Girls in Physics Breakfast – Citizen Science – STEM Resources – Physics Lectures
Bookings are now open for the final Girls in Physics Breakfast for 2018. It will be at Monash University on Tuesday 21st August. Students from Years 10 to 12 share a table with two or three young women in various stages of a career in physics or engineering. The speaker will be the AIP’s Women in Physics Lecturer for 2018, Dr Ceri Brenner from the UK. Students also have the opportunity to go on a tour of the Australian Synchrotron and engage in various activities on Careers in STEM.
Dr Brenner is also speaking on the Friday before at Swinburne University as part of a Physics Extravaganza with two talks in the one night with refreshments available in the hour between.
There are also regional talks. Dr Brenner will also speak in Ballarat on the Sunday and in Bendigo on the Monday, while the 2016 WIP Lecturer, Dr Catalina Curceanu from Italy, will be speaking in Geelong on the Thursday before.
For teachers, the July Lectures in Physics continue and there is information on two websites of resources, one on Citizen Science projects and the other on STEM Resources.
The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be at 5pm on Thursday, 19th July 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
- Girls in Physics Breakfast, 21st August, Monash University, Clayton Campus
- Citizen Science: Activities for Students
- STEM Resources from Vivify
- Events for Students and the General Public
- Tuesday 31st July: Discovery of the first Baby Planet, 6:30pm, MonashUniversity, Clayton
- Tuesday, 14th August: Carbon, Clean Energy, Climate Change and how Chemistry is the Solution, 5:30pm, University of Melbourne
- Thursday, 16th August: 1:45pm, Kardinia International College, Geelong
- Friday, 18th August: Igniting stars with super intense lasers, 4:30pm, Swinburne University
- Friday, 18th August: State of the Universe, 6:30pm, Swinburne University
- Sunday, 19th August: Inspiring Illumination, Creative Curiosity, 2:30pm, Art Gallery of Ballarat
- Monday, 20th August: Igniting stars with super intense lasers, La Trobe Unversity, Bendigo Campus
- Tuesday, 28th August: Tying Electrons in knots, 6:30pm, Monash University Clayton
- Friday, 14th September: It Takes a Spark!, Spark EDU Conference, Melbourne Girls’ College
- Sunday, 9th September: Open Day at Peter MacCallum Cancer Clinic,10am – 2pm, Parkville
- Saturday, 15th September, What’s Next! Kip Thorne on Gravitational Waves, etc, 7:30pm, Palais Theatre
- Events for Teachers
4. Physics News from the Web
a) Is photosynthesis quantum-ish?
b) A flower’s nano-powers
c) Inspiring through games
1. Girls in Physics Breakfast – Tuesday, 21st August, Monash University, Clayton Campus
The last breakfast for the year will be held on Tuesday, 21st August at Monash University. The speaker will be Dr Ceri Brenner, the AIP’s Women in Physics lecturer for 2018. Dr Brenner will be speaking as part of a national tour in August.
The breakfast is for students in Years 10 to 12. At the breakfast the students will share a table with two or three young women in the early stages of a career in science or engineering. The students have a chance to ask questions about their careers and what study at university is like. Students will be seated with students from other schools.
As student at last year’s event said: ‘I was talking to a guest at my table and her career sounded so amazing. Then I realised that in 8 years that could be me. I got so excited.‘
Dr Brenner’s topic is Pressing FIRE on the most powerful laser in the world. Dr Ceri Brenner is a physicist at UK Research and Innovation. She is using the most powerful lasers in the world to develop innovative imaging technology for medical, nuclear and aerospace inspection. She has a unique role that spans research, innovation and business development and is driving the translation of laser-driven accelerator research into industrial applications that impact our society.
Times: The Breakfast will start at 7:30am and finish about 9:30am.
Program: After the breakfast for those opting to stay on, there are two additional activities :
- A 90 min tour of the Australian Synchrotron, a walk away in Blackburn Rd. There is a maximum group size for the Synchrotron Tours with tours starting 10:00, 10:30, 11:00 and 11:30, so a specific time needs to be selected when booking.
- A set of three activities on Careers in STEM each of which lasts for 30 minutes. The activities are: i) People Like Me Quiz and Job Roles Analysis, ii) Panel of Guests and Case Studies analysis and iii) Video on ‘Keeping Doors Open’ and Activities with Careers posters. The students booked in the first tour group will head off straight after the breakfast. They can do the first activity at the Synchrotron after the tour. For students in the other tour groups, the activities will be done at Monash, with the second tour group doing first activity before it heads off for the Synchrotron and so on for the other tour groups.
Please check the website for information about the tours and the activities. Please note: The person making the booking will need information about which tour time the school prefers as well as details about the students and teachers attending.
The Cost per student is $15 with teachers free. There is no extra cost for the additional optional activities.
Max number of students per school. To enable more schools to participate, there is an initial maximum of six (6) students per school.
Bookings is through Trybooking. The person making the booking will need to know their preferred Synchrotron Tour and the names and any dietary requirements of the students and teachers coming to the event. Please note: Trybooking transactions require a credit card.
Check our website for further details and flyers to promote the event in your school. They contain:
- the address of the venue,
- a biography of the speaker and
- the abstract of her talk.
This event is sponsored by ANSTO, Vicphysics Teachers’ Network, the Victorian Branch of the Australian Institute of Physics, the ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low Energy Electronic Technologies (FLEET), and supported by Federal Government’s Inspiring Australia – Inspiring Science Program.
2. Citizen Science: Activities for Students
SciStarter is a website of projects that your students can get involved in. It could be a useful source of enrichment activities. You are able to enter your location, e.g. ‘Victoria, Australia’, select your area of interest, e.g.’Physics’ and information on 42 projects is displayed from making magnetic measurements using a smart phone to analysing astronomical photos. You can also narrow the search by specifying indoors, outdoors, online, uses a smartphone, etc and also specifying the age range. More specific search terms include: Astronomy, Climate, Computers and Sound. Each project description provides very detailed information.
3. STEM Resources from Vivify
Vivify produces a large range of engineering based activities for primary and middle school. They are based in the US. The prices are very reasonable, US$6 for a 52 page booklet on a lunar lander challenge. The product descriptions are quite detailed.
2. Events for Students and the General Public
a) Tuesday, 31st July: Discovery of the first Baby Planet. 6:30pm Monash University, Clayton campus
The next lecture in this series will be on the Discovery of the first Baby Planet and will be given by Assoc Professor Daniel Price, Senior lecturer in the school of Physics and Astronomy at Monash University. Check here for a personal profile of A/Prof Price.
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, 28th August – Tying electrons into knots – Prof Michael Fuhrer
- Tuesday, 25th September – Black holes and merging neutron stars: frontiers in gravitational-wave astronomy – Dr Eric Thrane
- Tuesday, 30th October – Neutron Stars – Prof Alexander Heger
- Tuesday, 27th November – TBA – Assoc Prof Meera Parish
b) Tuesday, 14th August: Carbon, Clean Energy, Climate Change and how Chemistry is the solution, 5:30pm, University of Melbourne
To celebrate National Science Week RACI are hold a FREE Public Lectureship on: If the world has to go ‘carbon neutral’ what exactly will this look like and how are we going to achieve this?
The link and solution between carbon emissions, climate change and a future of clean energy is through chemistry; from removing our dependence on fossil fuels that powers our modern society, the physical chemistry behind carbon dioxide that is causing climate change, to the ability to develop cheap clean alternative energy sources.
This conversation will focus on how we produce and use energy, altering how the large industries that drive our economy operate, to the manufacture of common products that we take for granted in everyday lives.
Dr Colin Scholes from The University of Melbourne; will explore how our energy sector, mineral and chemical processing industries, transportation and even how we grow food will be transformed as we adapt to clean energy, future fuels and ‘zero-footprint’ products as we use chemistry to remove carbon from the equation.
This event is supported by The Royal Society of Victoria and The University of Melbourne Therapeutic Technologies Hallmark.
When: Tuesday 14 August 2018
Time: 5.30pm – 7pm
Where: ESJ King Theatre, University of Melbourne, Grattan St, Parkville.
Please Click Here to Register.
c) Thursday, 16th August: Seven Mysteries of Modern Physics: from dark matter to oscillating neutrinos, 1:45pm, Kardinia International School, Geelong
Dr Catalina Curceanu, the AIP Women in Physics lecturer from 2016, will be in Melbourne in mid August and she has agreed to speak in Geelong to complement the regional spread of physics talks happening in August.
Her topic is Seven Mysteries of Modern Physics: from dark matter to oscillating neutrinos and she will talk about: Is there anything left to do for the next generations of researchers in fundamental physics?
We shall answer this provocative question by discussing seven major unsolved mysteries of Modern Physics, just to show to the “next generation” that there are many important things to be done in science, in physics in particular. We will discuss items ranging from dark matter and energy, to the interior of black hole and the intimate structure of a neutron star, and explore the Schrodinger cat paradox, to end with something we know exists, but do not know how large it is: neutrino masses, and with something else we do not even know exists: one or more parallel Universes. This is the best moment to study science!
Dr Curceanu leads a research team performing nuclear and fundamental physics experiments on the DAPHNE collider at Frascati and at the underground laboratory of Gran Sasso in Italy.
Venue: Kardinia International College, 29 – 31 Kardinia Drive, Bell Post Hill.
To Book: Please email Vicphysics with student numbers and their Year level(s)
c) Friday, 18th August: Igniting stars with super intense lasers, 4:30pm, Swinburne University
Time: 4.30pm to 5.30pm *
Venue: Swinburne University, Hawthorn campus, ATC building, ATC101 (Enter from Burwood Rd)Map
Dr Ceri Brenner, the AIP Women in Physics Lecturer for 2018, will speak on ‘Igniting stars with super intense lasers’. She says of her talk ‘When we press FIRE on the most powerful laser in the world, we deliver a packet of light that is a thousand billion billion times more intense than sunlight. We can use this extreme power to recreate the conditions at the centre of Sun and in the process release vast amounts of energy in a clean and safe way. Harnessing this power for electricity generation is an inspiring story. It combines pure and applied physics and requires engineering to handle the most extreme conditions in our solar system!
*After the talk refreshments will be provided by the AIP Victorian Branch and participants can stay on for the talk by Dr Rebecca Allen which starts at 6:30pm, see details below.
Bookings: The lecture and refreshments are free and booking will be required, but the details are yet to be finalised.
d) Friday, 18th August: State of the Universe, 6:30pm, Swinburne University
Speaker: Dr Rebecca Allen from Swinburne University
Time: 6.30pm to 7.30pm
Venue: Swinburne University, Hawthorn campus, ATC building, ATC101 (Enter from Burwood Rd) Map
To register and further details click here.
e) Sunday, 19th August: Inspiring Illumination, Creative Curiosity, 2:30pm, Art Gallery of Ballarat
Time: 2.30pm to 3.30pm
Venue: Art Gallery of Ballarat, 40 Lydiard St Nth, Ballarat.
As part of the National Science Week program on Art and Science, Dr Ceri Brenner speaks on Lasers and Art. Lasers are a beautiful and powerful tool. They’re fascinating to observe and inspiring to study. In describing scientists and artists, artist Alistair McClymont remarks: “both ultimately search for truth and both see beauty in that truth”. Dr Ceri Brenner reveals the beauty behind her work with the most powerful lasers in the world, how she is inspired by the world-changing applications that she and her team work on and the extreme technology she gets to work with.
Bookings: The lecture is free, but booking is essential. Please click here.
f) Monday, 20th August: Igniting stars with super intense lasers, 10:00am, La Trobe University, Bendigo Campus
La Trobe University is organising a Science Day featuring activities and talks. The program starts at 10:00am. Dr Ceri Brenner from the UK, the AIP Women in Physics lecturer for 2018 will speak on her work with lasers.
For more details of the day, please contact Rachel Meredith .
g) Tuesday, 28th August: Tying electrons into knots, 6:30pm, MonashUniversity, Clayton Campus.
The August lecture in this series will be on Tying electrons into knots and will be given by Professor Michael Fuhrer from the school of Physics and Astronomy at Monash University. Check here for a personal profile of Prof Fuhrer. See details of the venue, check under a) above.
h) Sunday, 9th September: Open Day at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, 10am – 2pm, Parkville
This Open day is for studenst interested in careers in the Medical Radiations professions of Medical Imaging, Radiation Therapy and Nuclear Medecine. 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
h) 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.
i) Saturday, 15th September: What’s Next: Prof Kip Thorne on Gravitational waves, etc, 7:30pm, Palais Theatre, St Kilda
Let’s talk Gavitational Waves, Black Holes, Wormholes, Dark Matter and Time Travel.
See American Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Prof Kip Thorne, Astrophysicist Prof Alan Duffy and co-host of the Infinite Monkey Cage, British comedian Robin Ince. Professor Kip Thorne will lead a panel discussion, delving into how scientific advances will change how we live our lives and how the world we live in will change forever.
Ticket prices range from $97 to $178. To book, click here.
3. Events for Teachers
a) July Lectures in Physics, 6:30pm, Fridays in July, University of Melbourne
Venue:. Basement Theatre B117, Melbourne School of Design, Masson Road. Check here for details and map.
20th July: The Rise of Cosmology and Particle Physics: Is our Present Understanding of the Universe about to be Replaced?
Speaker: Assoc Prof Nicole Bell
Abstract: Over the past 50 years explanations for the origin and evolution of the universe have provided us with new insights into particle physics and the fundamental building blocks of nature. But an understanding of the matter-antimatter asymmetry and the nature of dark matter remain elusive. The next 50 years promises an even deeper convergence of particle physics and cosmology to answer the big questions that will need new physics beyond the Standard Model.
27th July: Quantum Mechanics and Biology: What are the Prospects?
Speaker: Dr David Simpson
Abstract: The rise of quantum technology brings with it exciting new opportunities in computation and communication. Now biology is set to benefit from this revolution. This lecture looks at how quantum technology and biology are coming together to provide new insights into how birds navigate and how living organisms assemble incredibly complex structures. In addressing these questions, we will explore where this technological revolution can take us in the coming decades.
b) It Takes a Spark!, Spark EDU Conference, 14th September, Melbourne Girls’ College
See item 2e above
4. 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) Is photosynthesis quantum-ish?
Is there something inherently quantum about the highly efficient natural process that is photosynthesis, or are researchers barking up the wrong tree? Philip Ball investigates the debate.
The quirks of quantum physics are something you might expect to find under exotic conditions in a laboratory, but not in a meadow. Yet in recent years, a blossoming idea called quantum biology proposes that life’s molecular mechanisms deploy some of those notoriously counterintuitive behaviours.
Ten years ago, researchers reported evidence that photosynthesis – the process by which green plants and some bacteria turn sunlight into chemical energy – gains light-harvesting efficiency by exploiting the phenomenon of “quantum coherence”. This involves the superpositions of electronic quantum states, which seem able to explore many energy-transmitting pathways at once. If so, quantum mechanics is assisting the fundamental energetic process that drives all life on the surface of the Earth.
b) A flower’s nano-powers
When it comes to shapes and colours, flowers are one of nature’s most praised objects – but there is more to them than meets the eye. Tobias Wenzel and Silvia Vignolini reveal an ingenious strategy flowers use to become coloured and attract pollinators.
Have you ever wondered why some butterflies and fruits can shine with a metallic, iridescent blue and beetles can decorate themselves with golden shells – but there is no paint that lets you depict these dynamic colours directly? Well, it all comes down to how those organisms create the colour.
Paints and pigments simply absorb part of the visible light spectrum and reflect the rest to create the colour we see – white if they reflect all the visible light, black if no reflection occurs, and other colours when only part of the spectrum is reflected. The special vibrant colours of the butterflies and beetles, in contrast, are obtained thanks to transparent materials that have nanoscale structures. As these features are similar in size to the wavelength of light, they can interact with it to create what are known as “structural colours”
c) Inspiring through games
Hannah Renshall argues that tabletop games can be a powerful tool to get more people interested in physics.
Ask any scientist why they do science and they often say it’s because of a deep passion to learn and understand nature. Ask a scientist why they do outreach and usually the response is to inspire more young people into science. After all, what better way to inspire someone than by sharing your passion and knowledge?
But sometimes there can be disadvantages to scientist-led outreach. While scientists are very knowledgeable, they may not have the necessary skills to engage with some audiences. It can then be hard for them to simplify their work to a level that is inspiring, rather than perplexing. Those drawbacks can sadly be amplified for audiences that are most under-represented in science – such as those from low socio-economic backgrounds or those that live in geographically remote areas. These audiences may switch off when meeting a scientist, whom they assume cannot be related to as “someone like me” – instead assigning a stereotypical caricature.