Internet Physics Resources. Vicphys News 2/T1/19

There are a few overseas physics education journals that feature links to websites with useful resources.  This newsletter includes a selection of those found in the last week.

Also coming up next week is the Physics Teachers’ Conference.  The Chief Assessor’s Forum is a month later in early March and the Beginning Teachers’ In-Service is in the school holidays.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 7th February 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. PhyPhox: Smart Phone Experiments
  2. Parallel Pedagogy: Learning the concepts simultaneously – Introductory mechanics
  3. Why a tennis ball goes flying when bounced on a basketball? Editable software of the impact
  4. Equipment Designs for Physics Demonstrations
  5. Events for Students and the General Public
  6. Events for Teachers

7. Physics News from the Web
a) Newton: Egomaniac or Troubled genius? A review of ‘Isaac Newton: The Asshole who reinvented the Universe’
b) Fascinating Physics Facts about Snow Flakes
c) The Physics of Knitting

1.  PhyPhox: Smart Phone Experiments
PhyPhox is an app produced by the Aachen University in Germany.  It can be downloaded for free.  The software makes use of the large range of sensors now in smart phones.  You can export your data in most common formats and also control any experiment remotely from a web browser.  There is also a ‘forum’ with numerous contributions.

2. Parallel Pedagogy: Learning the concepts simultaneously – Introductory mechanics
This curriculum resource adopts a teaching approach similar to the way we learn our first language. ‘We just start using it while increasing complexity through iteration. Most every sixth grader can distinguish energy, momentum, force, and motion. Parallel Pedagogy begins there; stresses concepts, problem solving and picture drawing; while adding maths only as it becomes necessary.’
The material is produced by Pete Schwartz, Professor of Physics at California Polytechnic State University.
The website has an introductory video in which Pete Schwartz explains his methodology and the use of the flipped classroom. There is also a link to an article from ‘The Physics Teacher’ about the program.  He also has an extensive list of short instructional videos.

3.  Why a tennis ball goes flying when bounced on a basketball? Software to investigate the impact
An article in Wired by Prof Rhett Allain of Southeastern Louisiana University explains the high rebound of the tennis ball, along with a video, but more usefully he includes the code for a computer simulation of the impact.  You are able to not only run the simulation, but also, adjust the ratio of the masses to investigate the effect.  He also extends the software analysis to a multiball collision (Check out ‘Astroblaster‘ the commercial toy).  There are a set of homework exercises at the end of the article.  Also check out Physics Girl Youtube video

4. Equipment Designs for Physics Demonstrations
This is a set of instructions to build equipment for over 50 physics demonstrations. They were prepared by John Johnston of The Faraday Centre in New Zealand.  The instructions require basic workshop tools.  The demos cover mechanics, waves, light and electromagnetism.

5.    Events for Students and the General Public
a) Monday, 11th February, Girls in Science Webinar, 10:20am – 11:30am AEDT
As part of a celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Victoria’s Lead Scientist, Dr Amanda Caples, with others will be hosting an interactive web-streamed panel session aimed at middle and senior school students in science.  The event will be hosted by the Royal Society of Victoria.
The event will feature a keynote address by Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea, Co-Founder and CEO of Women in STEMM Australia. The panellists will be taking questions from the online audience.
For more details about the event and the panel members and to also book, click here.  There are still spots available for audience members.  Check the link for details.

b) Monday, 11th February, AIP Public Lecture: The Higgs Boson and the search for physics beyond the standard model, 5:30pm, University of Melbourne.
Speaker: Prof Elisabetta Barberio, University of Melbourne.  Elisabetta won the 2018 AIP Walter Boas Medal for fundamental contributions to the experiments and analysis that led to the discovery and characterisation of the Higgs boson at CERN, and the search for physics beyond the standard model.
Venue: Hercus Theatre. Map

c) 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.

d)  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.
An aerobatic display by a member of the Roulettes has been requested, but confirmation is often not provided until mid February.
Worksheets are available here.
Schools can also book a Pasco data logger for a half day by accessing the Ciderhouse website here.

e) 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

f) 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)  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. Each session in the Saturday program can be booked independently of the conference booking by emailing Vicphysics indicating which ones you wish to attend.  There is no cost.

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) 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 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.
Booking: You will need to book through Trybooking, check our website for details.

c) 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)  Newton: Egomaniac or troubled genius? A review of ‘Isaac Newton: The Asshole who reinvented the Universe’ 
Andrew Robinson reviews the book by Florian Freistetter.  Albert Einstein’s final interview, two weeks before his death in 1955, was preoccupied with Isaac Newton, whose physics Einstein revered, next only to that of James Clerk Maxwell. But when the interviewer, an American academic historian of science, touched on Newton’s personality, and particularly Newton’s notorious refusal to publish any acknowledgement of the ideas of Robert Hooke in the preface to hisPrincipia Mathematica (1687), Einstein responded: “That, alas, is vanity. You find it in so many scientists. You know, it has always hurt me to think that Galileo did not acknowledge the work of Kepler.” Later in the interview, Einstein added with a booming laugh that a man might often say that he had no vanity, but this too was a kind of vanity because he took such special pride in the fact. “It is like childishness,” said Einstein. “Many of us are childish; some of us more childish than others. But if a man knows he is childish, then that knowledge can be a mitigating factor.”
b) Fascinating Physics Facts about Snow Flakes
This is a Perimeter Institute (PI) has put together 14 fascinating Physics Facts about Snow Flakes.  At the end of the article, there is a videolink to a 57 min PI lecture on the Secret Life of Snow’
c) The Physics of Knitting 
What do earthquakes, robotics and jumpers have in common? Samuel Poincloux explains why the answer lies with knitting – and how stretching a knitted material is rooted in mechanics

If you’ve ever done a PhD in physics, you’ll know you usually begin by ploughing through lots of background reading, learning how to use your lab’s equipment and maybe even carrying out some provisional experiments. My PhD was a bit different. I started off watching YouTube videos to improve my needlework.

The project I had accepted at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris was about the mechanics of knitted fabrics. The research was to have two sides: a theoretical one to determine what equations described the system; and an experimental one to mechanically test actual knits to guide and verify the theory. The trouble was, I barely knew what a knit was when I accepted the project.

I quickly learnt that there are differences – both structural and mechanical – between a knit (such as a jumper, scarf or hat) and a weave (such as a table cloth, shirt or pair of jeans). In fact, those differences are easy to demonstrate. If you pull on your jeans, you should notice that the weave hardly deforms. Pull on a knitted jumper, in contrast, and it can be effortlessly elongated by up to two times its length. The stretchiness of a knit is also obvious if you wrap it around something: by locally stretching, a knit can fit complex shapes; a woven fabric, however, has to fold to conform to it.

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Events for Teachers and Students – Vicphys News 1/T1/19

Welcome back for 2019.  This first newsletter of the year features several events for teachers and students.
For teachers, there is i) the Physics Teachers Conference, ii) the Chief Assessor’s Forum at Uni HS and iii) the Beginning Physics Teachers’ In-Service as well as online PD.

For students, there is i) the Luna Park Physics Days, ii) Girls in Physics Breakfasts across Victoria as well as talks and a webinar.

Also check out the Youtube video of the combustion-free, propellor-free plane that uses electroaerodynamics.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 7th February at Melbourne Girls’ College starting at 5:00pm. Tecahers 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. Vicphysics Website: New Resources
  2. Online Professional Development
  3. Lagrange’s Halo or How China landed a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon and receives images of the lunar surface.
  4. Latest Job Ads
  5. Events for Students and the General Public
  6. Events for Teachers

7. Physics News from the Web
a) Combustion-free, propeller-free aeroplane takes flight. The ion age of flight
b) Different methods produce different values for the Hubble Constant
c) Climate impacts will seldom strike singly
d) A brief history of timekeeping

1.  Vicphysics Website
Over the holidays, about 50 new weblinks have been added to the resources pages for the various Areas of Study.
Also the webpages for the Units 1 and 3 Areas of Study have been redesigned to have the same format as those for Units 2 and 4 which were revised last year.  The new format makes it easier for you to locate resources for a particular need on an Area of Study.
Now each AoS webpage has a table at the top similar to the one below for Unit 1 Thermal Physics.
  Topic                                           Context     Activities      Assessment      Useful Weblinks
Temperature and Energy               Yes (2,0)    Yes (5,0)          None                None
Heat Transfer                                Yes (2,0)    Yes (4,0)          Yes (1,0)           None
Heat Capacity and Latent Heat     Yes (2,0)    Yes (4,0)          Yes (1,0)           None
EM Radiation                                None          Yes (3,0)          None                None
Greenhouse Effect                         Yes (17,2)  Yes (1,1)        None                Yes (0,5)
‘Yes’ is an active link to resources further down the page. The first number in the brackets is the number of downloadable files, and the second number is the number of weblinks.  ‘None’ means there is no material.  Teachers are invited to submit material for the empty cells here.

2. On Line Professional Development
The National STEM Centre in the UK provides free online courses for teachers. Courses that are about to start include:

  • The Science of Learning – Discover the scientific research about learning and apply it in your classroom to help you teach STEM subjects. Course begins 25th February.  The course runs for 5 weeks and requires 3 hours per week.  You receive access to the course for 7 weeks, including articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes.  For $134 you can also get unlimited access and a certificate on completion.
  • Linking STEM Curriculum Learning to Careers – Discover how to adapt your curriculum to link to careers in science, engineering, computing and mathematics. Course begins 4th March. The course runs for 4 weeks and requires 3 hours per week.  You receive access to the course for 6 weeks, including articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes.  For $99 you can also get unlimited access and a certificate on completion.
  • The Discovery of the Higgs Boson. Course begins 4th February for 7 weeks at 5 hours per week.  Upgrade: $99
  • Teaching Practical Science: Physics. Course begins 22nd April for 3 weeks at 3 hours per week.  Upgrade: $99

3.  Lagrange’s Halo or how China landed a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon and receives images of the lunar surface. 
The technique to communicate with a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon involves some clever gravitational physics that Year 12 students might be able to follow.

  • Around any two large bodies in orbit, there are points in space where a smaller object can maintain its position relative to the other bodies.  These are called Lagrange points and there are five of them. L2 is the one of interest, it is on the other side of the Moon.
  • At L2, an object will experience the gravitational attraction of the Earth.  If this was the only force on the object the period of its orbit would be longer than that of the Moon (by Kepler’s 3rd Law).
  • But the additional inward gravitational force by the Moon means that the object can move faster than would otherwise be the case.
  • The position of L2 is such that the combined gravitational attractions of the Earth and the Moon give the object a period equal to the Moon’s period, that is, the object will stay in that position, L2, and orbit the Earth always being on the other side of the Moon. If L2 is a distance, r, from the centre of the Moon, an equation for r involving the masses of the Earth and the Moon and the radius of the Moon’s orbit can be obtained, but it ends up being a quintic equation!
  • However L2 would be useless as the location for a communication satellite. In 1968 in a PhD thesis, Robert Farquhar showed that an object can orbit L2, even though this is no mass at L2.  This orbit is called a Halo orbit and it is where the Chinese communication satellite is placed.

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 2 schools seeking physics teachers.

5.    Events for Students and the General Public
a) Monday, 11th February, Girls in Science Webinar, 10:20am – 11:30am AEDT
As part of a celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Victoria’s Lead Scientist, Dr Amanda Caples, with others will be hosting an interactive web-streamed panel session aimed at middle and senior school students in science.  The event will be hosted by the Royal Society of Victoria.
The event will feature a keynote address by Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea, Co-Founder and CEO of Women in STEMM Australia. The panellists will be taking questions from the online audience.
For more details about the event and the panel members and to also book, click here.

b) 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.

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

This year there will be two extra rides on offer one of which is 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.  The other 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. Both rides will be useful for data logging and also simple calculation of g forces from using a stop watch and estimating distances.
Bookings are now open .
An aerobatic display by a member of the Roulettes has been requested, but confirmation is often not provided until mid February.
Worksheets are available here.
Schools can also book a Pasco data logger for a half day by accessing the Ciderhouse website here.

d) 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

e) 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)  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. Each session in the Saturday program can be booked independently of the conference booking by emailing Vicphysics indicating which ones you wish to attend.  There is no cost.

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) 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 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.
Booking: You will need to book through Trybooking, check our website for details.

c) 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) Combustion-free, propeller-free aeroplane takes flight: The ion age of flight
The ionic wind that powers the plane is generated by electroaerodynamics. An electric field ionizes atoms and molecules in the ambient fluid – such as nitrogen molecules in air – and then accelerates them by Coulomb force. The accelerated ions then couple their momentum with other neutral atoms or molecules they collide with, and this gives rise to the ionic wind.
Check out the Youtube video.
b) Different methods produce different values for the Hubble Constant
A new value for the Hubble constant – the expansion rate of the universe — has been calculated by an international group of astrophysicists. The team used primordial distance scales to study more than 200 supernovae observed by telescopes in Chile and Australia. The new result agrees well with previous values of the constant obtained using a specific model of cosmic expansion, while disagreeing with more direct observations from the nearby universe – so exacerbating a long-running disagreement between cosmologists and astronomers.
c) Climate impacts will seldom strike singly
By 2100, climate impacts will be felt by everyone and most people will experience at least three simultaneous hazards, inexorably made more hazardous by the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

And they could be the lucky ones: some people could be menaced by six different kinds of warming-related hazard simultaneously.
d) A brief history of time keeping
From sticks in the ground to caesium atomic clocks, humans have been keeping track of time with increasing accuracy for millennia. Helen Margolis looks at how we reached our current definition of the second, and where clock technology is going next.

 

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Vicphysics Website upgraded – Physics Survey extended. VicPhys News 5/T4/18

The Vicphysics website has been upgraded.  It is now easier to find resources and there are extra features.
The deadline for the survey as part of the VCE Physics Review has been extended to 30th November.
There is also information on a website for 3D real time tracking of satellites.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be at 5pm on Thursday, 15th Novemberat Melbourne Girls’ College.  The second half of the meeting will be on the Physics Review Survey. All teachers are welcome to attend this or any other meeting.  If you would like to attend, please contact Vicphysics

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. Our website has been re-designed.  Check it out
  2. Physics Review: Questionnaire: Closing date 30th Nov
  3. Viewing Satellite orbits in real time
  4. Latest Job Ads
  5. Events for Students and the General Public
  6. Events for Teachers

7. Physics News from the Web
a)  Wave concentrator could help capture renewable energy from the sea
b)  Ingenious Inventions: Review of Audrey, the Inventor
c)  Cool polymer paint saves on air conditioning
d) The fluid mechanics of bubbly drinks

1. 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’.

2. 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.

3. Viewing Satellite Orbits in Real Time
NASA’s J Track 3D Satellite Tracking program was a very useful tool for showing the various types of satellites orbits.  Students could use the displayed data for different satellites to calculate different gravitational parameters of their orbits.  However the program is no longer available.
A worthy successor is Stuffin Space .  It has all the features of J Track 3D.  You can zoom in and out, tilt the view to any angle for a polar or equatorial view, click on a satellite to see its orbit.  To see the ring of geostationary satellites is a learning experience in itself.  The data displayed for a satellite includes: Name, Type, Apogee (km), Perigee (km), Inclination, Altitude (km), Velocity (km/s) and Period (min).  There are many satellites in circular orbits at different heights as well as many with eccentric orbits. The data can be used in a number of ways:
a) Circular orbits: confirm the relationship between speed, radius and period, calculate and graph the accelerations of satellites at different altitudes and plot radius cubed against period squared for different satellites,
b) Eccentric orbits: record the velocity and altitude over time and graph speed squared against altitude for a particular satellite.  The Stuffin Space website does not include the mass of the satellite, but Gunter’s Space Page has a lot of satellite information including their masses, if you want to calculate KE.

4. Latest Job Ads

As schools lodge information about a vacancy, they will be placed here on our website.  Applications for the listed independent schools have closed. The list of government schools has been updated.

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)   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.”

Also check this Youtube video of three astronauts at the book launch earlier this year.

Scienceworks has a new Exhibition, Museum of the Moon, opening on 1st December that includesa seven metre diameter spherical sculpture featuring large scale NASA imagery of the lunar surface.  At a scale of 1:500,000, each centimetre of the sculpture represents five kilometres of the moon’s surface. It is included with Museum entry.  Also the Earthlight: Spacewalk activity finishes on 14th December.

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.

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) Wave concentrator could help capture renewable energy from the sea
A new device that can triple the amplitude of a water wave by concentrating it into a small, shallow space has been unveiled by researchers in China and the US.  As well as concentrating waves incident on the device, it does not reflect a significant amount of wave energy back into open water. As a result, the team believes that their prototype could soon be scaled-up to tap into the enormous potential for power generation provided by the oceans.
b) Ingenious Inventions: Review of Audrey, the inventor
The short, quirky book tells the story of Audrey who lives with her father and her pet “Happy Cat” and decides to become an inventor. Inquisitive and adventurous Audrey dreams up and creates a number of devices – from an egg collector to a strawberry jam dispenser to a “cat washer” – in the hopes of being helpful. Alas, her builds soon fall apart or, worse, cause chaos. Our young heroine is despondent, convinced that she is the “world’s worst inventor”. Thankfully, daddy steps in with words of encouragement and advice, suggesting that she learn from her mistakes and try again. This time around, Audrey carefully plans her project and repeatedly tests her invention before unleashing it on the household with huge success.

c) Cool polymer paint saves on air conditioning.
Air conditioning accounts for 10% of global energy consumption. Now researchers at Columbia University and Argonne National Laboratory in the US have produced a polymer “paint” capable of cooling surfaces to around 6 °C below ambient temperatures without using any energy at all. Used in combination with conventional air conditioning, it could allow significant reductions in the time these units are switched on, as well as providing some cooling relief in areas where air conditioning is not so widely available.

The approach uses a solution process at room temperature to produce a film of a polymer with nanometre- and micrometre-sized air voids trapped inside. “There are a lot of examples of substances that are white from air voids – like snow for example,” says Nanfang Yu associate professor in Applied Physics at Columbia University in the US. “Snow is white because there are a lot of air bubbles inside, otherwise you have ice which is transparent – it’s as simple as that. We are just pushing this to the extreme by this chemical process.”

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d) The fluid mechanics of bubbly drinks

In most cases, the bubbles in a drink are the result of carbonation. The amount of carbon dioxide gas that dissolves in the liquid is proportional to pressure. And if the pressure is suddenly reduced, such as when a bottle of beer is opened, the gas quickly comes out of solution and forms bubbles that rise to the surface, only to burst after a brief instant or to aggregate into a frothy head of foam.
That’s just the start of what happens to carbonated drinks opened to air; many processes occur before the first refreshing sip. In this article we discuss the bubbles’ birth, motion, stability, and fascinating connections to a range of other phenomena that lie beyond the need for refreshment.
Perhaps the first question worth asking is, Why do we like bubbly drinks? A scientific answer has proven elusive. Carbonation, it turns out, triggers the same pain receptors in the deep brain that are activated by tasting spicy food.1 Curiously, when carbonated water is fed to other animals, such as mice, dogs, and horses, the animals refuse to drink it. But humans appear to enjoy the mildly irritating effects. Water, CO2, and saliva enzymes react to produce small amounts of carbonic acid, the substance thought to be behind the tingly sensation. The bubbles themselves are known to alter a drink’s perceived flavor, at least in the case of soda: The smaller the bubbles, the faster they dissolve to produce carbonic acid.

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More Physics positions: Gov’t, Cath, Indep – Seeking advice on Livestreaming. Vicphys News 4/T4/18

Dear All,

  1. More Physics Teacher Positions: Government, Catholic and Independent
  2. Seeking advice on Live Streaming

1. More Physics Teacher Positions: Government, Catholic and Independent
Some schools are seeking physics teachers for next year and hoping to finalise their staffing next week. So if you are looking for a position, now is the time to act.  Listed below are the private schools who have lodged ads with Vicphysics as well as the Government schools seeking physics teachers as found on the Department of Education and Training website.

Our website now provides a Job Ads webpage. As schools lodge information about a vacancy, it will be placed here on our website.  So far the vacancies on our website are:

  • Sacre Coeur, Glen Iris
  • Camberwell Grammar School, Canterbury
  • Mentone Grammar School

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

Government school positions are listed on this Government website .  A search for ‘physics’ gave the following  9 positions.  On that website you can click on a position to obtain more details.

  • Coburg High School
  • Werribee Secondary College
  • Camberwell High School
  • John Monash Science School
  • Seymour College
  • The Grange P – 12 College, Hoppers Crossing
  • Camperdown College
  • Noble Park Secondary College
  • Bayside P – 12 College, Williamstown

2.  Seeking advice on Live Streaming
This year Vicphysics has streamed live two events, and hopes to continue with this next year, but it is an expensive exercise.  So we are considering buying our own equipment.  However there is a large range of equipment options and costs. We have limited funds, but we are likely to use the equipment in a range of settings from lecture theatres with switches to a powerpoint and multiple radio microphones to a small room with a person speaking straight to camera. So it is difficult to decide which path we should take.
If any teachers have some experience with live streaming and can advise us on equipment choice, it would be very much appreciated. Please contact us at Vicphysics.

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

 

Physics Teacher positions, Nobel Prize, More resources. Vicphys News 1/T4/18

Vicphysics Teachers’ Network is often contacted by schools who are having difficulty finding a physics teacher to be a LSL replacement, to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave. So we have decided to set up a webpage for such short and long term physics teaching vacancies.  The first position is now on our website.

The 2018 Nobel Prize for Physics was announced last week. It was awarded for innovation on using lasers.  Resources for various audiences are listed below.

We also invite teachers to consider presenting a workshop for their colleagues at next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference. We have much to share. There is also information on new resources and a reminder that entries for our competitions are due.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be at 5pm on Thursday, 11th October at Melbourne Girls’ College.  All teachers are welcome to attend this or any other meeting.  If you would like to attend, please contact Vicphysics

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. Seeking a Physics Teacher?  Seeking a job?
  2. 2018 Nobel Prize for Physics for innovations in laser physics
  3. Be a Conference Presenter
  4. Entries for our Physics Competitions are due.
  5. Another Poster from the Perimeter Institute: All Known Physics in one equation
  6. Physics Problem sheets: 80 pages from a retired teacher
  7. Background readings from the Institute of Physics – Many are free to download
  8. Events for Students and the General Public
  9. Events for Teachers

10. Physics News from the Web
a)  New evidence for cyclic universe claimed by Roger Penrose and colleagues
b)  Fierce and Unpredictable: How Wildfires became Infernos
c)  How to build a super-magnet

1. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
Vicphysics Teachers’ Network is often contacted by schools who are having difficulty finding a physics teacher to be a LSL replacement, to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave.

So we have decided to make our website and this email newsletter available to schools to cover such short and long term physics teaching vacancies.

The cost is $100 for two months’ display.  The payment is to be by EFT to the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network account at Bank Australia with BSB 313 140 and account number 12146397.  The customer reference should be the school name.  A receipt will be issued and an invoice can be provided.  Schools must enter the details about the vacancy online here on our website.

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

  • Star of the Sea College, Brighton

2.  2018 Nobel Prize in Physics for innovations in laser physics
The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Donna Strickland, George Mourou and Arthur Ashkin.
There are several resources explaining their work for various audiences:
Popular version by the Nobel Committee (7 pages)
Scientific version by the Nobel Committee ( 18 pages)
Forbes magazine: Optical TweezersUltra Intense, Ultra short(two very well written articles).
The Nobel Committee now also produces lesson material on each of the prizes.  Click here for the physics material.
The speaker at the Monash Girls in Physics Breakfast, Dr Ceri Brenner, spoke on the different ways she uses these laser pulses in her research.  Check the video of her talk on our webpage.

3. Be a Conference Presenter: Physics Teachers’ Conference, Friday, 15th February
A distinctive feature of the Physics Teachers’ Conference over the years has been the large number of teachers who offer workshops about what they do.  These workshops are not only beneficial for other teachers, but they also significantly enhance the curriculum vitae of the presenters and their own personal skills.

With the new course bedding down, the conference is an ideal forum for you to share your ideas on teaching new content and different ways of assessing.

If you would like to offer a workshop, please register the workshop on the STAV website, here.  Theclosing date for registrations is Friday, 12th October.

  • The presenter and only one co-presenter are free of charge for the session they are presenting.
  • All such presenters are able to register “free of charge” for other sessions at this conference.
  • All subsequent co-presenters are charged $75 each and need to register to attend sessions.
  • Presenters are not paid any fee nor is CRT covered.

4.  Entries for our Physics Competitions are due.
Entries for the Vicphysics Photo and Video contests are due this Friday, 12th October.  Click the links for details.
Entries for the Practical Investigation Poster Competition are due next Friday, 19th October. Click the link for details.

5.  Another Poster from the Perimeter Institute: All known physics in one equation
A newsletter in late Term 3 reported on three extra packages of curriculum materials from the Perimeter Institute.  They have now released a new poster which displays ‘all known physics’ in one equation annotated with the name of the physicist against each term, including Schrodinger, Feynmann, Euler, Planck, Einstein, Newton, Maxwell, Yang, Mills, Dirac, Kobayashi, Maskawa, Yukawa, Higgs and Lagrange.  The poster can be downloaded as a high resolution pdf for free fromhere.

6.  Physics Problem sheets80 pages from a retired teacher
Geoff Phillips has retired from teaching but would like to make available to teachers his collection of Physics problem sheets.  There are about 80 sheets for Year 11 and 12 Physics.  Although written for the previous Study Design, most are still appropriate to the current course.  The problem sheets are all original material written by Geoff, so his copyright should be acknowledged when they are being photocopied or printed.  They also come with answers and detailed solutions.

If you wish to obtain the sheets, you can email Geoff  to request the download link.

7. Background readings from the Institute of Physics – Many free to download
The Institute of Physics commissions booklets on a range of physics topics, most can be purchased through Amazon. The following engaging titles from Particle Physics to the Physics of DNA are free to download from here:

  • What’s next for Particle Physics? by Martin White
  • Philosphy of Physics by Robert P Crease
  • Energy Storage Systems by David Elliott
  • From Particle Physics to Medical Applications by Manjit Dosanjh
  • Quantum Simulation by Chad Orzel
  • Multimessenger Astronomy by Imre Bartos and Marek Kowalski
  • Space Weather by Mike Hapgood
  • Proton Beam Therapy by Harald Paganetti
  • Complex Light by Jeff Secor, Robert Alfano and Solyman Ashrafi
  • Adaptive Optics in Biology by Carl J Kempf
  • How to build a Quantum Computer by Barry C Sanders
  • Nanoelectronics by Jessamyn A Fairfield
  • Antihydrogen Beams by Yasunori Yamazaki, Michael Doser and Patrice Pérez
  • Carbon Capture and Storage by Owain Tucker
  • Nuclear Waste Management by Claire Corkhill and Neil Hyatt
  • Tetraquarks and Pentaquarks by Greig Cowan and Tim Gershon
  • The Physics of DNA and Chromosomes by Davide Marenduzzo
  • Redefining the Kilogram and other SI Units by Stephan Schlamminger

8.    Events for Students and the General Public
a) 30th October, Neutron stars, 6:30pm, Monash University, Clayton Campus.
The October lecture in this series will be on Neutron stars and will be given by Prof Alexander Heger from the school of Physics and Astronomy at Monash University.  Check here for a personal profile of Prof Heger.
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:

  • Tuesday, 27th November – TBA – Assoc Prof Meera Parish

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,

9.     Events for Teachers
a)  11 October 2018Keeping under 1.5°C:  Are we doing enough to avoid dangerous climate change?,
6:00 pm to 7:45pm, University of Melbourne
Have we missed the opportunity to avoid dangerous climate change?  Australia has already experienced over 1 degree of warming with an increase in extreme heat events and severe bushfire weather.  What actions need to be taken to get on track to avoid a greater than 1.5°C future?  If we don’t act, what could our future climate look like?

To coincide with the launch of the IPCC Special Report Global Warming of 1.5°C,  as well as the 10 year anniversary of the Garnaut Climate Change Review 2008 (updated in 2011), the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society and the University of Melbourne Climate-Energy College present a panel of experts to discuss the implications of this important report for Australia and the World.

Panelists:

  • Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director of the Global Change Institute (GCI) and Professor of Marine Science, The University of Queensland (Co-Author of the IPCC Special Report Global Warming of 1.5°C)
  • Prof Ross Garnaut AC, Professorial Fellow in Economics at the University of Melbourne, Chair of the Energy Transition Hub and President of SIMEC ZEN Energy
  • Prof Robyn Eckersley, Head of Political Science, School of Social and Political Sciences, plus Climate and Energy College, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, Senior Research Associate and ARC Future Fellow, Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW

Venue: Kathleen Fitzpatrick Theatre, Arts West – West Wing : Building 148B, University of Melbourne
Cost: Free, To register click here .

b)  Wednesday 17 October, Mission: Gravity – Bringing Virtual Universe to the Secondary Classroom, Scienceworks
OzGrav (ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery) and Scienceworks are joining forces to offer a unique professional development day .  Join them for an insight into the free OzGrav incursion Program ‘Mission: Gravity’ This is a program that incorporates experimental design and scientific process with virtual data to answer the question: Where do black holes come from? 

Also included: ‘Beyond Perception’ exhibition viewing, the Planetarium show ‘Black Holes’ supplementary curriculum materials and an opportunity to invite the OzGrav team to your school to share ‘Mission: Gravity’ free of charge with your students.

This free professional learning day is exclusive to MV Teachers subscribers. You can join MV Teachers today for access to this and other exclusive teacher events – it’s free!  This is a rare opportunity and places are limited. Note that this event is not catered and you will need to provide your own refreshments.
Cost: Free for MV Teachers
Suitable for: Year 7–10 STEM teachers, and Year 11 and 12 Physics teachers
Time: 8.30am–3.30pm
Location: Scienceworks, 2 Booker Street, Spotswood, VIC 3015

10.   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.

New evidence for cyclic universe claimed by Roger Penrose and colleagues

Unexpected hot spots in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) could have been produced by black holes evaporating before the Big Bang. So says a trio of scientists led by mathematical physicist Roger Penrose in a paper presenting new evidence that our universe is just one stage in a potentially infinite cycle of cosmic extinction and rebirth. Other researchers, however, remain sceptical that the microwave background really does contain signs from a previous “aeon”.

According to standard cosmology, the universe underwent a very brief but exceptionally intense expansion just after the Big Bang. This period of “inflation” would have ironed out any irregularities in the structure of the early universe, leading to the very uniform cosmos that we observe around us.

However, Penrose, based at the University of Oxford , has developed a rival theory known as “conformal cyclic cosmology“ (CCC) which posits that the universe became uniform before, rather than after, the Big Bang. The idea is that the universe cycles from one aeon to the next, each time starting out infinitely small and ultra-smooth before expanding and generating clumps of matter. That matter eventually gets sucked up by supermassive black holes, which over the very long term disappear by continuously emitting Hawking radiation. This process restores uniformity and sets the stage for the next Big Bang.

Fierce and Unpredictable: How Wildfires Became Infernos

An article from the New York Times.  MISSOULA, Mont. — In a large metal warehouse, Mark Finney opens a tall, clear glass tower and pours alcohol into a tray at the bottom and lights it. When he closes the door, an open vent at the bottom sucks in air and suddenly fire spirals upward, a narrow column of flame 12 feet tall.

In the wild, these fire whirls are unpredictable and dangerous. An exceptionally powerful whirl in late July during California’s unrelenting Carr Fire whipped winds up to 143 miles per hour, roaring and spinning for 90 minutes and scooping up ash, debris and flames. It uprooted trees, stripped the bark off them, and downed power lines. The whirl, sometimes nicknamed a “firenado,” was so large it was picked up on Doppler radar.

How to build a super-magnet

Super-strong magnets are a relatively recent phenomenon. Before the 19th century, the only magnets available were naturally occurring rocks made from a mineral called magnetite. This began to change after 1819, when the Danish scientist Hans Christian Ørsted discovered that electric currents in metallic wires create magnetic fields, but the real leap in magnet strength did not come until nearly a century later, with the discovery of superconductivity. Superconductors conduct electricity with perfect efficiency, which is a huge advantage for making strong magnets: today’s most powerful commercially available superconducting magnets can produce a stable field of up to 23 T, which is more than 2000 times stronger than the magnet on your fridge.

Be a Conf Presenter. VicPhysics No 6, T3, 2018

Dear Colleagues

We invite you to consider presenting a workshop for your colleagues at next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference. We all have much to share. The conference will be on Friday, 15th February at La Trobe University.

A distinctive feature of the Physics Teachers’ Conference over the years has been the large number of teachers who offer workshops about what they do.  These workshops are not only beneficial for other teachers, but they also significantly enhance the curriculum vitae of the presenters and their own personal skills.

With the new course bedding down, the conference is an ideal forum for you to share your ideas on teaching the new content and the different ways of assessing.

If you would like to offer a workshop, please register the workshop on the STAV website, here.  Theclosing date for registrations is Friday, 12th October.

  • The presenter and only one co-presenter are free of charge for the session they are presenting.
  • All such presenters are able to register “free of charge” for other sessions at this conference.
  • All subsequent co-presenters are charged $75 each and need to register to attend sessions.
  • Presenters are not paid any fee nor is CRT covered.

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

Be a Conf. Presenter – AstroLight Festival – More Resources

We invite teachers to consider presenting a workshop for their colleagues at next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference. We have much to share.

This newsletter also has information on a wealth of resources as well as news about the impressive Astrolight Festival at Scienceworks this Saturday night.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be at 5pm on Thursday, 13th September at Melbourne Girls’ College.  All teachers are welcome to attend this or any other meeting.  If you would like to attend, please contact Vicphysics

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. Be a Conference Presenter
  2. Resources from the Perimeter Institute
  3. Internet Resources for Physics Teaching
  4. Events for Students and the General Public
  5. Events for Teachers

6. Physics News from the Web
a)  Emmy Noether’s revolutionary theorem explained from kindergarten to PhD
b) Nanoparticles set spinning record
c)  What is time? The comic strip

1.  Be a Conference Presenter: Physics Teachers’ Conference, Friday, 15th February
A distinctive feature of the Physics Teachers’ Conference over the years has been the large number of teachers who offer workshops about what they do.  These workshops are not only beneficial for other teachers, but they also significantly enhance the curriculum vitae of the presenters and their own personal skills.

With the new course bedding down, the conference is an ideal forum for you to share your ideas on teaching new content and different ways of assessing.

If you would like to offer a workshop, please register the workshop on the STAV website, here.

  • The presenter and only one co-presenter are free of charge for the session they are presenting.
  • All such presenters are able to register “free of charge” for other sessions at this conference.
  • All subsequent co-presenters are charged $75 each and need to register to attend sessions.
  • Presenters are not paid any fee nor is CRT covered.

2.  Resources from the Perimeter Institute
The Perimeter Institute has released three extra packages of curriculum materials, the titles are:

  • Evidence for Climate Change (1000MB of material on carbon dioxide, climate modelling, forcing factors,
  • Wave Model Applications (648 MB of material on sound, earthquake and gravitational waves including interference and resonance)
  • A Deeper Understanding of Energy (575 MB of material on nuclear transformations, ionising radiation, mass energy equivalence, formation of elements and dark energy)

They are pitched at Years 10 to 11.  They are available free and each includes i) a 70 – 85 page teaching program covering how to use the material, several pages of teaching strategies and learning issues, ii) 5 – 7 different activities, each with information on teaching tips, equipment, extension, misconceptions, iii) a video, iv) a student design challenge and v) assessment criteria and rubrics.

They can be downloaded from here. There are 18 topics in all from upper primary to senior secondary. Senior topics include: Black Holes, The Mystery of Dark Matter, The Challenge of Quantum Reality, Beyond the Atom: Remodelling Particle Physics, Everyday Einstein: GPS and Relativity, The Process of Science, Revolutions in Science and The Expanding Universe.

3. Internet Resources for Physics Teaching
The journal “The Physics Teacher’ produced by the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) features a column of new internet resources.  These are some from recent editions.

  • Videos of teacher demonstrations: Two academics at Weber University in the US have produced a set of videor covering about 200 physics concepts.  The videos are designed to support online learning. They cover Mechanics, Waves, Thermal Physics, Light, Electromagnetism and Modern Physics. They average about 5 minutes in duration.
  • Seeing the world in UV and IR.  There are two sites on UV: Veritasium (11 min),  Physics Girl (12 min) and one for IR: Michelle Thaller from NASA  (7 min).
  • Physics Apps by Canadian teacher, Matt Craig.  Matt has produced 30 apps for senior physics covering Waves, Mechanics, Electromagnetism, Relativity and Modern physics.  He also has a set for middle science on Electrostatics, Light and Astronomy.  They are downloadable jar files and you need to install the Java Development Kit to run them, but information is provided on how to do that. His explanatory notes about the electroscope simulator published in the Ontario Physics Teachers Newsletter can be accessed here.
  • Physics Videos.  This website, ‘The Universe and More’, is nominally about physics games, but the main benefit is the extensive list of videos under ‘Resources’, they are mainly action sequences that illustrate phenomena and principles.  They cover several aspects of mechanics, as well as Light, Waves, Electromagnetism, Quantum physics and Relativity.
  • Kirchoff’s Revenge.  An Adventure Game.  “Kirchhoff is annoyed because nobody appreciates his circuit laws! You get transported to his secret lair and won’t be able to get out until you show appreciation!”   There are eight levels and it is available in both Mac and Windows versions.

4.    Events for Students and the General Public
a)   Saturday, 8th September: Astrolight Festival, 6pm – 10:30pm, Scienceworks
Enjoy a special evening of talks and performances for all ages, Planetarium and Lightning Room shows, plus an array of hands-on optics activities and stargazing (weather permitting).

This year Scienceworks is rocketing into space with speakers talking about human spaceflight, the Australian Space Agency, and where Australia is headed in this accelerating industry.  International Space Station Flight Controller Andrea Boyd and former astronaut trainer Dr Gail Iles will discuss the future of human spaceflight and what it’s like to hang out in zero gravity.

Later in the evening, Andrea will be joined by Dr Naomi Mathers to talk all things space industry including the burgeoning Australian Space Agency, satellite technologies, and other applications of space science.

The program includes 12 talks in two venues across the evening and 20 activities in 10 venues.

Cost: $12 – $25
Venue: Scienceworks, 2 Booker St, Spotswood
Bookings and program details: Click here.  Those booking go in the draw for a Celestron telescope valued at $855.

b) Sunday, 9th September: Open Day at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, 10am – 2pm, Parkville
This Open Day is for students interested in careers in the Medical Radiations professions of Medical Imaging, Radiation Therapy and Nuclear Medicine.  Staff will conduct tours of these departments and provide career and professional information.  University course providers will also be in attendance. This is a great opportunity to see the latest in high-tech modern medicine. Parents and teachers are most welcome.
Time: 10:00am to 2:00pm
Venue: Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre within the VCCC building at 305 Grattan St Melbourne

c)   Friday, 14th September: It Takes a Spark!, Spark EDU Conference,  Melbourne Girls’ College
This conference is designed by students and teachers for students and teachers.

The intent of the ‘It Takes a Spark’ conference is to bring together Girls and their Teachers to connect with inspiring female industry role models, share their current school based activities and projects using an authentic sharing and experiential model, create networks of teachers and student teams, and solve social justice design challenges.

The participation of the students is as important as teachers as the intent is to ignite, empower and nurture both students and teachers to be leaders of STEAM and Entrepreneurship within their schools.

Teachers will have both formal and informal opportunities to speak to other teachers who have enacted programs and activities in their schools and get their questions answered. The workshops and social justice design challenges are all hands-on so students and teachers will experience first-hand what it is like to be part of great STEAM and entrepreneurial learning.  This will spark new ideas about curriculum and pedagogy.

The event is for:

  •  those who are already (or aspire to be) technology leaders in their school,
  •  those who have little experience and those who have a lot,
  • Curriculum Coordinators– who wish to discuss how to create trans-disciplinary units that are powerfully engaging,
  • Principals and Deputy Principals – to witness what is possible by embedding the Technologies Curriculum in their school.

Cost: Teacher: $235 (early bird $195 by 24th August), Student : $33 , Includes lunch.

Check here for the details of program, speakers and the workshops for teachers and for students.

d)  Mission Discovery: Seeking mentors for a holiday program to design experiments for International Space Station.

The International Space School Educational Trust (ISSET) in association with Latitude Group Travel and Melbourne University is running an event for secondary students from 24th to 28th September.

They are seeking senior undergrads, grads, PhD students and current teachers to be mentors to the students who, in teams of 6, will design an experiment to be done in space.  The judges will pick one winning team whose experiment will go on the International Space Station.

If you wish to be a mentor, please contact Felicity Irwin at Latitude Group Travel.

For more details about the event and student registrations, click here.  The cost for the five days including lunch for an individual student is $771 + GST, there is a discount for a booking of more than 20 students. Teachers are encouraged to attend with their students at no cost.

e)   25th September, Black holes and merging neutron stars: frontiers in gravitational-wave astronomy6:30pm, Monash University, Clayton Campus.
The September lecture in this series will be on Black holes and merging neutron stars: frontiers in gravitational-wave astronomyand will be given by Dr Eric Thrane from the school of Physics and Astronomy at Monash University.  Check here for a personal profile of Dr Thrane.
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 lectures in the series are:

  • Tuesday, 30th October – Neutron Stars – Prof Alexander Heger
  • Tuesday, 27th November – TBA – Assoc Prof Meera Parish

f)  26th Sept – 5th October: 3D Astro Tours, Swinburne University
The 50-minute session is a journey starting in the solar system and then on to explore a Universe. AstroTours feature 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:

Please use the links next to each date to book your seats. Email suelester@swin.edu.au with further queries.  NB: Please note that sessions will be cancelled with less than 12 attendees.

Venue: Swinburne University, Hawthorn campus, AR104 .  Click here for map.

Bookings are essential and can also be made via email to Elizabeth Thackray

Payment: Cost is $10 per person which can be paid at the door by cash or cheque.  If paying 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.  *Please advise if you require space for a wheelchair.

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.  They apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.  For safety reasons, no prams/strollers, etc. are allowed in the theatre.

g) Friday, 5th October: Women in Physics Night, 6:30pm – 8pm, University of Melbourne
The annual “Women in Physics Night” is an outreach program organised by the undergraduate Physics Students’ Society of The University of Melbourne.  The aim of this event was to motivate and encourage those who are interested in physical sciences to pursue further studies in the relevant field via interaction and open discussions with a diverse range of panellists from different physics backgrounds.  The event is open to all.

Panellists include: Prof Nicole Bell (Melb Uni), Dr Gail Iles (RMIT), Dr Catherine de Burgh-Day (Aust Bur of Met) and Stephanie Bernard (Melb Uni)

Purpose of the evening:
• Career opportunities in physics,
• What is it like to be a women in physics?,
• Panellists of different backgrounds talking about their personal experiences,
• Potential problems you may face as a woman in physics and how to overcome them.

Venue: Laby Theatre, University of Melbourne
Cost: Free and there is no need to book.  Check the Vicphysics calender for more details.

5.     Events for Teachers
a)         It Takes a Spark!, Spark EDU Conference, 14th September, Melbourne Girls’ College
See item 3b above

b) Lab Techs Workshop, Tuesday 18th September, Camberwell Grammar School
The all day program includes:

  • Learning new skills: i) Using and repairing multimeters, ii) Setting up a CRO for demonstrations, iii) Using a Ruhmkorff coil for high voltage demonstrations. (do two of the three, each runs for 30 mins)
  • The Van de Graaff Generator: Their care and feeding with Harvey Edwards from Principles and Practice.The frustration and hate of maintaining a VDG is fairly universal among Labies. Either you can seek help from a professional councellor or join in this workshop that will give you all the hints on how to service and maintain them with a minimum of hair pulling and swearing.  1 hour)
  • Good data in a digital world with Doug Bail from Ciderhouse. Hints, tips, tricks and techniques that help you, teachers and students make the most of the digital data acquisition available to schools.  The workshop will include some experiments, chat through tips, maintenance, calibration and analyse some data to help you support the use of this equipment.  The session will use PASCO gear but is intended for support of all equipment and particular notes will be made of options available from other suppliers. (1 hour)
  • Safe handling of ionising radiation and storage of radioactive sources (45 mins)
  • Laboratory management hints and lab tour (45 mins)
  • What is that old equipment in the back cupboard and is it of any use? (30 mins)

Cost: $60. Lunch is provided. A copy of the LTAV’s Physics Reference Manual is available at a discounted price of $20.
More details here  To book: go to Trybooking . Bookings close on Monday, 10th September.

c) Tuesday, 25th September, STEM Talks, 1pm and 4pm, Monash University, Clayton Campus
Showcasing STEM innovation – Addressing real life challenges in a changing world

The Faculty of Education at Monash University has invited a group of scientists, engineers and technologists to share their collective insights into some of the big questions that challenge them in their everyday quest for innovative solutions.

Each speaker’s story will showcase how diverse approaches to solving problems can be, and will demonstrate that engaging in STEM is seldom formulaic or routine, but is definitely exciting, creative and highly rewarding.  Join them to hear their stories.

There are two one hour sessions, one at 1pm and the other at 4pm, in the Learning and Teaching Building on the Clayton campus.  There are four speakers at the 1pm session and three other speakers at the 4pm session. Each session can be booked separately.  Information on the speakers and bookings are located here.  There is no cost.  The event will be filmed as a live event and made available online.

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.

a)  Emmy Noether’s revolutionary theorem explained from kindergarten to PhD
One hundred years ago, on July 23, 1918, Emmy Noether published a paper that would change science.

She was 36 at the time, working as an unpaid “assistant” under a male colleague because the University of Göttingen did not allow women to become professors. The paper, titled Invariante Variationsprobleme, contained a theorem that launched abstract algebra and linked two fundamental concepts in physics: symmetry and conservation laws.

Her insight was so profound that physicists are still unpacking its implications.  Here’s an all-ages guided tour through this groundbreaking idea.  The article also includes links to videos of talks for the various audiences.

b)  Nanoparticles set spinning record
If a jet engine spins faster than about 1000 Hz, the forces on its outer edge may rip it apart. But two research teams – one in Switzerland, the other in the US and China – have independently made nanoparticles rotate at over a billion Hertz, making them the fastest rotations ever produced.

Such ultrafast nanorotors could be useful for testing material properties, as well as verifying theories of frictional damping on the nanoscale. The dumbbell-shaped nanoparticles of the US-Chinese group can also form ultrasensitive torsion balances – the force sensors used to measure gravity in the 18th century. They could therefore potentially detect quantum effects in gravitation and other tiny force effects.

b)  What is Time? The Comic strip
A comic strip that takes a wry look at the physics and metaphysics of time by siblings, Eugenia Viti (the cartoonist) and Ivan Viti (the physicist).