from the Perimeter Institute: All Known Physics in one equation
  6. Physics Problem sheets: 80 pages from a retired teacher
  7. Background readings from the Institute of Physics – Many are free to download
  8. Events for Students and the General Public
  9. Events for Teachers

10. Physics News from the Web
a)  New evidence for cyclic universe claimed by Roger Penrose and colleagues
b)  Fierce and Unpredictable: How Wildfires became Infernos
c)  How to build a super-magnet

1. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
Vicphysics Teachers’ Network is often contacted by schools who are having difficulty finding a physics teacher to be a LSL replacement, to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave.

So we have decided to make our website and this email newsletter available to schools to cover such short and long term physics teaching vacancies.

The cost is $100 for two months’ display.  The payment is to be by EFT to the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network account at Bank Australia with BSB 313 140 and account number 12146397.  The customer reference should be the school name.  A receipt will be issued and an invoice can be provided.  Schools must enter the details about the vacancy online here on our website.

As schools lodge information about a vacancy, it will be placed here on our website.  So far the vacancies are:

  • Star of the Sea College, Brighton

2.  2018 Nobel Prize in Physics for innovations in laser physics
The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Donna Strickland, George Mourou and Arthur Ashkin.
There are several resources explaining their work for various audiences:
Popular version by the Nobel Committee (7 pages)
Scientific version by the Nobel Committee ( 18 pages)
Forbes magazine: Optical TweezersUltra Intense, Ultra short(two very well written articles).
The Nobel Committee now also produces lesson material on each of the prizes.  Click here for the physics material.
The speaker at the Monash Girls in Physics Breakfast, Dr Ceri Brenner, spoke on the different ways she uses these laser pulses in her research.  Check the video of her talk on our webpage.

3. Be a Conference Presenter: Physics Teachers’ Conference, Friday, 15th February
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 new content and 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, 12th October.

  • 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.

4.  Entries for our Physics Competitions are due.
Entries for the Vicphysics Photo and Video contests are due this Friday, 12th October.  Click the links for details.
Entries for the Practical Investigation Poster Competition are due next Friday, 19th October. Click the link for details.

5.  Another Poster from the Perimeter Institute: All known physics in one equation
A newsletter in late Term 3 reported on three extra packages of curriculum materials from the Perimeter Institute.  They have now released a new poster which displays ‘all known physics’ in one equation annotated with the name of the physicist against each term, including Schrodinger, Feynmann, Euler, Planck, Einstein, Newton, Maxwell, Yang, Mills, Dirac, Kobayashi, Maskawa, Yukawa, Higgs and Lagrange.  The poster can be downloaded as a high resolution pdf for free fromhere.

6.  Physics Problem sheets80 pages from a retired teacher
Geoff Phillips has retired from teaching but would like to make available to teachers his collection of Physics problem sheets.  There are about 80 sheets for Year 11 and 12 Physics.  Although written for the previous Study Design, most are still appropriate to the current course.  The problem sheets are all original material written by Geoff, so his copyright should be acknowledged when they are being photocopied or printed.  They also come with answers and detailed solutions.

If you wish to obtain the sheets, you can email Geoff  to request the download link.

7. Background readings from the Institute of Physics – Many free to download
The Institute of Physics commissions booklets on a range of physics topics, most can be purchased through Amazon. The following engaging titles from Particle Physics to the Physics of DNA are free to download from here:

  • What’s next for Particle Physics? by Martin White
  • Philosphy of Physics by Robert P Crease
  • Energy Storage Systems by David Elliott
  • From Particle Physics to Medical Applications by Manjit Dosanjh
  • Quantum Simulation by Chad Orzel
  • Multimessenger Astronomy by Imre Bartos and Marek Kowalski
  • Space Weather by Mike Hapgood
  • Proton Beam Therapy by Harald Paganetti
  • Complex Light by Jeff Secor, Robert Alfano and Solyman Ashrafi
  • Adaptive Optics in Biology by Carl J Kempf
  • How to build a Quantum Computer by Barry C Sanders
  • Nanoelectronics by Jessamyn A Fairfield
  • Antihydrogen Beams by Yasunori Yamazaki, Michael Doser and Patrice Pérez
  • Carbon Capture and Storage by Owain Tucker
  • Nuclear Waste Management by Claire Corkhill and Neil Hyatt
  • Tetraquarks and Pentaquarks by Greig Cowan and Tim Gershon
  • The Physics of DNA and Chromosomes by Davide Marenduzzo
  • Redefining the Kilogram and other SI Units by Stephan Schlamminger

8.    Events for Students and the General Public
a) 30th October, Neutron stars, 6:30pm, Monash University, Clayton Campus.
The October lecture in this series will be on Neutron stars and will be given by Prof Alexander Heger from the school of Physics and Astronomy at Monash University.  Check here for a personal profile of Prof Heger.
A demonstration, practical activity or laboratory tour will precede each lecture, beginning at 6.30pm, with the lecture starting at 7pm.
The venue is Lecture Theatre S3, 16 Rainforest Walk, which is on the West side of the Clayton campus. (see map). Parking is available free after 5pm in N1 (check the map).

These lectures are appropriate for teachers or VCE students.  Information about the series is available here .
The next lecture in the series is:

  • Tuesday, 27th November – TBA – Assoc Prof Meera Parish

b) Physics Days at Luna Park: Tuesday, 6th March to Friday, 9th March, 2019
Next year there will be two extra rides on offer one of which is the Road Runner located next to the Spider.  Up to 9 people sit in a car as it twists, turns and sways while moving backwards and forwards through a curved dip. It will be useful for data logging and also simple calculation of g forces from using a stop watch and estimating distances.  The other ride will be a new ride, which is yet to be announced.
Bookings are now open for next year’s Physics Days at Luna Park.  You can make a booking for a particular day at this year and change your day once your timetable for 2019 is known. But please remember to notify Luna Park on any change of date at least a fortnight before the event.
An aerobatic display by a member of the Roulettes has been requested, but confirmation is often not provided before February next year,

9.     Events for Teachers
a)  11 October 2018Keeping under 1.5°C:  Are we doing enough to avoid dangerous climate change?,
6:00 pm to 7:45pm, University of Melbourne
Have we missed the opportunity to avoid dangerous climate change?  Australia has already experienced over 1 degree of warming with an increase in extreme heat events and severe bushfire weather.  What actions need to be taken to get on track to avoid a greater than 1.5°C future?  If we don’t act, what could our future climate look like?

To coincide with the launch of the IPCC Special Report Global Warming of 1.5°C,  as well as the 10 year anniversary of the Garnaut Climate Change Review 2008 (updated in 2011), the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society and the University of Melbourne Climate-Energy College present a panel of experts to discuss the implications of this important report for Australia and the World.


  • Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director of the Global Change Institute (GCI) and Professor of Marine Science, The University of Queensland (Co-Author of the IPCC Special Report Global Warming of 1.5°C)
  • Prof Ross Garnaut AC, Professorial Fellow in Economics at the University of Melbourne, Chair of the Energy Transition Hub and President of SIMEC ZEN Energy
  • Prof Robyn Eckersley, Head of Political Science, School of Social and Political Sciences, plus Climate and Energy College, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, Senior Research Associate and ARC Future Fellow, Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW

Venue: Kathleen Fitzpatrick Theatre, Arts West – West Wing : Building 148B, University of Melbourne
Cost: Free, To register click here .

b)  Wednesday 17 October, Mission: Gravity – Bringing Virtual Universe to the Secondary Classroom, Scienceworks
OzGrav (ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery) and Scienceworks are joining forces to offer a unique professional development day .  Join them for an insight into the free OzGrav incursion Program ‘Mission: Gravity’ This is a program that incorporates experimental design and scientific process with virtual data to answer the question: Where do black holes come from? 

Also included: ‘Beyond Perception’ exhibition viewing, the Planetarium show ‘Black Holes’ supplementary curriculum materials and an opportunity to invite the OzGrav team to your school to share ‘Mission: Gravity’ free of charge with your students.

This free professional learning day is exclusive to MV Teachers subscribers. You can join MV Teachers today for access to this and other exclusive teacher events – it’s free!  This is a rare opportunity and places are limited. Note that this event is not catered and you will need to provide your own refreshments.
Cost: Free for MV Teachers
Suitable for: Year 7–10 STEM teachers, and Year 11 and 12 Physics teachers
Time: 8.30am–3.30pm
Location: Scienceworks, 2 Booker Street, Spotswood, VIC 3015

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

New evidence for cyclic universe claimed by Roger Penrose and colleagues

Unexpected hot spots in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) could have been produced by black holes evaporating before the Big Bang. So says a trio of scientists led by mathematical physicist Roger Penrose in a paper presenting new evidence that our universe is just one stage in a potentially infinite cycle of cosmic extinction and rebirth. Other researchers, however, remain sceptical that the microwave background really does contain signs from a previous “aeon”.

According to standard cosmology, the universe underwent a very brief but exceptionally intense expansion just after the Big Bang. This period of “inflation” would have ironed out any irregularities in the structure of the early universe, leading to the very uniform cosmos that we observe around us.

However, Penrose, based at the University of Oxford , has developed a rival theory known as “conformal cyclic cosmology“ (CCC) which posits that the universe became uniform before, rather than after, the Big Bang. The idea is that the universe cycles from one aeon to the next, each time starting out infinitely small and ultra-smooth before expanding and generating clumps of matter. That matter eventually gets sucked up by supermassive black holes, which over the very long term disappear by continuously emitting Hawking radiation. This process restores uniformity and sets the stage for the next Big Bang.

Fierce and Unpredictable: How Wildfires Became Infernos

An article from the New York Times.  MISSOULA, Mont. — In a large metal warehouse, Mark Finney opens a tall, clear glass tower and pours alcohol into a tray at the bottom and lights it. When he closes the door, an open vent at the bottom sucks in air and suddenly fire spirals upward, a narrow column of flame 12 feet tall.

In the wild, these fire whirls are unpredictable and dangerous. An exceptionally powerful whirl in late July during California’s unrelenting Carr Fire whipped winds up to 143 miles per hour, roaring and spinning for 90 minutes and scooping up ash, debris and flames. It uprooted trees, stripped the bark off them, and downed power lines. The whirl, sometimes nicknamed a “firenado,” was so large it was picked up on Doppler radar.

How to build a super-magnet

Super-strong magnets are a relatively recent phenomenon. Before the 19th century, the only magnets available were naturally occurring rocks made from a mineral called magnetite. This began to change after 1819, when the Danish scientist Hans Christian Ørsted discovered that electric currents in metallic wires create magnetic fields, but the real leap in magnet strength did not come until nearly a century later, with the discovery of superconductivity. Superconductors conduct electricity with perfect efficiency, which is a huge advantage for making strong magnets: today’s most powerful commercially available superconducting magnets can produce a stable field of up to 23 T, which is more than 2000 times stronger than the magnet on your fridge.


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