[ASC-list] Australian Institute of Physics bulletin

Niall Byrne niall at scienceinpublic.com.au
Wed Oct 7 01:46:15 UTC 2015

Dear ASCers,

We put together a bulletin of physics news and events every month on behalf of Warrick Couch, the AIP President. This month we look at this year Nobel Prize, remember the work of Harry Messel and hear from some new voices in science communication.

Here's a taste of this month's bulletin and you can view the full bulletin online<http://www.aip.org.au/info/?q=article/nobel-neutrinos-water-mars-and-remembering-great-physics-october>.

Kind regards,

>From Warrick Couch, President of the Australian Institute of Physics

The discovery that neutrinos oscillate and therefore must have mass made us re-think the Standard Model, and has led to an exciting new era in particle physics. Last night, Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their roles in this discovery and we send our congratulations to both of them.

Last week was big for physics too, with NASA's announcement that they'd found evidence of liquid water on Mars.

What I found great about the announcement was the addition of some new voices to the local media coverage. Fred Watson made his usual appearance on Radio National, but elsewhere we had Alan Duffy, Katie Mack, Amanda Bauer, Daniel Price and other young Australian physicists on hand to explain what it all means to the general public. And what a great job they did.

In this bulletin we pay tribute to another great science communicator Harry Messel. Harry will be remembered as a colossus of Australian physics and of science more broadly, particularly for the way he so effectively and colourfully increased public awareness of science and raised funding for physics education.

Remembering Harry Messel

The Australian physics community lost one of our greats this year, with the passing of Harry Messel in July.

On 18 September, The University of Sydney held a memorial tribute to recognise Harry's significant contributions to physics, teaching and the pursuit of excellence.

Harry was a major force in science research, communication and education, and Head of the School of Physics at The University of Sydney for 35 years, where his legacy is still evident in the success that the School enjoys today.

Albert Wong, President of the Science Foundation for Physics (established by Harry to support research in the School of Physics), spoke of the enormous drive, determination and energy that Harry devoted to raising funds.

Professor John Mattick, Director of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, recalled the impact of his attendance at the International Science School (ISS) in 1966, which led him to pursue a career in science. The ISS continues to this day and is one of Harry's great legacies.

More than 300 people attended the memorial, including Harry's widow Pip, and two grandsons (Nicolas Messel and Michael Winternitz) who spoke of Harry's dedication to his family. Long-time friend Professor the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir, former Chancellor of the University and former Governor of NSW, also spoke at the service.

You can read the University of Sydney's tribute at: http://sydney.edu.au/news/science/397.html?newsstoryid=15203

Making light work - AIP SA public lecture

Light helps us see, it enables life, and it has made possible many revolutionary applications in areas such as nanotechnology, medicine, communications, entertainment, culture and art.

But we can also make it work for us. With light we can:

*         Make optical tweezers to trap, move and rotate tiny objects, providing unprecedented access to physical, chemical and biological processes on a nano and microscale.

*         Look inside living cells and map their functions

*         And power nano and micro machines and use them for biomedically relevant questions

*         Join Professor Halina Rubinsztein-Dunlop, Director of the Quantum Science Laboratory at the University of Queensland, as she explains how we can make light do the work for us.

Free event at the Science Exchange, Adelaide, SA
Wednesday 7 October - register via Eventbrite<http://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/making-light-work-tickets-18751558416>

Presented by the South Australian branch of the Australian Institute of Physics, with support from the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) and Lastek, in celebration of the International Year of Light and Light Based Technologies.

Where are the missing gravitational waves?

After searching through over a decade's worth of radio-telescope observations, astronomers have failed to find any evidence of gravitational waves.

Here's what astronomers Paul Lasky and Ryan Shannon had to say about their 'discovery' in The Conversation.

Astronomers know of a few thousand neutron stars, but one in particular is a stand-out. As part of the Parkes Pulsar Timing Array, we have been observing pulsar J1909-3744 with the CSIRO's Parkes Radio Telescope for 11 years.

During this time, we have accounted for every single one of the neutron star's 116 billion rotations (115,836,854,515, to be precise). We know the rotational period of this star to 15 decimal places, making it truly one of the most accurate clocks in the universe.

But, as we show in a paper published in Science, it was not supposed to be this way. Gravitational waves from all of the black holes in the universe were supposed to ruin the timing precision of this pulsar. But they have not.

Read the full article here.<https://theconversation.com/where-are-the-missing-gravitational-waves-47940>


Niall Byrne

Creative Director
Science in Public
82 Hudsons Road, Spotswood VIC 3015
PO Box 2076 Spotswood VIC 3015
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niall at scienceinpublic.com.au<mailto:niall at scienceinpublic.com.au>
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