[ASC-list] Physics bulletin

Niall Byrne niall at scienceinpublic.com.au
Thu Dec 3 04:10:18 UTC 2015

Dear ASCers,

Each month we put together a bulletin of physics news and events on behalf of Warrick Couch, President of the Australian Institute of Physics.

Below is a taste of this month's bulletin.  You can view the full bulletin here<http://www.aip.org.au/info/?q=article/wrapping-year-light-150-years-maxwell-100-years-relativity-physics-december>.

Kind regards,

Wrapping up the Year of Light, 150 years of Maxwell & 100 years of relativity: physics in December
December sees the end of the International Year of Light, which has seen some fantastic celebrations of light physics and related technologies in Australia.

The end of 2015 marks some very important anniversaries in physics: James Clerk Maxwell's four famous equations of electromagnetism, 150 years ago this month, laid the foundations for Einstein's later relativity work, which celebrated 100 years at the end of November. The ABC marked the end of the Year of Light with a feature on Maxwell (listen<https://radio.abc.net.au/programitem/pgY1GpdbzG?play=true>) and we list some Australian relativity tributes in this bulletin. November was also 100 years since William Lawrence Bragg and William Henry Bragg won Australia's first Nobel Prize in Physics<http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1915/perspectives.html>, for crystallography.

Light was also the schools theme for 2015's National Science Week<http://www.aip.org.au/info/?q=article/national-science-week-physics-august#natsciwk>. Next year, the theme will be drones, droids and robots-which promises to once again get a few young physicists inspired!

Congratulations to all 17 winners of the 2016 Australian Academy of Science awards<https://www.science.org.au/2016-scientific-awards-under-embargo>. In particular the ANU's Ilya Shadrivov, who received the Pawsey Medal for his contributions to the development of metamaterials with fantastic potential, and UNSW's Martin Green who received the Ian Wark Medal for his world-leading work on photovoltaics.

Other physicists were recognised in prizes awarded by the NSW branch of the Australian Institute of Physics-see later in this bulletin. And the other AIP branches also got together to discuss office holders and agendas for the new year.

Nominations have now closed for the 2016 AIP Women in Physics lecturer, and early next year we will be announcing which international physicist will be undertaking the 2016 lecture tour and celebrating the contribution of women to advances in physics.

1000 proteins at Australian Synchrotron
Australian research reached a milestone with the 1000th protein structure resolved using the beamlines at the Australian Synchrotron, paving the way for improved understanding of disease and more targeted therapies.

Tom Caradoc-Davies at the Synchrotron says the facility is crucial to understanding the structure of proteins at a molecular level, "which may hold the key to better understanding its role in diseases, treatments or industrial products".

"The Australian Synchrotron's X-ray light is a million times brighter than the sun, enabling light to diffract off crystals smaller than one-tenth the thickness of a human hair, leading to high definition data sets that can produced in a matter of minutes, rather than days," he says.

100 years: it's all relative
November marked 100 years since publication of Albert Einstein's theory of General Relativity. Some good Australian articles celebrating the achievement, and explaining what this important piece of physics means for everyday life:

Alan Duffy (Swinburne University) gave the ABC a Theory of Relativity for Dummies<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j02kzzQ-d6Q&feature=youtu.be>
Bernie Hobbs (ABC) explained How Einstein's theory explains the Universe<http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-25/einstein-general-relativity-100-years-on/6968370>
Michael Brown (Monash University) asked Why is Einstein's General Relativity such a popular target for cranks?<https://theconversation.com/why-is-einsteins-general-relativity-such-a-popular-target-for-cranks-49661>
Katie Mack (University of Melbourne) and Eric Thane (Monash University) assisted on Catalyst's Einstein's Extraordinary Universe<http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/4348650.htm>
Aidan Brooks (AIP)<http://www.scienceinpublic.com.au/events/aip-event-calendar?trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D117145887> will discuss gravitational wave research in Adelaide on 9 December

Read more online at http://www.aip.org.au/info/?q=article/wrapping-year-light-150-years-maxwell-100-years-relativity-physics-december
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