Girls in Physics Breakfast in Bendigo

At the breakfast students from Years 10 to 12 share a table with two or three women who are either in a career in physics or engineering, or are at university as an undergraduate or a postgraduate. The students have a chance to ask questions about their careers and what study at university is like. Students are seated with students from other schools.

At each breakfast there is an address by a prominent scientist, who talks about her area of interest at a level appropriate for the audience.
Date: 1st September .
Venue: Bendigo Bank Theatre
Times: 7:30am and finish about 10:00am.
Speaker: Dr Amanda Karakas, Monash University
Dr Amanda Karakas is a Assoc Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at Monash University. Upon completing her PhD at Monash, postdoctoral positions were held in Canada, followed by a move to ANU on a fellowship staying for 6 years.
Then at the beginning of 2016 she started at Monash University as a Senior Lecturer. Additionally visiting fellowships have been held around the world including Utrecht University, the University of Chicago and the University of Texas.
Topic: Stars as chemical element factories
Abstract: It turns out that stars are giant furnaces that make heavier elements from lighter ones. Deep in the centre of stars where it is incredibly hot and dense, stars will fuse together Hydrogen (H) to create Helium (He). Once stars have enough H at the centre, He will start fusing to make Carbon (C) and so on.
Through these reactions elements such as Fe, Ni and Co can be made. However not all stars will make the same elements it depends on the amount of mass that a star is born with. The reason is that the amount of mass determines how hot and dense the star is, and how it will “die”.
My research focuses on using the laws of physics to make computer models of stars, by following their lives from birth to death, and then determining what elements they make. In this talk I will start with the story of our own Sun before describing how stars of different birth masses die and what elements they make.
I will finish with an overview of where all of the chemical elements in the Universe come from.

Flyers are being prepared will be posted on the website by the end of Term 1.
The table below shows the fee structure.

First TeacherNo Charge
Second Teacher$20 / $5*
per Student$20 / $5*

* A discount was available for schools with a low ICSEA rank. Discounts could be applied for by emailing Vicphysics with subject ‘Breakfast discount’.


Two methods to pay are available,

    • by credit card or
    • by bank transfer, an email is generated with the details of the Vicphysics bank account.

Max number of students per school: To enable more schools to participate, there was an initial maximum of six (6) students per school. For regional events up to 12 students could be accommodated.



There is a 45 min talk, starting about 8:20am followed by questions. After this there are two activities on Careers in STEM i) Quiz and Job Roles Analysis and ii) Case Studies analysis. A Q&A with a panel of guests rounds out the event.

Promoting the event to your students

Sponsors and Supporters

The Girls in Physics Breakfasts are organised by the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network and supported by funding from the Laby Foundation and the Victorian Branch of the Australian Institute of Physics. The program is also supported by the Royal Society of Victoria.