Vicphysics Teachers' Network Inc.
Dear *|FNAME|*,

There is a public lecture on the science of climate change this Wednesday at Melb Uni that will be very useful to Year 11 students.

Bookings for the last two Girls in Physics Breakfasts in May close soon. There are spaces at the Wodonga event next week, while the Melbourne Breakfast is filling fast.

The date and speaker for the Clayton Breakfast in August are announced below and bookings are now open.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers' Network will be on Thursday, 13th June 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. Events for Students and the General Public
        2. Physics News from the Web
          a) Can we fight neural disorders with light?
          b) The only palpable evidence of physics beyond the Standard Model
          c) Radioactive glaciers: Unexpected threat could emerge as glaciers retreat
1.    Events for Students and the General Public
a) 15th May. Will the earth be too hot for your grandchildren to handle? The Science and Politics of Carbon Emissions and Storage, 6:30pm - 8:00pm, University of Melbourne
Speaker: Prof Herbert Huppert has published widely using fluid-mechanical principles in applications to meteorology, oceanography and geology. Herbert was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1987. He has also been elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Physical Society, and the Academia Europaea
Abstract: This lecture will outline the history of atmospheric temperatures in both the recent and distant past. Professor Huppert will explain the definite connection between the carbon dioxide and methane content of the atmosphere with the average global surface temperature. He will present a range of predictions of the Earth’s future climate, as well as practical ways of restoring atmospheric balance, including storage and chemical reaction. He will describe in detail some of the science behind these processes, as well as the range of reactions of politicians to these ideas.

This talk will be of particular interest to Year 11 Physics students.
Venue: Glyn Davis Theatre, formerly Basement Theatre B117, Massoon Rd
For more details, map and to book, click here.

Girls in Physics Breakfasts
This is our fourth year of running Girls in Physics Breakfasts. The aims of the program are:
  • to encourage girls in Years 10 to 12 to appreciate the diversity of careers that studying physics enables,
  • to appreciate the satisfaction that comes from a challenging career in science, and
  • to be aware of the success that women can achieve in the physical sciences.
 There are two remaining Breakfasts to be held in May this year, at Wodonga and in central Melbourne.  There is an extra one on 28th August at Monash University, Clayton campus, see details below.  Bookings are now open for this extra Breakfast.
The Melbourne Breakfast is very popular, the venue is large so there is scope for more bookings. See below for closing dates.

At each breakfast, students share a table with two or three women who are either have a career in physics or engineering, or are at university as undergraduates or postgraduates.  At the table, discussion ensures about what the women do, what they like about it as well as their training, future prospects, etc.  As a student at one of  early breakfasts told her teacher, '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.'
There is also a guest speaker at each breakfast who presents a talk on her area of expertise.  After the talk there are activities on Careers in STEM and Q & A panel with three of the guests.  

The dates, venues, speakers, topics and Trybooking links are:
  • 24th May, Wodonga Speaker Adelle Wright, ANU, Topic: Nuclear Fusion: An Australian Perspective. Closing date: 10:00am, Thurs, 16th May.  Trybookings
  • 30th May, Melbourne Speaker: Dr Susie Sheehy, University of Melbourne and Oxford University, Topic: Colliding worlds: Using particle physics to cure cancer. Closing date: 10:00am, Tues, 21st May. Trybookings
  • 28th August, Clayton Speaker: Dr Helen Maynard-Casely, ANSTO. Topic: How neutrons can save the world. Closing date: 4:00pm, 19th August.  Trybookings.

Further details: For promotional flyers and more details on the talks, etc, go to our website.
Numbers:  For the metropolitan events, there is an initial maximum of  6 students per school, to maximise the number of schools that can participate.  For regional events, the initial maximum is 12.
Cost: $15 per student with teachers free, a discounted fee is available to schools with a low ICSEA rank. 
See the specific Trybookings link for details.

b) 30th May, First Nations, First Astronomers. 5:30pm - 7:30pm, Swinburne University
Join Gunnai and Yorta Yorta custodian Uncle Wayne Thorpe, Kamilaroi woman and astrophysics student Krystal De Napoli, and cultural astronomer Dr Duane Hamacher for an open panel discussion about the many layers of Indigenous astronomical knowledge and exciting happenings in the world of astronomy and space.
Venue: ATC 101 . See map.
To register, click here.

c) 21st June, Vivid Lives of Stars. 6:30pm, Swinburne University
PhD Student, Poojan Agrawal, will present a talk at AMDC301.  The abstract is not yet available.  Check here for details.
2.   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.
Can we fight neural disorders with light?
A new organic device can influence the electrical properties of single cells and tissues with light, opening up an exciting and powerful opportunity for biomedical scientists in various fields, e.g. the stimulation of nerve cells. Marie Jakešová from the Laboratory of Organic Electronics at the Linköping University, Sweden, and her colleagues are the first to produce a device based on organic materials that controls the electrical properties of single cells. This device, called an organic electrolytic photocapacitor (OEPC) can replace traditional electrodes, is minimally invasive and works with no wires, or genetic engineering.

The only palpable evidence of physics beyond the Standard Model

Neutrino mass is the only palpable evidence of physics beyond the Standard Model,” which is why André de Gouvêa is a devoted fan of the neutrino. In a talk he explained how the unexpected mass of these very lightweight particles could point to physics beyond the Standard Model. He put forth three options.

  1. Neutrino mass could arise through a yet-to-be-discovered coupling to the Higgs boson
  2. It could arise through coupling with a different Higgs boson, which has yet to be discovered
  3. It is the result of a completely new source of mass

c) Radioactive glaciers: Unexpected threat could emerge as glaciers retreat
Many people are aware that glaciers are melting as climate warms. But a new threat may be emerging: cryoconite. These dark sediments on top of glaciers act like sponges that soak up and concentrate radioactive fallout from nuclear accidents and weapons testing. As glaciers retreat, the contaminants could move into lakes or the soil and then enter the food chain.

Scientists have found radioactive cryoconite at 17 glaciers worldwide, from the Arctic to Antarctica, as Caroline Clason of the University of Plymouth, UK, revealed at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly in Vienna, Austria. Together with an international team, Clason measured radioactivity levels in cryoconite orders of magnitude higher than the general landscape. These sediments are a mix of inorganic material like minerals and organic material, including microbes; they accumulate radionuclides when they fall from the atmosphere in snow.



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