[ASC-list] Prize nominations open for AIP awards and more: physics in March

Niall Byrne niall at scienceinpublic.com.au
Mon Mar 2 02:05:40 UTC 2015

Dear ASCers,

We put together a bulletin of physics news and events every month on behalf of Warrick Couch, the AIP President. Here’s a taste of this month’s bulletin.

You can view the full bulletin online<http://www.scienceinpublic.com.au/bulletins/aip-presidents-blog/march-2015>.

Kind regards,

From Warrick Couch, President of the Australian Institute of Physics

This is my first bulletin as AIP President, and I’m looking forward to carrying on in the spirit of my predecessor, Rob Robinson.

I’m an astronomer by trade, and especially interested in the evolution of galaxies. I’m the Director of the Australian Astronomical Observatory, and before that I was Director of the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University. A particular research highlight for me was being a member of the Supernova Cosmology Project, one of the two teams that discovered the universe’s accelerating expansion and whose leader, Saul Perlmutter, shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics with Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess (from the other team).

This year at the AIP we’ll be focusing on growing our membership, and we’ll be asking for your help by encouraging colleagues to join. We’ll also be modernising our constitution this year. And now that our Women in Physics group has been reactivated, we’ll be making sure it gets noticed.

We’re also planning a new prize for our members who are early-career researchers. Details will be announced soon, but in the meantime nominations are open for the Walter Boas Medal for excellence in physics research, the Bragg Gold Medal for the best PhD thesis, and the AIP Award for Outstanding Service to Physics.

On top of this, our NSW branch has their own award for community outreach, won last year by space science educator Ken Silburn—more details are below.

In the spirit of the recent Oscars (and wasn’t it great to see some physics in the limelight this year), prize nomination season is truly upon us, with the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, the Eureka Prizes, the Australian Academy of Science’s honorific awards, FameLab and Tall Poppies all open for entries.

Coming up on 24–25 March, the AIP will be taking part in Science and Technology Australia’s annual Science Meets Parliament event, bringing researchers together with parliamentarians, policymakers and the media. Our representatives will be Joanna Turner (Qld), Peter Metaxas (WA) and Laurence Stamatescu (SA).

There is plenty more to read in this bulletin, with events from our state branches and physicists’ views on poetry and climate science. And don’t forget to check our News in Brief section, with highlights of research from around the country and around the world.

And some of the items:

Medals and awards open for nominations
Every year, the AIP recognises the excellent work done by physicists around the country.  This year, we’re calling for nominations for the Walter Boas Medal, for contributions to physics research by a member of the AIP; the Bragg Gold Medal, for the most outstanding PhD thesis in physics at an Australian university; and the AIP award for Outstanding Service to Physics, for exceptional contribution by an individual who gives great amounts of time and effort to furthering physics as a discipline.

NSW community outreach award
Later in the year, our New South Wales Branch is offering a prize for an individual in that state who’s made notable contributions to physics education or community engagement and has demonstrated passion for the study of physics.

Topics for the Victorian Young Physicists’ Tournament
Every year, our Victorian Branch’s Education Committee runs a competition for year 10 science and year 11 physics students to conduct experimental investigations on three topics, and then meet to present and defend their findings.

Eyes on the prizes
No one undertakes research in physics with the intention of winning a prize. It is the joy of discovering something no one knew before. —Stephen Hawking

Professor Hawking’s thoughts aside, there are several opportunities for physicists to be recognised in upcoming science prizes.

Physics professor pens modern bush poem
As recently covered on ABC radio’s NSW Country Hour, University of New South Wales physicist (and AIP member) Joe Wolfe enjoys writing comic poetry.

Pioneering women of physics
To mark International Women’s Day the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics has drawn up a collection of memes that celebrate the outstanding contributions that women have made to physics.

Stephen Hawking responds to Oscar win
The cosmologist posted on Facebook: “Congratulations to Eddie Redmayne for winning an ‪#Oscar for playing me in The Theory of Everything Movie. Well done Eddie, I’m very proud of you.”

Award for dark matter lab study
A study by the Northern Grampians Shire Council into reusing a Stawell gold mine to search for dark matter has won them the Local Government Professional Members Association Award.

Early supermassive black hole challenges theories
An international team including ANU astrophysicists has discovered a quasar that formed just 900 million years after the Big Bang, far earlier than thought possible.

The quest for nuclear fusion
ABC Radio National’s Future Tense reports on progress at the ITER experimental reactor in France, with comment from ANU’s Matthew Hole.

Semiconductor physics explains shiny fish
Scientists from UWA explain how light passing through layers in fish skin acts like electrons in semiconductors, giving them a silvery, mirror-like appearance.

More details at http://www.scienceinpublic.com.au/bulletins/aip-presidents-blog/march-2015.


Niall Byrne
Creative Director, Science in Public

82 Hudsons Road, Spotswood  Vic  3015
(PO Box 2076 Spotswood VIC 3015)
03 9398-1416, 03 9078-5398, 0417 131 977

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