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

Bookings are now open for the Beginning Physics Teachers In-Service on Thursday, 15th April.

There are more resources from AAPT as well as two news stories that have classroom potential, one on a crash at a F1 Grand Prix and another on a striking photo of a Fata Morgana mirage.

The Conference videos have been transferred to the STAV website.  They and the other resources are available to conference participants.  If you did not register for the conference, you can still purchase access to these materials from STAV.  Participants can still complete an evaluation as well.


The next meeting of the Vicphysics Teachers' Network will be on Wednesday, 10th March at 6:30pm online. 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. Beginning Physics Teachers' In-Service, Thursday, 15th April.
       2. Romain Grosjean crashed at 192kph at force equivalent of 67g's at F1 Grand Prix
       3.  Tanker hovers over the sea: Excellent example of a Fata Morgana mirage
       4. 2021 Physics Teachers' Conference, More Conference Proceedings

       5. More resources from AAPT
  • Herstories: Video and lesson plans
  • PhysPort: Research-based resources
  • The Physics Front for First Time Physics teachers
       6. Vicphysics Subscriptions
       7. Seeking a Physics Teacher? seeking a new position?
       8. Events for Students
  • Girls in STEM: Empowering Curiosity - Friday, 18th June
       9. Events for Teachers
  • Big Ideas in Physics: A New Scientist Online Lecture Series
  • Quantum Computing: A New Scientist Online Lecture
       10. Physics News from the Web 
  • A million years into the future: Why you need a dose of very deep thinking
  • A new generation takes on the Cosmological Constant
  • How we can widen careers aspirations for the next generation
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1. Beginning Physics Teachers' In-Service, Thursday, 15th April.
The venue will be John Monash Science School and this year there will be a small registration fee, $20 for Vicphysics subscribers and $40 for non-subscribers.  The program includes:

  • Hands on opportunity to try a large range of practical activities and demonstrations, supported by experienced teachers,
  • Chief Assessor, Andrew Hansen, providing advice of how to prepare students for the Physics exam,
  • Assessment Ideas with Dr Merryn Dawborn-Gundlach and Dr Syd Boydell from the University of Melbourne,
  • Panel of experienced teachers sharing their ideas and answering questions on course planning, teaching tricky concepts, etc.
A package of course planning material will be provided to each participant..
Lunch, morning and afternoon tea are included.  There will also be a travel subsidy to assist teachers coming from regional areas.

To register click here for the Trybooking site.  There is also an opportunity when registering to add to the program by mentioning areas you would like addressed. Check our website for more details.

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2. 'Romain Grosjean crashed at 192 kph at force equivalent of 67g's at F1 Grand Prix'
This headline appeared on the ABC website 'Just In' over the weekend. The data suggested possibilities for students to calculate or verify the statement.  But the story opens up other possibilities.
The video shows the car hitting the crash barrier and bursting into flames, then seconds later Grosjean climbs over the barrier and walks away. 
From a simple calculation point of view, the video shows how far the barrier was pushed back during the impact. 
However, Grosjean's walking away unscathed generated a number of articles about the design features of the car and his body protection that might be useful to either enhance one's teaching or as a basis for an assessment task.
The actual crash occurred in November 2020, so there is some material to be found.
Some resources include:

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3. Tanker hovers over the sea: Excellent example of a Fata Morgana mirage
Many newspapers are featuring a stunning image of a giant tanker appearing to hover over the surface of the sea off the coast of Cornwall.  The article with a better explanation is this oneIt refers to temperature inversion to explain a Fata Morgana, includes a ray diagram, but doe not refer to total internal reflection.
A related side search found an interesting website that opened with the question 'How much physics can you spot in a single picture?  It would be a useful observational exercise on light. The website is Dr Mirjam Glessmer's blog.  She is an oceanographer and science communicator at the University of Bergen.  Her webpage on '24 Days of Kitchen Oceanography' (24 easy experiments using common household items) will be valuable for middle school science and geography.

4. 2021 Physics Teachers' Conference: More Proceedings
There is now material from over 20 workshops at the Conference.   They can be found here

Note: The Conf webpage is now in the Teachers section of the website, so you will need to be a subscriber to access it, which is different from being on the mailing list for this newsletter, which is open to anyone.

The latest to be added is:

  • A2 Weighty Issues, Theo Hughes, Level 98, plus a supporting article 'Teaching weight to explicitly address language difficulties and conceptual difficulties' by Taibu, Schuster and Rudge.
If you haven't completed an evaluation of the conference, you can do so here. Your feedback will be useful in planning next year's event.

If you did not attend and would like access to the conference videos, you can still 'register for the conference' at the STAV website.
5. More Resources from AAPT
  • Herstories: Video and lesson plans.  Video shares words of encouragement from women in physics from around the world plus lesson plans i) What is physics?, ii) Pitfalls, potholes and hurdles, iii) Beyond the classroom, iv) Awesome physics!
  • PhysPort. Supporting physics teaching with research-based resources. Also check the resources under the 'Assessment' heading.
  • The Physics Front: Advice and resources for First Time Physics Teachers
6. Vicphysics Subscriptions
The free introductory offer has now 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.
7. 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:
  • Pascoe Vale Girls' Secondary College (10/03/21)
  • Berwick Secondary College (17/03/21)
This 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. 8. Events for Students
a) Girls in STEM: Empowering Curiosity - Friday, 18th June

An event for girls in Years 9 to 10:

  • An opportunity to be inspired by women who have forged impressive careers in STEAM industries.
  • Engage in hands-on activities to stimulate interest and engagement in STEAM based careers.
This event explore females in STEM careers with an emphasis on the importance of mathematics required for success. Students will hear from leading industry experts in a range of fields about their experiences working in a STEM focused career.
Experts will share their stories; the journey they took, the contributions they have made, the impact of being a female, tips for success, and how to overcome obstacles along the way.
The importance of mathematics in VCE subject selection, university degrees and in STEM careers is addressed. An interactive panel discussion follows the individual presentations.
Students will then engage in two hands-on STEM based activities that require students to be curious and creative, delivered by our supporting partners. One activity includes a hands on engineering experience run by 'Engineers without Borders'.
Please note that morning tea is provided. Teachers and students will need to BYO lunch. (Subject to change according to COVID safe plans)
Venue: Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School 
Cost: $35 /$25 per student. Max 20 students per school
To register: click here . For more information click here
 
9. Events for Teachers
a) Big Ideas in Physics: A New Scientist Online Lecture Series
  • Making Sense of Quantum Theory with Carlo Rovelli, 6pm, 1st April (UK time).  Prof Rovelli is the author of the popular books 'Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and 'Reality is not what it seems'.
  • How fast is the Universe growing? with Jo Dunkley, 6pm, 6th May. Prof Dunkley is a British astrophysicist and Professor of Physics at Princeton University.
  • Ten Keys to Reality with Frank Wilczek, 6pm, 28th January. Prof Wilczek won the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics
  • How Time Works with Sean Carroll, 6pm, 3rd June. Prof Carroll is a Research Professor at CalTech.
The Rovelli talk will be held at 4:00am Melbourne time on the Friday morning, however a ticket purchase gives you on demand access to the lecture and the Q&A session for 12 months.
Individual tickets are £13 (early booking rate) and there is a 25% discount on the series ticket.

b) Quantum Computing: A New Scientist Online Lecture, 6pm 11th March (UK Time)
Prof Michelle Simmons and Prof John Martinis present two 25 min talks plus Q&A on the physics of quantum computers. Prof Simmons is the Director of the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computer Technology and Communication Technology at UNSW and she was Australian of the Year in 2018.  Prof Martinis is based at University of California.  In 2019 he worked at Google and currently is in Australia working with Michelle.

Tickets are £13 (early booking rate) with on demand access. 10.   Physics from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
a) A million years into the future: why you need a dose of very deep thinking
Robert P Crease discovers why a nuclear-waste program in Finland can help us to envisage the world a million years from now.

The experts had been asked to develop methods to convince Finnish regulators that the facility, being cut out of granite bedrock underneath the island of Olkiluoto, would not expose future populations – thousands and even hundreds of thousands of years from now – to radiation above the country’s legal limits.

The Finnish experts developed various strategies to envision “deep time”. For example, they implemented unusual computer modelling methods to integrate a variety of datasets, scenarios, maps and reports over an unprecedented range of issues, including climate change, geological events, shorelines, human demographics, vegetation growth and ecosystems. For clues on the long-term evolution of materials and planetary landscapes, they studied everything from ancient Roman nails and 2100-year-old Chinese cadavers to cannons from a sunken 17th-century Swedish warship and traces of a crater in Finland caused by a meteor 73 million years ago.

b) A new generation takes on the Cosmological Constant

The long-standing problem of the cosmological constant, described both as “the worst prediction in the history of physics” and by Einstein as his “biggest blunder”, is being tackled with renewed vigour by today’s cosmologists. 

Simply put, Λ describes the energy density of empty space. One of the main issues stems from the fact that Λ’s theoretical value, obtained through quantum field theory (QFT), is nowhere near the value obtained from the study of type Ia supernovae and the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) – in fact it diverges by as much as 10121. It is therefore of little wonder that cosmologists are eager to tackle this disparity.

c) How we can widen career aspirations for the next generation
 As children narrow down their career interests from an early age, this article argues that it is important that they are brought up with a positive attitude towards science and provides example of strategies.

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