Dick and Penny Hunstead have shown extraordinary generosity with a gift of $1.4 million to establish the Dick Hunstead Fund for Astrophysics. The fund will be used to support research activities in the Sydney Institute for Astronomy (SIfA). Read the full story on our website.

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Continuing Appointment

Congratulations to Dr Sergio Leon-Saval (IPOS and Astrophotonics), whose position has been converted to continuing. He will be running the Sydney Astrophotonic Instrumentation Labs when completed in the new year.

Staff arrivals & departures

The School of Physics welcomes the following new staff members:
  • Dr Romesh Abeysuriya, Complex Systems
  • Jacqui Charlesworth, CUDOS
  • Barnaby Norris, SIfA
  • Dr Nitin Nand, Quantum Physics
  • Goncalo Borges, Particle Physics
We say farewell and offer our thanks and best wishes to Phil Dennis (Senior Technical Officer), who has retired after 35 years in the School.

Academic Promotions

Congratulations to Professor Zdenka Kuncic and Associate Professor Rongkun Zheng who were successful in the latest rounds of academic promotions.

IEEE Fellow

Professor Marcela Bilek was recently named an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Fellow, in recognition of her contributions to the science and application of plasma processes for materials modification and synthesis. The IEEE is the world's largest technical professional association, and has long been composed of engineers, scientists, and allied professionals.

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School recognised with Pleiades Award

The School of Physics was recently awarded a Bronze level Pleiades Award for demonstrating a commitment to implement a range of initiatives that will promote awareness of unconscious bias, encourage full participation of women at all levels of professional life, and recognise the importance of work-life balance. This award acknowledges the ongoing efforts of our Physics Equity and Access Committee.

NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal

Congratulations to Dr Daniel Huber (DECRA Fellow in SIfA), on being awarded the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for his research on the properties of stars found by the Kepler Mission to host extra-solar planets.

AIP NSW Postgraduate Award

Congratulations to Michael Seo, PhD student supervised by Professor Kostya Ostrikov, for winning the best presentation prize at the AIP NSW Postgraduate Awards Day. Talk title: Single Step, Plasma Enabled Transformation of Natural Precursors into Graphenes and their Applications in Energy Storage Devices.

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Two of fourteen ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA) for the University came to the School Physics. We congratulate the following recipients:
  • Dr David Marpaung, a current research fellow in CUDOS. Project title: Universal photonic analog signal processor for ubiquitous radio
  • Dr Maritza Lara-Lopez, a current Super Science Fellow at the Australian Astronomical Observatory. Project title: Identifying the main drivers in the evolution of galaxies.

Discovery Projects

The School was successful in receiving six ARC Discovery Project grants, four of which are led by our staff. We congratulate the following recipients:

Chief Investigators: Professor Joss Bland-Hawthorn and Professor Tim Bedding.
Galactic archaeology - in search of fossil evidence of how our Galaxy formed.
Chief Investigator: Professor Cathy Stampfl.
Targeting nano-catalysts for sustainable biorefining and chemical processes.
Chief Investigator: Associate Professor Rongkun Zheng.
Atomic-level Insights into Semiconductor Nanowires
Chief Investigator: Dr Stefano Palomba. Co-Chief Investigator: Professor  Martijn de Sterke.
Hybrid Plasmonic waveguide for integrated photonic signal processing.
Co-Chief Investigator: Professor Cathy Stampfl.
Novel two-photon atom manipulation for ultra-nanoscale processing of diamond.
Co-Chief Investigator: Dr Mikhail Lapine.
Enhanced interaction of electromagnetics and mechanics in structured media.

LIEF Grants

The School was successful in receiving 12 ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities grants, three of which are led by our staff. We congratulate the following recipients:

First Chief Investigator: Professor Joss Bland-Hawthorn. Co-Chief Investigators: A/Professor Scott Croom, Dr Julia Bryant, and Dr Sergio Leon-Saval.
Hector: a revolutionary spectrograph for understanding how galaxies evolve.
First Chief Investigator: Professor Ben Eggleton. Co-Chief Investigators: Professor David Reilly, Dr Stefano Palomba, Professor Simon Fleming, Professor Martijn de Sterke, and Professor David Moss.
Inductively-coupled plasma etcher.
First Chief Investigator: A/Professor Kevin Varvell. Co-Chief Investigator: Dr Bruce Yabsley.
Australian Participation in the Belle II Experiment
Professor Marcela Bilek and Dr Stefano Palomba (led by RMIT).
Collaborative facility for high resolution spectroscopy of thin films and devices
Professor David McKenzie (led by UNSW).
Nanoelectronic and spintronic atomic scale device characterisation facility.
A/Professor Kevin Varvell (led by Melbourne).
National Contribution to ATLAS/LHC Upgrade.
Professor Peter Tuthill (led by Swinburne).
Kunlun Infrared Sky Survey Camera.
Professor Anne Green (led by University of Adelaide).
Cerenkov Telescope Array – the next step in very high energy Gamma-ray Astronomy.
Professor Tim Bedding (led by UNSW).
Veloce Rosso.
Professor Bryan Gaensler (led by Swinburne).
Ultra-wideband receiver.
Professor Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Professor Elaine Sadler, and A/Professor Scott Croom (led by UWA).
4Most fibre positioner: AESOP.
Dr Oliver Warschkow (led by UNSW).

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The AIN façade and roof are now complete, which is good news given the amount of heavy rain we’ve experienced lately. Inside the building, the large lecture theatre is taking shape (see image), the lifts are operational, the cleanroom floor is down, and the EMI shielding to the sensitive laboratories is being installed.

Starting early next year, there will be permanent power to the building and the waterproof membrane and soil will be applied to the green roof. The green roof  is a key aesthetic and functional feature of the AIN. For example, it will provide offices and teaching facilities to the south of the building with a pleasant outlook that is equivalent to the Physics Courtyard on the north. It will also create an appropriate buffer zone between the occupied spaces in the AIN and the residential rooms in the new St. Paul’s development. Furthermore, the green roof  provides an acoustic, vibration and thermal buffer to the sensitive research spaces below.

Given the good progress this year, the project is still on track for completion in mid 2015.

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University Closedown 2014-2015

Each year the University closes for two weeks over the holiday period. We do this to provide staff with an opportunity to take a complete break from work and spend time with their family and friends.

The University will be closed from 19 December 2014 to 2 January 2015 inclusive.

The School Reception and Student Services Office, Room 210, will re-open on Monday 5 January 2015.

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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