School of Physics update
8 May 2017
School of Physics update
May 2017
Cygnus approaching the International Space Station (photo courtesy of NASA).
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Staff News
The School of Physics welcomes the following new staff members:
  • Dr Massoud Aghilli Yajadda, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Complex Systems
  • Mr Peter Axtens, Faculty Team Leader - Electronics
  • Mr Jacob Fry, Research Associate, ISA
  • Ms Antara Guha, Executive Assistant to Head of School (temporary)
  • Dr Huimin Liu, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Condensed Matter
We say farewell and offer our thanks and best wishes to the following members of staff:
  • Dr Elias Giacoumidis (now at Heriot-Watt University)
  • Ms Jenny Lynch (now at Creative Science)
  • Dr Michael Smith (now at University of Manchester)

Anniversary of appointment
Congratulations to Associate Professor Bob Hewitt who celebrated the 50-year anniversary of his appointment to the School and University on 7 April 2017.
Media and News
INSPIRE-2 satellites reach the International Space Station
The Atlas V carrying INSPIRE-2 and the other QB50 satellites were successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on 18 April 2017. Professor Iver Cairns was in attendance to watch his Space Physics group's satellites being launched into space. These are the first Australian-built satellites in space for 16 years. 

The satellites are contained in the Cygnus capsule (pictured in the masthead above) which reached the International Space Station on 23 April 2017, and are scheduled for deployment on either 8 or 15 May 2017.
Congratulations to Professor Cairns and his team on this significant achievement. More research work will follow after deployment, as data is received and analysed from the satellies.

Bright Lights: the science of light at the nanoscale
Dr Andrea Blanco Redondo and Professor Ben Eggleton presented the future applications of nanophotonics research as part of the Sydney Science Forum on 26 April 2017.

Can we fit a whole lab on a chip? Can we squeeze big data highways through nano-circuits? It may be hard to imagine, but all this and much more is possible with nanophotonics, the science of light at the nanoscale.

Nanophotonics research is addressing some of the most important challenges of our time, such as producing cheap and reliable point-of-care medical diagnostic devices and reducing the huge carbon footprint of big data. They described the amazing science that underpins these new technologies, and how light is making our future bright.
Awards and Prizes
Springer Thesis Award
Congratulations to Dr Jason Yue who was recently selected as participant in the Springer Theses program for his PhD thesis titled "Higgs Properties: Implications at the LHC and on Cosmology." Top-ranked universities and research institutes select their best thesis for publication in this series. Nominated and endorsed by two recognised specialists, each thesis is chosen for its scientific excellence and impact on research. The Springer Theses series provides an accredited documentation of the valuable contributions made by today’s younger generation of scientists.
Concur and New Corporate Cards
The University has upgraded the Travel and Expense system to Concur, which is widely used at other universities world-wide. 

Concur should provide greater control for booking travel and managing expenses (including credit card expenses and cash reimbursements), as well as more support while you travel (via, which is owned by Concur), and the ability for the University to contact travellers during natural disasters and other crises.  There are mobile apps for Concur and Tripit that will be linked to your account, and will allow you to manage your travel and expenses on your mobile device, rather than having to log onto a computer.

New Corporate Cards: As part of the transition to Concur, new corporate cards are being issued from Physics Reception, Room 210, Physics Building A28. New cards are ready for use immediately and will be linked to your Concur account. Your old card will be destroyed on receipt of the new card.

Last training session: Wednesday 10 May from 10am, New Law Building Seminar Room 117

Otherwise, please login and explore Concur via the staff intranet:

Concur helpdesk via the phone number 12000 + press 5 + press 4,
or email

Travel Approvals: There are also some important changes to the University's approvals process.  As before, you must submit a request for all work-related travel outside the Sydney area, regardless of who is paying. Under the new system, domestic travel will be automatically approved in most cases.  For international travel, the approval will be done by your direct supervisor.  For T&R academic staff and Fellows, that is Head of School, so no change there. But for postdocs and professional staff, approval will now be done by your direct supervisor manager (the person who approves your leave in the HR system). Approval of expenses will also follow the same pattern.

Students do not use Concur for the time being. They should continue to submit travel requests via the usual procedure.
Service Innovation Program for Science
Faculty Executive Leadership appointments
The following staff have been appointed to the Faculty of Science executive leadership team:
  • Ms Veronica Boulton – Head, Education
  • Dr Sarah Brecknock – Head, Research & Research Training
  • Ms Sarah Gooch – Head, Executive Services
  • Ms Kristl Mauropoulos – Head, Partner Engagement & Outreach
 These positions have portfolio responsibilities, linking services across the Faculty, the Schools and with PSU and DVC portfolio partners, working closely with the Faculty Manager, the Dean, Associate Deans, School Managers and Heads of School. These colleagues all bring valuable expertise from across the Faculty, the University and the higher education sector more broadly.
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