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 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.

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