I’d like to start this week by singing the praises our irrepressible Physics Education Centre (PEC) and the many dedicated educators that have worked so effectively in these extraordinary times. The top panel shows what has been keeping Neil Devlin, Tom Cave, Andrew Papworth and Mika Kohonen so busy for the past 3 weeks. The experiment kit has been put together for our 2nd year students so they can complete their lab component at home. The first batch of 30 were dispatched on Friday to students across the country and overseas. In the end the PEC team will assemble 120 kits, each containing a range of experiments from DC electronics to spectral analysis of optical, mechanical and acoustic signals. A typical frequency analysis from Minilab 2 shown right. It has to make you feel proud that the PEC can continue to provide a top-flight physics program under any circumstance!
The other thing that made me smile all week has been the great enthusiasm of the volunteers. MakerSpace, the Physics Mechanical Workshop and School of Art & Design workshops are continuing to hit runs with the 4000th face shield assembled on Friday. My deep gratitude go to the 27 volunteers across Physics, Engineering and Art & Design who have kept the production rate so high. Thank you so much. To date we have distributed 1000 face shields within ACT, 2500 to Southern NSW and South Eastern Sydney local health districts. Local health organisations have also placed requests. Busy making shield and mask components are (below left) Alex Shanahan and Luke Roberts (right) in main Physics workshop and Simon Ramsey (bottom left) from School of Art & Design busy in the Furniture Workshop. Seen next is a pallet of shields on its way to Sydney and a shield being used at Queanbeyan Hospital last week (bottom right). My heartfelt thanks also go to another 30 volunteer who have been couriers around Canberra this past week. The first run of 360 masks, skilfully sown by over 70 volunteers from the Canberra Quilters together with friends of the School of Art & Design, were autoclaved on Friday at the Research School of Biology by Lee Philips (Physics Facilities and a man of many talents).
And so you can see why we all have good reasons to smile, firstly for having such an outstanding education program, and for being associated with one of the most significant community COVID projects in the region. Thank you to all the staff who have worked over and above these past weeks. Volunteerism is alive and well, our staff and students having joined with more than 120 volunteers from the Canberra region. The pic at the end illustrates the great pleasure shared by all those involved.
This week your Heads will talk to you about factors that will influence when you are able to return to campus. I fully understand how eager many are to return, but equally how constrained some people are by caring responsibilities and other commitments. We will do our level best to accommodate you over the next stage as we start to re-enter campus.
Lastly, it is a pleasure to draw your attention to the fruits of a long-term collaboration which led to a joint publication in Science last week, see details under Research portfolio below. This might just be the very first material use of the nano-hash tag!
Have a great week,