MAY 2015


Staff arrivals & departures

The School of Physics welcomes the following new staff members:
  • Dr Amol Choudhary, CUDOS
  • Dr Elias Giacoumidis, CUDOS
  • Dr Chris Granade, Quantum Physics
  • Dr Anthony Morley, Particle Physics
  • Dr Dongping Yang, Complex Systems
  • Dr Paula Sanz Leon, Complex Systems
We are delighted to announce that Eve Teran, who has been acting in the role of School Administration Manager for the past year, has now been formally appointed to that position.

We say farewell and offer our thanks and best wishes to the following staff:
  • Dr Jessienta Anthony (now at the University of Auckland)
  • Louise Bendall (now in the UK undertaking a PhD)
  • Dr Davide Burlon
  • Dr Geng-Yuan Jeng (now at the University of Maryland)
  • Dr Nitin Nand
  • Dr Alexei Sibidanov (now at the University of Victoria British Columbia)
  • Dr Yongbai Yin has been appointed to an Honorary position in the School and will continue his research association with the Applied & Plasma Physics group.

Helping Veterans Strive to Succeed

A new course at the University of Sydney will give recently returned veterans the skills they need to transition to non-military work. The Skills Training and Reintegration Initiative for Veterans Education (STRIVE) program - free for ex-servicemen and women who have returned or been discharged in the past five years - is believed to be the first of its kind in Australia.

The program is co-founded by A/Professor Michael Biercuk, School of Physics, and is supported by founding partner SoldierOn. The chief patron for the program is Professor the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir, and will run through the University's Centre for Continuing Education.

Read the full news story and Sydney Morning Herald article.

Leadership team for the Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (AINST)

The University has appointed the first leadership team for the Australian
Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (AINST).

Professor Thomas Maschmeyer will be the initiating AINST Director, supported by Professor Simon Ringer as Director, Sydney Nanoscience Hub and Research and Prototype Foundry, and Professor Zdenka Kuncic as Director, Community and Research.

The continued commitment by the University to the nanoscience institute and to the new building is excellent news for the School and we look forward to capitalising on these opportunities.

Read the full news story.

Vale Dr Hugh S. Murdoch (1924 - 2015)

Hugh Murdoch's career as a chartered accountant was interrupted by conscription into the army during the second World War, where he served in Signals in the Asia-Pacific campaign. After the war he abandoned his earlier career and returned to University as a mature-age student to study science, gaining an MSc and PhD. Hugh joined the staff of the School of Physics in 1958 as Lecturer soon after completing his PhD in the field of cosmic rays. In the early 1960s, following a long-time interest in astronomy, he transferred to the newly formed Astrophysics Department under Professor Bernard Mills.

Hugh served the School and University for many years as Head of Intermediate Physics, as a member of the Science Faculty's Standing Committee and as an active researcher in radio astronomy. He was also mentor to many postgraduate students who benefited through his patient help and guidance. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1965 and Reader in 1977.

Following the commissioning of the 3.9 m Anglo-Australian Telescope in 1976, Hugh's research interests switched from radio to optical astronomy, specifically the spectroscopy of radio-loud quasars. This decade until his retirement in 1987 was his most productive scientifically, contributing two-thirds of his publications. His crowning achievement was his final, highly-cited paper that established unequivocally the presence of strong evolution in the density of hydrogen clouds along the lines of sight to distant quasars.

Hugh died peacefully at Camden Nursing Home on 8 May 2015.

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Student Awards

Congratulations to Shyeh Tjing (Cleo) Loi for being awarded the 2015 Bok Prize in recognition of her outstanding Honours research “Waves in the Sky: Probing the Ionosphere with the Murchison Widefield Array”. Cleo is the fifth SIfA student in the last eight years to receive this prize.

Congratulations to Madusha Gunawardhana for being awarded the 2015 Louise Webster Prize. This prize recognises the outstanding research and scientific impact of her paper titled “Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA): the star formation rate dependence of the stellar initial mass function”. Madusha will be presented her prize at the Astronomical Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting in Perth during July.

Congratulations to Young Zhang for receiving a National Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Overseas Chinese Student from the Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China. The awards are based on academic merit and encourage international students to achieve first-class results during their studies. The awards were developed by the China Scholarship Council, a non-profit organisation of the Chinese Ministry of Education.

Congratulations to Thomas Buettner for being awarded the 2014 Faculty of Science Postgraduate Research Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement. This prize recognises outstanding postgraduate student academic achievement for his paper titled "Phase-locking and Pulse Generation in Multi-Frequency Brillouin Oscillator via Four Wave Mixing.".

Congratulations to Tomonori Hu for being awarded the 2014 Faculty of Science Dean’s Award for Citizenship and Outreach. This new Faculty postgraduate award is the equivalent of the prestigious, undergraduate Helen Beh Citizenship Award. It is awarded to the postgraduate student who has contributed most to the Faculty’s non-academic activities and interests.

Thomas and Tomonori will be presented their awards at the Faculty of Science Prizes Ceremony on 5 August.

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Special Colloquium: Wednesday 27 May

Associate Professor Eva Bezak, University of Adelaide
Radiation Roulette and Cell Survival

Mathematical and computational models, which describe the complex biophysical processes associated with radiation induced cell death, have been used since the early 1960s. These are now mainly based on increasingly sophisticated Monte Carlo codes and aim to consolidate theories of macroscopic dose deposition and micro/nanoscopic damage caused by ionising radiation.  In recent and current Adelaide work, we have developed an integrated radiobiological model by combining several “in-house" generated models with existing Monte Carlo particle tracking toolkits (GEANT4). The result is a simulation that can: grow a tumour/cell structure composed of individual cells (with realistic chemical composition and geometry), irradiate the cells, record the microdosimetric track structure in each cell, cluster spatially correlated ionisation events into DNA double strand breaks and then predict the likelihood that any given cell will survive. The novelty of this model is its ability to predict both the microscopic and macroscopic outcome of radiobiology experiments while varying input parameters such as: cell line, radiation type, tumour geometry, dose etc. This model was applied to the novel treatment modality of radiation sensitisation of cells by gold nano-particles. The photon energy, gold concentration dependence, contribution from Auger electrons and the effect of delivery method were investigated. In another simulation, low energy (0.76 MeV) protons were used to irradiate a mono-layer of V79 CHO cells and to predict the cell survival fraction, replicating a published experiment in the attempt to validate the model in its entirety by comparing modelled cell survival with experimental data.

The objective of this work is to improve our understanding of the mechanisms of biological damage of photons, electrons, protons and other particles in both the clinical and space environments.

Wednesday 27 May 2015 at 3pm
Slade Lecture Theatre
Physics Building A28

Cake and coffee will be served.

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The AIN building is now nearing completion and most spaces are in the commissioning phase. Some highlights include the Messel Lecture Theatre, which now has all seats installed and a working A/V system. On the roof, a large concrete pad has been installed which will house a new rotating observatory dome.

Outside of the building, progress is well underway in the courtyard area, where large holes are being excavated to make way for mature trees. In A28, works are about to commence on a new entryway through the central axis of the building, which will lead directly out into the AIN courtyard.

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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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