Friday 31 October

Honours, Masters and PhD graduands, their family and friends will attend the 31 October graduation ceremonies in the Great Hall at 9:30am and 11:30am. Academic staff are encouraged to participate in the academic procession and are asked to meet in the Senate Room, Main Quadrangle at least 15 minutes prior to start time.

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The School of Physics has recently established the Physics Equity and Access Committee, a working group which aims to devise policies, priorities and actions to provide an inclusive and equitable workplace in which everyone is treated respectfully. Our first task is to survey our staff and postgraduate students to obtain some demographic information, but more importantly, to know about your experiences, your concerns and any ideas you may have on issues of equity and access. The purpose of this survey is to better understand the current status of equity and diversity in the School.

Access the survey at:

The survey introduction page describes how we will ensure that your response is anonymous, and explain your options for completing the survey.

Once the survey is analysed the data will be used to inform the development of a School Equity and Diversity Plan and plan further action. The outcomes will also be used in preparing an application for a Bronze Pleiades Award, which is bestowed by the Women in Astronomy Chapter of the Astronomical Society of Australia in recognition of action on issues of equity for women.

The due date is the 5th of November and we strongly encourage everyone in the School to participate, whether or not you have experienced any of the issues we are addressing.

See the Equity and Access website for more information on the committee's work and goals.

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Share, Connect, Change

The Women at Sydney: share, connect, change symposium on Saturday 1 November 2014 is part of a series of events hosted by the University to celebrate women’s achievements and leadership. Professor Elaine Sadler and Dr Tara Murphy will be speaking at panel sessions on the day.

More information is available on the University website.

Wikibombing Event: Friday 31 October

As a lead up to the Women at Sydney event, on Friday afternoon the University and Wikipedia are hosting two Wikibomb sessions. The goal is to raise the profile of notable University of Sydney female leaders (alumni, current and former academic and professional staff) - both living and no longer with us - on Wikipedia.  This event is being co-hosted by Wikipedia because it’s concerned about the gender imbalance when it comes to articles about notable women.

Go to the USyd-Wikipedia event page for details.

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Staff arrivals & departures

The School of Physics welcomes the following new staff members:
  • Dr Jessienta Anthony, IPOS
  • Dr Mohamed Barakat, Medical Physics
  • Dr Matthew Field, Medical Physics
  • Dr Daniel Huber, SIfA
  • Dr Cliff Kerr, Complex Systems
  • Dr Michael Smith, CUDOS
We say farewell and offer our thanks and best wishes to the following staff:
  • Dr Nicholas Bate (now at University of Melbourne)
  • Dr Stephen Curran (now at Victoria University of Wellington). Stephen will retain research links with CAASTRO in his new position.
  • Dr Sean Farrell (now at Strategic Enterprise Services, Canberra)
  • Dr Andres Reynoso (now at Baroliche Atomic Centre, Argentina)
  • Dr Alessandro Tuniz (now at Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology, Germany)

Elected Fellow of ATSE

Professor Anne Green has been elected to The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. She joins an impressive list of 25 fellows appointed to The Academy, whose aim is to enhance Australia's prosperity through technological innovation.

Academic Promotions

Congratulations to Dr James Allen (SIfA), Dr Darren Hudson (CUDOS), Dr Sergio Leon-Saval (Optics), Dr Nicolas Menicucci (Quantum) and Dr Sanjib Sharma (SIfA) who were all recently promoted.

New Directors for CAASTRO and SIfA

Professor Elaine Sadler is the new Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO). She succeeds Professor Bryan Gaensler, who has led CAASTRO since its inception in 2011.

Professor Joss Bland-Hawthorn is the new Director of the Sydney Institute for Astronomy (SIfA), taking over from Professor Peter Tuthill.

The School congratulates our new Directors and gives sincere thanks for the tremendous efforts of previous leaders.

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USyd Postdoctoral Fellowship

We congratulate Dr Nicholas Scott on receiving a University of Sydney Postdoctoral Fellowship for his project, "The origin of dwarf elliptical galaxies: little giants or regular irregulars?" Dr Scott will begin his felllowship with the School in 2015.

Grant Success

Congratulations to Associate Professor Michael Biercuk on being awarded an US Army Research Office grant worth $3.1M over the next three years.

The project on "Quantum Control Engineering" is in collaboration with Associate Professor Lorenza Viola at Dartmouth College and Dr William Oliver at MIT and follows on from a previous successful ARO award from 2010-2014.

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Science & Engineering Award

Congratulations to Honorary Professor Kostya Ostrikov (Complex Systems) who received the award for ‘Excellence in Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry and Physics’ at the 2014 NSW Science & Engineering Awards ceremony. Details can be found at the Chief Scientist & Engineer NSW Government website.

Harry Messel Award

Congratulations to Eve Teran who received the Harry Messel Award for Excellence. This award is funded by the Physics Foundation and recognises excellent contributions by a staff member to the School's activities.

Student Prizes

Congratulations to PhD student Nicola Asquith, supervised by Associate Professor Reza Hashemi-Nezhad, on receiving the Perelygin Young Scientist Award at the "26th International Conference on Nuclear Tracks in Solids" in Kobe, Japan, for her research work and her presentation at that conference.

Congratulations also to SIfA PhD student Paul Stewart, supervised by Professor Peter Tuthill, for winning the best student talk prize at the 14th Australian Space Research Conference held in Adelaide. Paul's talk was entitled "Cassini for Australian Stellar Science".

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Science Teachers' Workshop

This biennial professional development course will take place in early November and is suitable for high school science teachers of all levels. The two-day Physics workshop on 3 and 4 November is convened by Tom Gordon and is approved by the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES). More details can be found at the Faculty of Science.


In 2014 Kickstart saw approximately a quarter of the HSC students sitting the HSC exam. That’s 3,797 students and 161 schools throughout NSW including rural and regional areas, a phenomenal number, compared with 3,211 students in 2013. Kickstart has been running continuously since 2001. More details about this important outreach program can be found at Kickstart Science.

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The facade is now approximately 75% complete, the cleanroom ceiling has been installed, and the structure for the link bridge that connects the AIN to A28 is being installed. Much of the ductwork and the huge cooling towers for the air-conditioning system have been installed and the staircase that connects all three levels of the foyer and breakout spaces is in place.

In a few weeks time the tower crane will be removed, as it will no longer be required. The removal of the crane signifies that things are progressing well and that the end of construction is coming closer. Indeed, the focus for many people now has shifted from design and construction onto strategy, governance and operational readiness.
Electrical Shielding
One of the fundamental challenges and requirements for the AIN was to create controlled environments that are isolated and protected from the external world. By external, we often think of things outside the building including power lines, nearby traffic, and the weather. However, due to the stringent requirements in the AIN, the internal disturbances are often more relevant. A good example of this is the electrical distribution system. This includes the substation, switch room, power cables and distribution boards. Many research areas have been designed for a maximum power load of 805w/m^2. Summing this for all laboratory spaces and the cleanroom, and considering the rest of the building, the substation was sized for a fully operational load of around 3.5MW. When the designers simulated this load and took into account various factors, including the electromagnetic interference requirements, it was recommended that the switch room, the major current-carrying conductors and the distribution boards all be shielded. Installing this shielding is one of the major activities currently being undertaken in the AIN.

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Annual Progress Reviews (APR)

Postgraduate research students will have received their APR forms by email, if due for an end of year review. Academic staff are reminded to indicate their availability for interview panels during 10 to 28 November via Doodle poll or email Alexis George.

Student Travel Form

A new student travel form is approved for use by Faculty management, as of 21 October. The form is available at the Physics Office, Room 210, or to download from the School website.

Booking Systems

A reminder that the School Booking system is now in place to self-book the following rooms and resources:
  • School Vehicles
  • Conference Phone
  • Data Projector
  • Carslaw Computational Lab 177
  • Foundation Room 208
  • Tutorial Room 414A
  • Room 226B - max. 4 people
  • Tea Room
  • Rosehill Street Boardroom
  • Parking Permit
The Web Helpdesk should be used for HR, Finance, building and cleaning issues, Cab Charge and Parking Vouchers, Key Requests and Security Access requests.

IT Support

For IT support and information, please refer to the Physics IT support website.

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