Girls in Physics Breakfast in Central Melbourne

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: 25th May .
Venue: William Angliss Institute, 555 La Trobe St, Melbourne
Times: 7:30am and finish about 10:00am.
Speaker: Prof Rachel Webster, Melbourne University
Professor Rachel Webster has had a stellar career teaching and researching astronomy for more than 20 years. Originally gaining her doctorate thesis at Cambridge University, she has spent productive years honing her skills in Canada at the University of Toronto, both teaching and doing research. Her work has been internationally recognised with internationally prestigious scholarships. She was also the inaugural AIP Woman in Physics Lecturer. She returned to The University of Melbourne to take up a position as a teaching and research academic within the School of Physics where she currently leads the Astrophysics research group comprising more than 60 research students and staff.
Her group is varied and diverse and covers both observational and theoretical research areas. She is a key member of an international consortium involving Australian and American astrophysicists who have designed and built a new low frequency radio telescope at Boolardy in Western Australia, known as the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). Professor Webster’s other research interests include quasar emission regions, gravitational lensing and cosmology; with a side interest in the physics of geothermal energy.
Professor Webster Webster has been the chair of the National Committee of Astronomy for the Australian Academy of Sciences. Over the past 20 years she has co-created a successful Women in Physics Program, which has helped increase the number of women graduating in physics at the University of Melbourne. She continues mentoring former graduate students.
Topic: Black Holes: a window to another universe
Abstract: What are black holes? And how do we know they exist? This talk will describe the latest observations which demonstrate that black holes really do exist. A few popular myths will be uncovered, and then the challenges to our current understanding of the physics will be explored.

Please note: Unaccompanied students are not accepted. Bookings must indicate the name and contact details of the adult, either teacher or parent, who will accompany the student(s).

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.



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.

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.