[ASC-list] TONIGHT BrisScience : Are the laws of nature changing

Lynelle Ross l.ross at smp.uq.edu.au
Mon Oct 12 03:20:36 UTC 2009

Are the laws of nature changing? Presented by Dr Michael Murphy -  
Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University of  

What are the laws of Nature? Are they really hard-and-fast “laws”, or  
just “local by-laws” for the tiny region of the Universe we live in?  
These questions are among the most basic we can ask, and also some of  
the oldest. This talk will explore how astronomers are trying to  
answer these questions of fundamental physics. One fun way is to  
observe quasars – super-massive black holes sucking in stars and gas  
from the centers of galaxies in the extremely distant Universe – with  
the biggest telescopes on Earth. Excitingly, Dr Murphy’s results to  
date suggest that some laws of Nature might have been different  
billions of years ago, in the early Universe, before our Solar System  
and even our Milky Way galaxy existed. Of course, these results are  
under intense scrutiny and the story continues.

Michael Murphy is an observational astronomer studying the Universe’s  
properties and evolution on the largest possible scales, i.e.  
cosmology. He completed his PhD in physics at the University of NSW in  
Sydney and then spent 5 years at the University of Cambridge in the UK  
as a research fellow. He returned to Australia in 2007 to take up a  
lectureship at Swinburne University and began a QEII Research  
Fellowship there in 2008, funded by the Australian Government.

     * Time: 6:30pm to 7:30pm (Doors open at 6pm) 12 October 2009
     * Venue: Ithaca Auditorium, Brisbane City Hall
     * Refreshments: There will be complimentary drinks and nibblies  
following the talk, and they will be available to answer any questions.
     * Questions? Contact Lynelle (l.ross at smp.uq.edu.au)

UPCOMING BRISSCIENCE TALKS visit www.BrisScience.org for further  
17 November - In association with ASTE 32nd National Symposium, Future  
Proofing Australia, we will be hosting a panel discussion with some  
distinguished leaders in the field.
30 November - Len Fisher, UK Author of Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game  
Theory in Everyday Life, How to Dunk a Doughnut: The Science of  
Everyday Life, Weighing the Soul: The Evolution of Scientific Ideas,  
and The Perfect Swarm: The Science of Complexity in Everyday Life
14 December - Dr Daryl Cooper, University of California, Santa Barbara

Brisbane City Hall will be closing their doors at the end of 2009 due  
to refurbishment. BrisScience is currently looking at alternative  
venues for next years series and would like you, our audience, to  
indicate your preference for a new home for BrisScience. Please take 1  
minute to let us know your preference for a new venue. Visit http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=qLeGK01_2fjxBV78vqnpOGHA_3d_3d 
. There is only one question to answer and by doing so you are helping  
to continue BrisScience's success. Thank you in advance.


  Bundamba Advanced Water Treatment Plant Open Day
  How does Australia's largest purified recycling scheme work? What  
technology is used to turn wastewater into pure H20? Is it safe to add  
into our dams?
  To celebrate National Water Week, WaterSecure is holding an open day  
at the Bundamba Advanced Water Treatment Plant on Sunday 18 October  
between 11am and 3pm.
    Interested residents in Brisbane and Ipswich can visit the AWTP  
and participate in tours, seminars and educational water displays and  
    The Open Day will give the community a first-hand look at the  
award winning AWTP where they can learn about purified recycled water,  
how the facility contributes to the Water Grid and advanced water  
purification technology. Tours of the plant will be run throughout the  
day by expert staff.
    Children’s activities, food stalls and refreshments will also be  
available during the day.
    When:         Sunday 18 October, 11am – 3pm
  Where:      River Road, Bundamba (near Ipswich - 40 minutes from  
Brisbane city)
  Parking:    Street Parking is available on River Road and Neilson Road
    For details and a site map visit: www.watersecure.com.au

  Tools of Science - 20 October 2009 @ 6pm (Room 234 Parnell Building,  
UQ St Lucia.
The experimental method as a tool of science in late nineteenth- 
century France Presented by Kim Hajek
How do you convince the world that what you're doing is science  
legitimate and rigorous? What if your practices seem to resemble the  
spectacular manipulations of fairground charlatans? What tools can you  
use to persuade people of your work's value as science?
These are all pertinent questions for the aspiring science of  
hypnotism in late nineteenth-century France. Its precursor animal  
magnetism (or mesmerism) had a dubious reputation, following repeated  
official academic rejection of its legitimacy, not to mention the  
extravagant antics of popular magnetizers, whose claims bordered on  
the supernatural. Having gained a foothold on scientific territory  
through the work of the famous neurologist Charcot, hypnotism needed  
powerful tools to buttress its claims to proper scientific status. I  
will investigate how two prominent researchers used the experimental  
method as a tool to assert their scientificity, some surprising  
implications of their efforts, and whether their strategy ultimately  
Kim Hajek is a PhD student in the Centre for the History of European  
Discourses at UQ. She is working on developing a cultural and  
intellectual history of scientific hypnotism in late nineteenth- 
century France, paying particular attention to the interaction of  
scientific and literary discourses around this topic. Kim also works  
part time in Physics at UQ, her current research project being CARS  

Australian Institute of Physics International Year of Astronomy Series
Professor Brian Boyle will discuss his work on the The  Square  
Kilometre Array.
Thursday 12 November 2009, Winterford Room, Regatta Hotel, Coronation  
Drive @ 6.30 pm
Stretching over a continent and comprised of over 5000 antennas, the  
Square Kilometre Array is proposed to be the world's largest radio  
telescope and one of the most ambitious pieces of scientific  
infrastructure ever built.  It will address some of the key questions  
of 21st century astronomy and physics and act as an scientific icon
for generations to come.
I will outline the international project which aims to build this  
telescope by the end of next decade, and describe some of the  
transformational scientific projects that will be done with the  
telescope.  I will also describe current SKA activities in Australia  
developments, including construction of the Australian SKA Pathfinder  
telescope at the Murchison Radioastronomy Observatory in Western  
Australia over the coming four years.  With Southern Africa, Australia  
is currently one of two countries short-listed to host this $2.5b  

To join or leave our mailing list please email l.ross at smp.uq.edu.au or  
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 From your friendly BrisScience Co-ordinators, Joel and Lynelle
c/o School of Mathematics and Physics,
The University of Queensland,
Brisbane Australia, 4072
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