|1. Girls in Physics Breakfasts
The dates, venues, speakers and topics are:
This is our fourth year of running Girls in Physics Breakfasts. The aims of the program are:
There are five remaining Breakfasts to be held in May this year at Geelong, Warrnambool, Bendigo, Wodonga and central Melbourne.
- 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.
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.
- 3rd May, Geelong Speaker: Dr Ellen Moon, Deakin University, Topic: Science in the Antarctic: Where can STEM take you?
- 10th May, Warrnambool Speaker: Dr Gail Iles, RMIT, Topic: Human spaceflight and science in space
- 17th May, Bendigo Speaker: Dr Judy Hart, University of New South Wales, Topic: Developing new materials for renewable energy
- 24th May, Wodonga Speaker Dr Adelle Wright, ANU, Topic: Nuclear Fusion: An Australian Perspective
- 30th May, Melbourne Speaker: Dr Susie Sheehy, University of Melbourne and Oxford University, Topic: Colliding worlds: Using particle physics to cure cancer.
- Late July, Clayton The date, venue and speaker are yet to be finalised.
Cost: $15 per student with teachers free, a discounted fee is available to schools with a low ICSEA rank. See website for details.
2. Poster Competition for Unit 2 Practical Investigation
For more details including flyers to promote each event to your students and how to book please go to the Vicphysics webpage
Unit 2 of the VCE Physics Study Design includes an Area of Study titled 'Practical Investigation'. Each student "develops a question to investigate, plans a course of action that attempts to answer the question, undertakes an investigation to collect data, organises and interprets the data, and reaches a conclusion in response to the question." The student can present their findings as a poster.
To encourage students to undertake topics of some depth, to design effective experimental designs and then thoroughly analyse their data, the Vicphysics Teachers' Network is offering up to 10 prizes for posters that exemplify quality investigations.
Lists of possible topics and templates for the design of the poster are available here.
Prizes: Each prize will be a book voucher for $100. There will be a maximum of 10 prizes.
Criteria: Each prize winner must satisfy all of the following criteria:
Entries must be submitted as a one page pdf. They must be sent as an email attachment by the teacher to Vicphysics by the second Friday of Term 4, with the email providing:
- an innovative topic
- a comprehensive set of variables are identified
- a detailed procedure
- precise measurements across wide range of values
- a thorough data analysis
- an insight into the physical meaning of the results
- an effective communication design to the poster
There is a maximum of two prizes per school. For more details and examples of previous entries.
3. Physics Photo Contest
- student's name
- title of investigation
- Teacher's name
- Teacher's email address
- School name
The photos should involve everyday situations that may demonstrate a variety of physics concepts or a set up to show a particular physics concept or related set of concepts.
Prize pool: up to $1000
Entry: The photo must be submitted as an email attachment and accompanied by a statement of 250 words or less describing the physics in the photo and must be written by the entrant.
Entrants may submit more than one photo, however each entrant can receive only one prize. More details about the Contest Rules and Entry Agreement can be found here.
Closing Date: Photos will be accepted until the first Friday of Term 4.
4. Physics Video Contest
The contest is open to students in Victorian schools. Entrants must submit their video either as an email attachment or on a DVD. Videos must be in MP4 or Quicktime format, or a format suitable for video streaming. The video should relate to some aspect of the VCE Physics Curriculum. Students could use the videos by Dr Derek Muller, as a guide to how to structure a video. His videos can be found at his website, Veritasium.
Prize pool: up to $1000
Advice and information about the contest rules and entry agreement can be found here .
Entry: The video may not be longer than three minutes in length. Professional editing is not required. Please note: Unsafe practices will not be accepted.
Closing Date: The first Friday of Term 4.
5. Events for Students and the General Public
6. Events for Teachers a) Friday, 29th March: Watching a Little Gas Cloud on its Way into the Galactic Supermassive Black Hole 6:30pm, Swinburne University
Speaker: Prof Andreas Burkert, Ludwig Maximalians University, Munich
Venue: Swinburne University, Hawthorn campus, ATC building, ATC101 (Enter from Burwood Road)
Registration and Details: For further information and registration, please click here.
b) 8th May, Amusement Park Physics Day, 10am - 2pm, Gumbuya World
Ciderhouse is organising a physics day at Gumbuya World at Tynong North in Gippsland.
Cost: Students: $39 includes admission, rides and lunch
Teachers: $12 includes admission, tea and coffee and lunch
There are also professional development sessions on i) electronic data analysis by Doug Bail (90 min) and ii) e-learning by Pearson Publishing.
For more details and to book click here and then click "Gumbuya World bookings'
a) Monday, 8th April: Beginning Physics Teachers In-Service, Kew High School
Vicphysics will be running a full day in-service on Monday, 8th April at Kew High School. The event is free, lunch is provided and travel support is available for country participants.
The event is for:
The program will include:
- Teachers beginning their teaching career,
- Teachers returning to physics teaching and
- Teachers who have been asked by their school to take a VCE Physics class
- Information on course planning, resources, teaching strategies, assessment techniques, advice of teaching specific topics and suggestions from some of last year's participants after teaching physics for the first time in 2018,
- Andrew Hansen, Chief Assessor for the Physics exam, from Ringwood Secondary College on Exam advice.
To register please complete the details on this Vicphysics webpage. . It also has information about last year's program.
7. 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) Einstein’s general theory of relativity passes a supermassive test
A key aspect of Einstein’s general theory of relativity (GR) has been tested using the strongest gravitational field so far. The measurement was made by observing changes in optical absorption lines of a star orbiting close to Sagittarius A* – the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way.
b) Harnessing heat from the shallow Earth
When it comes to developing low-carbon technology solutions, one of the answers lies right beneath our feet. Ground-source heat pumps harness the heat from the shallow Earth – providing a source of renewable energy for heating (and sometimes cooling) buildings. As with all renewable energy, however, the uptake of these systems is dependent on a range of economic and political factors, which can vary widely between nations.
c) Evidence for dark matter could be trapped in ancient rocks
Ancient rocks hidden deep underground could hold important clues about the nature of dark matter – according to physicists in Sweden and Poland. The idea is that dark-matter collisions should create nanoscale defects in the crystalline structure of rock – and this damage could be measured using modern microscopy techniques. Indeed, the team estimates that hundreds of thousands of defects could be present in just one cubic centimetre of rock.