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

Return to top

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.

Return to top

Advertisements