School of Physics update
9 May 2016
School of Physics update
May 2016
Parenting / First Aid Room 104 in the Physics Building
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Staff News
The School of Physics welcomes the following new staff members:
  • Timothy Bateman, Senior Technical Officer, Molonglo Observatory
  • Dr Cornelius Hempel, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Quantum Science
  • Kate Jones, Team Support Officer, Quantum Science
  • Dr Xiaoli Tang, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, IPOS
We say farewell and offer our thanks and best wishes to the following staff:
  • Dr Pascal Elahi (now at the University of Western Australia)
  • Dr Hareth Mahdi (now at the University of Baghdad)

Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science
Congratulations to Professor Ben Eggleton on being elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. He will be admitted to the Academy along with another 20 leading Australian scientists in Canberra this week.

The School of Physics now boasts five Fellows among its current staff:
  • Ben Eggleton (2016)
  • Joss Bland-Hawthorn (2012)
  • Ross McPhedran (2011)
  • Elaine Sadler (2010)
  • Don Melrose (1986)

Management Roles

We are pleased to announce that A/Professor Tara Murphy has joined the School Management Committee as an additional member. We are grateful to Tara for taking on this role and look forward to her contributions. Her appointment addresses a recommendation from PEAC (Physics Equity and
Access Committee) that at least one SMC member be a female academic.

We are also pleased to announce that Dr Pulin Gong will take over from
Tara as the Chair of the School's IT Advisory Committee. With thanks to
Pulin for accepting this role.
Parenting / First Aid Room
Room 104, in the Physics Building, directly opposite the lift, has been refurbished and equipped with a nursing chair, lounge, change table, a refrigerator for milk/baby food and a microwave. The room is open to all - staff, students and visitors.  

Refurbishing and equipping this room was an initiative of the Physics Equity and Access Committee (PEAC) and managed as a School infrastructure project.  Special thanks to Nathan Apps for his work on this, and also to Nick Ioannidis and Johnson Ren. The University also contributed to the cost through the Equity and Diversity Strategy office in Human Resources.

As part of the project, a change table was also installed in the Unisex Accessible Toilet on Level 2 (Room 215A).
Research and Grant Success
US Government investment in Quantum
Congratulations to Associate Professor Mike Biercuk, whose Quantum Control Laboratory is the only Australian group as part of an international contingent to be awarded a multimillion-dollar grant from the United States Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The new consortium including the Quantum Control Laboratory – led out of cutting-edge laboratories at the Sydney Nanoscience Hub –  has been selected by the United States government agency Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) as part of its LogiQ program, to help deliver a logical qubit (quantum-bit) based on trapped ions. 

Linkage Grant Success
Congratulations to Professors Marcela Bilek and David McKenzie who were awarded a 3-year linkage grant worth $660K.

Marcela and David's project aims to develop large vacuum insulated windows with higher insulation performance than triple glazing, the best currently available, by toughening glass to increase its strength, flatness and safety. Higher performance windows reduce energy wastage in the developed world, and vacuum glazing's thin profile means they can be retrofitted into buildings immediately, without the delay of replacing building stock. The anticipated outcome is a major reduction in energy use for climate control in buildings, a large and rapidly growing energy sector that climate change makes unsustainable; and rapid economic, social and environmental benefits through sustainable climate control in cities.
News and Events
AIP Accreditation
The Australian Institute of Physics (AIP) accreditation panel visited the School earlier this month to examine our undergraduate teaching program.  A brief summary was very complimentary of the School’s program and a formal report will be provided within a few weeks.

We would like to particularly thank A/Professor Mike Wheatland for taking the lead, ably assisted by Cynthia Kiu, Alexis George and Eve Teran. We also pass on our thanks to the students who talked to the panel (and Gabriel Nguyen who helped round them up).

Solar Laser Cells: New Designs for More Efficient Solar PV Power Generation
Researchers from IPOS have proposed an innovative mechanism of harvesting solar energy more efficiently at lower costs than traditional photovoltaic (PV) cells in their recent Optics Express paper.

Small and bright: what nanophotonics means for you
Read Professor Ben Eggleton's article in The Conversation on the dawn of nanophotonics, and how research undertaken in the Sydney Nanoscience Hub has the potential to revolutionise our future.

Happy Body at Work
Staff and postgraduate students are invited to participate in the Happy Body at Work (HBAW) 8-week multimedia program with ideas for improving your energy, decreasing tension, improving sleep, easing aches and pains, and relaxing your body. Making small changes will help you have a happier body at work and at home.

If you are interested in signing up for weekly video emails and a newsletter, please contact your HBAW Program Champion, Eve Teran.
Physics Building (A28) Level 3 Redevelopment
Stage 2 of the refurbishment project included new fire stairs and central water pipes for air conditioning. Stage 2 works will be completed by the end of May. The remaining Redfern people will move back to the Physics Building on the weekend of 4-5 June.

The Physics project team has requested that noisy and disruptive work be undertaken out of hours. However, if there are any issues, please call Nathan
Apps on 0402 077890.
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