Climate Science, Study Design Survey. Vicphys News 1/T4/19

This newsletter focuses on resources for Climate Science.  The item in the last newsletter about the survey for the Review of the Physics Study Design is repeated here, the closing date is 18th October.

There are also dates for Physics Days at Luna Park, competition entries and a Brian Cox event in November.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 17th October 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. Teaching Resources for Climate Science
  2. Survey for Review of Physics Study Design
  3. Entries for Physics Competitions entries are due this week.
  4. Physics Days at Luna Park: Bookings for 2020 are now open
  5. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
  6. Events for Students and General Public
  • The Cosmic Perspective, 6:30pm, 18th October, Swinburne University
  • Brian Cox, A Symphonic Universe, 11:00am, 15th November, Hamer Hall, Arts Centre
  • Mystery Guest, 7:00pm, 29th November, Swinburne University

7. Physics News from the Web

  • Atoms clocked at 8000 km/s as they race towards supermassive black holes
  • The invisibility of length contraction
  • The Twisty Physics of Simone Biles’ Historic Triple-Double.
1. Teaching Resources for Climate Science

  • The US National Centre for Science Education has developed and tested five lessons plans on ‘Turning Misinformation into Educational Opportunities’.  Each package has the lesson plan, supplementary material, a goggle folder of extra material and a webinar on the package.  There are packages on i) Scientific Consensus, ii) Climate Models, iii) Past vs Present Climate Change, iv) Local Climate Impacts and v) Climate Solutions. Also check their ‘Classroom Resources’ under ‘Teach’.
  • The Perimeter Institute has produced resources titled ‘Evidence for Climate Change’. It is an inquiry-based educational resource. Hands-on activities focused on heat, carbon dioxide, and thermal expansion explore the essential science behind climate change. Students are introduced to the observational data for climate change and the climate models that describe the principal factors involved. Opportunities are provided throughout the resource for students to consider how they contribute to both the problem and the solution. Please note: The zipped folder that contains this resource is 1 GB and can take about 5 minutes to download on an average connection.
  • The NASA Climate Change website has links to nine different US websites of educational material of different styles and for different age groups. The websites are by groups such as JPL, NOAA, US Dept of Energy, the National Science Digital Library and several by NASA itself.

Submitted by Barbara McKinnon

2. Survey for Review of Physics Study Design
VCAA is conducting a review of the Physics Study Design.  They have asked Vicphysics to conduct a survey of physics teachers on aspects of Units 1 and 2 of the current study design to inform the development of the next study design.

The survey is anonymous and responses will be treated with strict confidentiality.  Vicphysics will provide the VCAA with a report of the aggregated data.  The survey will close on 18th October.  The survey can be accessed here.

3.  Physics Competitions entries are due this week
Vicphysics runs three competitions:

4. Physics Days at Luna Park: Bookings for 2020 are now open.
The dates for 2020 are Tuesday, 3rd March to Friday, 6th March.
Bookings are due to open today for next year’s Physics Days at Luna Park, click on ‘Events’.  You can make a booking for a particular day this year and change your day once your timetable for 2020 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.

5. 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 seven.  This web page will be updated every weekend.
The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for the service.

6.  Events for Students and General Public

a) The Cosmic Perspective , 6:30pm, 18th October, Swinburne University
Dr Ned Taylor from the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University will present the talk in EN103.  For more details and to book, click here.

b)  Brian Cox, A Symphonic Universe, 11:00am, 15th November, Hamer Hall, Arts Centre
An MSO Education Concert for upper primary and secondary students.  Be whisked through space and time by Professor Cox in this science meets music, special schools-only event. Joining Professor Cox on stage will be conductor Daniel Harding, to lead the Orchestra through some of classical music’s most universal repertoire.

MSO Education Concerts for secondary schools offer you and your students the opportunity to explore the power of music in colourful, engaging, narrative-based concert experiences.

Recommended for secondary school-aged students, with broader suitability at the discretion of teachers.

To discuss the suitability of this content to the learning interests and needs of your students, please feel free to contact the MSO education team: schools@mso.com.au.
Important information
Ticket price: $17 per ticket, one free teacher per 10 students  Duration: 50min.
To book tickets, click here.

c) Mystery Guest, 7:00pm, 29th November, Swinburne University
A special End of Year Lecture in ATC101.  For more details and to book, click here.

7.   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.

Atoms clocked at 5000 km/s as they race towards supermassive black holes

Observations of gas being sucked into the supermassive black holes at the centres of quasars have shed new light on how the astronomical objects convert gravitational energy into vast amounts of outgoing radiation. Hongyan Zhou at the Polar Research Institute of China and colleagues measured the speed of the in-falling gas and confirmed that it was being supplied by “dusty tori” that surround quasars.

The invisibility of length contraction
The idea that objects contract in length when they travel near the speed of light is a widely accepted consequence of Einstein’s special relativity. But if you could observe such an object, it wouldn’t look shorter at all – bizarrely, it would seem to have been rotated, as David Appell explains.

You might not have heard of this phenomenon before, but it’s often called the “Terrell effect” or “Terrell rotation”. It’s named after James Terrell – a physicist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US, who first came up with the idea in 1957. The apparent rotation of an object moving near the speed of light is, in essence, a consequence of the time it takes light rays to travel from various points on the moving body to an observer’s eyes.

The Twisty Physics of Simone Biles’ Historic Triple-Double

Simone Biles appears to defy the laws of physics with this epic tumbling pass from the 2019 US Gymnastics Championships. It’s called a triple-double. That means she rotates around an axis going through her hips twice while at the same time rotating about an axis going from head to toe THREE times. Yes, it’s difficult—but it doesn’t defy physics, it uses physics.

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