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

Vicphysics is advertising for a Project Officer, The part time position is to assist with event management and marketing.  If you know anyone who might be interested, please ask them to check our website.

Check out the article on how a cosmic ray particle almost caused a plane to crash in 'Physics on the Web',  another in Item 2 on Thermodynamics as the unsung theory. and a space video in item 3.

There are two PD's at the end of Term 3, for Lab Techs and Teachers of Year 9 & 10. Also Sunbury College has advertised on our website for a physics teacher to start next year and don't forget the Talk, Dinner and Catching up on Weds, 25th August.


The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers' Network will be on Wednesday, 18th August at 5:30pm. 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. Vicphysics is advertising for a Project Officer
       2. The unsung theory: Why thermodynamics is as important as quantum mechanics and relativity
       3. Olympics at the International Space Station: Synchronised Floating
       4. Other Vicphysics matters
  • Subscriptions
  • Tutor Listing Service
       5. Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position?
       6
. Events for Students        7. Events for Teachers and Lab Techs        8. Physics News from the Web 
  • Zoom video call is powered by Google's quantum computer (check the date!)
  • Multi-party quantum key distribution paves the way for quantum-secure conference calls (the real thing)
  • How Aristotle helped me overcome my vaccination reluctance
  • Cosmic challenge: protecting supercomputers from an extraterrestrial threat
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1. Vicphysics is advertising for a Project Officer
Vicphysics physics is seeking a Project Officer.  It is a part time position with an average time fraction of one day per week.  The role is to support and enhance the activities of Vicphysics with a particular focus on event management and marketing. If you know someone who might be interested, please direct them to this website.

2. The unsung theory: Why thermodynamics is as important as quantum mechanics and relativity
This is an extensive review of the book, Einstein’s Fridge: the Science of Fire, Ice and the Universe by Paul Sen.
The review itself has a number of insights such as 'We too easily forget how central thermodynamics was to the evolution of quantum theory in the first place', along with historical references.
3. Olympics at the International Space Station: Synchronised Floating
Check out this short  video from ISS on twitter.  Supplied by Christina Hart.
4. Vicphysics matters
  • Subscriptions: The free introductory offer has lapsed. To now access the Teachers resources section of the website a paid subscription is required. Details are at the bottom of the home page.
  • Tutor Listing Service: The website has a Tutor Listing Service.  There are now two tutors listed.  If you tutor and wish to add your name to the list, please check the website.
5.Seeking a Physics teacher? Seeking a new position?
The Vicphysics Teachers' Network has a Job Ads page to assist schools in finding a physics teacher.
There are two schools seeking a physics teacher:
  • Sunbury College (closes 16th August)
  • Lowanna College (closes 12th August)
The webpage is updated every weekend.  The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and lodge a payment for this service.

a) VCE Lectures: Wednesdays at 4:30pm, University of Melbourne
Future dates are 18th Aug, 1st Sept, 15th Sept, 6th October.
Check here for details of future talks.

b) The Exciton Solar Cell Challenge
The special features of the Exciton Solar Cell Challenge are:
  • It is an experimental challenge for Year 7-10 students in teams of 2 - 3.
  • Students construct their own Dye Sensitised Solar Cell (DSSC) using a dye they source.
  • Kits are sent to schools and students complete the challenge with teacher support (20 free kits per school, extra kits are $20 each) and then send in evidence of experimentation.
  • This challenge is best for extension groups and STEM clubs.
  • Prizes and certificates are sent to students upon challenge completion.
  • The challenge is running through Terms 2-4 this year with a very flexible timeline.
The website has sections about key dates, information for teachers, digital copy of resources and a registration link.  The kits sent to the schools has the two more difficult to acquire materials, the rest are common science equipment and chemicals.

When you register you can request a researcher to present an introductory zoom lesson (30 mins) for the students.
a) Talk, Dinner and Catching up, 6:00pm, Weds, 25th August

The Vicphysics Teachers’ Network invites physics teachers and others interested in physics education to gather in an informal setting for a series of dinners with a guest speaker. The guest speakers will address diverse topics touching on curriculum, pedagogy and the discipline itself.  Attendees will have the opportunity to engage in discussion and network with colleagues over dinner. 

The first occasion has been re-scheduled to Wednesday, 25th August at the Auburn Hotel at 85 Auburn Rd, Hawthorn starting at 6:00pm.

The speaker will be Dr Victoria Millar from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne.

Topic: What is the role of physics education and how does that determine the elements of a physics curriculum?

This is particularly opportune with a revised study design to be implemented in 2023.

Dr Millar is a senior lecturer in the Graduate School of Education and has been at the University since 2011. Prior to that she taught Physics in schools in Victoria. Her research interests are in physics and science education, particularly science participation, curriculum and interdisciplinarity.

The cost is $35 ($30 for Vicphysics subscribers) and covers a main course and drinks.

For more details and to book click here. If you have had difficulty booking, please try again, an anomaly has been corrected.


b) Prac Workshop on Years 9 - 10 Physics. Afternoon of Tuesday, 14th September
Vicphysics is organising a half day workshop for science teachers. The focus will be on hands-on practical activities for the physics aspects of the Years 9 - 10 Science curriculum. 
The event will run from 2:00pm until 4:15pm and will be held at Camberwell Grammar School.
The cost is $80.
For information of the activities and registration, please click here.  The event is being organised jointly with Camberwell Grammar School.


c) Workshops for Lab Techs - Physics in Years 7 - 10. Weds, 15th Sept, Camberwell Grammar School

Purpose: To enhance the skills and confidence of laboratory technicians in supporting the physics aspects of the Years 7 – 10 Science Curriculum. The focus is on the resources commonly found in schools.

The program includes workshops on:

  • Learning new skills: i) Using and repairing multimeters, ii) Setting up a CRO for demonstrations with both analog and digital versions, iii) Using a Ruhmkorff coil for high voltage demonstrations. (45 mins each)
  • Quick Tests on Equipment to see if it is working or not plus a few hints on fixing stuff with Harvey Edwards from Principles and Practice. Some suggestions are i) Basic fault finding technique, ii) LED and other electronic component testing, Hodson Light Box lamps – common faults, iii) Power supplies (power packs) – testing, iv) Maintaining ac/dc hand generators. 1 hour)
  • Tips, tricks and techniques with sensor technologies with Doug Bail from Ciderhouse, to help you, teachers and students make the most of the digital data acquisition available to schools.  The workshop will include some experiments, chat through tips, maintenance, calibration and analyse some data to help you support the use of this equipment.  The session will use PASCO gear but is intended for support of all equipment and particular notes will be made of options available from other suppliers. ( 1 hour)
  • Safe handling of ionising radiation and storage of radioactive sources ( 45 mins)
  • Laboratory management hints and lab tour ( 45 mins)

Cost: $60. Lunch is provided. .
For more details and to register, click here.

8.   Physics News from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
a) Zoom video call is powered by Google’s quantum computer (Check the date below)
An international team of researchers has used Google’s Sycamore quantum computer to power an online Zoom meeting for the first time. The US tech giant’s device, which consists of 53 programmable superconducting quantum bits, has already been shown to outperform classical computers at certain tasks. The new discovery could allow meeting participants to appear in more than one break-out room at the same time – a phenomenon that the team has dubbed “quantum Zoom advantage”. (1/4/2021)

b) Multi-party quantum key distribution paves the way for quantum-secure conference calls
Now for the real story. Researchers in the UK and Germany have used quantum entanglement to securely distribute secret keys among multiple users in a network.  By distributing entangled photons over optical fibres at telecommunications wavelengths, the team demonstrated that conventional telecoms infrastructure offers a viable path towards realizing a large-scale network of interconnected quantum devices – and perhaps even quantum-secure conference calls using Zoom or other platforms.

c) How Aristotle helped me overcome my vaccination reluctance
Robert P Crease explores the range of factors that turned him from vaccine sceptic to believer. Robert is a philosopher and historian of science who has a column in Physics World.
'By February 2021, however, my view had shifted and I eagerly sought my first opportunity to get vaccinated. I was then fascinated by what led to my quick and comfortable COVID-19 about-face, especially because I was researching an episode in US history in which scientists failed to persuade the public about the safety of a nuclear reactor, amplifying rather than lessening fears by treating safety as a technical issue – as a matter of numbers.'

d) Cosmic challenge: protecting supercomputers from an extraterrestrial threat
Fast neutrons from cosmic-ray showers can cause significant errors in supercomputers. But by measuring the scale of the problem, physicists hope not only to make such devices less prone to cosmic corruption but also protect everything from self-driving cars to quantum computers.

 On 7 October 2008 a Qantas flight on route from Singapore to Australia, travelling at 11,300 m, suddenly pitched down, with 12 passengers seriously injured as a result. Investigators determined that the problem was due to a “single-event upset” (SEU) causing incorrect data to reach the electronic flight instrument system. The culprit was most likely cosmic radiation.

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