2. Another context for Half-life questions
1. Videos for Teaching and Studying Physics
The website of the US 'Center for Online Education' has a webpage titled '100 Amazing Videos of Teaching and Studying Physics'. They are grouped under the headings:
Each video has a one sentence description. The duration of each is not displayed. The titles suggest that they are pitched at a level appropriate for Years 11 and 12.
- 'Physics Fun' (12 videos),
- 'Physics Basics' (14 videos),
- 'Experiments and Demonstrations' (10 videos),
- 'Perfect for the Classroom' (9 videos),
- 'Television Programs' (10 videos),
- 'Documentaries' (10 videos),
- 'Explaining and Illustrating Concepts' (11 videos),
- 'Cutting-Edge Research' (11 videos),
- 'Engaging Lectures' (10 videos)
Thanks to Gary Bass for the link.
Most of the newsletters this year and last year have included information about new resources. This webpage on our website has links to previous newsletters, each with a short descriptor of the main items.
The previous newsletter had an item about an article on the lightest Uranium isotope as a context for half-life questions. This is another such article.
This article in Physics World is about how super heavy nuclei are produced in the universe. A researcher from ANU examined core samples from the deep sea crust to look for the abundance of Iron 60 (half life of 2.6 million years) and Plutonium 244 (half-life of 80.6 million years) over a time span of 10 million years. Evidence suggests that they were formed by different mechanisms, supernovae for Iron 60 and neutron star mergers for Plutonium 244.
3. 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 three schools seeking a physics teacher:
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.
4. Vicphysics Subscriptions
- Beaumaris Secondary College (closes 31st May)
- Montmorency Secondary College (closes 31st May)
- Berwick Secondary College (closes 7th June)
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.
6. Events for Teachers a) Girls in STEM: Empowering Curiosity - Friday, 18th June
An event for girls in Years 9 to 10:
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.
- 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.
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.
b) Victorian Young Physicists' Tournament - Registrations now open
VYPT is back this year with a number of changes. For those not familiar with VYPT. It is a competition for students in Years 10 and 11. During Terms 2 and 3, in teams of 3, the students experimentally investigate a common set of three topics, then on Sunday, 12th September in a series of one-on-one 30 minute contests with other teams, they describe their method, explain their findings, and question and challenge the presentations of others.
The topics for 2021 are:
These topics are engaging, accessible at different levels, don't require a lot of equipment and not restricted to the science classroom. They are an ideal challenge for keen students.
- Conical Piles Non-adhesive granular materials can be poured such that they form a cone-like pile. Investigate the parameters that affect the formation of the cone and the angle it makes with the ground.
- Saxon Bowl A bowl with a hole in its base will sink when placed in water. The Saxons used this device for timing purposes. Investigate the parameters that determine the time of sinking.
- Falling Tower: Identical discs are stacked one on top of another to form a freestanding tower. The bottom disc can be removed by applying a sudden horizontal force such that the rest of the tower will drop down onto the surface and the tower remains standing. Investigate the phenomenon and determine the conditions that allow the tower to remain standing.
The features of the competition are:
Prizes: There is a prize for every student, with major prizes for top place getters and a trophy for the winning team.
- it is team based,
- focused on experimental investigations and
- uses oral presentations.
Mentors: This year sees the involvement of university students, who will not only assist teachers on the judging panels, but will be available as mentors to the teams. Teachers will be able to request a mentor for each team when they register.
Venue: University of Melbourne
Registration: This year there is a fee: $20 per team for a Vicphysics subscriber, $40 per team for a non-subscriber. Registrations are now open and will close on 23rd July, see links to 'Teachers' below.
Note: One teacher for every two teams needs to be nominated, who will be a member of the judging panels on the day.
Travel Subsidy will be available for regional schools.
Live-Streaming: Vicphysics has received funding from Inspiring Victoria to enable one of the contests in each round to be streamed. The registration form includes a section on approval to be part of the live streaming.
For further details, there are four relevant webpages on the Vicphysics website:
c) The Exciton Solar Cell Challenge
- For general information,
- For teachers to register teams, along with advice on planning, including a promotional flyer and a link to the video of Physics Teachers' Conference workshop with a discussion among a panel of teachers who have participated before.
- For students, with guide questions, hints and links to useful resources.
- For University students, interested in being judges and mentors.
The special features of the Exciton Solar Cell Challenge are:
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.
- 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.
When you register you can request a researcher to present an introductory zoom lesson (30 mins) for the students.
a) Big Ideas in Physics: A New Scientist Online Lecture Series
This talk is held at 4:00am Melbourne time, however a ticket purchase gives you on demand access to the lecture and the Q&A session for 12 months.
- How Time Works with Sean Carroll, 6pm, 3rd June. Prof Carroll is a Research Professor at CalTech.
Individual tickets are £13 (early booking rate) and there is a 25% discount on the series ticket.
7. Physics News from the Web
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
a) Sandwich strategy makes solid-state lithium battery last longer
Researchers in the US have created a new solid state lithium-metal battery that can charge and discharge over a record-breaking number of cycles at a high current density. The proof-of-concept device, which is fundamentally different to existing liquid electrolyte lithium-ion batteries, could extend the lifespan of electric vehicle batteries to 10-15 years, similar to that of petrol and diesel cars.
b) As MRI strength increases, so do concerns about magnet safety
As the push toward stronger and faster MRI scanners continues, so does concern over magnet safety, Thsi article discusses the potential effects MRI has on patients.
There are three main components of MRI scanners – the main magnet, gradient coils and radiofrequency (RF) coils – that are essential to a machine’s function. However, each of these components carries unique risks for patients and operators, namely the projectile effect, nerve stimulation, hearing damage and tissue heating.
c) Frozen detonation could enable hypersonic flight Comparing the shock waves from two types of Combustion: Detonation and Deflagration
Most fires are deflagrations. This form of combustion creates a subsonic reaction wave and powers much of our transport technology. But you can get a much more powerful and efficient release of energy from a detonation. This type of combustion produces supersonic shock waves driven by energy release from closely coupled chemical reactions. These waves travel at many times the speed of sound, with those produced by igniting a hydrogen–air fuel mix, for example, often reaching speeds of Mach 5.
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