[ASC-list] Aus physics bulletin

Niall Byrne niall at scienceinpublic.com.au
Wed Feb 3 05:36:55 UTC 2016

Dear ASCers,

Each month we publish a wrap-up of Australian physics news and events, which we send on behalf of the Australian Institute of Physics to a bunch of physicists and physics enthusiasts.

Below is a taste of this month's bulletin.  You can view the full bulletin here<http://www.aip.org.au/info/?q=article/nanotech-honours-and-2016-national-physics-conference-physics-february>.


Highest honour for nanotech physicist
The impressive contributions to Australian science made by ANU nanotechnologist Chennupati Jagadish<https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jan/26/neurotechnologist-chennupati-jagadish-science-is-fun-for-me> were recognised in last week's Australia Day honours. Prof Jagadish was named a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)-the country's highest civilian honour.
Chennupati's nanotech projects are diverse. He is developing new lasers with a view to faster telecommunications, as well as lightweight, more-efficient nanotech-derived solar cells. He is also working on improved bio-medical imaging.
He describes one of his most exciting current nanotech projects as a designing a 'brain on a chip'-encouraging the growth of artificial, trainable neurons, with exciting potential for future computing power.
Chennupati is vice-president of the Australian Academy of Science, founder of the Australian Nanotechnology Network, and head of the ANU's Semiconductor Optoelectronics and Nanotechnology Group.

Physics shorts
Dark physics photography Two images showcasing the raw, early days in the development of the Stawell Underground Physics Lab in Victoria placed highly in the international physics photography competition Global Physics Photowalk<http://www.interactions.org/cms/?pid=1035363>. You can see the images on the competition website. The Stawell lab will host the southern hemisphere's first direct experiment to detect dark matter when it begins operation late this year.

Antimatter clues A new study by Igor Bray and fellow researchers at Curtin University has demonstrated two very different computational approaches to explain the creation of antimatter<http://phys.org/news/2016-01-anti-hydrogen-revealed-collision-simulation.html>. For antihydrogen, the study found a surprising convergence.

Embracing changes large and small In this UK Journal of Physics article, Amanda Barnard explains current research at CSIRO's nanoscience lab<http://jphysplus.iop.org/2015/12/22/amanda-barnard-using-big-data-at-the-nanoscale/>, and offers advice to young scientists.

Faster, safer, more accurate medical scanning Yuri Kivshar, head of Nonlinear Physics at ANU co-authored a recent paper discussing new technology that allows for faster, safer MRI scans<http://phys.org/news/2016-01-metamaterials-boost-sensitivity-mri-machines.html#jCp> without radical changes to hospital equipment. Their addition of a metamaterial bedding beneath the patient improved the scanner-to-noise ratio sufficiently to reduce scanning times by 50 per cent.

Not so lonely Simon Murphy at the ANU's Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics contributed to the recent study that proved a known rogue or 'lonely' planet (that is, a planet without a star) did indeed orbit a distant star<http://phys.org/news/2016-01-trillion-kilometres-aparta-lonely-planet.html>-a dwarf star a trillion km away, which it orbits only once every 900,000 years. That means the planet has only orbited 50 times since it formed, in comparison with the Earth's 4.5 billion orbits.

Who's watching for solar flares Some insights into the work of the Bureau of Meteorology's space-weather group<http://www.sws.bom.gov.au/> are available via material from the Bureau's recent users workshop, online<http://swworkshop.sws.bom.gov.au/presentations>.
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