The Australian National University

Event Horizon

Research School of Physics


Weekly newsletter | vol 45 no 18 | 4–8 May 2020




Director's Message

Dear Colleagues,

I certainly wasn’t expecting the dusting of snow on the Brindabella’s this weekend.  Hope you stayed warm and are in good spirits. 

On Friday the VC indicated a measured and staged approach to re-entering campus. I would like to focus a little today on what these stages mean within Physics.  Up until today we have been in Stage 3, that is remote working with only critical maintenance and COVID-related activities permitted. This has meant that about 25 people have been permitted for very brief visits no more than once a week, mostly for maintenance.  Apart from some remote measurements, all campus-based research has been on stand-by.  From today we will enter Stage 2, where additional but still a very restricted subset of activities have been allowed.  These include urgent Cat 2,3,4 research and multiuser facilities or workshops.  This next stage will permit about twice as many on site, and mostly technical staff to typically work for several 4 hour shifts per week.  There have been a very small number of exceptions where people can work for longer, notably MakerSpace and now some external contracts.  It is great to see the gears start to engage back on campus but we need to stay vigilant as at any time we may be forced to revert to Stage 3.  All those who re-enter will need to adhere to Safe Work Procedures, employing PPE and hygiene practice.  Stage 2 will allow all School facilities to ramp up in time for Stage 1.  Stage 1 is divided into 2 steps; in order, 1b and followed by 1a.  Tentatively, Stage 1b is hoped to commence from 2nd June and aims to bring research (HDR and Hons) students back on campus.  It will be from this time we hope to invite researchers back, however in observing the necessary public health constraints it may mean we are still far from 100% occupied.  I have asked Heads to develop a priority list for each area over the next few weeks.  Stage 1a, will notionally commence from 27th June and aim to bring undergraduates back.  All these stages most follow community health standards, and at any time may revert to earlier stages.  We will all need to play an active part in keeping COVID under control in our community.  The Heads, Executive and Unit managers all know as much as I do.  Please speak with them as we plan restart Physics on campus over the next few months. 

Last week Sue sent out an important School survey.  This will help us put in place improvements for future remote working so please take 10 minutes and fill it in.  The survey will close this Friday.  

Thank you to those who replied to an automated email request asking if you had been contacted by your supervisor.  Around 2/3 of the School replied, with less than 3% indicating that they had not been in contact with their supervisor over the past week.  I am very grateful to all the supervisors keeping in touch.  It means a great deal and will help enormously as we filter back onto campus.  As this is a staged process it is critical that we keep in touch with those still working remotely.   

This week’s pic some from EME student, Rowena Yew, showing a Scanning Electron micrograph a 3D ordered macroporous structure from her research.  The beautiful autumnal garden images below are from Roger Buckley (AM) and Graeme Cornish (RSPhys F&S). 

Have a great week,



School Seminar Program - 13 May @11am via zoom

Dr Hua Xia (CPF) presents Surface Wave Control of Bacterial Biofilms

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A message from the E&D committee: This week -  Report on the National Inquiry into workplace sexual harassment from Kate Jenkins.

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Information for all PhD and supervisors can be found in this section. We will be updating this link continuously with FAQs, the communications strategy, key contact people and support strategies.

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Information for all Departmental research and professional staff can be found in this section. We will be updating this link continuously with FAQs, the communications strategy, key contact people and support strategies.

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Prizes and Awards

The Australian Academy of Science has extended the deadline for the Honorific awards until the 25th of May.

The nomination deadlines for the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are extended until the 15th of May.


Read the Weekly Digest for Education and Infrastructure


RUOK? Have you completed the remote working survey? Read more for more details.

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Isolation salvation - Photographic project by CoS

LAST CHANCE - The College of Science are running a series of photos of researchers, called isolation salvation. They are looking to take photos of people with an activity that helps them through social distancing.

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Departmental Seminars - all welcome

5 May @ 11amRifat Ahmmed Aoni. Phase controlled functional metasurfaces » read more


ECI Webinar - 13 May

Energy Conversations: Developments in community-based battery storage

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RSPhys admin support during the University remote work and study period

Working From Home - Please complete the e-form and WEG checklist




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