Wireless charging, ScienceXArt Comp’n. Vicphys News 5/T2/19

Wireless charging is becoming a common technology that uses electromagnetic induction.  Searching has found a few useful articles that explore current practice and future applications.
There is also a competition linking art to the Periodic Table.

Last week’s Girls in Physics Breakfast was the largest yet, with over 160 people. The date and speaker for the Clayton Breakfast in August are announced below and bookings are now open.

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. Wireless Charging: An application of Electromagnetic Induction
  2. Events for Students and the General Public

3. Events for Teachers

4. Physics News from the Web

  •   New definition of kilogram comes into force.
  •   More voltage from bending silicone rubber.
  •   Physics of rowing oars.
 1. Wireless Charging: An application of Electromangnetic Induction
Wireless charging, or more correctly ‘inductive charging’ is now a common technology with new mobile phones using the transformer principle, but without an iron core.  It is a technology with an increasing number of applications.  Some current areas of wireless charging research include:

  • surgical implants
  • electric vehicles
  • public transport
  • charging lane for self driving vehicles
  • solar power satellite
  • powered home appliances from a single source
  • universal power source for communications in an emergency

Some webpages with useful explanations of the technology:

Some articles with an extended discussions of the technology and applications:

2.   Events for Students and the General Public

a) 12th June. VCE Lectures: Special Relativity, 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 David Simpson. He asks what is special about relativity and is it really all relative?
To register, click here .  Check here for future lectures.

b) 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.

c) 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.

d) 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.

e) 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, any remaining 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.

3.  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.

4.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletins of the Institute of Physics (UK) and American Physical Society (APS).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.

New definition of the kilogram comes into force
The redefinition of four units of the International System of Units (SI) will come into effect on Monday 20 May meaning that all seven base units are now based on fundamental physical constants. The kilogram, the ampere, the kelvin and the mole are now defined in terms of physical constants rather than an object or phenomenon. The decision to redefine of the four SI base unitswas taken in November 2018 when metrologists and policy-makers from 60 countries around the world met at the General Conference on Weights and Measures in Versailles, France. The change will now become a reality on 20 May to mark World Metrology Day.

There are seven base units of the SI: the second, metre, kilogram, ampere, kelvin, mole and candela.  Some have long been based on physical constants. The second, for example, is set as 9,192,631,770 times the period of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom. The metre, meanwhile, has been defined since 1983 as the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1/299,792,458 seconds.

More Voltage from Bending Silicone Rubber
Flexoelectric materials generate a voltage when bent, a property that could be useful in engineering delicate sensors or energy harvesting devices, such as clothes that would produce electricity when a person walks. Researchers have now shown that adding a layer of charge to the middle of a flexible polymer bar can boost the effect by 100 times. The team says that with further development, the effect could be used in real devices within five years.

Physics of rowing oars
Abstract. In each rowing sport, the oars have their very own characteristics most of the time selected through a long time experience. Here we address experimentally and theoretically the problem of rowing efficiency as function of row lengths and blade sizes.  In contrast with previous studies which consider imposed kinematics, we set an imposed force framework which is closer to human constraints. We find that optimal row lengths and blade sizes depend on sports and athlete’s strength, and we provide an optimisation scheme.

 

 

 

Advertisements

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.

Return to top

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.

Return to top

Online Enrichment, Prac ideas. Vicphys News 2/T2/19

The Perimeter Institute’s free online enrichment courses on Gravity and Quantum Physics may interest some VCE students, bookings close this Friday.
Resources and presentations from the Beginning Physics Teachers In-Service, held during the holidays, are now on the website.
Bookings for the Girls in Physics Breakfasts are closing soon. The closing date for the Bendigo event is next week and the Wodonga and Melbourne Breakfasts in the weeks after that.  The Melbourne Breakfast in also filling quickly.  The date and speaker for the Clayton Breakfast in August are announced below.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 9th May 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. Resources from the Beginning Physics Teachers’ In-Service
  2. Free Online Enrichment Courses for Students on Gravity and Quantum Physics. Closes soon
  3. Events for Students and the General Public

4. Physics News from the Web
a)  LHCb bags another pentaquark
b) Billion volt thunderstorm studied using muons
c) Jest of air reduce drag on a model car

 

1.  Resources from the Beginning Physics Teachers’ In-Service
The In-Service held during the recent holidays attracted 35 participants. This year’s program had additional sessions.
  • A presentation on probing and enhancing students’ conceptual understanding by Dr Barbara McKnnon from Kew High School and
  • A display of 21 practical activities from across all Units and most Area of Study.
The powerpoint and the worksheets for the activities are on our website.
2.  Free Online Enrichment Courses on Gravity and Quantum Physics from the Perimeter Institute. Closes soon.
The Perimeter Institute (PI) offers two courses for keen senior students.  The closing date is this Friday morning, Toronto Time.  The courses run from 3rd May to 20th May.Online Course Format: Both two-week courses include a series of modules with video content, slides with interactive exercises, and opportunities to test your knowledge including Predict-Observe-Compare (POC) activities. Feedback from your course instructor and discussion forums with fellow students are all part of the experience. Each course takes approximately 10-15 hours to complete.Gravity Course Abstract: What keeps us stuck to the Earth? Gravity right?! But what is gravity? In this course, we will explore competing models of gravity from Newton’s intuitive force model to Einstein’s ground-breaking curved spacetime model. This course is an introduction to the key concepts that underlie general relativity and is recommended for students with at least a conceptual introduction to Newton’s force model for gravity. Topics include: process of science, model building, Newton’s force model, the equivalence principle, curved spacetime.

Quantum World Course Abstract: What is weird and mysterious about the Quantum World? In this course, we will explore quantum subatomic particles and discover that on small scales, the Universe is different! This is an introductory course to quantum mechanics and includes topics like the double slit experiment, electromagnetic spectrum, photons, photoelectric effect, wave-particle duality and the de Broglie relation.

Students can click here to register and for more details.

2.    Events for Students and the General Public

a) 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.

There are six remaining Breakfasts to be held in May this year at Geelong, Warrnambool, Bendigo, Wodonga,  central Melbourne and now one at Clayton.  Bookings for Geelong close this afternoon.

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:

  • 3rd May, Geelong Speaker: Dr Ellen Moon, Deakin University, Topic: Science in the Antarctic: Where can STEM take you? Closing date: 3:30pm Tuesday, 30th AprilTrybookings
  • 10th May, Warrnambool Speaker: Dr Gail Iles, RMIT, Topic: Human spaceflight and science in space. Closing date: 10:00am, Weds, 8th May Trybookings
  • 17th May, Bendigo Speaker: Dr Judy Hart, University of  New South Wales, Topic: Developing new materials for renewable energy. Closing date: 10:00am, Fri, 10th May. Trybookings
  • 24th May, Wodonga Speaker Adelle Wright, ANU, Topic: Nuclear Fusion: An Australian Perspective. Closing date: 10:00am, Thurs, 16th May.  Trybookings
  • 30th May, Melbourne Speaker: Dr Susie Sheehy, University of Melbourne and Oxford University, Topic: Colliding worlds: Using particle physics to cure cancer. Closing date:10:00am, Tues, 21st May. Trybookings
  • 28th August, Clayton Speaker: Dr Helen Maynard-Casely, ANSTO, Topic: Yet to be finalised.  Bookings are yet to open.

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.

b) 8th May, Amusement Park Physics Day, 10am – 2pm, Gumbuya World
Ciderhouse is organising a physics day at Gumbuya World at Tynong North in Gippsland.
Cost: Students: $39 includes admission, rides and lunch
Teachers: $12 includes admission, tea and coffee and lunch
There are also professional development sessions on i) electronic data analysis by Doug Bail (90 min) and ii) e-learning by Pearson Publishing.
For more details and to book click here and then click “Gumbuya World bookings’

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

5.   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) LHCb bags another pentaquark

A new pentaquark – an exotic hadron comprising five quarks – has been discovered by physicists working on the LHCb experiment at CERN. LHCb scientists have also found that a feature in their data that had previously been associated with one pentaquark could be evidence for two pentaquarks with similar masses.

Preliminary analysis of the three pentaquarks suggests that they have a molecular structure that resembles a meson bound to a baryon. Gaining a better understanding of how pentaquarks are bound together could provide important insights into the strong force and quantum chromodynamics.

b ) Billion-volt thunderstorm studied using muons

A thundercloud with a record-breaking voltage of 1.3 GV has been observed by physicists in India and Japan.  Sunil Gupta at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai and colleagues calculated the voltage from changes in the intensity of atmospheric muons detected by the GRAPES-3 muon telescope. The existence of such high voltages could explain the origin of the mysterious, high-energy gamma-ray flashes, which are occasionally seen in cloud tops during thunderstorms.

 c)  Jets of air reduce drag on a model car

Blasting jets of air many times a second from the back of a car is an energy-efficient way of reducing air drag – according to a team of academic and industrial researchers. The team is now doing further studies of the effect to see if it could be used to create vehicles that are more energy efficient.

Return to top

Black Hole, Grade Points & Dark Skies. Vicphys News 1/T2/19

Welcome back to Term 2, this newsletter has some recently released resources.

  • A constructed image of a Black Hole was released during the holidays.  The Perimeter Institute has already produced some curriculum support material.
  • The Grade Points for last year’s Physics exam are now available on VCAA’s website.
  • Dark Sky site with Astronomical Society of Victoria
  • The Girls in Physics Breakfasts are coming up in May.  Bookings close early in Term 2.  The date and speaker for the Clayton Breakfast in August are announced below.

Please note: The Vicphysics Website is temporarily down, but it is expected to be up and running later today, Tuesday, 23rd April
.
The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 9th May 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. Image of Black Hole: Classroom Resources
  2. Grade Distribution for 2018 VCE Physics Exam
  3. Dark Sky Site: Astronomical Society of Victoria (ASV)
  4. Events for Students and the General Public

5. Physics News from the Web
a)  Physicists spot the signatures of nuclear fusion in a table top device
b)  Language learning in children is like a phase transition
c) Seeing the unseeable: The impact and legacy of the first black hole images.

1.  Image of Black Hole: Classroom Resources
The Perimeter Institute has produced a new resource explaining the results from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT).  It is a nine page document including a lesson plan.

There are also two posters available for download.  The PI website has a comprehensive news story, summary videos, and a panel discussion explaining the results.

PI also has an interactive simulation which challenges students to align the EHT telescopes.

Finally there are two short activities: Seeing Black Holes and Biggest Radio Telescope just got Bigger

2.  Grade Distribution for 2018 VCE Physics Exam
The distribution of grades is now available on the VCAA website.  It gives the raw score cut off for each letter grade (out of 260 because of double marking) as well as the percentage of male and female candidates who received that letter grade.
The Vicphysics website has a spreadsheet of this data for exams going back to 1999.  The file ‘Grade Points’  is in the webpage on ‘Revision and Exam Solutions’ and is at the bottom of the webpage.
Last year’s students did not score as well on the 2018 paper as the 2017 students did on the 2017 paper.

The total number of students was about 7500, which is where it has been for the last few years. The percentage of female students was 22.5%, having been as low as 20% in 2013.  It was about 25% at the turn of the century and as high as 27% in the 1990’s.  The percentage of the age cohort doing Year 12 physics has been just over 11% for the last few years, with just over 17% for boys and just over 5% for girls.

3. Dark Sky Site: Astronomical Society of Victoria (ASV)
The ASV has a Dark Sky site about 90 minutes drive from Melbourne at Heathcote. It is available for members at any time.  They are also holding a Dark Sky Night for members on the evening of Saturday, 28th April.  Click here for membership details.

4.    Events for Students and the General Public

a) 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.

There are six remaining Breakfasts to be held in May this year at Geelong, Warrnambool, Bendigo, Wodonga,  central Melbourne and now one at Clayton.

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:

  • 3rd May, Geelong Speaker: Dr Ellen Moon, Deakin University, Topic: Science in the Antarctic: Where can STEM take you? Closing date: 10:00am Friday, 26th April Trybookings
  • 10th May, Warrnambool Speaker: Dr Gail Iles, RMIT, Topic: Human spaceflight and science in space. Closing date: 3:00pm, Weds, 1st May Trybookings
  • 17th May, Bendigo Speaker: Dr Judy Hart, University of  New South Wales, Topic: Developing new materials for renewable energy. Closing date: 10:00am, Fri, 10th May. Trybookings
  • 24th May, Wodonga Speaker Adelle Wright, ANU, Topic: Nuclear Fusion: An Australian Perspective. Closing date: 10:00am, Thurs, 16th May.  Trybookings
  • 30th May, Melbourne Speaker: Dr Susie Sheehy, University of Melbourne and Oxford University, Topic: Colliding worlds: Using particle physics to cure cancer. Closing date:10:00am, Tues, 21st May. Trybookings
  • 28th August, Clayton Speaker: Dr Helen Maynard-Casely, ANSTO, Topic: Yet to be finalised.  Bookings are yet to open.

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.

b) 8th May, Amusement Park Physics Day, 10am – 2pm, Gumbuya World
Ciderhouse is organising a physics day at Gumbuya World at Tynong North in Gippsland.
Cost: Students: $39 includes admission, rides and lunch
Teachers: $12 includes admission, tea and coffee and lunch
There are also professional development sessions on i) electronic data analysis by Doug Bail (90 min) and ii) e-learning by Pearson Publishing.
For more details and to book click here and then click “Gumbuya World bookings’
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) 21st June, Vivid Lives of Stars. 6:30pm, Swinburne University
PhD Student, Poojan Agrawal, will present a talk at AMDC301.  The abstract is not yet available.  Check here for details.

5.   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) 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.

b) Language learning in children is like a phase transition
New research suggests that the sudden ability of young children to understand and form complex sentences is comparable to a physical phase transition. Using principles from statistical mechanics, Eric DeGiuli at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris has explained the abrupt transition by comparing a child’s learning of language with the freezing of water

c) Seeing the unseeable: the impact and legacy of the first black-hole images
For the last two decades, we’ve been living through a “golden age” in astronomy. We’ve mappedfluctuations in the cosmic microwave background, spotted thousands of extrasolar planets and measured the accelerating expansion of the universe. And then, in 2016, gravitational waves were detected for the first time, opening an entire new window on the cosmos, including the sight of colliding black holes and neutron stars.

But those breakthroughs have been matched – and possibly even eclipsed – by the first-ever image of a black hole, which were released earlier this week.

Girls in Physics Breakfasts & Competitions for students. VicPhys News 6/T1/19

Vicphysics runs several events for students.

The Girls in Physics Breakfasts are an opportunity for students to share a table with two or three women engaged in or preparing for a career in physics or engineering.  They have an extended discussion about what they do, what they like about it and what university is like.  There is a speaker as well as activities on careers in STEM followed by a Q & panel with some of the women present.
The Breakfasts are in May across the state, but bookings close early in Term 2, so check it out now.

The other popular events are:

  • Poster Competition for Unit 2 Practical Investigation which has produced some quality entries, and
  • Photo and Video Contests.

The In-Service for Beginning Physics Teachers on Monday, 8th April at Kew High School is very popular.  Bookings close Wednesday, 3rd April.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 9th May 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. Girls in Physics Breakfasts
  2. Poster Competition for Unit 2 Practical Investigations
  3. Physics Photo Contest
  4. Physics Video Contest
  5. Events for Students and the General Public
  6. Events for Teachers

7. Physics News from the Web
a)  Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity passes a supermassive test
b) Harnessing heat from the shallow Earth
c) Evidence for Dark Matter could be trapped in ancient rocks

1. 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.

There are five remaining Breakfasts to be held in May this year at Geelong, Warrnambool, Bendigo, Wodonga and central Melbourne.

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 and topics are:

  • 3rd May, Geelong Speaker: Dr Ellen Moon, Deakin University, Topic: Science in the Antarctic: Where can STEM take you?
  • 10th May, Warrnambool Speaker: Dr Gail Iles, RMIT, Topic: Human spaceflight and science in space
  • 17th May, Bendigo Speaker: Dr Judy Hart, University of  New South Wales, Topic: Developing new materials for renewable energy
  • 24th May, Wodonga Speaker Dr Adelle Wright, ANU, Topic: Nuclear Fusion: An Australian Perspective
  • 30th May, Melbourne Speaker: Dr Susie Sheehy, University of Melbourne and Oxford University, Topic: Colliding worlds: Using particle physics to cure cancer.
  • Late July, Clayton The date, venue and speaker are yet to be finalised.

Cost: $15 per student with teachers free, a discounted fee is available to schools with a low ICSEA rank.  See website for details.
For more details including flyers to promote each event to your students and how to book please go to the Vicphysics webpage

2.  Poster Competition for Unit 2 Practical Investigation
Unit 2 of the VCE Physics Study Design includes an Area of Study titled ‘Practical Investigation’. Each student “develops a question to investigate, plans a course of action that attempts to answer the question, undertakes an investigation to collect data, organises and interprets the data, and reaches a conclusion in response to the question.” The student can present their findings as a poster.

To encourage students to undertake topics of some depth, to design effective experimental designs and then thoroughly analyse their data, the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network is offering up to 10 prizes for posters that exemplify quality investigations.

Lists of possible topics and templates for the design of the poster are available here.
Prizes: Each prize will be a book voucher for $100. There will be a maximum of 10 prizes.
Criteria: Each prize winner must satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • an innovative topic
  • a comprehensive set of variables are identified
  • a detailed procedure
  • precise measurements across wide range of values
  • a thorough data analysis
  • an insight into the physical meaning of the results
  • an effective communication design to the poster

Entries must be submitted as a one page pdf.  They must be sent as an email attachment by the teacher to Vicphysics by the second Friday of Term 4, with the email providing:

  • student’s name
  • title of investigation
  • Teacher’s name
  • Teacher’s email address
  • School name

There is a maximum of two prizes per school.  For more details and examples of previous entries.

3.    Physics Photo Contest
The photos should involve everyday situations that may demonstrate a variety of physics concepts or a set up to show a particular physics concept or related set of concepts.
Prize pool: up to $1000
Entry: The photo must be submitted as an email attachment and accompanied by a statement of 250 words or less describing the physics in the photo and must be written by the entrant.
Entrants may submit more than one photo, however each entrant can receive only one prize.  More details about the Contest Rules and Entry Agreement can be found here.
Closing Date: Photos will be accepted until the first Friday of Term 4.

4.     Physics Video Contest 
The contest is open to students in Victorian schools.  Entrants must submit their video either as an email attachment or on a DVD. Videos must be in MP4 or Quicktime format, or a format suitable for video streaming. The video should relate to some aspect of the VCE Physics Curriculum.   Students could use the videos by Dr Derek Muller, as a guide to how to structure a video. His videos can be found at his website, Veritasium.
Prize pool: up to $1000
Advice and information about the contest rules and entry agreement can be found here .
Entry: The video may not be longer than three minutes in length.  Professional editing is not required.  Please note: Unsafe practices will not be accepted.
Closing Date:  The first Friday of Term 4.

5.    Events for Students and the General Public

a) Friday, 29th March: Watching a Little Gas Cloud on its Way into the Galactic Supermassive Black Hole  6:30pm, Swinburne University
Speaker: Prof Andreas Burkert, Ludwig Maximalians University, Munich
Venue: Swinburne University, Hawthorn campus, ATC building, ATC101 (Enter from Burwood Road)
Map: http://www.swinburne.edu.au/media/swinburneeduau/about-swinburne/docs/pdfs/hawthorn-map.pdf
Registration and Details: For further information and registration, please click here.

b) 8th May, Amusement Park Physics Day, 10am – 2pm, Gumbuya World
Ciderhouse is organising a physics day at Gumbuya World at Tynong North in Gippsland.
Cost: Students: $39 includes admission, rides and lunch
Teachers: $12 includes admission, tea and coffee and lunch
There are also professional development sessions on i) electronic data analysis by Doug Bail (90 min) and ii) e-learning by Pearson Publishing.
For more details and to book click here and then click “Gumbuya World bookings’

6.     Events for Teachers
a) Monday, 8th April: Beginning Physics Teachers In-Service, Kew High School

Vicphysics will be running a full day in-service on Monday, 8th April at Kew High School.  The event is free, lunch is provided and travel support is available for country participants.
The event is for:

  • Teachers beginning their teaching career,
  • Teachers returning to physics teaching and
  • Teachers who have been asked by their school to take a VCE Physics class

The program will include:

  • Information on course planning, resources, teaching strategies, assessment techniques, advice of teaching specific topics and suggestions from some of last year’s participants after teaching physics for the first time in 2018,
  • Andrew Hansen, Chief Assessor for the Physics exam, from Ringwood Secondary College on Exam advice.

To register please complete the details on this Vicphysics webpage. . It also has information about last year’s program.

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)  Einstein’s general theory of relativity passes a supermassive test
A key aspect of Einstein’s general theory of relativity (GR) has been tested using the strongest gravitational field so far.  The measurement was made by observing changes in optical absorption lines of a star orbiting close to Sagittarius A* – the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way.

b) Harnessing heat from the shallow Earth
When it comes to developing low-carbon technology solutions, one of the answers lies right beneath our feet. Ground-source heat pumps harness the heat from the shallow Earth – providing a source of renewable energy for heating (and sometimes cooling) buildings.  As with all renewable energy, however, the uptake of these systems is dependent on a range of economic and political factors, which can vary widely between nations.

c) Evidence for dark matter could be trapped in ancient rocks
Ancient rocks hidden deep underground could hold important clues about the nature of dark matter – according to physicists in Sweden and Poland. The idea is that dark-matter collisions should create nanoscale defects in the crystalline structure of rock – and this damage could be measured using modern microscopy techniques. Indeed, the team estimates that hundreds of thousands of defects could be present in just one cubic centimetre of rock.

Return to top

Vic students in International Physics Comp’n. Vicphys News 5/T1/19

Three students from John Monash Science School are in the five member Australian team that will be competing at the International Young Physicists’ Tournament in Poland later this year.  Read about how they won their spot.

There are five Girls in Physics Breakfasts across Victoria in May, there is sure to be one near you.

This newsletter has an impressive article by Paul Davies exploring the links between Quantum Physics and DNA in ‘What is Life?’  plus an opportunity to preview the new road safety excursion at the Melbourne Museum and another amusement park event is on offer, this time at Gumbuya Park in Gippsland and organised by Ciderhouse.   Also a school is seeking a physics teacher urgently.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 9th May 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. Victorian students to compete at International Physics Event
  2. Outreach Workshops at La Trobe University
  3. Road to Zero: Education Experience,  Museum Victoria, Launch 4:30pm, 26th March
  4. Physics position at Mornington Peninsula School
  5. Events for Students and the General Public
  6. Events for Teachers

7. Physics News from the Web
a) What is Life? Paul Davies in The Monthly
b) Modernising Classical Physics
c) Structural capacitors prepare for takeoff

1. Victorian students to compete at International Physics Event
Three students from John Monash Science School, along with a student from The Hutchins School in Tasmania and another from Brisbane Girls’ Grammar School will be the Australian team to compete in the International Young Physicists’ Tournament (IYPT) in Poland in July this year.
The students from JMSS were the winning team in the Australian Young Physicists’ Tournament held in Brisbane last December.
The purpose of IYPT is to develop scientific thinking, research skills, communication skills and teamwork.The teams conduct extended experimental investigations into a selection of common topics and then present their findings to other teams and also challenge the findings of other teams.
A set of 17 topics are released in August. A subset of 7 are selected for the Australian competition from which each team researched 3. In preparation for the international competition, the Australian team will experimentally research the other topics so that they have a total of 14 topics covered.

The IYPT topics make excellent topics for the Unit 2 and Unit 4 practical investigations.
Some topics from the current competition are:

  • Looping Pendulum. Connect two loads, one heavy and one light, with a string over a horizontal rod and lift up the heavy load by pulling down the light one. Release the light load and it will sweep around the rod, keeping the heavy load from falling to the ground. Investigate this phenomenon.
  • Funnel and ball. A light ball (e.g. ping-pong ball) can be picked up with a funnel by blowing air through the funnel. Explain the phenomenon and investigate the relevant parameters
  • Newton’s Cradle. The oscillations of a Newton’s cradle will gradually decay until the spheres come to rest. Investigate how the rate of decay of a Newton’s cradle depends on relevant parameters such as the number, material, and alignment of the spheres.
  • Icy Pole Chain Reaction.  Wooden icy pole sticks can be joined together by slightly bending each of them so that they interlock in a so-called “cobra weave” chain. When such a chain has one of its ends released, the sticks rapidly dislodge, and a wave front travels along the chain. Investigate the phenomenon.
  • Hurricane Balls. Two steel balls that are joined together can be spun at incredibly high frequency by first spinning them by hand and then blowing on them through a tube, e.g. a drinking straw. Explain and investigate this phenomenon.
  • Sci-Fi Sound. Tapping a helical spring can make a sound like a “laser shot” in a science-fiction movie. Investigate and explain this phenomenon.
  • Gyroscopic Teslameter. A spinning gyroscope made from a conducting, but nonferromagnetic material slows down when placed in a magnetic field. Investigate how the deceleration depends on relevant parameters.

For a list of topics from recent Tournaments, check the Unit 2 AoS page or the Unit 4 AoS pageunder Resources.

2. Outreach Workshops at La Trobe University
La Trobe University offers workshops at the Bendigo and Melbourne campuses on:

  • Unit 1: Radioactivity
  • Unit 3: Transmission of Electric Power
  • Unit 4: Photoelectric Effect.

The cost is $15 per student and each session runs for two hours. For more details, check their presentation at the Physics Teachers’ Conference for session C14 or their website.

3. Road to Zero: Education Experience, Melbourne Museum, 4:30pm, 26th March
Melbourne Museum have launched new curriculum-aligned programs for Year 9 and 10 Science and Health, and VCAL
They invite teachers to a preview event on Tuesday, 26th March, 4.30-6:00pm, where you can test this world class educational facility before you bring in your students.
This is a free event but BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL.
More information 
Road to Zero provides an engaging and immersive exploration of the scientific principles of road safety and public health campaign development using the latest technologies. The programs are specifically designed to address the Victorian Science and Health & PE curriculum for Year 9, 10 and VCAL.

The experience allows students to work out for themselves (in a safe environment) why bodies aren’t built to survive the impact of severe crashes and how we can create a safer future.
The preview event will include:

  • A guided tour of the recently opened Road to Zero Experience Space and opportunity to ‘test’ the high-tech activities.
  • See the modern Learning Studios where students can reflect on their learning and apply it to curriculum-linked activities.
  • Learn about pre- and post-visit lesson plans and worksheets that support Road to Zero excursions.
  • Opportunity to network and socialise with peers and learning specialists.

All participants will receive a complimentary IMAX Melbourne voucher to watch a film later in the evening.

4.  Physics position at a Mornington Peninsula School
Mount Eliza Secondary College is seeking a physics teacher for an immediate start.  It can be part time or full time with both a Year 11 and 12 class and some maths and general science.
If you are interested, please contact the Principal, Angela Pollard on 9787 6288.

5.    Events for Students and the General Public

a) Friday, 29th March: Watching a Little Gas Cloud on its Way into the Galactic Supermassive Black Hole  6:30pm, Swinburne University
Speaker: Prof Andreas Burkert, Ludwig Maximalians University, Munich
Venue: Swinburne University, Hawthorn campus, ATC building, ATC101 (Enter from Burwood Road)
Map: http://www.swinburne.edu.au/media/swinburneeduau/about-swinburne/docs/pdfs/hawthorn-map.pdf
Registration and Details: For further information and registration, please click here.

b) Girls in Physics Breakfasts in 2019
This year there will be two extra country breakfasts, in Warrnambool and Wodonga.
The dates, venues, speakers and topics are:

  • 22nd March, Ballarat Speaker: Dr Dianne Ruka, Monash University, Topic: Future Computing and Low Energy Electronics. Fully Booked
  • 3rd May, Geelong Speaker: Dr Ellen Moon, Deakin University, Topic: Science in the Antarctic: Where can STEM take you?
  • 10th May, Warrnambool Speaker: Dr Gail Iles, RMIT, Topic: Human spaceflight and science in space
  • 17th May, Bendigo Speaker: Dr Judy Hart, University of  New South Wales, Topic: Developing new materials for renewable energy
  • 24th May, Wodonga Speaker Dr Adelle Wright, ANU, Topic: Nuclear Fusion: An Australian Perspective
  • 30th May, Melbourne Speaker: Dr Susie Sheehy, University of Melbourne and Oxford University, Topic: Colliding worlds: Using particle physics to cure cancer.
  • Late July, Clayton The date, venue and speaker are yet to be finalised.

For more details including flyers and how to book please go to the Vicphysics webpage

c) 8th May, Amusement Park Physics Day, 10am – 2pm, Gumbuya World
Ciderhouse is organising a physics day at Gumbuya World at Tynong North in Gippsland.
Cost: Students: $39 includes admission, rides and lunch
Teachers: $12 includes admission, tea and coffee and lunch
There are also professional development sessions on i) electronic data analysis by Doug Bail (90 min) and ii) e-learning by Pearson Publishing.
For more details and to book click here and then click “Gumbuya World bookings’

6.     Events for Teachers
a) Monday, 8th April: Beginning Physics Teachers In-Service, Kew High School

Vicphysics will be running a full day in-service on Monday, 8th April at Kew High School.  The event is free, lunch is provided and travel support is available for country participants.
The event is for:

  • Teachers beginning their teaching career,
  • Teachers returning to physics teaching and
  • Teachers who have been asked by their school to take a VCE Physics class

The program will include:

  • Information on course planning, resources, advice of teaching specific topics and suggestions from some of last year’s participants after teaching physics for the first time in 2018,
  • Andrew Hansen, Chief Assessor for the Physics exam, from Ringwood Secondary College on Exam advice.

To register please complete the details on this Vicphysics webpage. . It also has information about last year’s program.

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) What is Life? by Paul Davies in The Monthly.
This is an extended article by physicist, Paul Davies, exploring the links between Quantum Physics, Thermodynamics,  Information theory and DNA. The article is in The Monthly which allows new readers access to one free article a month. The article begins by referring to Erwin Schrodinger’s famous book of the same title.

b) Modernising Classical Physics
Physics education has a high inertia towards change. While high-school students in today’s biology labs are doing genetic engineering and making bacteria glow green, while students in physics labs are still dropping lead weights and finding differences of squares almost the same way as Galileo did back in 1610. Even as undergraduates, physicists end up learning about topics that were last researched seriously about 100 years ago. The time is overdue for the physics curriculum to catch up with the times.

Open any textbook on modern physics and you will see chapters on the usual topics: special relativity, quantum mechanics, atomic physics, nuclear physics, solid-state physics, particle physics and astrophysics. Missing, however, are modern topics in dynamics that most physicists will use in their careers such as nonlinearity, chaos, network theory, econophysics, game theory, neural nets and curved geometry among many others.

c) Structural capacitors prepare for takeoff
Energy-storage devices that perform multiple functions, such as powering a vehicle and letting it withstand mechanical loads, offer several potential benefits, as Natasha Shirshova explains

Consider an electric car. Whether your image is of a Nissan Leaf, a Tesla Model S or a BMW i3, such vehicles essentially consist of two main parts. There is an electrical part (the battery and the motor) and a structural part (the body of the car). The battery’s only job is to store and distribute electrical energy. Its structural function, as far as it has one, depends solely on the properties of its casing and is generally limited to protecting the battery itself. The car body, meanwhile, provides structural integrity but stores no electrical energy. In some circumstances, however, it may be possible (and indeed desirable) to combine these two aspects into a single material – one that can perform both structural and energy-storage functions.

As their name suggests, such multifunctional structural materials simultaneously carry out two or more functions that would normally have to be addressed separately. For example, a structural role might combine with optical, electrical, magnetic or thermal properties. In some cases, entire complex devices can be built either within or from the primary structural material.

Return to top

Conf Proceedings, Exam Report – Vicphys News 3/T1/19

The 2019 Physics Teachers’ Conference was held last Friday. Some of the presenters and the Chief Assessor, Andrew Hansen, have already provided their workshop material. Videos of the two addresses are also available.

Andrew mentioned at the conference that his report on the 2018 Physics Exam is now on the VCAA website. See the link and related information below.

If you can spare a few minutes to do an on-line evaluation of the workshops, etc that you attended, it will be really helpful in providing valuable feedback for the presenters.

Also, if you were at the conference and haven’t received this newsletter before, you have just been added to its mailing list.  So you will have missed the two earlier newsletters sent out this term.  They can be accessed here.

Chief Assessor’s Forum: Andrew could only focus on a small batch of exam questions at the conference.  You can hear the full analysis of how students performed on the whole exam paper at the Forum on Tuesday, 12th March, but you need to book.

And check the update on the Physics Days at Luna Park.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 7th March 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. Proceedings of the 2019 Physics Teachers’ Conference
  2. On-line Conference Evaluation
  3. Chief Assessor’s Forum: Tuesday, 12th March, University High School and Live streamed
  4. Report on the 2018 VCE Physics Exam
  5. Events for Students and the General Public
  6. Events for Teachers

7. Physics News from the Web
a) The Search for Silicon’s Successor
b) Solar Windows: Seeing through the glass, darkly
c) It’s all smoots and garns: Unusual physical units

1. Proceedings of the 2019 Physics Teachers’ Conference
The conference webpage on our website now has files from:

  • the Chief Assessor’s presentation, with
  • An Excel file of the Letter grade cutoffs of all exams up to 2017.  2018 data will be out later this Term.
  • the rolling opening Powerpoint of events for teachers and students

as well as the following workshops:

  • A1 & B1 VCE Physics beyond the current mess, Neil Champion
  • A5 & C5 Shining light on Diffraction, Interference and Image Resolution, Dr Barbara McKinnon, Kew High School
  • A8 Uncertain Uncertainties, Theo Hughes, Monash University
  • B3 & C3 Using Log-books and Rubrics in scaffolding inquiry, Dino Cevolatti & Stuart Bird, Castlemaine Secondary School
  • B7 Designing SACs and assessments that aren’t tests, Jane Coyle, St Columba’s College
  • B11 and C11 Constructing DC Motors from the kit and Ideas on EPI Projects used, Gracie Saxena and Joshua Le, Manor Lakes P12 College
  • C1 Literacy from a physics education perspective, Neil Champion
  • C6 Minkowski Diagrams, Theo Hughes, Monash University

Material from other workshops will be uploaded as they become available.

Videos* of the two addresses are now available:

  • Opening address: Precision Cosmology with the next generation of telescopes by Dr Laura Wolz from University of Melbourne.  The first 21 mins is Vicphysics’ rolling powerpoint and introductions.
  • Chief Assessor’s address: Responding to short answer questions by Andrew Hansen, Ringwood Secondary College. The first 12 mins is Vicphysics’ rolling powerpoint and introduction.

* The videos are the slide presentations with accompanying audio.

2. On-Line Conference Evaluation
If you did not get the chance to drop evaluation slips in one of the boxes at the conference on Friday, you can still provide feedback on-line through this surveymonkey link.

Your comments are of value to conference organisers and presenters alike.

3. Tuesday, 12th March: Chief Assessor’s Forum on the 2018 VCE Physics Exam, 5:00pm, University High School
Vicphysics and the Chief Assessor, Andrew Hansen, would again like to provide teachers with the opportunity to hear about the full exam with an extended opportunity to ask questions and a chance to speak with Andrew.

The Chief Assessor’s Forum is a question by question coverage of the students’ responses to last year’s Physics exam.  The event will also be streamed live.
The forum will start at 5:00pm, with a meal break at 6:30pm, commencing again at 7:15pm.  Dinner will be provided.
Cost: $60 to attend the event, including the meal. $30 to view online.
Venue: The Elizabeth Blackburn School of Sciences at University High School in Story St, Parkville.
Booking: You will need to book through Trybooking, check our website for details.

4.  Report of the 2018 VCE Physics Exam
The VCAA website now has the report of last year’s exam.  For the section A multiple choice questions, the report supplies the percentage of students who chose each alternative as well as brief working.  For each of the section B questions, the report gives the percentage of students who were awarded 0 marks, 1 mark, etc. The comment section has brief working and any common errors.  There is no overall summative report.
The Vicphysics website has detailed solutions to assist students when using the paper as revision.  The solutions include a suggested marking scheme as well as additional revision questions that can be asked using the information in the stem of some of the exam questions.

5.    Events for Students and the General Public
a) Friday, 22nd February, Things that go bump in the night: fast radio bursts and the search for life beyond Earth, 6:30pm, Swinburne University
Speaker: Dr Daniel C Price, Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University
Venue: Swinburne University, Hawthorn campus, ATC building, ATC101 (Enter from Burwood Road)
Map: http://www.swinburne.edu.au/media/swinburneeduau/about-swinburne/docs/pdfs/hawthorn-map.pdf
Abstract: Thanks to new, more powerful technology, astronomers can search the skies faster and with more resolution than ever before.  In this public lecture, I will talk about two exciting fields in astronomy: the Search for Extraterrestrial  Intelligence (SETI), and Fast Radio Bursts. The SETI field has been reinvigorated by the 10-year, $100M Breakthrough Listen initiative to search for intelligent life beyond Earth. As a project scientist for Breakthrough Listen, I will introduce the program and detail how we are using new technology to run the most comprehensive search for intelligent life beyond Earth ever undertaken. I will also discuss a mysterious phenomenon known as fast radio bursts: incredibly bright but short-lived signals from distant galaxies, which escaped detection until recently. Could these signals be due to intelligent aliens, or is there an astrophysical explanation? I will give an overview of how a telescope upgrade will help us answer this question, and how Swinburne astronomers will play a leading role. Finally, I will discuss what evidence would convince us that there is indeed life beyond Earth, or that the Universe is ours alone to enjoy.
Registration and Details: For further information and registration, please click here. Closes when maximum capacity reached.

b)  Physics Days at Luna Park: Tuesday, 5th March to Friday, 8th March, 2019

This year there will be an extra ride on offer: the Speedy Beetle located behind the Ferris Wheel.  It is a mini roller coaster that moves in a figure 8 with sharp rises and falls and a quick banked turn..
Bookings are now open .  Tuesday and Friday are filling fast, but there is plenty of room on Wednesday and Thursday.
There will be no aerobatic display this year, principally due to Roulette commitments with the Avalon Air Show.
Worksheets are available here.
Schools can also book a Pasco data logger for a half day by accessing the Ciderhouse website here.

Synchrotron Tours: The Australian Synchrotron is offering post excursion tours of the Synchrotron on each of the four days. The capacity of each tour is 25 and the times vary because of bookings earlier in the afternoon.
Tues, 5th March – 4:30pm (Full), Weds, 6th March – 5:30pm, Thurs, 7th March – 5:00pm, Fri, 8th March – 3:15pm.
To book, please email ANSTO.  Note: The Synchrotron is giving preference to regional schools.

c) Girls in Physics Breakfasts in 2019
This year there will be two extra country breakfasts, in Warrnambool and Wodonga.
The dates, venues, speakers and topics are:

  • 22nd March, Ballarat Speaker: Dr Dianne Ruka, Monash University, Topic: Future Computing and Low Energy Electronics.
  • 3rd May, Geelong Speaker: Dr Ellen Moon, Deakin University, Topic: Science in the Antarctic: Where can STEM take you?
  • 10th May, Warrnambool Speaker: Dr Gail Iles, RMIT, Topic: Human spaceflight and science in space
  • 17th May, Bendigo Speaker: Dr Judy Hart, University of  New South Wales, Topic: Developing new materials for renewable energy
  • 24th May, Wodonga Speaker Dr Adelle Wright, ANU, Topic: Nuclear Fusion: An Australian Perspective
  • 30th May, Melbourne Speaker: Dr Susie Sheehy, University of Melbourne and Oxford University, Topic: Colliding worlds: Using particle physics to cure cancer.
  • Late July, Clayton The date, venue and speaker are yet to be finalised.

For more details including flyers and how to book please go to the Vicphysics webpage

d) Friday, 29th March: Watching a Little Gas Cloud on its Way into the Galactic Supermassive Black Hole  6:30pm, Swinburne University
Speaker: Prof Andreas Burkert, Ludwig Maximalians University, Munich
Venue: Swinburne University, Hawthorn campus, ATC building, ATC101 (Enter from Burwood Road)
Map: http://www.swinburne.edu.au/media/swinburneeduau/about-swinburne/docs/pdfs/hawthorn-map.pdf
Registration and Details: For further information and registration, please click here.

6.     Events for Teachers
a) Monday, 8th April: Beginning Physics Teachers In-Service, Kew High School

Vicphysics will be running a full day in-service on Monday, 8th April at Kew High School.  The event is free, lunch is provided and travel support is available for country participants.
The event is for:

  • Teachers beginning their teaching career,
  • Teachers returning to physics teaching and
  • Teachers who have been asked by their school to take a VCE Physics class

The program will include:

  • Information on course planning, resources, advice of teaching specific topics and suggestions from some of last year’s participants after teaching physics for the first time in 2018,
  • Andrew Hansen, Chief Assessor for the Physics exam, from Ringwood Secondary College on Exam advice.

To register please complete the details on this Vicphysics webpage. . It also has  information about last year’s program.

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) The Search for Silicon’s Successor
Jon Major assesses how the materials used to make solar photovoltaic cells have evolved from first-generation silicon up through thin films, perovskites and (maybe) beyond.

b) Solar Windows: Seeing through the glass, darkly
Windows that transform solar energy into electricity without plunging the rooms behind them into semi-darkness might sound too good to be true, but new techniques could yet make solar windows a common element in future urban architecture.
Back in 2010 Oxford PV was a small start-up with a big dream: it wanted to pioneer the market in solar windows. The idea of integrating sources of renewable energy directly into the buildings they power promised to transform the electrical grid – perhaps even realizing the goal of making cities carbon neutral on a relatively short timescale – and the company’s founders seemed well placed to turn it into reality. One of them, physicist Henry Snaith, had developed a dye-sensitized solar photovoltaic (PV) cell in his laboratory at the UK’s University of Oxford that was thin enough to be semi-transparent, while maintaining relatively high efficiencies. Using this material to make electricity-generating windows seemed like a logical next step.

c) It’s all smoots and garns: Unusual physical units
SI units are a scientist’s best friend, but there are also some unusual scales of measurement available: The stories behind some of the world’s more weird and wonderful units

How much beauty does it take to launch a ship? How much does a male physicist’s beard grow in a second? And what is the optimal length of a lecture? These may not seem like typical phenomena you need to measure, but they’ve nonetheless inspired creative souls to forge new units of measurement.

They are just some of the weird scales that exist in the shadows of the formal SI units and their spin-offs. With the recent redefinition of our beloved kilogram, ampere, kelvin and mole, now is the perfect moment to acknowledge those other units that escape the close scrutiny applied to scientific inquiry.