MARCH 2015


Staff arrivals & departures

The School of Physics welcomes the following new staff members:
  • Dr Behnam Akhavan, Applied Physics
  • Dr Bryn Bell, CUDOS
  • Dr Andrea Blanco Redondo, CUDOS
  • Dr Gayandhi De Silva, SIfA
  • Dr Chris Ferrie, Quantum Physics
  • Dr Jan Hamann, SIfA
  • Mark Leworthy, Photonics and Optical Science
  • Dr Christine Lynch, SIfA
  • Dr Sandeep Mavadia, Quantum Physics
  • Jeremy Platt, Quantum Physics
  • Dr Jesse Van de Sande, SIfA
We say farewell and offer our thanks and best wishes to the following staff:
  • Dr Joel Carpenter (now at University of Queensland)
  • Dr Alex Clark (now at Imperial College London)
  • Dr Anthony Conn
  • Dr Helen Georgiou (now at CrookED Science)
  • Dr Chad Husko (now at Argonne National Laboratory, US)
  • Dr Irina Kabakova (now at AMOLF, Netherlands)
  • Dr Mikhail Lapine (now at University of Technology, Sydney)
  • Dr Simon Lefrancois
  • Dr Terry McRae
  • Dr Shane O'Sullivan
  • Dr Aldo Saavedra (now at CERN)
  • Susan Schiotz
  • Dr Oded Shrier (now at University of NSW)
  • Dr Rajesh Ganesan, who has been appointed an Honorary Associate and will continue his research work with the Applied Physics group.
Win Myo is retiring after 29 years service to the University. Win is well known to generations of students and staff, having worked in the first year teaching labs for the past 23 years.

Honorary Associate Professor Ian Johnston has ended his long teaching career at the University. Ian was first appointed to an academic position in the School in 1965. He will continue his research work in Physics Education at the School.

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Nominations Open: Young Tall Poppy Science Awards

The prestigious Young Tall Poppy Science Awards aim to recognise the achievements of Australia’s outstanding young scientific researchers and communicators. Nominations are now open in all fields of science and technology in all Australian states and territories.

Please visit the Australian Institute of Policy and Science site for nomination forms, eligibility and selection details.

Nominations close on 6 April 2015.

Applications Open: L'Oréal Australia For Women in Science Fellowships

In 2015, the L'Oréal Australia For Women in Science Fellowship program has expanded with the addition of a Fellowship specifically for New Zealand.

The Fellowships will be awarded to outstanding early-career female scientists to help them consolidate their careers and rise to leadership positions in science, with the addition of a Fellowship specifically for New Zealand.

In 2015 there are four Fellowships on offer:
  • Three $25,000 L'Oréal Australia For Women in Science Fellowships
  • The inaugural $25,000 L'Oréal New Zealand For Women in Science Fellowship
The Fellowships are available to female researchers who are within five years post-PhD and have shown excellence in their career to date.

In assessing the applications, the jury will be looking for women who exhibit leadership skills, independence in their achievements, and have an outstanding track record.

Funds from the Fellowship can be used to help finance the Fellow’s scientific research, including the costs of equipment, consumables, travel and conferences. Previous Fellows have also used this support to hire a research assistant, or cover the cost of childcare. Also see the L'Oréal Women in Science website for more details and past winners.

Science Marketing and Communications have offered their assistance to School members with the application process. Please contact Eve Teran, School Administration Manager, if you are interested in making an application.

Nominations for Australian Museum Eureka Prizes now open

The annual Eureka Prizes presented by the Australian Museum are now open. The prizes reward excellence in research and innovation, leadership, science communication and journalism, and school science.

Nominations close 1 May. Please see the Australian Museum website for further details and online entries.

American Physical Society 2015 Outstanding Referees

Congratulations to Emeritus Professor Ross McPhedran on his selection as an "Outstanding Referee" by the American Physical Society. This lifetime award recognises outstanding service to the physics community for efforts in peer review and maintaining the high standards of the Physical Review Journals.

The 2015 selections were based on 30 years of records on over 65,000 referees who have been called upon to review manuscripts. The basis for selection includes the quality, number and timeliness of their reports. The 142 honorees come from 27 different countries, with large contingents from the US, Germany, UK, Canada and France.

Australia Award Fellowship

Congratulations to Professor Manfred Lenzen and Dr Joy Murray for their success with an Australia Award Fellowship to conduct the training program "Training Leaders from Small Remote Island States in Advancing Sustainable Development (Pacific-Indonesia)" in Sydney and on Norfolk Island. This will be the fourth time their training program has been offered, and is scheduled to start on 9 April.

Templeton Fellowship

Congratulations to Dr Luke Barnes for the award of a Templeton Fellowship to carry out research starting in March 2015. Luke was on a Superscience Fellowship with the SAMI Survey last year.

His project, working with Professor Geraint Lewis and Dr Pascal Elahi, will produce a unique set of cosmological galaxy formation simulations. They will explore parameter space, quantifying how galaxy and star formation depend on the fundamental cosmological parameters. The goal is to quantify the relationship between the properties of our cosmic environment and the place of observers.

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2015 Dr Peter Domachuk Memorial Lecture

Professor Federico Capasso, Harvard University
From designer optical materials to structured light for the Internet of Things: adventures of an optical scientist

Engineered optical materials such as photonic crystals, metamaterials and quantum engineered semiconductors have opened up exciting new vistas in optics and photonics. Deep insights into the interaction between light and the above have led to major advances such as an entire new class of lasers spanning an unprecedented wavelength range (quantum cascade lasers) and control of electromagnetic fields (structured light). The latter includes exotic light states such as vortex  beam, radially polarized light and in general vector beams where the amplitude, phase and polarization of light is locally engineered to generate arbitrary wavefronts.  In particular the structuring of surfaces at the subwavelength scale (Metasurfaces) is leading to exciting developments in Flat Optics that promises unique opportunities in engineering light in arbitrary ways with potential for revolutionary high performance light-weight ultrathin optical components that could impact the Internet of Things and smart wearable optics. The “holy grail” is inverse design in optical technology: given a new type of optical beam with arbitrary properties find the designer material that can generate it from a known incident light beam.

Tuesday 17 March 2015
5:45pm for a 6:00pm start
Free admission: Registration is essential

Charles Perkins Centre Auditorium, John Hopkins Drive,
The University of Sydney, Camperdown Campus

Federico Capasso is the Robert Wallace Professor of Applied Physics at Harvard University, which he joined in 2003 after a 27 years career at Bell Labs where he did research, became Bell Labs Fellow and held several management positions including Vice President for Physical Research. His research has spanned a broad range of topics from applications to basic science in the areas of electronics, photonics, nanoscale science and technology including plasmonics and the Casimir effect.  He is a co-inventor of the quantum cascade laser. He has lectured widely including many short courses and tutorials. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; his most recent awards include the King Faisal Prize, the Berthold Leibinger Future Prize, the Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics, the APS Arthur Schawlow Prize and the IEEE Edison Medal.

Event website
Enquiries: +61 2 9351 2637;

First Conference in the AIN

The SPIE Micro+Nano Materials, Devices, and Applications 2015 Conference will be held at the University of Sydney, 6 - 9 December 2015 at the Australian Institute of Nanoscience (AIN). Details on the conference are at the SPIE website.

As the conference will coincide with the end of the International Year of Light, some special celebrations and showcases are planned.

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Postgraduate Research Students

New PhD and MSc students will have their orientation session on Friday 27 March from 11am in Slade Lecture Theatre.

Work Health and Safety (WHS) Induction

Any new staff and students are welcome to attend the Safety Induction, presented as part of the Postgraduate Research Student Orientation on Friday 27 March from 12pm in Slade Lecture Theatre.

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2015 is both the International Year of Light and the year that permanent power was connected to the AIN building (i.e., the lights now work). On the subject of light, the AIN building is north-facing and contains an all glass façade and skylights. This provides both sunlight and views for the teaching areas, for the offices and meeting rooms and for the break-out areas. Nearly the opposite is true for many of the laboratories where the environment must be strictly controlled and sealed off from the external world and where in some instances, e.g. laser labs, daylight must be totally excluded.

More information
The control and interaction of light is not a new requirement for physics. Indeed, in the current heritage listed A28 building, the long axis of the building was designed to enable certain classes of optical experiments to be conducted in the corridors. On the exterior of the building, the north facing "sills" housed siderostats to reflect sunlight into rooms for spectrographic work.

Fortunately, the A28 building has received some much-needed attention due to its proximity to the AIN building. For example, starting this week, the external façade will be painted and the windows cleaned and repaired. Later in the year, there will be modifications to the large south-facing arched window in the main foyer, which will provide a line of sight and entrance through A28 to the AIN.

The AIN construction project is still scheduled for completion in June 2015. Pictures of current progress include the Messel Lecture Theatre, with tiered seating structure installed, and the first plantings for the green roof.

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Lecture Recordings

University AV services have introduced automatic lecture recordings in all enabled venues. For Physics this is all lecture theatres except LT4. Recordings start at 5 minutes past the hour and end on the hour. Assume you are being recorded while in a lecture theatre and conduct private conversations well out of microphone range - outside the theatre is advised.

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
  • 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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