Student Forums; ANSTO Events. VicPhys News 4/T2/19

Applications for the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) close on 31st May.  Equity scholarships are available as well as support from Rotary Clubs.
There is an information evening this week about a five day Space and STEM holiday program in September for Years 7 – 10 students.
ANSTO has a Big Ideas Forum for Year 10 students in November.  ANSTO also runs programs at the Synchrotron including PD, lab sessions and tours.  They also have online activities and resources.

The Girls in Physics Breakfast in Melbourne is fully booked.  The date and speaker for the Clayton Breakfast in August are announced below and bookings are now open.

Also check out the story on another decay process with the longest measured half life.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 13th June 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. Synchrotron Tours and Lab sessions and other ANSTO Resources
  2. Mission Discovery: Information Night: Weds, 22nd May
  3. National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) Applications close 31st May
  4. Events for Students and the General Public

5. Events for Teachers

6. Physics News from the Web
a) Physicists spot the signatures of nuclear fusion in a table-top device
b) Exotic nuclear decay observed in dark matter detector
c) Did the Romans build seismic invisibility cloaks?

1. Synchrotron Tours and Lab Sessions and other ANSTO resources
ANSTO runs laboratory sessions in the Australian Synchrotron’s interactive learning centre. They use equipment not normally found in schools. Sessions also include a tour of the Synchrotron where students will obtain a deep understanding of how research using synchrotron and nuclear techniques delivers a wide range of benefits. There is a maximum of 24 students per session.
There are lab sessions on:

  • Interactions of Light and Matter (Unit 4, AoS 1 and 2)
  • Synchrotron and its applications (Unit 2, AoS 2, Option 2.8)

Times are 9:30am to 2:00pm (or as arranged by individual schools).
Cost: For < 13 students, $400 + GST.  For > 12 students, $30 +GST per student.
To book, click here.

Synchrotron Tours are available during term time.
Times are 9:30am to 11:00am (or as arranged by individual schools).
Cost: For < 15 students, $225 + GST.  For > 14 students, $15 +GST per student.
To book, click here.

Videoconference Sessions
In this two-lesson plus homework program, students plan and conduct an investigation first-hand. It gives the students access to high-quality radioactive sources, instruments, and scientific expertise at ANSTO.This program is designed to address content and skill outcomes in the Year 9, Year 10 and Senior Physics.  Teachers can book this program at a time and date that suits their class. Bookings must be made at least 2 weeks before your preferred date.  There is also information available on the required resources and a suggested lesson sequence.

Meet an Expert
In this two-lesson plus homework program, students gather, process and present information about a practicing Australian scientist. There are 11 scientists currently available, each for one to four sessions, with a total of 16 sessions on offer from late May to early September.  There is also a suggested lesson sequence.

Workbooks and Data sets
Most of the workbooks on the ANSTO website relate to excursions to Lucas Heights, but there are several supplementary resources that are stand alone documents and free to download.
There is also a data set from Antarctic ice cores of temperature and concentrations of CO2 and Methane for the last 800,000 years along with a student worksheet.
This webpage also has a link to FARLabs, (Freely Accessible Remote Labs) which is a nuclear remote online laboratory that schools can use to perform experiments with nuclear radiation.

Apps and Posters
There are also a webpage with a few apps on offer and a webpage with several posters to download.

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2. Mission Discovery: Information Night, Weds, 22nd May
Mission Discovery is a five day Space and STEM program for students.  It runs during the September school holidays from 30th Sept to 4th Oct at the University of  Melbourne.  The program is open to Years 7 – 10 students.
The cost per student is $721 + GST with a small discount for groups of 20+ and early bird registration.
For details about the program, click here.
The Information Night on 22nd May is from 6:15pm to 7:45pm. Tickets are free and are availablehere  Venue: University of Melbourne

3. National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) Applications close 31st May
NYSF is a 12 day program for Year 11 students that is run in January each year.  It is run in Brisbane and Canberra over three different periods.  It is designed to give students a broader understanding of the diverse study and career options available in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and to encourage continued studies in these fields.  The program includes site tours, lectures, workshops, social events and activities on communication and presentation skills.
Cost: The standard fee to attend the program in 2020 is $3,150. This fee is all-inclusive, covering the participant’s travel to and from the program from one of the designated ports around Australia, as well as all meals, accommodation, transport during the program and any entry fees.  For those who may have difficulties paying this fee, there are options available.  These are: Equity Scholarships to cover $1000 and contributions from a local Rotary Club that endorses the application.
The NYSF website has further information including how to apply for an Equity Scholarship and how to find your local Rotary Club.

Other major events for students are listed below, check our website for more details:

  • Australian Youth Aerospace Forum for Years 11 and 12 students, held in July in Queensland
  • ConocoPhillips Science Experience for Year 9 students, held at various universities during the various school holidays.

4.   Events for Students and the General Public

a) 29th May.  VCE Lectures: The Big Bang, 6pm, University of Melbourne
The lectures are based directly on the VCE Study Design, and presented by experts in the various areas. Arrive early at 5.30 pm for a drink and snack. The lectures will start at 6 pm and finish at 7.30 pm and will be held in the Hercus Theatre, Physics South Building.
The lecturer for this session is Dr Christian Reichardt. He will explore the observational evidence for the Big Bang, and what we have learned about the early Universe.
To register, click here .  Check here for future lectures.

b) Girls in Physics Breakfasts

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 dates, venues, speakers, topics and Trybooking links are:

  • 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:  For the metropolitan events, there is an initial maximum of  6 students per school, to maximise the number of schools that can participate.
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.
c) 30th May, First Nations, First Astronomers. 5:30pm – 7:30pm, Swinburne University
Join Gunnai and Yorta Yorta custodian Uncle Wayne Thorpe, Kamilaroi woman and astrophysics student Krystal De Napoli, and cultural astronomer Dr Duane Hamacher for an open panel discussion about the many layers of Indigenous astronomical knowledge and exciting happenings in the world of astronomy and space.
Venue: ATC 101 . See map.
To register, click here.

d) ANSTO Big Ideas Forum,  Applications open 31st May.
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 open:  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.

e) 21st June, Vivid Lives of Stars. 6:30pm, Swinburne University
PhD Student, Poojan Agrawal, will present a talk at Room AMDC301.  The abstract is not yet available.  Check here for details.

5.  Events for Teachers
a) Physics in the Pub, 6:30pm, 20th June, Hawthorn

Physics in the Pub is an informal, light-hearted night where physicists, astronomers, theoreticians, engineers and educators share their love of science.

When: 6.30 PM Thursday June 20
Where: Beer Deluxe Hawthorn
Sponsored by the AIP, and the following Centres of Excellence CNBP, OzGrav, FLEET and Exciton Science.

The MC is Dr Phil Dooley, science writer.
You are also invited to get involved, if you wish. You have eight minutes to entertain the audience with stand up, a poem, a song or just a damn-good science talk.  Email philuponscience@gmail.comif you want to be involved.

* Acts are limited to strictly eight minutes.
* There are limited slots available on the night with as many participants as possible; final selection will be based on showcasing a range of performers and experience.
* Available resources at the venue: powerpoint, screen, PC/Mac with sound, microphone, PA sound system, dimmable lights
* Participants will need to inform Phil of their requirements for AV/powerpoint etc before the night, and send videos/presentations for testing at least 24 hrs before the event.
* There will be limited help available for set-up and pack-up, so for heavy or complicated equipment, please BYO roadies.
* Participants must ensure that the stage is clean and tidy for the next participant.

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

Physicists spot the signatures of nuclear fusion in a table-top device
Neutrons characteristic of nuclear fusion have been produced sustainably inside a device that is small enough to fit on a tabletop. Yue Zhang at the University of Washington and colleagues observed the neutrons following efforts to stabilize the accelerated plasma contained within a Z-pinch, a device that for decades has been used by astronomers to recreate the hot plasmas typical of a stellar interior. The new work offers a potential route towards compact fusion-energy generators, as an alternative to large-scale, tokamak-based devices.

A Z-pinch device works by running a strong current along a tube of accelerated plasma, inducing a Lorentz force that generates a strong magnetic field within the plasma. This field “pinches” the plasma by bringing particles closer together – increasing its pressure, and therefore, its temperature.

Exotic nuclear decay observed in dark-matter detector
An exotic and extremely rare nuclear decay that involves the simultaneous capture of two atomic electrons by a xenon-124 nucleus has been observed in a dark-matter detector. Physicists in theXENON Collaboration have measured the half-life of the two-neutrino double electron capture process to be about 1022 years, which is about one trillion times the age of the universe. Studying this rare decay could shed light on a related process called neutrinoless double electron capture, which if observed, would reveal important information about the nature of the neutrino that goes beyond Standard Model of particle physics.

Electron capture is a common mode of nuclear decay that occurs when an atomic electron interacts with a proton in the nucleus to create a neutron and an electron neutrino. Two-neutrino double electron capture occurs when two electrons are captured at once and is a much rarer process. As well as providing important information about the structure of the nucleus, observing two-neutrino double electron capture could help physicists devise experiments to observe neutrinoless double electron capture. This hypothetical process can only occur if the neutrino is its own antiparticle, which is not predicted by the Standard Model. As well as establishing the neutrino as the first elementary particle to be a Majorana fermion, detecting neutrinoless double electron capture would provide important information about the absolute mass of the neutrino.

Did the Romans build seismic invisibility cloaks?

Ancient Romans may have built structures that acted like invisibility cloaks long before physicists had any idea about metamaterials or transformation optics. That is the surprising claim from researchers in France, who found that the pattern of foundations in some Roman theatres and amphitheatres very closely resembles the features of electromagnetic cloaking devices. They say that these “archaeological metamaterials” could have indirectly provided protection against earthquakes, by bending seismic waves around the arenas.

Metamaterials are artificial structures comprising arrays of resonators that manipulate electromagnetic waves or sound in ways not normally found in nature. A mathematical framework called transformation optics has been developed to design novel devices made from metamaterials – including invisibility cloaks that divert microwaves round objects.

One potential application of metamaterials is the creation of structures that divert seismic waves around buildings in order to protect them from earthquakes. The idea is to surround a building with a lattice of holes or solid objects within the soil. When seismic waves within a certain range of wavelengths pass through the lattice, multiple reflections in the lattice interfere with one another destructively to create a band gap that results in a significant reduction in the shaking of the building.

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