Physics Conf: Registration open. VicPhys News 6/T4/18

Registrations have now opened for the 2019 Physics Teachers’ Conference on 15th and 16th February at La Trobe University.
There are also more physics jobs advertised on our website.
The last newsletter had details about our new website and the extension of VCAA’s Physics Review Survey.  If you missed that email, these items are repeated here.

Vicphysics Meetings: The November exam will be the focus for the whole meeting on Thursday, 22nd November.  The purpose of the meeting is to prepare our review of the paper, which is forwarded to VCAA. This meeting will be at Swinburne Secondary College, Burwood Rd, Hawthorn from 5pm to 7pm.  If you would like to attend, please contact Vicphysics  There is no parking In Burwood Rd at that time.  There is parking a short distance away behind the Hawthorn Arts Centre, enter off Kent St.

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. 2019 Physics Teachers’ Conference, 15th, 16th February, La Trobe University
  2. Our website has been re-designed.  Check it out
  3. Physics Review: Questionnaire: Closing date 30th Nov
  4. Latest Job Ads
  5. Events for Students and the General Public
  6. Events for Teachers

7. Physics News from the Web
a)   Ignition pending: Fusion
b) Triumphs and frustrations: The Standard Model
c) Late summer Arctic sea ice could disappear by 2040

1. 2019 Physics Teachers’ Conference, 15th 16th February, La Trobe University
Registration is now open for next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference.  The Friday program includes two addresses:

  • Opening Address: Precision Cosmology with the next generation of Telescopes with Dr Laura Wolz from the University of Melbourne
  • Pre Lunch Address: Responding to short answer questions with Andrew Hansen, the Chief Assessor.

There are also three sessions of workshops with 16 workshops on offer in each.

The Saturday program has two Excursion tasters on offer to the Synchrotron and VSSEC as well as a two hour Medical Physics In-Service at Peter Mac.

The cost $188 for an individual STAV member, $305 for a STAV School subscriber, $330 for a non STAV member and $78 for a retired teacher.  Registration includes morning tea and lunch.  Program details, registration forms and online booking are available here.

2. Our Website has been redesigned.  Check it out
There are a number of new features on the Vicphysics website.

  • The menu has been re-configured to make it easier for you to access different webpages,
  • Commonly accessed webpages have their own icon on the home page,
  • Events and latest News can be found in the footer,
  • The home page is more visually attractive and
  • A new webpage on ‘Sharing ideas’ has been set up for you to upload your own material to make it available to others, or pass on a good website. It is under ‘Teachers’.

3.  Physics Review: Questionnaire: Closing date: 30th Nov
Units 1 & 2 are accredited until December 2020, so these units are scheduled for a review in 2019.  VCAA is conducting a questionnaire to assist with this review process.  The questionnaire covers Units 1 to 4 as well as the Advice to Teachers.
The questionnaire can be accessed and completed here from the VCAA website.  The questionnaire can be completed at a later stage once commenced. To recommence the questionnaire, you use the [NEXT] button located in the bottom right hand corner to save entered information and then use the same computer and web browser on which the questionnaire was commenced as a copy of your responses will have been saved.
The Survey has been extended, the closing date is  now 30th November, 2018.
To assist you with preparing your responses to the questions on the questionnaire, a copy of the questions can be downloaded from here on the Vicphysics website.
In addition to this questionnaire, VCAA anticipates that teacher focus groups will be held to gather more information. Notification of focus groups will be via their Notice to Schools in addition to the Expression of Interest at the end of this questionnaire.

4. Latest Job Ads

As schools lodge information about a vacancy, they will be placed here on our website.
Current list includes: Monivae College, Hamilton.  The list of government schools seeking physics teachers has also been updated with 12 additional schools.

5.    Events for Students and the General Public

a)  23rd November, Breakthrough: The detection of gravitational waves from a neutron star merger, 6:30pm, Swinburne University.
Speaker: Assoc. Prof. Tara Murphy, Sydney Institute of Astronomy, University of Sydney
Abstract: On August 17th 2017 the LIGO-Virgo interferometer detected gravitational waves from a neutron star merger in a galaxy 130 million light years away. This was a breakthrough for physics and astronomy. What followed was a frenzy of activity as astronomers around the world worked to detect electromagnetic radiation with conventional telescopes. After this unprecedented effort the event was detected in gamma-rays, x-rays, visible light and radio waves. I will discuss this incredible scientific result and its implications, including: predictions made by Einstein; the production of gold and other heavy elements; and our understanding of black hole formation. I will also give a ‘behind the scenes’ perspective of how it happened, and discuss the changes in the way we do science in this era of big astronomy.
To Book: click here.

b) 27th November, Quantum reality: Cats, photons and breaking the banking system, 6:30pm, Monash University
Dr Felix Pollock is from the school of Physics and Astronomy.  He works on open quantum systems theory and quantum information theory. His main interests are in characterising and probing quantum dynamics with memory and developing tools to better simulate and control such processes.

Abstract: Our understanding of quantum mechanics underpins modern science and technology; without it, there would be no chemistry,  or modern computing. Experimentally, it has been verified, to extraordinary accuracy, as our best description of how things really behave. However, when looked at closely, quantum physics forces us to make some pretty radical changes to how we view reality. In this talk, I’ll walk you through some of the weirder aspects of existence at the smallest scales. Together we’ll see why certain cats may or may not be simultaneously dead and alive (depending on who you ask), how light can upset Einstein, and how next-generation quantum technologies could lead to the collapse of the banking system (luckily, they might also give us a means to fix it).

Time: 6:30pm
Venue: Theatre S3, 16 Rainforest Walk, Monash University

For information about the public lectures at Monash University,including parking and maps, clickhere.

c) 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.

6.     Events for Teachers


a)  9th – 13th December, AIP Congress: Teaching Nexus – Evolving Physics Education in our Schools, Perth
This year the AIP Congress includes a two day program for teachers on Tuesday and Wednesday.  There are two keynote talks on ‘Science as a Human Endeavour: What does this mean and how can we use it to connect students to the physics’ and ‘How to strengthen physics by making it inclusive’ plus three workshops. The registration fee for the two days is $290. For registration details clickhere. For more details about the program for teachers click here.

7.   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.

a) Ignition pending: Fusion
Reproducing the energy of stars here on Earth could revolutionize how we fuel our lives. But why does fusion energy always seem to be 30 years away?
b) Triumphs and frustrations: The Standard Model
Particle physics has flourished over the past 30 years but, there are still few signs of any cracks in the Standard Model
c) Late summer Arctic sea ice could disappear by 2040
In just two decades the Arctic Ocean is likely to be ice-free during August and September, and by 2060 the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free throughout the summer months, according to a new systematic review.“This will have far-reaching implications, well beyond the Arctic,” says Julienne Stroeve of University College London, UK. “The impact of this sea-ice loss on climate at lower latitudes and sea-level rise will be profound.” But the findings also indicate that Arctic sea-ice could be stabilised if we prevent global warming from overshooting 1.5 °C.
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