More Resources for when schools close. VicPhys News 6/T1/20

The last newsletter had information and resources on a variety of ways for schools and teachers to manage the learning of their students if schools close.  Educational authorities around the world are supporting their teachers.  This newsletter has additional resources that have come to our attention.

Please note: The  Girls in Physics Breakfasts have been postponed and the Beginning Physics Teachers’ In-Service  that was to be held next Tuesday, 31st March has been cancelled.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 22nd April at St Columba’s College, Essendon, starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to come, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1.  More Resources on Managing Learning if Schools shut
    • Resources from the Physics Education Group (PEG) of the Australian Institute of Physics
    •  UNESCO Coronavirus School Closures – Solutions
    •   Positive Physics
    •   Interactive Video Vignettes
    •   Physics at Home
    •   Mathscope Coronavirus offer
  2. Events for Students and General Public
  •  Girls in Physics Breakfasts in 2020  Postponed 
  •  VCE Lectures for Students, 6:00pm Thursdays, University of Melbourne
  • Solar Cell Challenge: An experimental challenge for students from Years 7 – 12
  •  Girls in Physics Day, Friday, 17th July, University of Melbourne

3. Events for Teachers

  • Vicphysics Beginning Physics Teachers In-Service, Tuesday, 31st March, Kew High School Cancelled

4. Physics News from the Web

  •   COVID-19 How physics is helping the fight against the pandemic
  •  Transverse arch puts a spring in your step, biomechanics study reveals.
  •   Turning water into Watts

1.  More Resources on Managing Learning if Schools shut
The last newsletter had information on a variety of ways for schools and teachers to manage the learning of their students.  Educational authorities around the world are supporting their teachers.
The resources mentioned in the last newsletter plus the ones described below are all available from our webpage: Useful Websites and Youtube videos.  This webpage will be updated as new resources are identified.  If you find any, please pass the details to Vicphysics.  The webpage also has links to several websites constructed by local teachers to support students.

a) Resources from the Physics Education Group (PEG) of the Australian Institute of Physics
PEG is a group of tertiary physics educators who share ideas on course design.  They have circulated to members an eight page list of resources covering:

  • General advice on teaching online
  • Making videos
  • Useful Zoom features
  • Alternatives to Zoom
  • Interactive Online Activities (most of which will be relevant to secondary physics, with some familiar to physics teachers)
  • Simulations
  • Full online courses
  • Using Pre-made videos
  • Alternatives for Pracs
  • Experiments students can do at home
  • Effective Quiz practices
  • Community shared resources

b) UNESCO Coronavirus School Closures – Solutions
This UNESCO website has links and descriptions for the following resources to assist schools:

  • 13 Digital learning management systems, including Blackboard and Edmodo,
  • 6 Systems purpose-built for mobile phones,
  • 10 Systems with strong offline functionality including Coursera and edX,
  • 13 Self-directed learning content including Youtube channels and Khan Academy,
  • 6 Collaboration platforms that support live-video communication including Skype and Zoom and
  • 7 Tools to create digital learning content.

c) Positive Physics
Positive Physics is an award-winning online problem bank.  It has announced that it will provide FREE subscriptions to all teachers and students until the end of July to aid schools with remote learning. Site Features include: i) unique building block method for less intimidation, ii) instant feedback, iii) random number generator to prevent copying, iv) automatic grading, v) differentiation & customization (new!), vi) alignment to fundamentals of AP Physics 1 (US Curriculum).

d) Interactive Video Vignettes
Interactive Video Vignettes (IVVs) are designed as ungraded web-based assignments for introductory physics students. They combine the convenience of online video coupled with video analysis as well as the interactivity of an individual tutorial. Each online vignette addresses a learning difficulty. Most of them take a student about 10 minutes or less to complete. Nine interactive Video Vignettes (IVVs) are available for free on Motion and Electrostatics.

e) Physics at Home
A two page document produced by UK teachers that was downloaded from a thread on ‘Supporting schools during COVID-19’ in the forum ‘talkphysics.org‘ . It has a large number of links on Forces, Static and current electricity, Magnetism and electromagnetism, Sound, Light, Matter, Energy and Space Physics. The activities have a middle level flavour.

f) Mathscope Coronavirus offer
Mathspace have announced they will offer their product for schools that have closed.

2.  Events for Students and General Public

aGirls in Physics Breakfasts for 2020 Postponed

The remaining Girls in Physics Breakfast for 2020 have been postponed.  It is hoped to re-schedule them in Term 3.
At one of the breakfasts held two weeks ago, some of the women who were to share a table with the students had to withdraw as the company they work for, had just placed a restriction on attending gatherings > 50. The possibility of the same thing occurring with future guests, along with the uncertainty of schools being closed at the time of a breakfast and the risk of parental reluctance to permit their daughters to attend a breakfast, meant the future events 
had to be postponed.

bVCE Lectures for Students, 6:00pm, Thursdays, University of Melbourne
The lectures are on fortnightly through to the end of Term 3.  They are preceded at 5:30pm with the offer of snacks and drink.  The lectures finish at 7:00pm  They are held in the Hercus Theatre in the Physics Dept at the University of Melbourne.  Teachers and parents are welcome.
i) 26th March: Glow in the dark – Using fluorescence to see DNA in a living cell : Lecturer: Dr Liz Hinde. Dr Hinde explores how we are using fluorescence microscopy methods to visualise how molecules move through the 3D DNA network of a living cell.  To register, click here.
i) 23rd April: The Search for Dark Matter.  Lecturer: Associate Professor Philip Urquijo.  Prof Urquijo take you through the mysteries of dark matter and what we are doing in Australia to find out what it is. To register, click here.
For details of the full program and also whether these events will proceed, please click here.

c) Solar Cell Challenge: An experimental challenge for Students from Years 7 – 12
The ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science is offering two challenges, one for Years 7 – 9 and one for Years 10 – 12.   ‘Students are doing hands-on science and converting light into electricity!  This challenge gets the students thinking creatively around manipulating experimental variables, producing a scientific product and communicating process and findings through video’.
The Years 7 – 9 challenge offers some free equipment and so should be checked out.
In the Years 10 – 12 challenge, students in teams of 2 – 3 create their own solar cell.  S
tudents will need to ‘apply a range of techniques and create a method to enhance an existing or new simple solar cell.  Students record their journey and show their scientific product in action via 2 – 3 min video, which is judged’.
As the product produced in this Challenge is open, equipment is not provided to teams.  Therefore, there is no cost per team to enter.  However, teams/schools must supply and purchase their own equipment, the total cost of which should come to no less than $50 per team.
Schools can enter up to 6 teams.

Time line:

  • Registrations close       3 April
  • Teacher resources and judging criteria released   6 April 
  • Resource package send out      6 April (week of) 
  • Submissions open       14 April 
  • Submissions close       26 June 
  • Winners announced      Late July

Prizes   For the overall winning teams, their schools will receive a starting grant to initiate a new and/or enhance an existing energy sustainability initiative.  The schools will also receive a researcher visitor to speak to a group of students and/or at an assembly.   Individual student winners will receive a prize pack of goodies depending on the category!

d) Girls in Physics Day, Friday 17th July, University of Melbourne
F
urther information regarding program and registration will be sent out in the coming months. Please feel free to register your interest by email to the University of Melbourne.

Return to top

3.  Events for Teachers

a) Beginning Physics Teacher In-Service on Tues, 31st March at Kew High School. Cancelled
Click here for the resources that would have been provided to participants.

Return to top

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

a) COVID-19 How physics is helping the fight against the pandemic
An article on the developing X-ray crystallography technologies to determine the structure of viruses.

b) Transverse arch puts a spring in your step, biomechanics study reveals.
The stiffness of the human foot is strongly influenced by an arch that spans its width, a new study suggests.  Humans are unique among primates because the inherent stiffness of our feet enables us to efficiently push off the ground when walking and running. The median longitudinal arch (MLA), which runs from the heel to the ball of the foot, is thought to play a critical role in this stiffness.

c) Turning water into Watts
Water covers about 70% of the planet, and much of it, driven by the Sun, is in constant motion. Surface swells ferry energy from one place to another, while tides and currents, as reliable as the sunrise, move vast volumes of water in very short times. The ocean is essentially a natural engine, converting solar energy into mechanical energy. Hardly surprising, then, that for at least 200 years, visionaries have dreamt of harnessing that constant, reliable motion and using it to power the world.

Managing Learning if schools shut – VicPhys News 5/T1/20

The coronavirus is beginning to impact schools.  This newsletter has information on a variety of ways for schools and teachers to manage the learning of their students if their school is closed.

The presence of the virus also means that the remaining Girls in Physics Breakfasts will be postponed, but the Beginning Physics Teachers’ In-Service on Tuesday, 31st March will still go ahead as the expected numbers
are within acceptable limits.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 22nd April at St Columba’s College, Essendon, starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to come, please email Vicphysics

Table of Contents

  1.  Managing Learning if Schools shut
  2. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
  3. Events for Students and General Public
  •  Girls in Physics Breakfasts in 2020  Postponed 
  •  VCE Lectures for Students, 6:00pm Thursdays, University of Melbourne
  • Solar Cell Challenge: An experimental challenge for students from Years 7 – 12
  •  Girls in Physics Day, Friday, 17th July, University of Melbourne

4. Events for Teachers

  • Vicphysics Beginning Physics Teachers In-Service, Tuesday, 31st March, Kew High School
  • Road to Zero Teacher In-Service 4:30pm, 17th March, Melbourne Museum

5. Physics News from the Web

  •  CERN Physicists close in on antimatter-matter symmetry
  •   The secret to flying carbon-free
  •   Double Slits with Single Atoms

1.  Managing Learning if Schools shut
While the strategies of minimising student movement in hallways between classes and the staggering of recess and lunchtime may be effective for ‘social distancing’, schools and teachers are beginning to plan for the possibility that their school may be closed for a short time.
There are a few strategies to support your students to continue their learning.

  1. In-house online support
  2. Install / construct your own in house online support
  3. Use existing online courses
  4. Useful Websites and Youtube videos – Vicphysics Webpage.

a) In-house online support
Some schools and teachers have developed their own online support to complement the classroom experience.  This could be enhanced if the school is closed for an extended time.

b) Install / Construct your own in-house support
Last week the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) sent an email to all its members with a list of resources detailing possible strategies for adapting to this new situation.  While not all are specifically about physics, there is useful advice on supporting students at this difficult time.  Also while many are for university colleges, there is applicability to a school setting.

i) The article: ‘So you want to temporarily teach Online’
This article from ‘Inside Higher Ed’ provides strategies and advice on:

  • Basic student needs
  • Basic instructor needs
  • Student to student communication
  • Interactive learning
  • Prepare your own space

ii) A spreadsheet with links to remote teaching resources from more than 130 colleges and universities in the US.
Most entries have a brief description, many have an administrative focus, rather than a disciplinary emphasis, but there should be some of interest that show what is possible.  For example, Francesco Valotto has an e-learning platform for primary schools, Bryant University has a free self-paced module to help those teaching on-line for the first time., Florida State has ‘Basics for quickly getting a course on line’.

Several links address the issue of ‘Academic Continuity’ and provide advice and suggestions.  Some have established continuity procedures because they in the ‘hurricane belt’.

iii) Kudu
Online course provider, Kudu, is offering free services to educators who may need to switch from in-person classes to online classes, but it may be only for US or for universities.  Under ‘View Available Subjects’ it has a few physics courses on astronomy and physics for Life Sciences and Physics for Scientists and Engineers, which may be of value to VCE students.

c) Use existing online coursesThere are several courses offered by university connected organisations such as edX and the Open University in the UK.  Many of these are free and pitched at pre-tertiary level.  The courses can be substantial in time commitment, ranging from 4 hour to 40 hours, but the whole course does not need to be completed.  The courses are well managed, have quality educational material and usually involve assignments, etc.  So far over a dozen have been identified.  Too many to list here, so the list plus the rest of this section can be accessed here.

d) Useful Websites and Youtube Videos – Vicphysics
Our Vicphysics website has a webpage titled ‘Useful Websites and Youtube videos’ that has numerous resources that can be productively used by students while at home.  The link is here .

2. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
Last year Vicphysics Teachers’ Network set up a Job Ads page on our website to assist schools in finding a physics teacher, either to be a LSL replacement or to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave.

  • There is one Government schools seeking a physics teacher, Mount Erin Secondary College.

This webpage is updated every weekend.  The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service.

3.  Events for Students and General Public

aGirls in Physics Breakfasts for 2020 Postponed

The remaining Girls in Physics Breakfast for 2020 have been postponed.  It is hoped to re-schedule them in Term 3.
At one of the breakfasts held last week, some of the women who were to share a table with the students had to withdraw as the company they work for, had just placed a restriction on attending gatherings > 50. The possibility of the same thing occurring with future guests, along with the uncertainty of schools being closed at the time of a breakfast and the risk of parental reluctance to permit their daughters to attend a breakfast, meant the future events had to be postponed.
Those who have already booked will receive their payments back in a day or so.

bVCE Lectures for Students, 6:00pm, Thursdays, University of Melbourne
The lectures are on fortnightly through to the end of Term 3.  They are preceded at 5:30pm with the offer of snacks and drink.  The lectures finish at 7:00pm  They are held in the Hercus Theatre in the Physics Dept at the University of Melbourne.  Teachers and parents are welcome.
i) 26th March: Glow in the dark – Using fluorescence to see DNA in a living cell : Lecturer: Dr Liz Hinde. Dr Hinde explores how we are using fluorescence microscopy methods to visualise how molecules move through the 3D DNA network of a living cell.  To register, click here.
i) 23rd April: The Search for Dark Matter.  Lecturer: Associate Professor Philip Urquijo.  Prof Urquijo take you through the mysteries of dark matter and what we are doing in Australia to find out what it is. To register, click here.
For details of the full program and also whether these events will proceed, please click here.

c) Solar Cell Challenge: An experimental challenge for Students from Years 7 – 12
The ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science is offering two challenges, one for Years 7 – 9 and one for Years 10 – 12.   ‘Students are doing hands-on science and converting light into electricity!  This challenge gets the students thinking creatively around manipulating experimental variables, producing a scientific product and communicating process and findings through video’.
The Years 7 – 9 challenge offers some free equipment and so should be checked out.
In the Years 10 – 12 challenge, students in teams of 2 – 3 create their own solar cell.  S
tudents will need to ‘apply a range of techniques and create a method to enhance an existing or new simple solar cell.  Students record their journey and show their scientific product in action via 2 – 3 min video, which is judged’.
As the product produced in this Challenge is open, equipment is not provided to teams.  Therefore, there is no cost per team to enter.  However, teams/schools must supply and purchase their own equipment, the total cost of which should come to no less than $50 per team.
Schools can enter up to 6 teams.

Time line:

  • Registrations close       3 April
  • Teacher resources and judging criteria released   6 April 
  • Resource package send out      6 April (week of) 
  • Submissions open       14 April 
  • Submissions close       26 June 
  • Winners announced      Late July

Prizes   For the overall winning teams, their schools will receive a starting grant to initiate a new and/or enhance an existing energy sustainability initiative.  The schools will also receive a researcher visitor to speak to a group of students and/or at an assembly.   Individual student winners will receive a prize pack of goodies depending on the category!

d) Girls in Physics Day, Friday 17th July, University of Melbourne
F
urther information regarding program and registration will be sent out in the coming months. Please feel free to register your interest by email to the University of Melbourne.

Return to top

4.  Events for Teachers

a) Beginning Physics Teacher In-Service on Tues, 31st March at Kew High School.
Cost: Free, with a travel subsidy for regional participants.  Click here for more details and to register.  This event will proceed.

c) Road to Zero Teacher In-Service, 4:30pm – 6:00pm, Tuesday, 17th March, Melbourne Museum
Teachers of VCAL and Year 9 and 10 Science and Health & PE are invited to a preview of the Road to Zero Education Experience at Melbourne Museum on Tuesday 17 March.  A TAC and Melbourne Museum partnership, Road to Zero provides an engaging and immersive exploration of the scientific principles of road safety and public health campaign development using the latest technologies.

The programs are specifically designed to address the Victorian Science and Health & PE curriculum for Year 9, 10 and VCAL.  The experience allows students to work out for themselves (in a safe environment) why bodies aren’t built to survive the impact of severe crashes and how we can create a safer future.

Preview event highlights
*  A guided tour of the Road to Zero Experience Space.
*  See the contemporary Learning Studios where students can reflect on their learning and apply it to curriculum-linked activities.
*  Learn about pre- and post-visit resources that support Road to Zero excursions and incursions.
*  Opportunity to network and socialise with peers and learning specialists.
*  Light refreshments will be served.

There is no cost, click here for more details and to register and also to check whether this event will proceed..

Return to top

5.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.

a) CERN physicists close in on antimatter–matter asymmetry

Physicists have taken another step forward in the search for signs that antimatter behaves differently to matter — and so might explain why the universe appears to consist almost exclusively of the latter. Researchers at the CERN particle-physics laboratory in Switzerland used laser spectroscopy to scrutinize the fine structure of antihydrogen, revealing with an uncertainty of a few percent that the tiny difference in energy of states – known as the Lamb shift – is the same as it is in normal hydrogen.

The fact that the cosmos seems to contain very little antimatter – even though equal quantities of that and ordinary matter should have been produced following the Big Bang – is a major outstanding problem in physics. Generating, trapping and then measuring atoms of antimatter offers a relatively new way of probing this asymmetry. In particular, anomalies in the spectra of antiatoms compared with the known results from ordinary matter could point to a violation of what is known as charge–parity–time (CPT) symmetry.

b) The secret to flying carbon-free
Recent innovations in engine development.  How realistic will it be to de-carbonise air travel.

c)  Double Slits with Single Atoms.
Thomas Young’s double-slit experiment is famous for demonstrating the principle of interference. Andrew Murray explains why it’s now possible to carry out an equivalent experiment using lasers that have excited individual rubidium atom.

 

 

Solar Cell Challenge, VicPhys News – 4/T1/20

The newsletter has information about a new competition that has an experimental and investigative focus. It is the Solar Cell Challenge.

There are also three PD events coming up this month.  Also the three articles in ‘Physics on the Web’ are thought provoking.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 11th March at St Columba’s College, Essendon, starting at 5:30pm, with a PD starting at 6:30pm.   If you wish to come, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1. Solar Cell Challenge: Experimental Challenges for Students Years 7 – 12
  2. The Physics of Olympic Sports: A Perimeter Institute poster
  3. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
  4. Events for Students and General Public
  •  Statisticians: the Quiet Heroes of Research, 7:30pm, 11th March, University of Melbourne
  • Girls in Physics Breakfasts in 2020
  •  VCE Lectures for Students, 6:00pm Thursdays, University of Melbourne
  •  Girls in Physics Day, Friday, 17th July, University of Melbourne

5. Events for Teachers

  • PD at Vicphysics Meeting, 6:30pm, Wednesday, 11th March, St Columba’s College, Essendon
  • Vicphysics Beginning Physics Teachers In-Service, Tuesday, 31st March, Kew High School
  • Road to Zero Teacher In-Service 4:30pm, 17th March, Melbourne Museum

6. Physics News from the Web

  •  Nanowire device generates electricity from ambient humidity
  •  Novel photovoltaics generate electrical power from thermal sources
  • Our universe has anti-matter partner on the other side of the Big Bang, say physicists from Perimeter Institute

1.  Solar Cell Challenge: An experimental challenge for Students from Years 7 – 12
The ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science is offering two challenges, one for Years 7 – 9 and one for Years 10 – 12.   ‘Students are doing hands-on science and converting light into electricity!  This challenge gets the students thinking creatively around manipulating experimental variables, producing a scientific product and communicating process and findings through video’.
The Years 7 – 9 challenge offers some free equipment and so should be checked out.
In the Years 10 – 12 challenge, students in teams of 2 – 3 create their own solar cell.  S
tudents will need to ‘apply a range of techniques and create a method to enhance an existing or new simple solar cell.  Students record their journey and show their scientific product in action via 2 – 3 min video, which is judged’.
As the product produced in this Challenge is open, equipment is not provided to teams.  Therefore, there is no cost per team to enter.  However, teams/schools must supply and purchase their own equipment, the total cost of which should come to no less than $50 per team.
Schools can enter up to 6 teams.
Time line:

  • Registrations close       3 April
  • Teacher resources and judging criteria released   6 April 
  • Resource package send out      6 April (week of) 
  • Submissions open       14 April 
  • Submissions close       26 June 
  • Winners announced      Late July

Prizes   For the overall winning teams, their schools will receive a starting grant to initiate a new and/or enhance an existing energy sustainability initiative.  The schools will also receive a researcher visitor to speak to a group of students and/or at an assembly.   Individual student winners will receive a prize pack of goodies depending on the category!

2. The Physics of Olympic Sports: A Perimeter Institute poster
Their popular ‘Science of Sport’ poster has been revamped for the 2020 Olympics. A high resolution pdf can be downloaded from here.  There is no cost.  Also check out their other posters, including their series of  Women in Physics.
They also have classroom activities on the following topics: Astrophysics, Electricity & magnetism, Particle physics, Quantum, Relativity and Waves

3. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
Last year Vicphysics Teachers’ Network set up a Job Ads page on our website to assist schools in finding a physics teacher, either to be a LSL replacement or to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave.

  • Ballarat and Queen’s Anglican Grammar School is seeking a physics teacher to start in Term 2, closing date: 13th March.
  • There are three Government schools seeking a physics teacher, Baimbridge College, Kurunjang Secondary College and Mount Erin Secondary College.

This webpage is updated every weekend.  The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service.

4.  Events for Students and General Public

a)  Statisticians: The Quiet Heroes of Research, 7:00pm, 11th March, University of Melbourne
Speaker: Dr Rheanna Mainzer,  University of Melbourne

Abstract: From lottery scandals, to tea tasting etiquette and a mathematical Christmas problem that almost tore a family apart. In this talk, Dr Rheanna Mainzer will share some of her favourite stories that champion mathematics and statistics. She will also explain what a statistician does – and why it matters – to demonstrate that statistics is much more than crunching numbers. This talk is suitable for all ages and mathematical backgrounds.
Venue: B117 Lecture Theatre, Glyn Davis Building, Masson Rd, University of Melbourne
To book: click here.

b) Girls in Physics Breakfasts for 2020
2020 will be the fifth year of Girls in Physics Breakfasts. With the support of a Community Grant from Bank Australia, Vicphysics is able to continue the regional component and expand it to Mildura. The details for the program for 2020 are:

  • Wodonga: Friday, 17th April with speaker: Dr Judy Hart from the University of New South Wales on ‘Developing new materials for renewable energy’
  • Warrnambool: Friday, 1st May with speaker: Emeritus Professor Frances Separovic AO from the University of Melbourne on ‘MRI of Molecules: Biophysics meets Cell Chemistry’.
  • Bendigo: Friday, 18th May with speaker: Dr Gail Iles from RMIT on ‘Human spaceflight and science in space’.
  • Monash University: 2nd June with speaker: Dr Dianne Ruka from Monash University on ‘Future Computing and Low Energy Electronics’.
  • Central Melbourne: Term 3 with the Australian Institute of Physics Women in Physics International lecturer for 2020 to be announced in April 2020.

Breakfasts with confirmed dates and speakers can now be booked.  Information is now on the Vicphysics website.
At a Girls in Physics Breakfast, students from Years 10 to 12 share a table with two or three women with careers in physics or engineering or still at university.  In addition to the conversation at the table and the talk there are also activities on Careers in STEM.

Cost per student is $15 with the first teacher free. The cost for additional teachers was $15 each. A discount to $5 per student is available for schools with a low ICSEA rank. Discounts can be applied for by emailing Vicphysics .

Max number of students per school: To enable more schools to participate, there was an initial maximum of six (6) students per school. For regional events up to 12 students can be accommodated.

Bookings must be made through Trybooking. The link is the Vicphysics website.

Note: Payment needs to be made at the time of booking, so a school credit card or personal credit card will be required. School Orders are not accepted. There is a small Trybooking surcharge. If a school subsequently needs an invoice number for their accounts, or if a teacher is making the payment and needs a receipt for reimbursement, please contact Vicphysics .

c) VCE Lectures for Students, 6:00pm, Thursdays, University of Melbourne
The lectures are on fortnightly through to the end of Term 3.  They are preceded at 5:30pm with the offer of snacks and drink.  The lectures finish at 7:00pm  They are held in the Hercus Theatre in the Physics Dept at the University of Melbourne.  Teachers and parents are welcome.
i) 12th March: How will Physics save the world from deadly viruses? : Lecturer: Dr Roger Rassool.  To register click here.
ii) 26th March: Glow in the dark – Using fluorescence to see DNA in a living cell : Lecturer: Dr Liz Hinde. Dr Hinde explores how we are using fluorescence microscopy methods to visualise how molecules move through the 3D DNA network of a living cell.  To register, click here.
iii) 23rd April: The Search for Dark Matter.  Lecturer: Associate Professor Philip Urquijo.  Prof Urquijo take you through the mysteries of dark matter and what we are doing in Australia to find out what it is. To register, click here.
For details of the full program, click here.

d) Girls in Physics Day, Friday 17th July, University of Melbourne
F
urther information regarding program and registration will be sent out in the coming months. Please feel free to register your interest by email to the University of Melbourne.

Return to top

5.  Events for Teachers

a) PD at Vicphysics meeting, 6:30pm, Wednesday, 11th March, St Columba’s College, Essendon.
In the second half of the next Vicphysics meeting, Sandor Kazi from Melbourne Girls’ College, will talk about what he learned from seeing Eric Mazur in the US.  Eric Mazur is a distinguished Physics educator who has had a profound impact on physics pedagogy.  Click here to register.

b) Beginning Physics Teacher In-Service on Tues, 31st March at Kew High School.
Cost: Free, with a travel subsidy for regional participants.  Click here for more details and to register.

c) Road to Zero Teacher In-Service, 4:30pm – 6:00pm, Tuesday, 17th March, Melbourne Museum
Teachers of VCAL and Year 9 and 10 Science and Health & PE are invited to a preview of the Road to Zero Education Experience at Melbourne Museum on Tuesday 17 March.  A TAC and Melbourne Museum partnership, Road to Zero provides an engaging and immersive exploration of the scientific principles of road safety and public health campaign development using the latest technologies.

The programs are specifically designed to address the Victorian Science and Health & PE curriculum for Year 9, 10 and VCAL.  The experience allows students to work out for themselves (in a safe environment) why bodies aren’t built to survive the impact of severe crashes and how we can create a safer future.

Preview event highlights
*  A guided tour of the Road to Zero Experience Space.
*  See the contemporary Learning Studios where students can reflect on their learning and apply it to curriculum-linked activities.
*  Learn about pre- and post-visit resources that support Road to Zero excursions and incursions.
*  Opportunity to network and socialise with peers and learning specialists.
*  Light refreshments will be served.

There is no cost, click here for more details and to register.

Return to top

6.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.

Nanowire device generates electricity from ambient humidity
Scientists in the US claim to have developed a device that can generate electricity from moisture in the air. The device, based around a thin film of electrically conductive protein nanowires, can produce continuous electrical power for around 20 hr, before self-recharging. The researchers say that such technology could provide clean energy without the restrictions on location and environmental conditions of other renewable energy solutions such as solar cells .

The device consists of a roughly 7 µm thin film of protein nanowires, harvested from the microorganism Geobacter sulfurreducens, deposited on a gold electrode with an area of around 25 mm2. A smaller, roughly 1 mm2, electrode is placed on top of the nanowire film.

Novel photovoltaics generate electrical power from thermal sources
A new type of photovoltaic device can generate useful amounts of electrical power from sources that radiate heat at moderate temperatures. So say researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in the US, who succeeded in recovering power densities between 27–61 
μW/cm2 from thermal sources at 250–400°C. The new energy-harvesting technology might be used on waste heat from nuclear power plants or chemical manufacturing facilities. According to Paul Davids, who led the research effort, it could also aid the development of compact thermal power supplies for deep space probes and other remote applications.

Our universe has anti-matter partner on the other side of the Big Bang, say physicists from Perimeter Institute
Our universe could be the mirror image of an antimatter universe extending backwards in time before the Big Bang. So claim physicists in Canada, who have devised a new cosmological model positing the existence of an “antiuniverse” which, paired to our own, preserves a fundamental rule of physics called CPT symmetry. The researchers still need to work out many details of their theory, but they say it naturally explains the existence of dark matter.

More Conf Proc, Students Events. VicPhys News 3/T1/20

More Proceedings from the Physics Teachers’ Conference, including the presentation from the impressive address by Dr Alistair Stacey from RMIT.

Events for students are now getting into swing with the VCE Lectures at the University of Melbourne starting soon and a public lecture next week on ‘Quantum mechanics and new solar technologies’ at the State Library.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 11th March at St Columba’s College, Essendon, starting at 5:30pm, with a PD starting at 6:30pm.   If you wish to come, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1. 2020 Physics Teachers Conference Proceedings: Material provided so far
  2. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
  3. Events for Students and General Public
  • Light Conversations, 6:00pm, Thursday, 27th February, State Library Victoria.
  • Physics Days at Luna Park: 3rd March – 6th March, 2020
  • Girls in Physics Breakfasts in 2020
  •  VCE Lectures for Students, 6:00pm Thursdays, University of Melbourne
  •  Science Work Experience at University of Melbourne: 22nd – 26th June, Applications close 8th March.
  •  Girls in Physics Day, Friday, 17th July, University of Melbourne

4. Events for Teachers

  • PD at Vicphysics Meeting, 6:30pm, Wednesday, 11th March, St Columba’s College, Essendon
  • Vicphysics Beginning Physics Teachers In-Service, Tuesday, 31st March, Kew High School

5. Physics News from the Web

  •  Quantum calorimeter is as precise as nature allows
  •   Tuned ultrasound selectively disrupts the structure of cancer cells
  •   Ancient rings surrounding the Sun could have divided the solar system

1.  2020 Physics Teachers’ Conference: More Proceedings

The presenters of the following workshops have provided material for the conference proceedings.
The material can be found at this conference webpage. Select ‘conference proceedings’.

  • Address: Real World Physics by Dr Alistair Stacey, RMIT
  • A2, D2 Physics Exam Review by Andrew Hansen, Chief Assessor (Also see item 4 below)
  • A4, D4 Making Physics Accessible – The Masterclass Experience by Victor Sam, Maribyrnong College and Soula Bennett, Quantum Victoria
  • A8 Using Mathematica by Brian Stokes, Monash University
  • A10, D10 Topics for Practical Investigation by Dan O’Keeffe, Vicphysics Teachers’ Network
  •  B2 Form-ative Exam Preparation by Rachael Gore, Albert Park College
  • B4 Constructing DC motor from the kit by Gracie Saxena and Adrian Roberts, Bacchus Marsh Grammar School
  • B8 Working with multimodal literacies in VCE Physics by Prof Russell Tytler, Deakin University, Pascal Roulant, Penola Catholic College and Tamara Peterson, Brunswick Secondary College
  • B9 What now for Climate Science? by Keith Burrows, Beyond Zero Emissions
  • B10 From Physics to Applied Physics by Milorad Cerovac, Swinburne University
  • C5 Microcontrollers in the classroom by Milorad Cerovac, Swinburne University
  • C8 Eddy Current and Lenz’s Law by Man Lam, Mount Alexander College and Neil Champion
  • D3 Developing an app for physics questions by Damian Bushby, Canterbury Girls’ Secondary College
  • D7 Practical activities for Teaching U3 AOS 1 Fields by Dr Barbara McKinnon, Kew High School

Your feedback is much valued by the conference organisers and presenters alike.  So if you can spare five minutes, we would appreciate you completing the evaluation survey.

2. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
Last year Vicphysics Teachers’ Network set up a Job Ads page on our website to assist schools in finding a physics teacher, either to be a LSL replacement or to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave.

  • Ballarat and Queen’s Anglican Grammar School is seeking a physics teacher to start in Term 2.
  • There are three Government schools seeking a physics teacher, Bayswater Secondary College, McClelland Secondary College and Sale College.

This webpage is updated every weekend.  The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service.

3.  Events for Students and General Public

a) Light Conversations, 6:00pm, Thursday, 27th February, State Library Victoria
How quantum mechanics can help us harvest energy from the sun. 
Presenters: Prof Jared Cole, RMIT, Prof Dane McCarney, UNSW.  Presented by the Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science is an Australian Research Council research centre linking the University of Melbourne, Monash University, RMIT University, UNSW and the University of Sydney.
Free, you need to register here.
Abstract: The term ‘exciton’ refers to the excited state of a material, created whenever light is absorbed by that material.  Excitons can relax by converting light energy into heat, electric currents or fluorescence.  Professor Jared Cole and Professor Dane McCamey will unpack ideas around how the control and manipulation of excitons at the quantum level, could open the door to big possibilities for a solar energy future.
This lecture is perfect for Year 10-12 students who want to learn about how their future study in Physics, no matter at what scale this may be, could have vast and long-lasting impacts for our renewable energy future.

b) Physics Days at Luna Park: 3rd March – 6th March2020
The dates for 2020 are Tuesday, 3rd March to Friday, 6th March.
Bookings are open for next year’s Physics Days at Luna Park, click on ‘Events’.  Bookings are heavy with Friday close to capacity.
An aerobatic display by a member of the Roulettes has been requested, but confirmation is often not provided before March.
The Silly Serpent has been removed, two rides have been relocated and a new ride has been installed, called the Supernova, which is a rotating swing. A worksheet for the new ride is on our website .

If you wish to book a Pasco data logger, please contact Ciderhouse directly.

The Vicphysics website has an article by Prof Ann-Marie Pendrill and others on ‘Teacher Roles during Amusement Park visits‘.  Prof Pendrill from Sweden is an international expert on using amusement parks to teach physics.  She publishes regularly in ‘Physics Education’ and five of her articles are available on ‘open access’ at this website (look under ‘most read’).  One of the articles is on the rotating swing.

c) Girls in Physics Breakfasts for 2020
2020 will be the fifth year of Girls in Physics Breakfasts. With the support of a Community Grant from Bank Australia, Vicphysics is able to continue the regional component and expand it to Mildura. The details for the program for 2020 are:

  • Mildura: Tuesday, 10th March with speaker: Dr Suzie Sheehy from the University of Melbourne and Oxford University on ‘Colliding Worlds: Using particle physics to cure cancer’.
  • Ballarat: Friday, 13th March with speaker: Hilary Wilson from the Bureau of Meteorology on ‘Measuring the atmosphere to predict the weather’
  • Geelong: Wednesday, 18th March with speaker: Dr Elizabeth Hinde from the University of Melbourne on ‘Glow in the Dark: Using fluorescence to observe DNA in a living cell
  • Wodonga: Friday, 17th April with speaker: Dr Judy Hart from the University of New South Wales on ‘Developing new materials for renewable energy’
  • Warrnambool: Friday, 1st May with speaker: Emeritus Professor Frances Separovic AO from the University of Melbourne on ‘MRI of Molecules: Biophysics meets Cell Chemistry’.
  • Bendigo: Friday, 18th May with speaker: Dr Gail Iles from RMIT on ‘Human spaceflight and science in space’.
  • Monash University: 2nd June with speaker: Dr Dianne Ruka from Monash University on ‘Future Computing and Low Energy Electronics’.
  • Central Melbourne: Term 3 with the Australian Institute of Physics Women in Physics International lecturer for 2020 to be announced in April 2020.

Breakfasts with confirmed dates and speakers can now be booked.  Information is now on the Vicphysics website.
At a Girls in Physics Breakfast, students from Years 10 to 12 share a table with two or three women with careers in physics or engineering or still at university.  In addition to the conversation at the table and the talk there are also activities on Careers in STEM.

Cost per student is $15 with the first teacher free. The cost for additional teachers was $15 each. A discount to $5 per student is available for schools with a low ICSEA rank. Discounts can be applied for by emailing Vicphysics .

Max number of students per school: To enable more schools to participate, there was an initial maximum of six (6) students per school. For regional events up to 12 students can be accommodated.

Bookings must be made through Trybooking. The link is the Vicphysics website.

Note: Payment needs to be made at the time of booking, so a school credit card or personal credit card will be required. School Orders are not accepted. There is a small Trybooking surcharge. If a school subsequently needs an invoice number for their accounts, or if a teacher is making the payment and needs a receipt for reimbursement, please contact Vicphysics .

d) VCE Lectures for Students, 6:00pm, Thursdays, University of Melbourne
The lectures are on fortnightly through to the end of Term 3.  They are preceded at 5:30pm with the offer of snacks and drink.  The lectures finish at 7:00pm  They are held in the Hercus Theatre in the Physics Dept at the University of Melbourne.  Teachers and parents are welcome.
i) 12th March: How will Physics save the world from deadly viruses? : Lecturer: Dr Roger Rassool.  To register click here.
ii) 26th March: Glow in the dark – Using fluorescence to see DNA in a living cell : Lecturer: Dr Liz Hinde. Dr Hinde explores how we are using fluorescence microscopy methods to visualise how molecules move through the 3D DNA network of a living cell.  To register, click here.
iii) 23rd April: The Search for Dark Matter.  Lecturer: Associate Professor Philip Urquijo.  Prof Urquijo take you through the mysteries of dark matter and what we are doing in Australia to find out what it is. To register, click here.
For details of the full program, click here.

e) Science Work Experience at University of Melbourne:  22nd – 26th June.  Applications close: 8th March
The Faculty of Science is offering a Work Experience for Year 10 students.  It is only available from 22nd to 26th June.  For more details and to apply, click here.

f) Girls in Physics Day, Friday 17th July, University of Melbourne
F
urther information regarding program and registration will be sent out in the coming months. Please feel free to register your interest by email to the University of Melbourne.

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4.  Events for Teachers

a) PD at Vicphysics meeting, 6:30pm, Wednesday, 11th March, St Columba’s College, Essendon.
In the second half of the next Vicphysics meeting, Sandor Kazi from Melbourne Girls’ College,  will talk about what he learned from seeing Eric Mazur in the US.  Eric Mazur is a distinguished Physics educator who has had a profound impact on physics pedagogy.  Click here to register.

b) Vicphysics is organising a Beginning Physics Teacher In-Service on Tues, 31st March at Kew High School.
Cost: Free, with a travel subsidy for regional participants.  Click here for more details and to register.

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5.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.
a) Quantum calorimeter is as precise as nature allows

How do you define the position of something that won’t stay still? This is the problem physicists face when they try to measure a system’s properties with such precision that quantum effects contribute a significant source of uncertainty. Whatever the variable, and however refined the instrument, there comes a point at which the signal is lost in the noise.

A quantum calorimeter developed by researchers at Finland’s Aalto University School of Science and Lund University, Sweden, defines this limit for an ideal thermometer by measuring fluctuations in the electron temperature of a copper nanowire. The team found that the intrinsic thermal noise in the wire is small enough for them to detect a single microwave photon. As well as enabling new experiments in quantum thermodynamics, the device could be used to make noninvasive measurements of quantum systems such as qubits in superconducting quantum computers.

b) Tuned ultrasound selectively disrupts the structure of cancer cells

Medical engineers have proven that the unique internal structure of cancer cells can make them vulnerable to vibrations from specific frequencies of ultrasound. These low-intensity pulsed ultrasound waves are a potentially safe therapy to target cancers of the blood.

High-intensity focused ultrasound is sometimes used to destroy cancer cells deep within tissues, but the thermal energy transmitted can also damage healthy cells at the ultrasound focus. Low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS), on the other hand, doesn’t heat up cells but is used to mechanically modulate cells, for stimulating bone repair, for example.

c) Ancient rings surrounding the Sun could have divided the solar system

The clear divide between the inner and outer solar system is the legacy of a ring structure that existed a very long time ago in the planet-forming disc that surrounded the Sun. That is the conclusion of Ramon Brasser at Tokyo Institute of Technology and Stephen Mojzsis at the University of Colorado Boulder, who have combined computer simulations of Jupiter’s formation with observations of the discs surrounding young stars.

The solar system is clearly divided between the inner rocky planets and asteroids, and the outer gas giants – with the border between the two regions lying between Jupiter and the asteroid belt. This difference can be quantified in terms of carbon – with the element being much more abundant in the outer part of the solar system than it is in the inner rocky planets and asteroids. The difference is so stark that astronomers now widely believe that material in the newly-formed Sun’s planet-forming circumstellar disc was similarly divided in terms of its composition.

Physics Events: VicPhys News 1/1/20

The Physics Teachers’ Conference is on again with a bumper crop of workshops. Book early to get your preferences.
There are also more Girls in Physics Breakfasts on offer across Victoria this year, with three this term, so check the dates, promote it to your students and make a booking.
This newsletter also has information on some very promising resources. Check them out.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Wednesday, 12th February at St Columba’s College, Essendon, starting at 5:30pm.   If you wish to come, please email Vicphysics

Jane Coyle (Pres), Dr Barbara McKinnon (Vice-Pres), Dan O’Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Paul Walters (Treas)

Table of Contents

  1. Girls in Physics Breakfasts in 2020
  2. 2020 Physics Teachers Conference
  3. Observation in Quantum Physics and Students’ misconceptions
  4. Spark for Physics Teaching: IOP source of over 2000 resources
  5. Free Online PD for Science and Physics teachers
  6. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
  7. Events for Students and General Public
  • Physics Days at Luna Park: 3rd March – 6th March, 2020

8. Events for Teachers

  • Vicphysics Beginning Physics Teachers In-Service, Tuesday, 31st March, Kew High School
  • Climate Across the Curriculum, Friday, 14th February, Fremantle, WA

9. Physics News from the Web

  • The secrets of synchronised pendulums
  • The physics of public opinion
  • Smart contact lenses power up
1. Girls in Physics Breakfasts for 2020
2020 will be the fifth year of Girls in Physics Breakfasts. With the support of a Community Grant from Bank Australia, Vicphysics is able to continue the regional component and expand it to Mildura. The details for the program for 2020 are:

  • Mildura: Tuesday, 10th March with speaker: Dr Suzie Sheehy from the University of Melbourne and Oxford University on ‘Colliding Worlds: Using particle physics to cure cancer’.
  • Ballarat: Friday, 13th March with speaker: Hilary Wilson from the Bureau of Meteorology on ‘Measuring the atmosphere to predict the weather’
  • Geelong: Wednesday, 18th March with speaker: Dr Elizabeth Hinde from the University of Melbourne on ‘Glow in the Dark: Using fluorescence to observe DNA in a living cell
  • Wodonga: Friday, 17th April with speaker: Dr Judy Hart from the University of New South Wales on ‘Developing new materials for renewable energy’
  • Warrnambool: Friday, 1st May with speaker: Emeritus Professor Frances Separovic AO from the University of Melbourne on ‘MRI of Molecules: Biophysics meets Cell Chemistry’.
  • Bendigo: Friday, 18th May with speaker: Dr Gail Iles from RMIT on ‘Human spaceflight and science in space’.
  • Monash University: Late May with speaker: Dr Dianne Ruka from Monash University on ‘Future Computing and Low Energy Electronics’ with the date to be confirmed by the end of 2019.
  • Central Melbourne: Term 3 with the Australian Institute of Physics Women in Physics International lecturer for 2020 to be announced in April 2020.

Breakfasts with confirmed dates and speakers can now be booked.  Information is now on the Vicphysics website.
At a Girls in Physics Breakfast, students from Years 10 to 12 share a table with two or three women with careers in physics or engineering or still at university.  In addition to the conversation at the table and the talk there are also activities on Careers in STEM.

Cost per student is $15 with the first teacher free. The cost for additional teachers was $15 each. A discount to $5 per student is available for schools with a low ICSEA rank. Discounts can be applied for by emailing Vicphysics .Max number of students per school: To enable more schools to participate, there was an initial maximum of six (6) students per school. For regional events up to 12 students can be accommodated.

Bookings must be made through Trybooking. The link is the Vicphysics website.

Note: Payment needs to be made at the time of booking, so a school credit card or personal credit card will be required. School Orders are not accepted. There is a small Trybooking surcharge. If a school subsequently needs an invoice number for their accounts, or if a teacher is making the payment and needs a receipt for reimbursement, please contact Vicphysics

2.  2020 Physics Teachers Conference: Friday, 14th February, La Trobe University, Saturday, 15th February, various venues

The Program and Registration Form for next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference are now available at STAV and on the Vicphysics website.

The program has a large number of workshops on offer, with many offered twice in the program.
The program includes:

  • An opening address on Light and Shade: Revolutionising medical imaging by exploring the wave nature of light by Dr Kaye Morgan, Monash University
  • Real World Physics Forum: Tequila and a microwave oven – how to grow a diamond and apply physics in the real world by Dr Alaistair Stacey, RMIT
  • 54 workshops across four sessions including a review of the 2019 Physics Exam by Andrew Hansen, the Chief Assessor, which is one of fifteen repeated workshops.
  • Extensive display of texts and equipment.
  • Saturday program of excursion tasters to the Australian Synchrotron and the Victorian Space Science Education Centre and a two hour medical physics in-service at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Cost: STAV Individual member: $192, STAV School subscriber: $310, Non-STAV member: $336, Retired teacher and full-time student: $78.

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3. Observation in Quantum Physics and Students’ misconceptions
The UK journal ‘Physics Education’ has occasional articles which are marked ‘open access’, which means you do not need to pay the subscription fee to read the article.  One such recent article is titled ‘Observation in Quantum Physics: Challenges for upper secondary students in discussing electrons as waves’.

The article explores a difficulty that many students have with this aspect of quantum physics.  The abstract below suggests it is worth a read.

Abstract: Quantum physics is challenging for young students, but also a source of fascination. Observation is a key concept in order to understand how principles and experimental results in quantum physics differ from what we are used to in classical physics and everyday experiences. In this study we investigate how pre-university physics students understand the concept of observation in the case of the famous double-slit experiment with electrons and interpretations of its results. We found that a conception of observation as looking, meaning a passive registration, is prevalent among students. This causes serious problems in understanding quantum physics and leads to very unproductive speculations that links to mysticism. Some students considered observation as measurement involving some sort of apparatus, but very few expressed the key idea of measurement as interaction. We discuss how a more explicit discussion of what observation means in quantum physics can benefit students’ understanding of principles in quantum physics and their philosophical consequences.

4. Spark for Physics Teaching: IOP source of over 2000 Resources
The Institute of Physics (IOP) has set up a website called IOPSpark with over 2000 resources, but it has much more than that.

The Misconceptions section lists 68 misconceptions and for each of these, there are diagnostic resources, resources to address it and references to educational research.

The main section of the webpage covers 7 content areas from Earth and Space to Quantum and Nuclear.  In each of these areas, resources can be searched by age group and type of resource, including i) Teaching guidance, ii) Physics narrative, iii) Practical activity, iv) Lesson, v) Classroom activity, vi) Diagnostic questions, vii) Glossary definition, viii) Stories from Physics.

5. Free online PD for Science teachers
The UK’s National STEM Learning Centre runs online PD courses for science teachers throughout the year.  The courses are free, run for about three weeks and require about 3 hours work per week. With a small payment you can get an upgrade which provides you with a certificate and on-going access to the course materials.

  • Teaching Practical Science: Physics, began 27th January, but you can join now. (3 weeks, 3 hours per week)
  • The Discovery of the Higgs Boson, begins 10th Feb, (7 weeks, 5 hours per week)
  • How do planes fly?, already started, but you can join now (4 week, 4 hours per week)
  • The science of nuclear energy, begins 27th April (4 weeks, 3 hours per week)

Click here for the above physics related courses.

  • Managing the Practical Classroom in Secondary Science, begins 16th March (3 weeks, 3 hours per week)

Click here for the above science related course.

6. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
Last year Vicphysics Teachers’ Network set up a Job Ads page on our website to assist schools in finding a physics teacher, either to be a LSL replacement or to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave.  Several schools placed notices.
The web page also lists the Government schools seeking a physics teachers, currently there are two.  This web page will be updated every weekend.
The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service.

7.  Events for Students and General Public

a) Physics Days at Luna Park: 3rd March – 6th March2020
The dates for 2020 are Tuesday, 3rd March to Friday, 6th March.
Bookings are open for next year’s Physics Days at Luna Park, click on ‘Events’..
An aerobatic display by a member of the Roulettes has been requested, but confirmation is often not provided before February.
The Silly Serpent has been removed, two rides have been relocated and a new ride has been installed, which is a rotating swing. A worksheet for the ride is being finalised.

If you wish to book a Pasco data logger, please contact Ciderhouse directly.

The Vicphysics website has an article by Prof Ann-Marie Pendrill and others on ‘Teacher Roles during Amusement Park visits‘.  Prof Pendrill from Sweden is an international expert on using amusement parks to teach physics.  She publishes regularly in ‘Physics Education’ and five of her articles are available on ‘open access’ at this website (look under ‘most read’).  One of the articles is on the rotating swing.

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8.  Events for Teachers

a) Vicphysics is organising a Beginning Physics Teacher In-Service on Tues, 31st March at Kew High School.
Cost: Free, with a travel subsidy for regional participants.  Click here for more details and to register.

b) Climate Across the Curriculum, Friday, 14th February, Fremantle, WA
This free workshop is part of  Trans-disciplinary Research Oriented Pedagogy for Improving Climate Studies and Understanding (TROP ICSU) , a global project funded by the International Council of Science.  It aims to improve understanding of climate science by providing educators with teaching tools and lesson plans. TROP ICSU collates and curates a collection of these teaching resources so that teachers in schools and colleges/universities across the world can use them to introduce examples and case studies from climate science and climate change to the teaching of Science, Mathematics, Social Sciences and other disciplines. The goal is not to introduce Climate Education as a stand-alone topic, but to integrate it with the existing curriculum.

This expert workshop aims to contribute to the TROP ICSU repository of teaching tools and lesson plans for use in secondary schools across the world.  A specific focus is lesson plans that are useful for teaching Australian curriculums for Years 7-12 STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). The workshop will give teachers, climate scientists and curriculum experts the opportunity to work together in small groups to develop these lesson plans and gain from each other’s expertise and experience.  The event is being organised by the ARC Centre for Excellence on Climate Extremes.
Time: 8:30am – 1:00pm
Venue: Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle
There is an optional PD session on climate science in the afternoon.
For more details and to register interest, click here.

9  Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.

The fact that pairs of moving pendulums can become synchronized was first observed by the great Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens back in the 17th century. But as Jonatan Ramirez and Henk Nijmeijer explain, synchronized pendulums still have today’s researchers scratching their heads.
b) The physics of public opinion
In August 2016 the French theoretical physicist Serge Galam published a paper explaining Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in that year’s US Republican primary election. His model also suggested that Trump could win the November presidential election – a view not then supported by analysts or polls (International Journal of Modern Physics B 31 1742015). Galam, who is seen by some as the father of the emerging field of “sociophysics”, is convinced that the dynamics of opinions obey discoverable universal quantitative laws and can be modelled in the same way that scientists model the physical world.
c) Smart contact lenses power up
Flexible contact lenses that incorporate supercapacitors and wireless-charging components are now possible, thanks to newly formulated printable inks that serve as the electrode and electrolyte. Researchers in the Republic of Korea showed that a specific mixture of carbon molecules, polymers and solvent can be used to print a supercapacitor’s electrodes onto a lens with micron-scale precision via a technique called direct ink writing. The same process deposits a UV-cured ionic liquid that functions as the supercapacitor’s electrolyte. As a proof-of-concept, the work could one day lead to smart contact lenses with sensors for health monitoring, or with integrated displays for augmented reality applications

Physics Teachers’ Conf: 14th, 15th Feb 2020

Next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference is on Friday, 14th February and Saturday, 15th February.  The venue for the Friday program is La Trobe University in Bundoora.  On Saturday there are free optional extras of a program of two Excursion tasters and a Medical Physics In-Service at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

The program includes:

  • An opening address on Light and Shade: Revolutionising medical imaging by exploring the wave nature of light by Dr Kaye Morgan, Monash University
  • Real World Physics Forum: Tequila and a microwave oven – how to grow a diamond and apply physics in the real world by Dr Alastair Stacey, RMIT
  • 54 workshops across four sessions including a review of the 2019 Physics Exam by Andrew Hansen, the Chief Assessor, which is one of fifteen repeated workshops.
  • Extensive display of texts and equipment.

The Program and Registration Form are available at STAV and on the Vicphysics website.  Registration can be done with a School Purchase Order Number, with STAV following up with an invoice to the school which can be paid next year.

Cost: STAV Individual member: $192, STAV School subscriber: $310, Non-STAV member: $336, Retired teacher and full-time student: $78.

Holiday reading, PD. Vicphys News 6/T4/19

This newsletter has some holiday reading from ‘Physics Education’.  There is also information about a talk next week on this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics as well as forthcoming PD and next year’s Conference.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 12th December at Swinburne Senior Secondary College starting at 5:00pm.  This meeting will be the AGM.  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. Holiday Reading: IOP’s Physics Education Journal – Open Access articles
  2. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
  3. Events for Students and General Public
  • The Unintended Humour of the Universe, 7:00pm, 29th November, Swinburne University
  • Physics Days at Luna Park: 3rd March – 6th March, 2020

4. Events for Teachers

  • Nobel Prize Talk: Insights on Exoplanets: Monday, 2nd December, 7:00pm – 8:00pm, Monash University
  • Energy Futures: Hydrogen, Worth the Hype?: Friday, 6th December, 6:00pm – 7:15pm, University of Melbourne
  • 2020 Physics Teachers’ Conference, Friday, 14th February, La Trobe University
  • Vicphysics Beginning Physics Teachers In-Service, Tuesday, 31st March, Kew High School
  • ISV Teaching Units 1 & 2, Wednesday, 22nd January, ISV Office, West Melbourne
  • ISV Teaching Units 3 & 4, Friday, 24th January, ISV Office, West Melbourne
  • Workshop for Lab Techs, Monday, 14th September, Camberwell Grammar School

5. Physics News from the Web

  • How many neutrons can a nucleus hold?
  • Porous polymer could help regulate heat and light in buildings
  • Ultrasound device creates an audio, visual and tactile 3D display
1.  IOP’s Physics Education Journal: Open Access articles
‘Physics Education’ is the journal of the UK’s Institute of Physics.  It is one of two authoritative journals for secondary physics.  The other is ‘The Physics Teacher’ by the US’s AAPT.
Each is available only by subscription.  However each edition of ‘Physics Education’ has a few articles marked ‘Open Access’.  Below are some relevant ones from recent editions:
Vol 54 No 6, Nov 2019

  • ‘Observation’ in quantum physics: challenges for upper secondary students in discussing electrons as waves.
  • Students making sense of motion in a vertical roller coaster loop by Ann-Marie Pendrill who recently spoke in Melbourne.
  • Content structure and analogies in introductory electricity chapters of physics schoolbooks

Vol 54 No 5, September 2019

  • Contemporary science as context for teaching nature of science: teachers’ development of popular science articles as a teaching resource.  Co-written by Ann-Marie Pendrill
  • Wireless power transfer experiments for a high school physics lab

Vol 54 No 4, July 2019

  • Rutherford visits middle school: a case study on how teachers direct attention to the nature of science through a storytelling approach.

‘Physics Education’ also has a link to the ‘most read’ articles from the journal in the last year and nearly all of these are ‘Open access’ as well.  They can be found here under ‘Most Read’. Articles include:

  • Let’s have a coffee with the Standard Model of Particle Physics!
  • Force, acceleration and velocity during trampoline jumps – a challenging assignment
  • Introducing 12 year olds to elementary particles

2. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
Last year Vicphysics Teachers’ Network set up a Job Ads page on our website to assist schools in finding a physics teacher, either to be a LSL replacement or to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave.  Several schools placed notices.
The web page also lists the Government schools seeking a physics teachers, currently there are six.  This web page will be updated every weekend.
The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service.

3.  Events for Students and General Public

a) The unintended humour of the Universe, 7:00pm, 29th November, Swinburne University
A special End of Year Lecture in ATC101.  Scientific research is not only fun but also funny. In this end of the year talk, Dr Tiantian Yuan explains how the universe makes us laugh and think. For more details and to book, click here.  Audio recordings of lectures in this series are also available at this link.

Dr Tiantian Yuan is an Astro 3D Fellow at Swinburne University’s Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing.
Her research goals include understanding how galaxies like our own Milky Way assembled and evolved from young galaxies in the early universe. Her research takes up the challenge of directly resolving high-redshift galaxies to the finest spatial scale.

Her current ASTRO 3D project at Swinburne focuses on when and how spiral arms formed in the early universe. The formation of spiral arms is part of the unsolved puzzle of the origin of the Hubble sequence. Despite early successes in the 1960s-70s, the necessary and sufficient conditions of spiral arm formation are still unknown. Breakthroughs can come from observations of high-redshift galaxies, when spiral arms are in their earliest stage of formation.

Tiantian obtained her PhD from the University of Hawa’ii, and held a postdoctoral fellowship at the ANU before coming to Swinburne in 2017.

b) Physics Days at Luna Park: 3rd March – 6th March2020
The dates for 2020 are Tuesday, 3rd March to Friday, 6th March.
Bookings are open for next year’s Physics Days at Luna Park, click on ‘Events’.  You can make a booking for a particular day this year and change your day once your timetable for 2020 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.
The silly Serpent has been removed, two rides have been relocated and a new ride is being installed.
If you wish to book a Pasco data logger, please contact Ciderhouse directly.

Return to top

4.  Events for Teachers

a) Nobel Prize Talk: Insights on Exoplanets: Monday, 2nd December, 7:00pm – 8:00pm, Monash University
Speaker: Do Rosemary Mardling, a Monash astrophysicist who uses mathematics to understand how systems of stars and planets move under the influence of their own gravity.

Abstract: The 2019 Physics Nobel Prize was awarded “for contributions to our understanding of the evolution of the universe and Earth’s place in the cosmos”. Half went to Princeton’s James Peebles “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology”, and half to Geneva’s Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz “for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star”. This talk will provide some insights into the exoplanet story. I will discuss why it took until 1995 to detect the first exoplanet around a main sequence star, the impact the field has had on science in general including billions for past, current and future space missions, and some of the completely unexpected surprises revealed so far.
Venue: S3 Lecture Theatre, 16 Rainforest Walk, Monash University

b) Energy Futures: Hydrogen, Worth the Hype?: Friday, 6th December, 6:00pm – 7:15pm, University of Melbourne
An Energy Futures Forum with Dr Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist, Prof Paul Webley, Melbourne Energy Institute and Tony Wood, Grattan Institute. For more details and to book, click here.

c)  2020 Physics Teachers Conference: Friday, 14th February, La Trobe University, Saturday, 15th February, various venues
The Program and Registration Form for next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference are now available at STAV
and on the Vicphysics website.
The program includes:

  • An opening address on Light and Shade: Revolutionising medical imaging by exploring the wave nature of light by Dr Kaye Morgan, Monash University
  • Real World Physics Forum: Tequila and a microwave oven – how to grow a diamond and apply physics in the real world by Dr Alaistair Stacey, RMIT
  • 54 workshops across four sessions including a review of the 2019 Physics Exam by Andrew Hansen, the Chief Assessor, which is one of fifteen repeated workshops.
  • Extensive display of texts and equipment.
  • Saturday program of excursion tasters to the Australian Synchrotron and the Victorian Space Science Education Centre and a two hour medical physics in-service at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Cost: STAV Individual member: $192, STAV School subscriber: $310, Non-STAV member: $336, Retired teacher and full-time student: $78.

d) Vicphysics is organising a Beginning Physics Teacher In-Service on Tues, 31st March at Kew High School.
Cost: Free, with a travel subsidy for regional participants.  Click here for more details and to register.

e) Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) is organising two Physics Workshops, one on Units 1 & 2 on Weds, 22nd January and another on Units 3 & 4 on Fri, 24th January.  Each is for teachers new to teaching physics or seeking a refresher.  The presenter is Theo Hughes.
Cost for each: $295 for teachers from member schools of ISV, $350 for teachers from non-member schools.
Venue: ISV Office, West Melbourne
Details and to register: Units 1 & 2 workshopUnits 3 & 4 workshop

f) There will be a Workshop for Lab Techs on Physics in Years 7 – 10 on Monday, 14th September at Camberwell Grammar School, organised in association with Camberwell Grammar School. Click here for more details.

5  Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.
a) How many neutrons can a nucleus hold?
Carbon 22, Nitrogen 23 and Oxygen 24, each with 16 neutrons have been formed.  This article reports on experiments with atoms of higher atomic number.
b) Porous polymer could help regulate heat and light in buildings.
New coating materials that could help cool buildings in the summer, and then change their optical and thermal properties in the winter to keep the same buildings warm, have been created by researchers in the US. The polymer-based materials could also allow daylight to illuminate building interiors.
c)  Ultrasound device creates an audio, visual and tactile 3D display
An ultrasound-powered, 3D visual display that can also produce audible sound and holograms that you can touch been unveiled by researchers at the University of Sussex. The team used the display to produce 3D images such as a torus knot, a globe, a smiley face and letters, as well as a dynamic countdown of levitating numbers.

The display is a type of sonic tractor beam, which uses ultrasound transducers to create acoustic holograms that can trap and manipulate objects in mid-air. The Sussex device uses two arrays of 256 speakers to levitate a single polystyrene bead, which traces out 3D images in mid-air while illuminated by coloured LEDs. The bead can move at speeds of almost 9 m/s (in the vertical direction), which is so fast that an image is drawn in less than 0.1 s. This creates the illusion of a single 3D image in much the same way as a cathode-ray tube creates a 2D image in an old television by rapidly scanning an electron beam across a phosphor screen.

Physics Conf, Exam solutions. Phys News 5/T4/19

The program for the 2020 Physics Teachers Conference has been released.  Bookings are now open.  Information about our other PD events during 2020 are also available.

Vicphysics solutions to last week’s November exam are now on our website.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 12th December at Swinburne Senior Secondary College starting at 5:00pm.  This meeting will be the AGM.  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. 2020 Physics Teachers’ Conference, Friday, 14th February, La Trobe University
  2. Other Physics PD in 2020
  3. 2019 VCE Physics Exam: Solutions
  4. Why a tennis ball goes flying when dropped with a basketball? – An article with simulation
  5. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
  6. Events for Students and General Public
  • The Unintended Humour of the Universe, 7:00pm, 29th November, Swinburne University
  • Physics Days at Luna Park: 3rd March – 6th March, 2020

7. Physics News from the Web

  • The relentless march of renewables
  • Sonic shock waves could help desalinate water
  • Refrigerator works by twisting and untwisting fibres
1. 2020 Physics Teachers Conference, Friday, 14th February and Saturday, 15th February, La Trobe University
The Program and Registration Form for next year’s Physics Teachers’ Conference are now available at STAV
and on the Vicphysics website.
The program includes:

  • An opening address on Light and Shade: Revolutionising medical imaging by exploring the wave nature of light by Dr Kaye Morgan, Monash University
  • Real World Physics Forum: Tequila and a microwave oven – how to grow a diamond and apply physics in the real world by Dr Alaistair Stacey, RMIT
  • 54 workshops across four sessions including a review of the 2019 Physics Exam by Andrew Hansen, the Chief Assessor, which is one of fifteen repeated workshops.
  • Extensive display of texts and equipment.
  • Saturday program of excursion tasters to the Australian Synchrotron and the Victorian Space Science Education Centre and a two hour medical physics in-service at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Cost: STAV Individual member: $192, STAV School subscriber: $310, Non-STAV member: $336, Retired teacher and full-time student: $78.

2. Other Physics PD in 2020
a) There will be a Beginning Physics Teacher In-Service on Tuesday, 31st March at Kew High School.  Click here for more details and to register.
b) There will be a Workshop for Lab Techs on Physics in Years 7 – 10 on Monday, 14th September at Camberwell Grammar School, organised in association with Camberwell Grammar School. Click here for more details.

3.  2019 VCE Physics Exam: Solutions
Vicphysics has prepared solutions for last week’s VCE Physics Exam.  They are available here.
The solutions are written for students to use when doing the exam paper for revision. A suggested marking scheme is included.
At the end of the solutions there are additional questions that use the stem from many of the questions in the paper.  In particular there are several extra questions on Question 19a, which only covered a limited set of the skills students are expected to use in their Unit 4 Investigation.

4. Why a tennis ball goes flying when dropped with a basket ball – An article with simulations
Dropping a tennis ball and basket ball together with the tennis ball on top is not only an impressive demonstration, it is an excellent topic for a Unit 2 or Unit 4 practical investigation.
Rhett Allain, professor of physics at North Carolina State University and a regular columnist in online magazine, Wired, has written an article on the phenomenon, which also has videos, graphs and a simulation written in glowscript, where the reader can edit the code.

5. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
Last year Vicphysics Teachers’ Network set up a Job Ads page on our website to assist schools in finding a physics teacher, either to be a LSL replacement or to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave.  Several schools placed notices.
The web page also lists the Government schools seeking a physics teachers, currently there are three.  This web page will be updated every weekend.
The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service.

6.  Events for Students and General Public

a) The unintended humour of the Universe, 7:00pm, 29th November, Swinburne University
A special End of Year Lecture in ATC101.  Scientific research is not only fun but also funny. In this end of the year talk, Dr Tiantian Yuan explains how the universe makes us laugh and think. For more details and to book, click here.  Audio recordings of lectures in this series are also available at this link.

Dr Tiantian Yuan is an Astro 3D Fellow at Swinburne University’s Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing.
Her research goals include understanding how galaxies like our own Milky Way assembled and evolved from young galaxies in the early universe. Her research takes up the challenge of directly resolving high-redshift galaxies to the finest spatial scale.

Her current ASTRO 3D project at Swinburne focuses on when and how spiral arms formed in the early universe. The formation of spiral arms is part of the unsolved puzzle of the origin of the Hubble sequence. Despite early successes in the 1960s-70s, the necessary and sufficient conditions of spiral arm formation are still unknown. Breakthroughs can come from observations of high-redshift galaxies, when spiral arms are in their earliest stage of formation.

Tiantian obtained her PhD from the University of Hawa’ii, and held a postdoctoral fellowship at the ANU before coming to Swinburne in 2017.

b) Physics Days at Luna Park: 3rd March – 6th March2020
The dates for 2020 are Tuesday, 3rd March to Friday, 6th March.
Bookings are open for next year’s Physics Days at Luna Park, click on ‘Events’.  You can make a booking for a particular day this year and change your day once your timetable for 2020 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.
The silly Serpent has been removed, two rides have been relocated and a new ride is being installed.
If you wish to book a Pasco data logger, please contact Ciderhouse directly.

Return to top

7  Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.

The relentless march of renewables

An article that assesses the current state of play of renewables by Dave Elliott, Emeritus Professor of technology policy at the Open University, UK.

Sonic shock waves could help desalinate water

Shock waves fired repeatedly into water samples can remove dissolved salts, according to A Sivakumar and Martin Britto Dhas of the Sacred Heart College in Tirupattur, India. The researchers say that the effect involves a cavitation-based nucleation mechanism that could be useful for the pretreatment of water at desalination plants. However, not everyone is convinced by their findings.

Refrigerator works by twisting and untwisting fibres

A new refrigeration technology based on the twisting and untwisting of fibres has been demonstrated by a team led by Zunfeng Liu at Nankai University in China and Ray Baughman at the University of Texas at Dallas in the US. As the demand for refrigeration expands worldwide, their work could lead to the development of new cooling systems that do not employ gases that are harmful to the environment.

The cooling system relies on the fact that some materials undergo significant changes in entropy when deformed. As far back as 1805 – when the concepts of thermodynamics were first being developed – it was known that ordinary rubber heats up when stretched and cools down when relaxed. In principle, such mechanocaloric materials could be used in place of the gases that change entropy when compressed and expanded in commercial refrigeration systems. Replacing gas-based systems is an important environmental goal because gaseous refrigerants tend to degrade the ozone layer and are powerful greenhouse gases.

Physics positions – Vicphys News 4/T4/19

Physics positions:

  • VCAA is inviting teachers to apply for the position of State Reviewer for Physics
  • Vicphysics is also inviting teachers to nominate for executive and committee positions

There is a talk this week for physics teachers on using Amusement Parks to assist student learning.  It will be at Swinburne University on Thursday, 31st October at 6pm.  Booking is required.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 14th November at Swinburne Senior Secondary College starting at 5:00pm.  It will focus on reviewing the 2019 Physics Exam paper.  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. VCAA State Reviewer position
  2. Vicphysics Executive and Committee nominations
  3. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
  4. Events for Students and General Public
  • Brian Cox, A Symphonic Universe, 11:00am, 15th November, Hamer Hall, Arts Centre
  • Mystery Guest, 7:00pm, 29th November, Swinburne University
  • Physics Days at Luna Park: 3rd March – 6th March, 2020

5. Events for Teachers

  • Amusement Park Physics Lecture: 6pm Thursday, 31st October, Swinburne University

6. Physics News from the Web

  • Encrypt Me! A game-based approach to quantum cryptology for secondary students.
  • The physics of blood splatter.
  • Giant negative thermal expansion seen in nanomagnet
1. VCE Physics State Reviewer for 2020 – 21
VCAA is seeking applications from experienced teachers to be the State Reviewer for Physics for the years 2020 and 2021.  The position is about school-based coursework and the responses to VCAA’s School-based Assessment Audit.  The closing date is Monday 4th November, 2019

To apply you need to enter your details on SSMS , the Sessional Staff Management System. If you have not used SSMS before to apply to be an assessor, for example, you will need to apply as a new applicant to obtain a username and password.  Once you have logged in, you go to ‘Select Job’ and search for the position. You will need to enter details of your qualifications, teaching experience and possibly name(s) of referee(s).

A detailed description of the responsibilities of the position are available here.

For enquiries: Meredith Young (Program Manager School-based Assessment Audit) VCE Unit, Curriculum Division (VCAA) Tel: 9032 1735 Email: young.meredith.e@edumail.vic.gov.au 

2. Vicphysics Executive and Committee nominations
The Vicphysics website features many activities and resources for teachers and students.  To continue with these requires an active committee.  Vicphysics invites you to nominate for one of the up to five ordinary committee positions or for one of the four executive positions.
You can simply nominate yourself by emailing the returning officer preferably by Friday, 6th December or at the AGM on Thursday, 14th December.
Please note: To nominate you need to be a member of Vicphysics Teachers’ Network, but receiving this newsletter does not mean you are automatically a member of Vicphysics, rather you need to lodge a membership form with the Secretary.  However there is no membership fee, so a membership application can be lodged at the same time.as the nomination.  As an incorporated association, Vicphysics is required to have a membership structure.

3. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
Last year Vicphysics Teachers’ Network set up a Job Ads page on our website to assist schools in finding a physics teacher, either to be a LSL replacement or to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave.  Several schools placed notices.
The web page also lists the Government schools seeking a physics teachers, currently there are twelve.  This web page will be updated every weekend.
The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service.

4.  Events for Students and General Public

a)  Brian Cox, A Symphonic Universe, 11:00am, 15th November, Hamer Hall, Arts Centre
An MSO Education Concert for upper primary and secondary students.  Be whisked through space and time by Professor Cox in this science meets music, special schools-only event. Joining Professor Cox on stage will be conductor Daniel Harding, to lead the Orchestra through some of classical music’s most universal repertoire.

MSO Education Concerts for secondary schools offer you and your students the opportunity to explore the power of music in colourful, engaging, narrative-based concert experiences.

Recommended for secondary school-aged students, with broader suitability at the discretion of teachers.

To discuss the suitability of this content to the learning interests and needs of your students, please feel free to contact the MSO education team: schools@mso.com.au.
Important information
Ticket price: $17 per ticket, one free teacher per 10 students  Duration: 50min.
To book tickets, click here.

b) Mystery Guest, 7:00pm, 29th November, Swinburne University
A special End of Year Lecture in ATC101.  For more details and to book, click here.

c) Physics Days at Luna Park: 3rd March – 6th March2020
The dates for 2020 are Tuesday, 3rd March to Friday, 6th March.
Bookings are open for next year’s Physics Days at Luna Park, click on ‘Events’.  You can make a booking for a particular day this year and change your day once your timetable for 2020 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.

Return to top

5. Events for Teachers

Amusement Park Physics Lecture: 6pm, Thursday, 31st October, Swinburne University

Title: Amusement Parks as informal learning environments: Physics, maths and technology for the whole body
Abstract:  Luna Park can be seen as a large physics laboratory, where your own body can feel many times heavier than normal or experience seconds of free fall weightlessness and live to tell the tale.  The forces on the body can also be captured with a smart phone, when built-in acceleration, rotation and pressure sensors capture the motion.
The data offers rich opportunities to discuss challenging physics – acceleration is no longer abstract when experienced in your own body.  In this way acceleration can be accessible to younger learners.  The function of sensors can also be illustrated by simple toys, such as a short slinky spring providing visual measurements of ‘g forces’ and a soft toy on a string used as  miniature Foucault pendulum to illustrate rotation measurements.
The presentation also addresses pedagogical strategies to ensure that an exciting outing also results in student learning.
Speaker: Prof Ann-Marie Pendrill is Professor of Physics and Director of the Swedish National Resource Centre for Physics Education.  She has used Amusement Parks in physics teaching since 1995, in physics, engineering and teacher education programs, as well as in teacher professional development.  She has been involved in arranging large scale STEM days Liseberg and Grona Land, amusement parks in Sweden. Her articles can be found here.
Ann-Marie is in Melbourne partly to record data from some of Luna Park’s distinctive rides.  She will be at Luna Park on Friday evening, 1st November.
Date: Thursday, 31st October
Time: 6:00pm
Venue: Swinburne University, Hawthorn Campus, EN103, Engineering building.  Map
Tickets: Free, but you need to register, click here.
Dinner: If you wish to join others for dinner with the speaker afterwards at a nearby restaurant, please indicate when you register.
Extra: Doug Bail from Ciderhouse ICT will display data logging equipment from 5:30pm.
Queries: Please contact Vicphysics if you have nay questions

6  Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.

Encrypt me! A game based approach to quantum cryptology for secondary students

The authors present a game-based approach to teach quantum cryptography at high school. The approach is based on kinaesthetic activities and allows students to experience and discover quantum features and their applications first-hand. They represent quantum states by the orientation of students, and mimic quantitative random behaviour and measurements using dice and apps.

The physics of blood splatter
Analysing the blood stains following a shooting can be key to finding the perpetrator, but it’s a field of forensics that is being called into question. Sidney Perkowitz explains how understanding the physics behind the blood distribution could help uncover the truth.

Giant negative thermal expansion seen in nanomagnet

Most materials expand when they are heated up and contract when cooled down – a phenomenon known as positive thermal expansion (PTE). Over the past three decades, however, an increasing number of materials showing the opposite effect – that is, negative thermal expansion (NTE) – have been discovered. Researchers in Portugal and the US say they have now found NTE above the magnetic ordering temperature in magnetic nanoparticles for the first time. The new discovery will be important for making composites from PTE and NTE materials that have zero thermal expansion for use in a host of technology applications.

Climate Science, Study Design Survey. Vicphys News 1/T4/19

This newsletter focuses on resources for Climate Science.  The item in the last newsletter about the survey for the Review of the Physics Study Design is repeated here, the closing date is 18th October.

There are also dates for Physics Days at Luna Park, competition entries and a Brian Cox event in November.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network will be on Thursday, 17th October 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. Teaching Resources for Climate Science
  2. Survey for Review of Physics Study Design
  3. Entries for Physics Competitions entries are due this week.
  4. Physics Days at Luna Park: Bookings for 2020 are now open
  5. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
  6. Events for Students and General Public
  • The Cosmic Perspective, 6:30pm, 18th October, Swinburne University
  • Brian Cox, A Symphonic Universe, 11:00am, 15th November, Hamer Hall, Arts Centre
  • Mystery Guest, 7:00pm, 29th November, Swinburne University

7. Physics News from the Web

  • Atoms clocked at 8000 km/s as they race towards supermassive black holes
  • The invisibility of length contraction
  • The Twisty Physics of Simone Biles’ Historic Triple-Double.
1. Teaching Resources for Climate Science

  • The US National Centre for Science Education has developed and tested five lessons plans on ‘Turning Misinformation into Educational Opportunities’.  Each package has the lesson plan, supplementary material, a goggle folder of extra material and a webinar on the package.  There are packages on i) Scientific Consensus, ii) Climate Models, iii) Past vs Present Climate Change, iv) Local Climate Impacts and v) Climate Solutions. Also check their ‘Classroom Resources’ under ‘Teach’.
  • The Perimeter Institute has produced resources titled ‘Evidence for Climate Change’. It is an inquiry-based educational resource. Hands-on activities focused on heat, carbon dioxide, and thermal expansion explore the essential science behind climate change. Students are introduced to the observational data for climate change and the climate models that describe the principal factors involved. Opportunities are provided throughout the resource for students to consider how they contribute to both the problem and the solution. Please note: The zipped folder that contains this resource is 1 GB and can take about 5 minutes to download on an average connection.
  • The NASA Climate Change website has links to nine different US websites of educational material of different styles and for different age groups. The websites are by groups such as JPL, NOAA, US Dept of Energy, the National Science Digital Library and several by NASA itself.

Submitted by Barbara McKinnon

2. Survey for Review of Physics Study Design
VCAA is conducting a review of the Physics Study Design.  They have asked Vicphysics to conduct a survey of physics teachers on aspects of Units 1 and 2 of the current study design to inform the development of the next study design.

The survey is anonymous and responses will be treated with strict confidentiality.  Vicphysics will provide the VCAA with a report of the aggregated data.  The survey will close on 18th October.  The survey can be accessed here.

3.  Physics Competitions entries are due this week
Vicphysics runs three competitions:

4. Physics Days at Luna Park: Bookings for 2020 are now open.
The dates for 2020 are Tuesday, 3rd March to Friday, 6th March.
Bookings are due to open today for next year’s Physics Days at Luna Park, click on ‘Events’.  You can make a booking for a particular day this year and change your day once your timetable for 2020 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.

5. Seeking a Physics Teacher? Seeking a job?
Last year Vicphysics Teachers’ Network set up a Job Ads page on our website to assist schools in finding a physics teacher, either to be a LSL replacement or to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave.  Several schools placed notices.
The web page also lists the Government schools seeking a physics teachers, currently there are seven.  This web page will be updated every weekend.
The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for the service.

6.  Events for Students and General Public

a) The Cosmic Perspective , 6:30pm, 18th October, Swinburne University
Dr Ned Taylor from the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University will present the talk in EN103.  For more details and to book, click here.

b)  Brian Cox, A Symphonic Universe, 11:00am, 15th November, Hamer Hall, Arts Centre
An MSO Education Concert for upper primary and secondary students.  Be whisked through space and time by Professor Cox in this science meets music, special schools-only event. Joining Professor Cox on stage will be conductor Daniel Harding, to lead the Orchestra through some of classical music’s most universal repertoire.

MSO Education Concerts for secondary schools offer you and your students the opportunity to explore the power of music in colourful, engaging, narrative-based concert experiences.

Recommended for secondary school-aged students, with broader suitability at the discretion of teachers.

To discuss the suitability of this content to the learning interests and needs of your students, please feel free to contact the MSO education team: schools@mso.com.au.
Important information
Ticket price: $17 per ticket, one free teacher per 10 students  Duration: 50min.
To book tickets, click here.

c) Mystery Guest, 7:00pm, 29th November, Swinburne University
A special End of Year Lecture in ATC101.  For more details and to book, click here.

7.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.

Atoms clocked at 5000 km/s as they race towards supermassive black holes

Observations of gas being sucked into the supermassive black holes at the centres of quasars have shed new light on how the astronomical objects convert gravitational energy into vast amounts of outgoing radiation. Hongyan Zhou at the Polar Research Institute of China and colleagues measured the speed of the in-falling gas and confirmed that it was being supplied by “dusty tori” that surround quasars.

The invisibility of length contraction
The idea that objects contract in length when they travel near the speed of light is a widely accepted consequence of Einstein’s special relativity. But if you could observe such an object, it wouldn’t look shorter at all – bizarrely, it would seem to have been rotated, as David Appell explains.

You might not have heard of this phenomenon before, but it’s often called the “Terrell effect” or “Terrell rotation”. It’s named after James Terrell – a physicist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US, who first came up with the idea in 1957. The apparent rotation of an object moving near the speed of light is, in essence, a consequence of the time it takes light rays to travel from various points on the moving body to an observer’s eyes.

The Twisty Physics of Simone Biles’ Historic Triple-Double

Simone Biles appears to defy the laws of physics with this epic tumbling pass from the 2019 US Gymnastics Championships. It’s called a triple-double. That means she rotates around an axis going through her hips twice while at the same time rotating about an axis going from head to toe THREE times. Yes, it’s difficult—but it doesn’t defy physics, it uses physics.