1. Vicphysics Website
Over the holidays, about 50 new weblinks have been added to the resources pages for the various Areas of Study.
Also the webpages for the Units 1 and 3 Areas of Study have been redesigned to have the same format as those for Units 2 and 4 which were revised last year. The new format makes it easier for you to locate resources for a particular need on an Area of Study.
Now each AoS webpage has a table at the top similar to the one below for Unit 1 Thermal Physics.
Topic Context Activities Assessment Useful Weblinks
Temperature and Energy Yes (2,0) Yes (5,0) None None
Heat Transfer Yes (2,0) Yes (4,0) Yes (1,0) None
Heat Capacity and Latent Heat Yes (2,0) Yes (4,0) Yes (1,0) None
EM Radiation None Yes (3,0) None None
Greenhouse Effect Yes (17,2) Yes (1,1) None Yes (0,5)
'Yes' is an active link to resources further down the page. The first number in the brackets is the number of downloadable files, and the second number is the number of weblinks. 'None' means there is no material. Teachers are invited to submit material for the empty cells here.
2. On Line Professional Development
The National STEM Centre in the UK provides free online courses for teachers. Courses that are about to start include:
3. Lagrange's Halo or how China landed a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon and receives images of the lunar surface.
- The Science of Learning - Discover the scientific research about learning and apply it in your classroom to help you teach STEM subjects. Course begins 25th February. The course runs for 5 weeks and requires 3 hours per week. You receive access to the course for 7 weeks, including articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes. For $134 you can also get unlimited access and a certificate on completion.
- Linking STEM Curriculum Learning to Careers - Discover how to adapt your curriculum to link to careers in science, engineering, computing and mathematics. Course begins 4th March. The course runs for 4 weeks and requires 3 hours per week. You receive access to the course for 6 weeks, including articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes. For $99 you can also get unlimited access and a certificate on completion.
- The Discovery of the Higgs Boson. Course begins 4th February for 7 weeks at 5 hours per week. Upgrade: $99
- Teaching Practical Science: Physics. Course begins 22nd April for 3 weeks at 3 hours per week. Upgrade: $99
The technique to communicate with a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon involves some clever gravitational physics that Year 12 students might be able to follow.
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- Around any two large bodies in orbit, there are points in space where a smaller object can maintain its position relative to the other bodies. These are called Lagrange points and there are five of them. L2 is the one of interest, it is on the other side of the Moon.
- At L2, an object will experience the gravitational attraction of the Earth. If this was the only force on the object the period of its orbit would be longer than that of the Moon (by Kepler's 3rd Law).
- But the additional inward gravitational force by the Moon means that the object can move faster than would otherwise be the case.
- The position of L2 is such that the combined gravitational attractions of the Earth and the Moon give the object a period equal to the Moon's period, that is, the object will stay in that position, L2, and orbit the Earth always being on the other side of the Moon. If L2 is a distance, r, from the centre of the Moon, an equation for r involving the masses of the Earth and the Moon and the radius of the Moon's orbit can be obtained, but it ends up being a quintic equation!
- However L2 would be useless as the location for a communication satellite. In 1968 in a PhD thesis, Robert Farquhar showed that an object can orbit L2, even though this is no mass at L2. This orbit is called a Halo orbit and it is where the Chinese communication satellite is placed.
As schools lodge information about a vacancy, they will be placed here on our website. The list of government schools seeking physics teachers has also been updated with 2 schools seeking physics teachers.
5. Events for Students and the General Public
a) Monday, 11th February, Girls in Science Webinar, 10:20am - 11:30am AEDT
As part of a celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Victoria's Lead Scientist, Dr Amanda Caples, with others will be hosting an interactive web-streamed panel session aimed at middle and senior school students in science. The event will be hosted by the Royal Society of Victoria.
The event will feature a keynote address by Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea, Co-Founder and CEO of Women in STEMM Australia. The panellists will be taking questions from the online audience.
For more details about the event and the panel members and to also book, click here.
b) Friday, 22nd February, Things that go bump in the night: fast radio bursts and the search for life beyond Earth, 6:30pm, Swinburne University
Speaker: Dr Daniel C Price, Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University
Venue: Swinburne University, Hawthorn campus, ATC building, ATC101 (Enter from Burwood Road)
Abstract: Thanks to new, more powerful technology, astronomers can search the skies faster and with more resolution than ever before. In this public lecture, I will talk about two exciting fields in astronomy: the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), and Fast Radio Bursts. The SETI field has been reinvigorated by the 10-year, $100M Breakthrough Listen initiative to search for intelligent life beyond Earth. As a project scientist for Breakthrough Listen, I will introduce the program and detail how we are using new technology to run the most comprehensive search for intelligent life beyond Earth ever undertaken. I will also discuss a mysterious phenomenon known as fast radio bursts: incredibly bright but short-lived signals from distant galaxies, which escaped detection until recently. Could these signals be due to intelligent aliens, or is there an astrophysical explanation? I will give an overview of how a telescope upgrade will help us answer this question, and how Swinburne astronomers will play a leading role. Finally, I will discuss what evidence would convince us that there is indeed life beyond Earth, or that the Universe is ours alone to enjoy.
Registration and Details: For further information and registration, please click here. Closes when maximum capacity reached.
c) Physics Days at Luna Park: Tuesday, 5th March to Friday, 8th March, 2019
This year there will be two extra rides on offer one of which is the Speedy Beetle located behind the Ferris Wheel. It is a mini roller coaster that moves in a figure 8 with sharp rises and falls and a quick banked turn. The other is the Road Runner located next to the Spider. Up to 9 people sit in a car as it twists, turns and sways while moving backwards and forwards through a curved dip. Both rides will be useful for data logging and also simple calculation of g forces from using a stop watch and estimating distances.
Bookings are now open .
An aerobatic display by a member of the Roulettes has been requested, but confirmation is often not provided until mid February.
Worksheets are available here.
Schools can also book a Pasco data logger for a half day by accessing the Ciderhouse website here.
d) Girls in Physics Breakfasts in 2019
This year there will be two extra country breakfasts, in Warrnambool and Wodonga.
The dates, venues, speakers and topics are:
For more details including flyers and how to book please go to the Vicphysics webpage
- 22nd March, Ballarat Speaker: Dr Dianne Ruka, Monash University, Topic: Future Computing and Low Energy Electronics.
- 3rd May, Geelong Speaker: Dr Ellen Moon, Deakin University, Topic: Science in the Antarctic: Where can STEM take you?
- 10th May, Warrnambool Speaker: Dr Gail Iles, RMIT, Topic: Human spaceflight and science in space
- 17th May, Bendigo Speaker: Dr Judy Hart, University of New South Wales, Topic: Developing new materials for renewable energy
- 24th May, Wodonga Speaker Dr Adelle Wright, ANU, Topic: Nuclear Fusion: An Australian Perspective
- 30th May, Melbourne Speaker: Dr Susie Sheehy, University of Melbourne and Oxford University, Topic: Colliding worlds: Using particle physics to cure cancer.
- Late July, Clayton The date, venue and speaker are yet to be finalised.
e) Friday, 29th March: Watching a Little Gas Cloud on its Way into the Galactic Supermassive Black Hole 6:30pm, Swinburne University
Speaker: Prof Andreas Burkert, Ludwig Maximalians University, Munich
Venue: Swinburne University, Hawthorn campus, ATC building, ATC101 (Enter from Burwood Road)
Registration and Details: For further information and registration, please click here.
6. Events for Teachers
a) 2019 Physics Teachers' Conference, 15th 16th February, La Trobe University
Register now to get your workshop preferences. A school purchase order can be used to accompany the registration form.
The Friday program includes two addresses:
There are also three sessions of workshops with 16 workshops on offer in each.
- Opening Address: Precision Cosmology with the next generation of Telescopes with Dr Laura Wolz from the University of Melbourne
- Pre Lunch Address: Responding to short answer questions with Andrew Hansen, the Chief Assessor.
The Saturday program has two Excursion tasters on offer to the Synchrotron and VSSEC as well as a two hour Medical Physics In-Service at Peter Mac. Each session in the Saturday program can be booked independently of the conference booking by emailing Vicphysics indicating which ones you wish to attend. There is no cost.
The cost: $188 for an individual STAV member, $305 for a STAV School subscriber, $330 for a non STAV member and $78 for a retired teacher. Registration includes morning tea and lunch. Program details, registration forms and online booking are available here. Check Vicphysics website as well.
b) Tuesday, 12th March: Chief Assessor's Forum on the 2018 VCE Physics Exam, 5:00pm, University High School
Vicphysics and the Chief Assessor, Andrew Hansen, would again like to provide teachers with the opportunity to hear about the full exam with an extended opportunity to ask questions and a chance to speak with Andrew.
The Chief Assessor's Forum a question by question coverage of the students' responses to last year's Physics exam. The event will also be streamed live.
The forum will start at 5:00pm, with a meal break at 6:30pm, commencing again at 7:15pm. Dinner will be provided.
Cost: $60 to attend the event, including the meal. $30 to view online.
Booking: You will need to book through Trybooking, check our website for details.
c) Monday, 8th April: Beginning Physics Teachers In-Service, Kew High School
Vicphysics will be running a full day in-service on Monday, 8th April at Kew High School. The event is free, lunch is provided and travel support is available for country participants.
The event is for:
The program will include:
- Teachers beginning their teaching career,
- Teachers returning to physics teaching and
- Teachers who have been asked by their school to take a VCE Physics class
- Information on course planning, resources, advice of teaching specific topics and suggestions from some of last year's participants after teaching physics for the first time in 2018,
- Andrew Hansen, Chief Assessor for the Physics exam, from Ringwood Secondary College on Exam advice.
To register please complete the details on this Vicphysics webpage. . It also has information about last year's program.
7. Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletins of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.
a) Combustion-free, propeller-free aeroplane takes flight: The ion age of flight
The ionic wind that powers the plane is generated by electroaerodynamics. An electric field ionizes atoms and molecules in the ambient fluid – such as nitrogen molecules in air – and then accelerates them by Coulomb force. The accelerated ions then couple their momentum with other neutral atoms or molecules they collide with, and this gives rise to the ionic wind.
Check out the Youtube video.
b) Different methods produce different values for the Hubble Constant
A new value for the Hubble constant – the expansion rate of the universe — has been calculated by an international group of astrophysicists. The team used primordial distance scales to study more than 200 supernovae observed by telescopes in Chile and Australia. The new result agrees well with previous values of the constant obtained using a specific model of cosmic expansion, while disagreeing with more direct observations from the nearby universe – so exacerbating a long-running disagreement between cosmologists and astronomers.
c) Climate impacts will seldom strike singly
By 2100, climate impacts will be felt by everyone and most people will experience at least three simultaneous hazards, inexorably made more hazardous by the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
And they could be the lucky ones: some people could be menaced by six different kinds of warming-related hazard simultaneously.
d) A brief history of time keeping
From sticks in the ground to caesium atomic clocks, humans have been keeping track of time with increasing accuracy for millennia. Helen Margolis looks at how we reached our current definition of the second, and where clock technology is going next.