Vicphysics Teachers' Network Inc.
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Syd Boydell and Merryn Dawborn-Gundlach from Melbourne University are seeking your ideas on the most important features to focus on when preparing future physics teachers.  There is a short survey, see details below.

The Physics Teachers' Conference is on Friday, 19th February. It will be a virtual conference with many innovative opportunities including being able to catch up with colleagues, which is an important part of any conference.  We have produced a video to help you navigate the conference webpage.

The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) continues to produce online support materials.

Check out the Physics News articles that cover the scientific method, planetary science and a novel use for solar energy.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers' Network will be on Wednesday, 10th March at 5:30pm online. If you wish to participate, please contact Vicphysics.

Dr Barbara McKinnon (Pres), Sandor Kazi (Vice-Pres), Dan O'Keeffe OAM (Sec) and Deepa Jain (Treas)

Table of Contents
       1. 2021 Physics Teachers' Conference, Friday, 19th February - A Virtual Conference

       2. Preparing Future Physics Teachers: What do they need?

       3. More resources for Teaching Physics from AAPT
  • NASA  Space Science Education Consortium
  • Powerful Ideas in Physical Science
      4. Events for Students        5. Events for Teachers
  • Big Ideas in Physics: A New Scientist Online Lecture Series
  • Quantum Computing: A New Scientist Online Lecture
       6. Physics News from the Web 
  • Madness in the method: Why your notions of how science works are probably wrong
  • Things we don't know about Uranus (and Neptune)
  • Solar-powered device sterilises medical equipment
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1. 2021 Physics Teachers' Conference, Friday, 19th February - A Virtual Conference.
Vicphysics and STAV are partnering with Monash Tech School to bring you an innovative virtual conference experience that will allow you to network, interact with sponsors, attend live workshops and keynotes and access a wealth of pre-recorded material.

Highlights include:

  • The highly topical keynote by climate modeller Professor Todd Lane will be followed by a small group discussion session in which you can exchange ideas and resources for teaching climate change in your classroom. 
  • The Chief Assessor, Andrew Hansen, has kindly agreed to pre-record a complete review of the 2020 exam, which can be accessed by participants in the week before the conference.  He will then lead a live session specifically focussed on your questions and the key issues arising from the paper.
  • 27 Live workshops across three sessions
  • 5 Pre-recorded presentations
  • Member Chat and Networking Lounge: Catch up and network with other participants
  • Discussion Forum: Engage in a dialogue around a presentation or a workshop
  • Check out the new resources of exhibitors in dedicated 'Meet and Greet's.
  • Access to all workshops and presentations and their resources up until 31st December.

Click here to preview the conference landing page and to access the program and registration.
We have also produced a video to help you navigate the conference website.

The live sessions are scheduled for Friday, February 19 and on-demand material will be available to view from Friday, February 12.

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2. Preparing Future Physics Teachers: What do they need?
Dr Merryn Dawborn-Gundlach and Dr Syd Boydell help prepare future Physics teachers at Melbourne University and are looking for feedback from teachers on the most important features to focus on. There is a very short survey and they would really appreciate your input.

3. More Resources for Teaching Physics
The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) continues to provide Online Teaching Resources. 

a) NASA Space Science Education Consortium provides resources in three areas: Solar Activity, Solar Eclipse and Exoplanets.  Each area has prac activities, tutorials and lecture notes.
b) Powerful Ideas in Physical Science is a comprehensive set of course materials designed to prepare primary science teachers.  The worksheets, practical activities and structured questions on topics such as Heat, Light, Electricity and Forces may be useful for middle school teachers.

4. Events for Students
a) Inspiring Future Women in Science - Live Q&A., 8:00am Friday 12th February.
This 60 minute Perimeter Institute event is being held at 4pm Thursday, 11th Feb, Toronto time, which is 8:00am Friday, Melbourne time.
 A dynamic group of four women working in various fields of science will take students’ questions in a live online session. The program is designed for high school students who are interested in science and want to learn more about careers in related fields. Although this event is part of Perimeter Institute’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science activities, high school students of all genders are welcome to register to attend.


Links to stories and videos from the event in previous years going back to 2015 are also available at this address.
 

b) Physics Days at Luna Park in 2021

The dates for this year are Tuesday 9th March through to Friday, 12th March.
The cost is $27.90 per student with teachers free.
The Luna Park website is taking bookings.  There is also a link on the website if you wish to book a datalogger.
Check our website for worksheets etc.
 
5. Events for Teachers
a) Big Ideas in Physics: A New Scientist Online Lecture Series
  • Making Sense of Quantum Theory with Carlo Rovelli, 6pm, 1st April (UK time).  Prof Rovelli is the author of the popular books 'Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and 'Reality is not what it seems'.
  • How fast is the Universe growing? with Jo Dunkley, 6pm, 6th May. Prof Dunkley is a British astrophysicist and Professor of Physics at Princeton University.
  • Ten Keys to Reality with Frank Wilczek, 6pm, 28th January. Prof Wilczek won the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics
  • How Time Works with Sean Carroll, 6pm, 3rd June. Prof Carroll is a Research Professor at CalTech.
The Rovelli talk will be held at 4:00am Melbourne time on the Friday morning, however a ticket purchase gives you on demand access to the lecture and the Q&A session for 12 months.
Individual tickets are £13 (early booking rate) and there is a 25% discount on the series ticket.

b) Quantum Computing: A New Scientist Online Lecture, 6pm 11th March (UK Time)
Prof Michelle Simmons and Prof John Martinis present two 25 min talks plus Q&A on the physics of quantum computers. Prof Simmons is the Director of the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computer Technology and Communication Technology at UNSW and she was Australian of the Year in 2018.  Prof Martinis is based at University of California.  In 2019 he worked at Google and currently is in Australia working with Michelle.

Tickets are £13 (early booking rate) with on demand access.
  6.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).

a) Madness in the method: why your notions of how science works are probably wrong
You know what the scientific method is until you try to define it: it’s a set of rules that scientists adopt to obtain a special kind of knowledge. The list is orderly, teachable and straightforward, at least in principle. But once you start spelling out the rules, you realize that they really don’t capture how scientists work, which is a lot messier. In fact, the rules exclude much of what you’d call science, and includes even more of what you don’t. You even begin to wonder why anyone thought it necessary to specify a “scientific method” at all.

b) Things we don’t know about Uranus (and Neptune)
Uranus and Neptune are the least-explored planets in our solar system. Apart from the Voyager 2 spacecraft, which flew past them in the 1980s, no human-built probe has ever ventured near them. They are also small and far away, covering just 3.8 and 2.3 arc-seconds of the Earth’s sky, respectively. That makes it hard for even the best telescopes to pick out their features. Indeed, one of the few things we do know is that much of our knowledge about their appearance is no longer accurate, because they are not static. Instead, they are incredibly active worlds, with convective clouds that rise up like thunderheads and send streamers flying through their slushy atmospheres and giant storms that last for years.

c) Solar-powered device sterilizes medical equipment
An international team of researchers has developed an innovative system that can sterilize medical tools using solar heat. The device could help to maintain safe, sterile equipment at low cost in remote locations, and could prove particularly valuable in developing regions of the world.

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