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.


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