Holiday reading, Conf registration, New Resources. Vicphys News 7/T4/18

This final newsletter for the year has some suggestions for holiday reading and some new resources.
Physics Conference registration is now open.  Register early to get your session preferences.  A school purchase order can be used to accompany the form.
There is also a talk this Thursday on the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics at Swinburne University and finally VCAA has extended the accreditation period for Units 1 and 2 to the end of 2021.  All four units will now expire at the end of 2021.

The Vicphysics Executive Team wishes you a relaxing Christmas break.

Frances Sidari (Pres), Bronwyn Quint (Vice-Pres), Barbara McKinnon (Sec), Terry Tan (Treas) and Dan O’Keeffe (Coord)

Table of Contents

  1. Holiday Reading
  2. Physics: Interactive Physics Simulations
  3. Latest Job Ads
  4. Events for Students and the General Public
  5. Events for Teachers

7. Physics News from the Web
a) Try the Physics World Dark Matter Flow Chart:  What kind do you prefer?
b) Beyond the Lithium-Ion Battery
c) A wave of discovery: Gravitational Waves

1.  Holiday Reading
One physics writer that has made a big splash in recent years is Carlo Rovelli.  His first book ‘Seven Brief Lessons on Physics’ was an international best seller and translated into 41 languages.  His latest book ‘Reality is not what it seems – The journey to Quantum Gravity’ . His writing has a persuasive clarity, an engaging read. 

2.  oPhysics: Interactive Physics Simulations
This is a comprehensive set of simulations written by a recently retired US physics teacher, Tom Walsh. The simple and elegant illustrations on various physics principles have been written in GeoGebra.  There are no worksheets nor are there any experimental simulations but the animations require user input.  There is limited text, but they are instructive. The EMI and standing wave model for energy levels are impressive.

Nine topics are covered: Kinematics (vectors, graphs projectile motion, relatve velocity) – 14 animations, Forces (friction,conical pendulum, Kepler’s 2nd law) – 5, Conservation (collisions and springs) – 6, Waves (SHM, superposition, standing waves) – 15, Light (colour, mirrors, lenses, rainbows, the eye, interference) – 20, E & M (Coulomb, fields, DC motor, EMI) – 12, Rotation – 10, Fluids – 2, Modern (energy levels) – 1.
This resource has been suggested by Alan Sutton.

3.  IOP’s ‘Physics Education’ Free downloads of selected articles.
The IOP’s Physics Education journal provides free access to several popular articles that are available until 31st December 2018, after which a new set is released.  Currently the list includes:

  • Let’s have a coffee with the Standard Model of Particle Physics!
  • The warm rich sound of valve guitar amplifiers
  • A simple wind tunnel to analyse Bernoulli’s Principle using a mobile phone
  • How to delude your senses
  • What is an image?
  • A ‘sparkling’ low cost revisitation of the historical Hertz’ experiment
  • Nine optical black box experiments for lower secondary students
  • Learning about students’ understanding of particle physics using concept mapping
  • Finding the average speed of a light emitting toy car with a smart phone light sensor

Also check out the ‘What happens next?’ The Archive which is a collection of short, entertaining, brain-teasing demonstrations using the Predict-Observe-Explain model.

4. Latest Job Ads

As schools lodge information about a vacancy, they will be placed here on our website.  The list of government schools seeking physics teachers has also been updated with 11 schools seeking physics teachers.

5.    Events for Students and the General Public
a)  3D Astro Tours, School holidays, Swinburne University
Experience the Universe in 3D during the summer 2019 school holidays. The 50-minute session includes a journey starting in the solar system and then on to explore the Universe. AstroTours feature the 3D movies, created by the award-winning Swinburne Astronomy Productions team, and all sessions are presented by the Centre’s astronomers or post graduate researchers.
Dates and Times: Tues, 15th Jan at 10am, Thurs, 17th Jan at 2pm, Fri, 18th Jan at 2pm, Tues, 22nd Jan at 10am, Thurs, 24th Jan at 2pm
Venue: AR104 Hawthorn Campus, Swinburne University
Bookings are essential and can be made via email to ethackray@swin.edu.au
Cost: $10 per person which can be paid at the door by cash or cheque. If you would like to pay by credit card please ask for a form which you can pre-complete and bring with you on the day, with your card. Please aim to arrive at least 10 – 15 minutes before the advertised start time.
Astrotours are suitable for children aged 6 years and above. Unfortunately, they are not able to admit children younger than this, with one exception: 5 year-olds are able to attend if they are accompanying another child aged 6 years or above. Swinburne University apologises for any inconvenience this may cause. For safety reasons, no prams/strollers, etc. are allowed in the theatre.

b)  Physics Days at Luna Park: Tuesday, 6th March to Friday, 9th March, 2019

Next year there will be two extra rides on offer one of which is the Road Runner located next to the Spider.  Up to 9 people sit in a car as it twists, turns and sways while moving backwards and forwards through a curved dip. It will be useful for data logging and also simple calculation of g forces from using a stop watch and estimating distances.  The other ride will be a new ride, which is yet to be announced.

Bookings are now open for next year’s Physics Days at Luna Park.  You can make a booking for a particular day at this year and change your day once your timetable for 2019 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.

6.     Events for Teachers
a) Thursday, 13th December, 6:30pm, AIP 2018 Nobel Prize Talk, Swinburne University.

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 11.07.14 pm
The many uses of optical forces – Art Ashkin’s legacy presented by Prof Kris Helmerson, Monash University
Abstract: Arthur Ashkin was awarded the 2018 Nobel prize in Physics for his invention of optical tweezers and it’s application to biology. Ashkin’s research on optical tweezers, which evolve from his fundamental studies of optical forces, the force arising from the momentum of light, has had a far greater impact. This lecture will describe the use of optical forces to manipulate and study systems ranging from atoms in Bose-Einstein condensates – the coldest matter in the universe – to cells, viruses and biomolecules.

Speaker: My research interests are in the physics and application of ultracold atomic gases and the application of optical techniques to address problems in biophysics and biotechnology. A common thread in my research is the use of lasers and, in particular, the optical forces that can be generated by light. Current studies with ultracold atomic gases include superfluidity in the presence of disorder and/or reduced dimensionality, quantum turbulence, and the physics of two-dimensional electron gases simulated by atoms in an optical lattice. Current experiments in biophysics include the development of techniques for isolating and studying single biomolecules, the behaviour of biomolecules in confined geometries and directed self-assembly of nanoscale objects from biomembranes.
Venue: Room EN103, Engineering (EN) Building, Swinburne University, Hawthorn Campus
To book

b) 2019 Physics Teachers’ Conference, 15th 16th February, La Trobe University
Register now to get your workshop preferences.  A school purchase order can be used to accompany the registration form.
The Friday program includes two addresses:

  • Opening Address: Precision Cosmology with the next generation of Telescopes with Dr Laura Wolz from the University of Melbourne
  • Pre Lunch Address: Responding to short answer questions with Andrew Hansen, the Chief Assessor.

There are also three sessions of workshops with 16 workshops on offer in each.

The Saturday program has two Excursion tasters on offer to the Synchrotron and VSSEC as well as a two hour Medical Physics In-Service at Peter Mac.

The cost $188 for an individual STAV member, $305 for a STAV School subscriber, $330 for a non STAV member and $78 for a retired teacher.  Registration includes morning tea and lunch.  Program details, registration forms and online booking are available here. Check Vicphysics website as well.

b)  9th – 13th December, AIP Congress: Teaching Nexus – Evolving Physics Education in our Schools, Perth

This year the AIP Congress includes a two day program for teachers on Tuesday and Wednesday.  There are two keynote talks on ‘Science as a Human Endeavour: What does this mean and how can we use it to connect students to the physics’ and ‘How to strengthen physics by making it inclusive’ plus three workshops. The registration fee for the two days is $290. For registration details clickhere. For more details about the program for teachers click here.

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) Try the Physics World Dark Matter Flow Chart: What kind do you prefer?
Dark matter is the name given to the mysterious stuff that makes up some 27% of the universe. This flowchart, composed by former Physics World feature editor Louise Mayor, guides you through the many options for what it could be. It’s just for fun, but the flowchart will help guide you through the maze of possible options for this stuff, be it familiar stuff like massive compact halo objects (MaCHOs) or non-baryonic matter like neutrinos, WIMPS, gravitions, sterile neutrinos or maybe even axions or something to do with supersymmetry. Or perhaps you’d just rather modify our theories of gravity instead. (You can Click to enlarge the image or open in a new tab and zoom in for the full detail.)

b) Beyond the Lithium-Ion Battery
The batteries we depend on for our mobile phones and computers are based on a technology that is more than a quarter-century old. Rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries were first introduced in 1991, and their appearance heralded a revolution in consumer electronics. From then on, we could pack enough energy in a small volume to start engineering a whole panoply of portable electronic devices – devices that have given us much more flexibility and comfort in our lives and jobs.

In recent years, Li-ion batteries have also become a staple solution in efforts to solve the interlinked conundrums of climate change and renewable energy. Increasingly, they are being used to power electric vehicles and as the principal components of home-based devices that store energy generated from renewable sources, helping to balance an increasingly diverse and smart electrical grid. The technology has improved too: over the past two and a half decades, battery experts have succeeded in making Li-ion batteries 5–10% more efficient each year, just by further optimizing the existing architecture.

c) A wave of Discovery: Gravtational Waves
James Hough outlines the last 30 years of gravitational-wave astronomy, from building prototype detectors to making a revolutionary discovery.

“Gravitational waves, yet to be convincingly detected, promise to open a new astronomical window.” Those are the words I wrote for Physics World in early 1989. Today, with six detections of gravitational waves confirmed over the past three years, I am delighted to see how many of the predictions I made in that article have come to fruition.

Almost exactly a century after they were predicted by Albert Einstein in his general theory of relativity, the first detection of gravitational waves – produced via the collision and subsequent merger of two black holes – was made by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory(LIGO) detectors in the US, on 14 September 2015. Since then, four more black hole coalescences have been reported. Although the initial observation took all of us completely by surprise, it was a much-awaited discovery. These observations provide the first direct proof that black holes exist; that they can be in binary orbits; and that there is a family of black holes of tens of solar masses, which were not thought to exist.

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Physics Conf: Registration open. VicPhys News 6/T4/18

Registrations have now opened for the 2019 Physics Teachers’ Conference on 15th and 16th February at La Trobe University.
There are also more physics jobs advertised on our website.
The last newsletter had details about our new website and the extension of VCAA’s Physics Review Survey.  If you missed that email, these items are repeated here.

Vicphysics Meetings: The November exam will be the focus for the whole meeting on Thursday, 22nd November.  The purpose of the meeting is to prepare our review of the paper, which is forwarded to VCAA. This meeting will be at Swinburne Secondary College, Burwood Rd, Hawthorn from 5pm to 7pm.  If you would like to attend, please contact Vicphysics  There is no parking In Burwood Rd at that time.  There is parking a short distance away behind the Hawthorn Arts Centre, enter off Kent St.

The Vicphysics Executive Team
Frances Sidari (Pres), Bronwyn Quint (Vice-Pres), Barbara McKinnon (Sec), Terry Tan (Treas) and Dan O’Keeffe (Coord)

Table of Contents

  1. 2019 Physics Teachers’ Conference, 15th, 16th February, La Trobe University
  2. Our website has been re-designed.  Check it out
  3. Physics Review: Questionnaire: Closing date 30th Nov
  4. Latest Job Ads
  5. Events for Students and the General Public
  6. Events for Teachers

7. Physics News from the Web
a)   Ignition pending: Fusion
b) Triumphs and frustrations: The Standard Model
c) Late summer Arctic sea ice could disappear by 2040

1. 2019 Physics Teachers’ Conference, 15th 16th February, La Trobe University
Registration is now open for next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference.  The Friday program includes two addresses:

  • Opening Address: Precision Cosmology with the next generation of Telescopes with Dr Laura Wolz from the University of Melbourne
  • Pre Lunch Address: Responding to short answer questions with Andrew Hansen, the Chief Assessor.

There are also three sessions of workshops with 16 workshops on offer in each.

The Saturday program has two Excursion tasters on offer to the Synchrotron and VSSEC as well as a two hour Medical Physics In-Service at Peter Mac.

The cost $188 for an individual STAV member, $305 for a STAV School subscriber, $330 for a non STAV member and $78 for a retired teacher.  Registration includes morning tea and lunch.  Program details, registration forms and online booking are available here.

2. Our Website has been redesigned.  Check it out
There are a number of new features on the Vicphysics website.

  • The menu has been re-configured to make it easier for you to access different webpages,
  • Commonly accessed webpages have their own icon on the home page,
  • Events and latest News can be found in the footer,
  • The home page is more visually attractive and
  • A new webpage on ‘Sharing ideas’ has been set up for you to upload your own material to make it available to others, or pass on a good website. It is under ‘Teachers’.

3.  Physics Review: Questionnaire: Closing date: 30th Nov
Units 1 & 2 are accredited until December 2020, so these units are scheduled for a review in 2019.  VCAA is conducting a questionnaire to assist with this review process.  The questionnaire covers Units 1 to 4 as well as the Advice to Teachers.
The questionnaire can be accessed and completed here from the VCAA website.  The questionnaire can be completed at a later stage once commenced. To recommence the questionnaire, you use the [NEXT] button located in the bottom right hand corner to save entered information and then use the same computer and web browser on which the questionnaire was commenced as a copy of your responses will have been saved.
The Survey has been extended, the closing date is  now 30th November, 2018.
To assist you with preparing your responses to the questions on the questionnaire, a copy of the questions can be downloaded from here on the Vicphysics website.
In addition to this questionnaire, VCAA anticipates that teacher focus groups will be held to gather more information. Notification of focus groups will be via their Notice to Schools in addition to the Expression of Interest at the end of this questionnaire.

4. Latest Job Ads

As schools lodge information about a vacancy, they will be placed here on our website.
Current list includes: Monivae College, Hamilton.  The list of government schools seeking physics teachers has also been updated with 12 additional schools.

5.    Events for Students and the General Public

a)  23rd November, Breakthrough: The detection of gravitational waves from a neutron star merger, 6:30pm, Swinburne University.
Speaker: Assoc. Prof. Tara Murphy, Sydney Institute of Astronomy, University of Sydney
Abstract: On August 17th 2017 the LIGO-Virgo interferometer detected gravitational waves from a neutron star merger in a galaxy 130 million light years away. This was a breakthrough for physics and astronomy. What followed was a frenzy of activity as astronomers around the world worked to detect electromagnetic radiation with conventional telescopes. After this unprecedented effort the event was detected in gamma-rays, x-rays, visible light and radio waves. I will discuss this incredible scientific result and its implications, including: predictions made by Einstein; the production of gold and other heavy elements; and our understanding of black hole formation. I will also give a ‘behind the scenes’ perspective of how it happened, and discuss the changes in the way we do science in this era of big astronomy.
To Book: click here.

b) 27th November, Quantum reality: Cats, photons and breaking the banking system, 6:30pm, Monash University
Dr Felix Pollock is from the school of Physics and Astronomy.  He works on open quantum systems theory and quantum information theory. His main interests are in characterising and probing quantum dynamics with memory and developing tools to better simulate and control such processes.

Abstract: Our understanding of quantum mechanics underpins modern science and technology; without it, there would be no chemistry,  or modern computing. Experimentally, it has been verified, to extraordinary accuracy, as our best description of how things really behave. However, when looked at closely, quantum physics forces us to make some pretty radical changes to how we view reality. In this talk, I’ll walk you through some of the weirder aspects of existence at the smallest scales. Together we’ll see why certain cats may or may not be simultaneously dead and alive (depending on who you ask), how light can upset Einstein, and how next-generation quantum technologies could lead to the collapse of the banking system (luckily, they might also give us a means to fix it).

Time: 6:30pm
Venue: Theatre S3, 16 Rainforest Walk, Monash University

For information about the public lectures at Monash University,including parking and maps, clickhere.

c) Physics Days at Luna Park: Tuesday, 6th March to Friday, 9th March, 2019
Next year there will be two extra rides on offer one of which is the Road Runner located next to the Spider.  Up to 9 people sit in a car as it twists, turns and sways while moving backwards and forwards through a curved dip. It will be useful for data logging and also simple calculation of g forces from using a stop watch and estimating distances.  The other ride will be a new ride, which is yet to be announced.
Bookings are now open for next year’s Physics Days at Luna Park.  You can make a booking for a particular day at this year and change your day once your timetable for 2019 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.

6.     Events for Teachers

 

a)  9th – 13th December, AIP Congress: Teaching Nexus – Evolving Physics Education in our Schools, Perth
This year the AIP Congress includes a two day program for teachers on Tuesday and Wednesday.  There are two keynote talks on ‘Science as a Human Endeavour: What does this mean and how can we use it to connect students to the physics’ and ‘How to strengthen physics by making it inclusive’ plus three workshops. The registration fee for the two days is $290. For registration details clickhere. For more details about the program for teachers click here.

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) Ignition pending: Fusion
Reproducing the energy of stars here on Earth could revolutionize how we fuel our lives. But why does fusion energy always seem to be 30 years away?
b) Triumphs and frustrations: The Standard Model
Particle physics has flourished over the past 30 years but, there are still few signs of any cracks in the Standard Model
c) Late summer Arctic sea ice could disappear by 2040
In just two decades the Arctic Ocean is likely to be ice-free during August and September, and by 2060 the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free throughout the summer months, according to a new systematic review.“This will have far-reaching implications, well beyond the Arctic,” says Julienne Stroeve of University College London, UK. “The impact of this sea-ice loss on climate at lower latitudes and sea-level rise will be profound.” But the findings also indicate that Arctic sea-ice could be stabilised if we prevent global warming from overshooting 1.5 °C.
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New: Physics Exhibition at Museum, Quantum to Cosmos from PI & more Job Ads. VicPhys News 3/T4/18

The Melbourne Museum is launching a new permanent exhibition called ‘Road to Zero’. It is relevant to Years 9 and 10 physics and other aspects of the Curriculum.  It addresses driver safety and factors related to stopping distances.

The Perimeter Institute has produced a worthy successor to the famous ‘Power of 10′ video.  It is called Quantum to Cosmos, it has active links which make it an effective learning tool as well as a great experience on the scale of the universe.

Among other items, there is another physics position advertised on our website and also a reminder about the questionnaire for the Review of the VCE Physics Study Design. A talk next Tuesday at Monash University on the implications of the Australian Space Agency for STEM Education looks promising.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be at 5pm on Thursday, 15th November at Melbourne Girls’ College.  All teachers are welcome to attend this or any other meeting.  If you would like to attend, please contact Vicphysics There will also be a meeting on Thursday, 22nd November to review the VCE Physics Exam to which teachers are also welcome and again at the same location.

The Vicphysics Executive Team
Frances Sidari (Pres), Bronwyn Quint (Vice-Pres), Barbara McKinnon (Sec), Terry Tan (Treas) and Dan O’Keeffe (Coord)

Table of Contents

  1. New Physics Exhibition at Melbourne Museum: Road to Zero
  2. Physics Review: Questionnaire: Closing date 2nd Nov
  3. Quantum to Cosmos: A Journey through the Universe.  A PI resource
  4. Measuring the Earth’s Gravity Field: Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. Prof Kurt Lambeck
  5. Latest Physics Job Ads: Sacre Coeur
  6. Events for Students and the General Public
  7. Events for Teachers

8. Physics News from the Web
a) Indoor record for magnetic field strength is smashed by physicists in Japan
b) How long does the photoelectric effect take?
c) Lithium-oxygen batteries borach 100% coulombic efficiency

1. New Physics Exhibition at Melbourne Museum: Road to Zero
Road to Zero is a road safety education complex set up at Melbourne Museum.  It was developed by the TAC in partnership with Melbourne Museum.  It is part of the Victorian Government’s Towards Zero vision, which aims for zero road deaths and serious injuries.  Road to Zero aims to reduce road trauma in pre-learner drivers by building knowledge and awareness that will empower young road users to make safer decisions.  The program is designed for Years 9, 10 and VCAL students.

Road to Zero is delivered in two parts, with a total duration of two hours.  The two parts are: i) an immersive and exploratory exhibition showcasing the latest in multi-sensory interactive technologies, and ii) curriculum-linked programs in the purpose-built Learning Studio.

There are resources for schools to use either before or after the visit.

The students are in the Learning Studio for 75 minutes and do one of two programs:

  • Road to Zero Physics Challenge: A virtual reality physics experiment lets students explore the impacts of speed and friction on stopping distances. Students are then required to apply their learning to a real-world problem by designing a safe road system.
  • Getting the Message: Students reflect and respond to the Road to Zero exhibition content through the creation of a collaborative community health campaign. In small groups, students use a range of information sources to research 14-17 year old road user groups (e.g. pedestrians or cyclists). They use their findings to develop a YouTube campaign with a compelling call to action, reinforcing positive road usage amongst their target audience.

The students are also in the Experience Space for 45 minutes. It allows them to explore a range of interactive exhibits at their own pace.  A Zerocard enables students to interact with the exhibits and record their experiences.  As students discover the principles of Towards Zero, they’re encouraged to consider a future free of death and serious injury on our roads, and how we might achieve this.
Details about the program are here.  There is no program fee for Road to Zero for participating student groups.  Low SFOE school communities may qualify for transportation assistance for their excursion to Road to Zero. Further details, including eligibility, are available on application.

2. Physics Review Questionnaire: Closing Date: 2nd Nov
Units 1 & 2 are accredited until December 2020, so these units are scheduled for a review in 2019.  VCAA is conducting a questionnaire to assist with this review process.  The questionnaire covers Units 1 to 4 as well as the Advice to Teachers.
The questionnaire can be accessed and completed here from the VCAA website.  The questionnaire can be completed at a later stage once commenced. To recommence the questionnaire, you use the [NEXT] button located in the bottom right hand corner to save entered information and then use the same computer and web browser on which the questionnaire was commenced as a copy of your responses will have been saved.
The closing date is 2nd November, 2018.
To assist you with preparing your responses to the questions on the questionnaire, a copy of the questions can be downloaded from here on the Vicphysics website.
In addition to this questionnaire, VCAA anticipates that teacher focus groups will be held to gather more information. Notification of focus groups will be via their Notice to Schools in addition to the Expression of Interest at the end of this questionnaire.

3. Quantum to Cosmos: A Journey through the Universe.  A PI resource
The Perimeter Institute (PI) has produced another fantastic resource. Quantum to Cosmos follows in the steps of that famous video ‘Powers of 10‘ Using the same concept of changing your view by a factor of 10 at each stage, Quantum to Cosmos starts at the human scale and goes out to the edge of the known universe and also goes down beyond the atom to quarks and the Planck length. At each stage there are images of objects for that scale, each of which can be clicked for a better view and a description.
The resource can be accessed here.  There is also a quiz you can take as well.

PI are also presenting a Live stream of a lecture by Jocelyn Bell Burnell on Thursday, 25th October at 7pm Ontario time, which is about 10am Melbourne time on Friday 26th October, but please check this local time.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell, winner of the 2018 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, is an accomplished scientist and champion for women in physics. As a graduate student in 1967, she co-discovered pulsars, a breakthrough widely considered one of the most important scientific advances of the 20th century. When the discovery of pulsars was recognised with the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics, the award went to her graduate advisor. Undaunted, she persevered and became one of the most prominent researchers in her field and an advocate for women and other under-represented groups in physics.

She plans to use the $3 million Breakthrough Prize to fund women and other under-represented groups pursuing physics to bring greater diversity to the field.

In a special Perimeter public lecture, Dame Bell Burnell will take the audience on a journey into the realm of pulsars, and share stories from her personal journey of scientific discovery.

4.  Measuring the Earth’s Gravity Field: Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. Prof Kurt Lambeck
The earth’s gravity field is much more complex than had been previously understood. The earth ‘breathes’ as Prof Lambeck says, but on a very long time scale.  The earth is still relaxing from the stresses of the last ice age.  The variations in the gravity field over time and space impact on the effectiveness of GPS and even on driverless cars. So the reserach has immedisate relevance as well as historical interest. Prof Lambeck is the pre-eminent researcher in this field.

Click here for a short video by Prof Lambeck. Click here for a short article.  The article has a link toAuScope. AuScope is partnership between the CSIRO, Geoscience Australia, 11 universities and several government agencies.  It also runs the Geophysical Educational Laboratory with two programs for schools: Australian Seismometers in Schools (AuSIS) program and GPS in Schools (AuGPS) program.  Schools can join these programs and can also access data collected by participating schools.

5. Latest Job Ads

As schools lodge information about a vacancy, it will be placed here on our website.  So far the vacancies are:
  • Sacre Coeur, Glen Iris

Schools can enter the details about a vacancy online here on our website.  The is a charge of $100 for a two months listing on our website and in this newsletter.

6.    Events for Students and the General Public
a) 30th October, From space back to Earth: Implications of the formation of the Australian Space Agency on STEM Education, 6:30pm, Monash University, Clayton Campus.
The October lecture in this series will be on From space back to Earth: implications of formation of the Australian Space Agency on STEM education and will be given by Dr Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway from the school of Physics and Astronomy at Monash University.  Check here for a personal profile of Dr Lazendic-Galloway.
A demonstration, practical activity or laboratory tour will precede each lecture, beginning at 6.30pm, with the lecture starting at 7pm.
The venue is Lecture Theatre S3, 16 Rainforest Walk, which is on the West side of the Clayton campus. (see map). Parking is available free after 5pm in N1 (check the map).

These lectures are appropriate for teachers or VCE students.  Information about the series is available here .
The next lecture in the series is:

b)  23rd November, Breakthrough: The detection of gravitational waves from a neutron star merger, 6:30pm, Swinburne University.
Speaker: Assoc. Prof. Tara Murphy, Sydney Institute of Astronomy, University of Sydney
Abstract: On August 17th 2017 the LIGO-Virgo interferometer detected gravitational waves from a neutron star merger in a galaxy 130 million light years away. This was a breakthrough for physics and astronomy. What followed was a
frenzy of activity as astronomers around the world worked to detect electromagnetic radiation with conventional telescopes. After this unprecedented effort the event was detected in gamma-rays, x-rays, visible light and radio waves. I will discuss this incredible scientific result and its implications, including: predictions made by Einstein; the production of gold and other heavy elements; and our understanding of black hole formation. I will also give a ‘behind the scenes’ perspective of how it happened, and discuss the changes in the way we do science in this era of big astronomy.
To Book: click here.

c) Physics Days at Luna Park: Tuesday, 6th March to Friday, 9th March, 2019
Next year there will be two extra rides on offer one of which is the Road Runner located next to the Spider.  Up to 9 people sit in a car as it twists, turns and sways while moving backwards and forwards through a curved dip. It will be useful for data logging and also simple calculation of g forces from using a stop watch and estimating distances.  The other ride will be a new ride, which is yet to be announced.
Bookings are now open for next year’s Physics Days at Luna Park.  You can make a booking for a particular day at this year and change your day once your timetable for 2019 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.

7.     Events for Teachers
a)   15th November, Earthrise: Looking back at the Planet, 7pm – 8:30pm, Royal Society of Victoria, Melbourne

What’s in a picture?

Almost 50 years ago on Christmas Eve, 1968, US astronaut William Anders took a photo aboard the Apollo 8 mission that became known as ‘Earthrise.’ This ground-breaking image transformed our view of our unique planet, and the place of our home in the cosmos.
Taking this photograph was one of the most profound events in the history of human culture, for at this moment we truly saw ourselves from a distance for the first time; and the Earth in its surrounding, dark emptiness not only seemed infinitely beautiful, but also extraordinarily fragile. This wonderful image crystallised and cemented the sense of our planet’s isolation and vulnerability. It is linked to the start of the environmental movement and to many significant concepts developed and popularised over the last 50 years such as Spaceship Earth, Limits to Growth, Small is Beautiful, Sustainability and Gaia.

Join an interdisciplinary panel to reflect on “Earthrise” and the progress – or otherwise – we have made as an Earth-bound species in the intervening half century.
Panellists include:
Dr Colleen Boyle, Artist and Art Historian with RMIT’s School of Design
Dr Jenny Gray, CEO of Zoos Victoria and the President of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Prof Rachel Webster, Head of Astrophysics at the University of Melbourne’s School of Physics
Dr Lynette Bettio, Senior Climatologist with the Bureau of Meteorology
Alicia Sometimes, broadcaster, poet and writer, will be the MC

Venue: Royal Society of Victoria, 8 La Trobe St, Melbourne
To book click here
Cost: $5.86 to $27.50

Also check out ‘Rocket Men’ by Harvard lawyer and space-nut Robert Kurson.  Recommended by Paul Cuthbert:  “What the crew and NASA did was just so amazing that by the end of the book I think this mission is actually a bigger achievement than the 1st Moon landing. Just so many things had to go right for them to return safely (so many things I’d just never realised were so incredibly dangerous about such a voyage). And it was a very hurriedly plan mission with much powerful opposition.
They were the first humans to ever fly a Saturn V (and that was after nothing but problems with the remotely controlled tests prior), the first humans to leave Earth and be captured by the gravitational field of another body and of course they took that iconic photo of Earth (and prompted Anders to say “we went all the way to the moon to discover Earth”).
Finally the crew in 1968 of Borman (40), Lovell (40) and Anders (34 years old) are now 90, 90 and 84 respectively, are all still alive, well and in all probability will remain so this xmas eve for the 50thanniversary.”

b)   17th November, Science Says! 2018, 3:30 — 5pm, Royal Society of Victoria, Melbourne

Brilliant scientists, gifted comedians and talented communicators use their wits and wittiness to uncover the top scientific discoveries of 2018 – and a few of the odder ones, too!

It’s an evening in the style of the great panel shows – think mixing Mock the WeekSpicks and Specks, and just a dash of QI.
Venue: Royal Society of Victoria, 8 La Trobe St, Melbourne
To book click here.
Cost: $10

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c)  9th – 13th December, AIP Congress: Teaching Nexus – Evolving Physics Education in our Schools, Perth
This year the AIP Congress includes a two day program for teachers on Tuesday and Wednesday.  There are two keynote talks on ‘Science as a Human Endeavour: What does this mean and how can we use it to connect students to the physics’ and ‘How to strengthen physics by making it inclusive’ plus three workshops. The registration fee for the two days is $290. For registration details clickhere. For more details about the program for teachers click here.

8.   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.

Indoor record for magnetic field strength is smashed by physicists in Japan
Researchers in Japan have created a long-lasting magnetic field with a strength of 1200 T, which is the strongest controllable field ever produced indoors. In comparison, Earth’s magnetic field is a mere 50 μT and the superconducting magnets on CERN’s Large Hadron Collider deliver about 8 T.

How long does the photoelectric effect take?

Just 45 quintillionth of a second (45 attoseconds) is all it takes for a photon to liberate an electron from the surface of a metal. That is the conclusion of Joachim Burgdörfer from the Technical University of Vienna and colleagues, who have done a clever sequence of experiments to make the most precise measurement ever of the duration of photoelectric emission. Their technique promises to provide new information about how electrons behave in materials and could lead to improvements to photoelectric technologies, such as solar cells and optoelectronic telecoms components.

Lithium-oxygen batteries broach 100% coulombic efficiency
If you’re reading this with a rechargeable battery powered appliance, the chances are it’s a lithium-ion battery based on intercalation chemistry. But with increasing demands for higher energy density power banks the search is on for alternatives.

“Intercalation of a cation into a structure (along with the accompanying stored electron) doesn’t change the framework very much.  Charging and discharging is like driving a car in and out of a parking garage, where the framework remains intact,” explains Linda Nazar, a professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Waterloo in Canada. “But if you try to drive too many cars in you get irreversible changes to the structure.” In addition to this fundamental limitation to the energy storage capacity this poses, lithium ion batteries use metals such as cobalt, whose cost is increasing and where sustainable mining is problematic.

The push towards alternatives to the intercalation chemistry of lithium-ion batteries has led to increased interest in lithium-oxygen batteries, which charge and discharge by converting lithium and oxygen into a metal oxide and back again. However parasitic side reactions have plagued efforts to maximize the efficiency and reversibility of this reaction for several years.

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