The presenters of the following workshops have provided material for the conference proceedings. More will be added as they are submitted.
1. 2020 Physics Teachers' Conference Evaluation: What did you think of the conference, workshops, addresses, etc?
Your feedback is much valued by the conference organisers and presenters alike. So if you can spare five minutes, we would appreciate completing the evaluation survey.
The material can be found at this conference webpage. Select 'conference proceedings'.
- 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
- B4 Constructing DC motor from the kit by Gracie Saxena and Adrian Roberts, Bacchus Marsh Grammar School
- 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
- 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
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3. Observation in Quantum Physics and Students' misconceptions Another Resource
The last newsletter had a story about an article on 'Observation' in Quantum Physics, 'Observation in Quantum Physics in IOP's Physics Education.
Further research on this issue can be found in an article by local teacher, Amit Dutt, 'Making the transition from classical to quantum physics' in the ASTA magazine, Teaching Science, Volume 57, Number 4, December 2011, pp. 33 - 36.
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.
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.
- Ballarat and Queen's Anglican Grammar School is seeking a physics teacher to start in Term 2.
- There are two Government schools seeking a physics teachers, McClelland Secondary College and Sale College.
a) Physics Days at Luna Park: 3rd March - 6th March, 2020
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.
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:
Breakfasts with confirmed dates and speakers can now be booked. Information is now on the Vicphysics website.
- 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.
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
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8. 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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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.
a) Why do people still believe in conspiracy theories?
As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, why – asks Robert P Crease – do conspiracy theories still abound?
Global warming is a plot manufactured by a global community of scientists. United Nations panels deliberately understate the radiation levels of the Fukushima and Chernobyl disasters. US media outlets contrive “fake facts” to refute Tweets of Donald Trump. Venal politicians are behind Ebola and other epidemics.
Groundless conspiracy theories are now an established feature of the political landscape. They resemble epidemics themselves, appearing from nowhere, spreading like wildfire, disrupting normal life, and being all but impossible to stop. They threaten democracy by poisoning the ability of voters to lucidly deliberate issues of human life, health and justice.
In her recent book Democracy and Truth, the University of Pennsylvania historian Sophia Rosenfeld argues that conspiracy theories thrive in societies with a large gap between the governing and the governed classes. Such conditions, Rosenfeld writes, allow some of the governed to reject the advice of experts as out of touch with “the people”, and to create a “populist epistemology” associated with an oppositional culture.
b) True, but not real
In physics, asking the question “Is it real?” is a slippery slope, and the answer often depends on the level at which something is modelled. In this article Michael Berry explores the depths of our perceptions.
Reading Christopher Pinney’s 2018 book The Waterless Sea: a Curious History of Mirages, I was struck by a phrase he used to describe mirages, and indeed all illusions: “real, but not true”. There is no watery mirror reflecting light above a hot road, no fairy castle hovering above the polar horizon, no doppelgänger of you behind the mirror, no little people inside your TV. These interpretations are false, but our perceptions are real.
It occurs to me that with physics it’s the opposite. We compare our theories with observation or experiment, and if they agree (albeit sometimes tentatively), we justifiably declare that the physics is true. But the question “Is it real?” is a slippery one. Possible answers depend on the level at which something is modelled.
c) The enduring enigma of the cosmic cold spot
Syed Faisal ur Rahman delves into the various explanations for the strange “cold spot” in the cosmic microwave background, the ancient light of the Big Bang, that bathes the universe.