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

We invite teachers to consider presenting a workshop for their colleagues at next year's Physics Teachers' Conference. We have much to share.

This newsletter also has information on a wealth of resources as well as news about the impressive Astrolight Festival at Scienceworks this Saturday night.

The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers' Network will be at 5pm on Thursday, 13th September at Melbourne Girls' College.  All teachers are welcome to attend this or any other meeting.  If you would like to attend, please contact Vicphysics

The Vicphysics Executive Team
Frances Sidari (Pres), Bronwyn Quint (Vice-Pres), Barbara McKinnon (Sec), Terry Tan (Treas) and Dan O'Keeffe (Coord)
Table of Contents
  1. Be a Conference Presenter
  2. Resources from the Perimeter Institute
  3. Internet Resources for Physics Teaching
  4. Events for Students and the General Public
  5. Events for Teachers
        6. Physics News from the Web
            a)  Emmy Noether's revolutionary theorem explained from kindergarten to PhD
            b) Nanoparticles set spinning record
            c)  What is time? The comic strip
1.  Be a Conference Presenter: Physics Teachers' Conference, Friday, 15th February
A distinctive feature of the Physics Teachers' Conference over the years has been the large number of teachers who offer workshops about what they do.  These workshops are not only beneficial for other teachers, but they also significantly enhance the curriculum vitae of the presenters and their own personal skills.
With the new course bedding down, the conference is an ideal forum for you to share your ideas on teaching new content and different ways of assessing.
If you would like to offer a workshop, please register the workshop on the STAV website, here.
  • The presenter and only one co-presenter are free of charge for the session they are presenting.
  • All such presenters are able to register “free of charge” for other sessions at this conference.
  • All subsequent co-presenters are charged $75 each and need to register to attend sessions.
  • Presenters are not paid any fee nor is CRT covered. 
2.  Resources from the Perimeter Institute
The Perimeter Institute has released three extra packages of curriculum materials, the titles are:
  • Evidence for Climate Change (1000MB of material on carbon dioxide, climate modelling, forcing factors,
  • Wave Model Applications (648 MB of material on sound, earthquake and gravitational waves including interference and resonance)
  • A Deeper Understanding of Energy (575 MB of material on nuclear transformations, ionising radiation, mass energy equivalence, formation of elements and dark energy)
They are pitched at Years 10 to 11.  They are available free and each includes i) a 70 - 85 page teaching program covering how to use the material, several pages of teaching strategies and learning issues, ii) 5 - 7 different activities, each with information on teaching tips, equipment, extension, misconceptions, iii) a video, iv) a student design challenge and v) assessment criteria and rubrics.

They can be downloaded from here. There are 18 topics in all from upper primary to senior secondary. Senior topics include: Black Holes, The Mystery of Dark Matter, The Challenge of Quantum Reality, Beyond the Atom: Remodelling Particle Physics, Everyday Einstein: GPS and Relativity, The Process of Science, Revolutions in Science and The Expanding Universe.

3. Internet Resources for Physics Teaching
The journal "The Physics Teacher' produced by the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) features a column of new internet resources.  These are some from recent editions.
  • Videos of teacher demonstrations: Two academics at Weber University in the US have produced a set of videor covering about 200 physics concepts.  The videos are designed to support online learning. They cover Mechanics, Waves, Thermal Physics, Light, Electromagnetism and Modern Physics. They average about 5 minutes in duration.
  • Seeing the world in UV and IR.  There are two sites on UV: Veritasium (11 min),  Physics Girl (12 min) and one for IR: Michelle Thaller from NASA  (7 min).
  • Physics Apps by Canadian teacher, Matt Craig.  Matt has produced 30 apps for senior physics covering Waves, Mechanics, Electromagnetism, Relativity and Modern physics.  He also has a set for middle science on Electrostatics, Light and Astronomy.  They are downloadable jar files and you need to install the Java Development Kit to run them, but information is provided on how to do that. His explanatory notes about the electroscope simulator published in the Ontario Physics Teachers Newsletter can be accessed here.
  • Physics Videos.  This website, 'The Universe and More', is nominally about physics games, but the main benefit is the extensive list of videos under 'Resources', they are mainly action sequences that illustrate phenomena and principles.  They cover several aspects of mechanics, as well as Light, Waves, Electromagnetism, Quantum physics and Relativity.
  • Kirchoff's Revenge.  An Adventure Game.  "Kirchhoff is annoyed because nobody appreciates his circuit laws! You get transported to his secret lair and won't be able to get out until you show appreciation!"   There are eight levels and it is available in both Mac and Windows versions.
4.    Events for Students and the General Public
a)   Saturday, 8th September: Astrolight Festival, 6pm - 10:30pm, Scienceworks
Enjoy a special evening of talks and performances for all ages, Planetarium and Lightning Room shows, plus an array of hands-on optics activities and stargazing (weather permitting).
This year Scienceworks is rocketing into space with speakers talking about human spaceflight, the Australian Space Agency, and where Australia is headed in this accelerating industry.  International Space Station Flight Controller Andrea Boyd and former astronaut trainer Dr Gail Iles will discuss the future of human spaceflight and what it’s like to hang out in zero gravity.
Later in the evening, Andrea will be joined by Dr Naomi Mathers to talk all things space industry including the burgeoning Australian Space Agency, satellite technologies, and other applications of space science.

The program includes 12 talks in two venues across the evening and 20 activities in 10 venues.

Cost: $12 - $25
Venue: Scienceworks, 2 Booker St, Spotswood
Bookings and program details: Click here.  Those booking go in the draw for a Celestron telescope valued at $855.

b) Sunday, 9th September: Open Day at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, 10am - 2pm, Parkville
This Open Day is for students interested in careers in the Medical Radiations professions of Medical Imaging, Radiation Therapy and Nuclear Medicine.  Staff will conduct tours of these departments and provide career and professional information.  University course providers will also be in attendance. This is a great opportunity to see the latest in high-tech modern medicine. Parents and teachers are most welcome.
Time: 10:00am to 2:00pm
Venue: Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre within the VCCC building at 305 Grattan St Melbourne

c)   Friday, 14th September: It Takes a Spark!, Spark EDU Conference,  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 the intent is to ignite, empower and nurture both students and teachers to be leaders of STEAM and Entrepreneurship within their schools.
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:
  •  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. 
Cost: Teacher: $235 (early bird $195 by 24th August), Student : $33 , Includes lunch.
Check here for the details of program, speakers and the workshops for teachers and for students.

d)  Mission Discovery: Seeking mentors for a holiday program to design experiments for International Space Station.

The International Space School Educational Trust (ISSET) in association with Latitude Group Travel and Melbourne University is running an event for secondary students from 24th to 28th September.

They are seeking senior undergrads, grads, PhD students and current teachers to be mentors to the students who, in teams of 6, will design an experiment to be done in space.  The judges will pick one winning team whose experiment will go on the International Space Station.

If you wish to be a mentor, please contact Felicity Irwin at Latitude Group Travel. 

For more details about the event and student registrations, click here.  The cost for the five days including lunch for an individual student is $771 + GST, there is a discount for a booking of more than 20 students. Teachers are encouraged to attend with their students at no cost.


e)   25th September, Black holes and merging neutron stars: frontiers in gravitational-wave astronomy, 6:30pm, Monash University, Clayton Campus.
The September lecture in this series will be on Black holes and merging neutron stars: frontiers in gravitational-wave astronomyand will be given by Dr Eric Thrane from the school of Physics and Astronomy at Monash University.  Check here for a personal profile of Dr Thrane.  
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:
  • Tuesday, 30th October - Neutron Stars - Prof Alexander Heger
  • Tuesday, 27th November - TBA - Assoc Prof Meera Parish
f)  26th Sept - 5th October: 3D Astro Tours, Swinburne University
The 50-minute session is a journey starting in the solar system and then on to explore a Universe. AstroTours feature 3D movies, created by the award-winning Swinburne Astronomy Productions team, and all sessions are presented by the Centre’s astronomers or post graduate researchers.

 Please use the links next to each date to book your seats. Email with further queries.  NB: Please note that sessions will be cancelled with less than 12 attendees.

Venue: Swinburne University, Hawthorn campus, AR104 .  Click here for map.
Bookings are essential and can also be made via email to Elizabeth Thackray
Payment: Cost is $10 per person which can be paid at the door by cash or cheque.  If paying by credit card please ask for a form which you can pre-complete and bring with you on the day, with your card.  Please aim to arrive at least 10 – 15 minutes before the advertised start time.  *Please advise if you require space for a wheelchair.
Astrotours are suitable for children aged 6 years and above. Unfortunately, they are not able to admit children younger than this, with one exception: 5 year-olds are able to attend if they are accompanying another child aged 6 years or above.  They apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.  For safety reasons, no prams/strollers, etc. are allowed in the theatre.

g) Friday, 5th October: Women in Physics Night, 6:30pm - 8pm, University of Melbourne
The annual “Women in Physics Night” is an outreach program organised by the undergraduate Physics Students’ Society of The University of Melbourne.  The aim of this event was to motivate and encourage those who are interested in physical sciences to pursue further studies in the relevant field via interaction and open discussions with a diverse range of panellists from different physics backgrounds.  The event is open to all.

Panellists include: Prof Nicole Bell (Melb Uni), Dr Gail Iles (RMIT), Dr Catherine de Burgh-Day (Aust Bur of Met) and Stephanie Bernard (Melb Uni)

Purpose of the evening:
• Career opportunities in physics,
• What is it like to be a women in physics?,
• Panellists of different backgrounds talking about their personal experiences,
• Potential problems you may face as a woman in physics and how to overcome them.

Venue: Laby Theatre, University of Melbourne
Cost: Free and there is no need to book.  Check the Vicphysics calender for more details.

5.     Events for Teachers
a)         It Takes a Spark!, Spark EDU Conference, 14th September, Melbourne Girls' College
See item 3b above

Lab Techs Workshop, Tuesday 18th September, Camberwell Grammar School
The all day program includes:
  • Learning new skills: i) Using and repairing multimeters, ii) Setting up a CRO for demonstrations, iii) Using a Ruhmkorff coil for high voltage demonstrations. (do two of the three, each runs for 30 mins)
  • The Van de Graaff Generator: Their care and feeding with Harvey Edwards from Principles and Practice.The frustration and hate of maintaining a VDG is fairly universal among Labies. Either you can seek help from a professional councellor or join in this workshop that will give you all the hints on how to service and maintain them with a minimum of hair pulling and swearing.  1 hour)
  • Good data in a digital world with Doug Bail from Ciderhouse. Hints, tips, tricks and techniques that 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)
  • What is that old equipment in the back cupboard and is it of any use? (30 mins)
Cost: $60. Lunch is provided. A copy of the LTAV's Physics Reference Manual is available at a discounted price of $20.
More details here  To book: go to Trybooking . Bookings close on Monday, 10th September.

c) Tuesday, 25th September, STEM Talks, 1pm and 4pm, Monash University, Clayton Campus

Showcasing STEM innovation - Addressing real life challenges in a changing world
The Faculty of Education at Monash University has invited a group of scientists, engineers and technologists to share their collective insights into some of the big questions that challenge them in their everyday quest for innovative solutions.
Each speaker's story will showcase how diverse approaches to solving problems can be, and will demonstrate that engaging in STEM is seldom formulaic or routine, but is definitely exciting, creative and highly rewarding.  Join them to hear their stories.

There are two one hour sessions, one at 1pm and the other at 4pm, in the Learning and Teaching Building on the Clayton campus.  There are four speakers at the 1pm session and three other speakers at the 4pm session. Each session can be booked separately.  Information on the speakers and bookings are located here.  There is no cost.  The event will be filmed as a live event and made available online.

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.

a)  Emmy Noether's revolutionary theorem explained from kindergarten to PhD
One hundred years ago, on July 23, 1918, Emmy Noether published a paper that would change science.

She was 36 at the time, working as an unpaid “assistant” under a male colleague because the University of Göttingen did not allow women to become professors. The paper, titled Invariante Variationsprobleme, contained a theorem that launched abstract algebra and linked two fundamental concepts in physics: symmetry and conservation laws.

Her insight was so profound that physicists are still unpacking its implications.  Here’s an all-ages guided tour through this groundbreaking idea.  The article also includes links to videos of talks for the various audiences.

b)  Nanoparticles set spinning record
If a jet engine spins faster than about 1000 Hz, the forces on its outer edge may rip it apart. But two research teams – one in Switzerland, the other in the US and China – have independently made nanoparticles rotate at over a billion Hertz, making them the fastest rotations ever produced.

Such ultrafast nanorotors could be useful for testing material properties, as well as verifying theories of frictional damping on the nanoscale. The dumbbell-shaped nanoparticles of the US-Chinese group can also form ultrasensitive torsion balances – the force sensors used to measure gravity in the 18th century. They could therefore potentially detect quantum effects in gravitation and other tiny force effects.

b)  What is Time? The Comic strip
  A comic strip that takes a wry look at the physics and metaphysics of time by siblings, Eugenia Viti (the cartoonist) and Ivan Viti (the physicist)



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