1. Online PD from the UK: Teaching Practical Science
The National STEM Learning Centre provides online professional development for science teachers. The courses are free and there is the opportunity to upgrade for a fee of $99.
There are three courses for each of Physics, Biology and Chemistry. They are designed to develop practical lessons to help 14-16 year old students understand each of the subjects. The Chemistry and Biology courses could assist with your teaching of Science for Years 7 - 10, while the Physics course would be of value to your faculty colleagues.
Each course runs for three weeks, requires about three hours per week and access to a laboratory is recommended. The course overview covers: the purpose and style, topics covered, etc. They can be started at any time.
Doing the course for free entitles you to access to the course material for five weeks, including any articles, videos, quizzes, etc. For $99 you get unlimited access and a Certificate of Achievement.
The links for the three courses are: Physics, Biology and Chemistry. Courses are offered on a wide range of topics, beyond science and beyond teaching. The catalogue is worth checking out.
2. Forthcoming events for Students and the General Public
a) Large Hadron Collider: Monash University Public Lecture, 6:30pm Tuesday, 26th June, Clayton campus
The next lecture in this series will be on the Large Hadron Collider and will be given by Assoc Professor Peter Skands, Senior lecturer in the school of Physics and Astronomy at Monash University. Check here for a personal profile of A/Prof Skands.
A demonstration, practical activity or laboratory tour will precede each lecture, beginning at 6.30pm, with the lecture starting at 7pm. The venue is Lecture Theatre S3, 16 Rainforest Walk, which is on the West side of the Clayton campus. (see map). Parking is available free after 5pm in N1 (check the map).
These lectures are appropriate for teachers or VCE students. Information about the series is available here .
The next lectures in the series are:
b) Public Lecture: Oxygen - Breathing in Stars, 6:30pm, Wednesday 27th June, Swinburne University
- Tuesday 31st July - Seeing the birth of solar systems - Assoc Prof. Daniel Price
- Tuesday, 28th August - Tying electrons into knots - Prof Michael Fuhrer
- Tuesday, 25th September - To be confirmed
- Tuesday, 30th October - Neutron Stars - Prof Alexander Heger
- Tuesday, 27th November - TBA - Assoc Prof Meera Parish
Speaker: Prof. Lisa Kewley, Centre Director for Astro 3D (ARC Centre of Excellence), ANU
Abstract Life as we know it requires oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen. Yet the universe began with none of these elements. The elements responsible for life were produced in the deep recesses of stars over 13 billion years of cosmic time. How these elements assembled to form the dynamic universe that surrounds us and onto the nurturing planet that we live on are some of nature’s greatest mysteries. The world's largest telescopes and the most powerful supercomputer simulations of galaxy formation and evolution show that the elements transform the way new stars are born and evolve, the way planets are formed around young stars, the way stars explode and die, and the way stars assemble into new galaxies. We will take a dramatic journey with oxygen throughout the history of the universe from the Big Bang to the present day. We will follow the birth and death of stars, the formation and evolution of galaxies, and the formation of planets, ending on our own planet earth and the oxygen that we are breathing today.
Time: 6.30pm to 7.30pm
Venue: Swinburne University, Hawthorn campus, ATC building, ATC101 (Enter from Burwood Rd) Map
REGISTRATION: For further information and registration, please click here. Closes when maximum capacity reached.
c) Seeing the birth of solar systems, Monash Public Lecture, 6:30pm Tuesday 26th July, Monash University, Clayton Campus.
See details under a) above.
d) Girls in Physics Breakfast, Tuesday, 21st August, Monash University
The last breakfast for the year will be held on Tuesday, 21st August at Monash University. The speaker will be Dr Ceri Brenner, the Australian Institute of Physics Women in Physics lecturer for 2018. Dr Brenner will be speaking as part of a national tour in August.
Her topic is Pressing FIRE on the most powerful laser in the world. Dr Ceri Brenner is a physicist at UK Research and Innovation. She is using the most powerful lasers in the world to develop innovative imaging technology for medical, nuclear and aerospace inspection. She has a unique role that spans research, innovation and business development and is driving the translation of laser-driven accelerator research into industrial applications that impact our society. Check out her website.
The breakfast is for students in Years 10 to 12. At the breakfast the students will share a table with two or three young women in the early stages of a career in science or engineering. The students have a chance to ask questions about their careers and what study at university is like. Students will be seated with students from other schools.
As student at last year's event said: 'I was talking to a guest at my table and her career sounded so amazing. Then I realised that in 8 years that could be me. I got so excited.'
Times: The Breakfast will start at 7:30am and finish about 9:30am.
Program: After the breakfast for those staying on, there are two additional optional activities :
- A 90 min tour of the Australian Synchrotron, a walk away in Blackburn Rd. There is a maximum group size for the Synchrotron Tours with tours starting 10:00, 10:30, 11:00 and 11:30.
The Cost per student is $15 with teachers free. There is no extra cost for the additional optional activities.
- Activities on Careers in STEM. For students in the first tour the activities will be held at the Synchrotron after the tour. For students booked in for later tours, the activities will be held at Monash University prior to walking across to the Synchrotron.
Max number of students per school. To enable more schools to participate, there is an initial maximum of six (6) students per school.
Bookings will be through Trybooking and will open on the first day of term 3. The booking form will include choice of times for the tour. Please note: Trybooking transactions require a credit card. The Trybooking link is on the Vicphysics website.
Check our website for further details and flyers to promote the event in your school. They contain:
This event is sponsored by ANSTO, Vicphysics Teachers' Network, the Victorian Branch of the Australian Institute of Physics, the ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low Energy Electronic Technologies (FLEET), and supported by Federal Government's Inspiring Australia - Inspiring Science Program.
- the address of the venue,
- a biography of the speaker and
- the abstract of her talk.
e) It Takes a Spark!, Spark EDU Conference, 14th September, Melbourne Girls' College
This conference is designed by students and teachers for students and teachers.
The intent of the 'It Takes a Spark' conference is to bring together Girls and their Teachers to connect with inspiring female industry role models, share their current school based activities and projects using an authentic sharing and experiential model, create networks of teachers and student teams, and solve social justice design challenges.
The participation of the students is as important as teachers as our intent is to ignite, empower and nurture both students and teachers to be leaders of STEAM and Entrepreneurship within their schools. This is a conference designed and led by students and teachers for students and teachers.
Teachers will have both formal and informal opportunities to speak to other teachers who have enacted programs and activities in their schools and get their questions answered.
The workshops and social justice design challenges are all hands-on so students and teachers will experience first-hand what it is like to be part of great STEAM and entrepreneurial learning. This will spark new ideas about curriculum and pedagogy.
The event is for:
Cost: Teacher: $235 (early bird $195 by 24th August), Student : $33 , Includes lunch.
- those who are already (or aspire to be) technology leaders in their school,
- those who have little experience and those who have a lot,
- Curriculum Coordinators– who wish to discuss how to create trans-disciplinary units that are powerfully engaging,
- Principals and Deputy Principals – to witness what is possible by embedding the Technologies Curriculum in their school.
Check here for the details of program, speakers and the workshops for teachers and for students.
f) What's Next: Prof Kip Thorne on Gravitational waves, etc, 7:30pm, Saturday, 15th Sept, Palais Theatre, St Kilda
Let's talk Gavitational Waves, Black Holes, Wormholes, Dark Matter and Time Travel.
See American Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Prof Kip Thorne, Astrophysicist Prof Alan Duffy and co-host of the Infinite Monkey Cage, British comedian Robin Ince. Professor Kip Thorne will lead a panel discussion, delving into how scientific advances will change how we live our lives and how the world we live in will change forever.
Ticket prices range from $97 to $178. To book, click here.
3. Forthcoming events for Teachers
a) July Lectures in Physics, 6:30pm, Fridays in July, University of Melbourne
Venue:. Basement Theatre B117, Melbourne School of Design, Masson Road. Check here for details and map.
6th July: The Arrow of Time: Why is the Future Different from the Past?
Speaker: Prof David Jamieson
Abstract: Over the past 50 years the July Lectures in Physics have addressed advances in physics. The arrow of time points relentlessly from the past into the future. But what is the arrow of time? What is the role of entropy and the second law of thermodynamics that compels entropy to always increase as time passes and so distinguishes the past from the future? This lecture looks at highlights from 50 years of our July Lectures where we have aimed to create order out of disorder, along with the physical understanding of the arrow of time.
13th July: The Legacy of Stephen Hawking and the Prospects for the Great Reconciliation
Speaker: Dr Matthew Dolan
Abstract: This lecture looks at how understanding the very strange physics of black holes, where the fabric of space and time is stretched and distorted, may help us understand the big problem of how quantum mechanics about the very small and general relativity about the very large may be reconciled. Can we say our understanding of the laws of physics is complete? Will this long overdue reconciliation be achieved in the near future?
20th July: The Rise of Cosmology and Particle Physics: Is our Present Understanding of the Universe about to be Replaced?
Speaker: Assoc Prof Nicole Bell
Abstract: Over the past 50 years explanations for the origin and evolution of the universe have provided us with new insights into particle physics and the fundamental building blocks of nature. But an understanding of the matter-antimatter asymmetry and the nature of dark matter remain elusive. The next 50 years promises an even deeper convergence of particle physics and cosmology to answer the big questions that will need new physics beyond the Standard Model.
27th July: Quantum Mechanics and Biology: What are the Prospects?
Speaker: Dr David Simpson
Abstract: The rise of quantum technology brings with it exciting new opportunities in computation and communication. Now biology is set to benefit from this revolution. This lecture looks at how quantum technology and biology are coming together to provide new insights into how birds navigate and how living organisms assemble incredibly complex structures. In addressing these questions, we will explore where this technological revolution can take us in the coming decades.
b) It Takes a Spark!, Spark EDU Conference, 14th September, Melbourne Girls' College
See item 2e above
4. Physics News 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) Galaxy devoid of dark matter puzzles astronomers
b) Earwig origami inspires new self-folding materials
c) Clothes washing mystery solved by physicists
a) Galaxy devoid of dark matter puzzles astronomers
A distant galaxy apparently devoid of dark matter has been discovered by astronomers in the US, Canada and Germany. Paradoxically, they believe their finding could strengthen the case for dark matter as the source of the universe’s “missing mass” – because alternative theories that modify gravity should apply to all galaxies. Other researchers, however, remain unconvinced.
The idea that the universe might largely comprise “dark bodies” dates back to a talk given in 1884 by Lord Kelvin. In the 1930s, astrophysicists such as Fritz Zwicky realized the dynamics of galaxy clusters implied they contained far more mass than was visible to telescopes – mass that is now known as dark matter. More precise, observational evidence from Vera Rubin and colleagues was presented in 1980. Most astronomers now accept that only around 15% of the matter in the universe is “normal”, but the nature of the remainder remains largely mysterious.
b) Earwig origami inspires new self-folding materials
Self-folding materials that can snap shut and grip objects have been created by researchers in Switzerland and the US. Inspired by origami and the folding wings of the earwig, the materials were made with a 3D printer and the team’s design principles could potentially have broad applications in, for example, robotics and even winged drones.
Origami is the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. As well as being aesthetically beautiful, it is mathematically fascinating and has important applications in engineering and technology. The conventional mathematical model of origami treats surfaces as completely rigid plates connected by flexible hinges. The assumption is that there is no resistance to a fold in which all the motion is perpendicular to the hinge. However, any other fold – for example one which stretches the hinge – is not described by the model.
c) Clothes washing mystery solved by physicists
A fresh water rinse is just as important as washing in detergent for getting your clothes clean, according to physicists in the US and the UK. They claim that the rinse cycle plays a key role in removing dirt from deep within textiles, by setting up chemical and electrolyte gradients that draw it out. This could lead to the development of more efficient and environmentally friendly washing machines, they add.
Washing machines wash clothes with water mixed with detergent and then rinse them with fresh water before finally spinning them. Washing detergents are surfactants, compounds that lower the surface tension between liquids and other substances, making it easier for them to mix. When washing clothes, they help the water mix with and loosen dirt on the fabric. Conventional understanding is that rinsing then flushes the fabric and washes the dirt away.
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