The Australian National University

Event Horizon

Research School of Physics


Weekly newsletter | vol 45 no 44 | 2–6 November 2020


Director's Message

Dear Colleagues,

It is my great pleasure to welcome not one, but three new HDR Convenors.  After the latest EoI, A/Prof Patrick Kluth, AD(HDR), has invited Dr Vanessa Robins (TP/AM), Prof Vince Craig (AM) and Dr Vladimir Mangazeev to join the team (…and the V’s have it).  While the whole HDR Team can assist students and supervisors on any matter, Vanessa will focus on mentoring and post-PhD careers, Vince on supervisor training, and Vladimir on recruitment and student admission.  My continuing thanks to Stuart Szigeti who will remain on awards and prizes.  It’s great to see such strong and diverse experience join the HDR team.

The top pic for the week, no, for the year (!) is of course our members of the team to win the PM’s Science Prize for 2020.  Again, our congratulations to Profs Susan Scott and David McClelland, and the whole CGA group for the recognition of their accelerating impact in Gravitational Wave research (see below).  One of the consequences of advanced research is necessarily advanced technology and for those pioneers prepared to find applications great rewards await.  Prof Daniel Shaddock (CGA) has taken his research to that next level (see below).  It’s fantastic to see, and he’s not alone with others in our School spinning up companies from their research.  Over the next few weeks we’ll cover these new ventures.

Have a good week,




Last week four OzGrav members were awarded the 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science for their critical contributions to the first direct detection of gravitational waves, a landmark achievement in human discovery: Chief Investigator Emeritus Professor David Blair (UWA); Deputy Director Professor David McClelland (ANU); Chief Investigator Professor Susan Scott (ANU); and Chief Investigator Professor Peter Veitch (UA).

» read more



Congratulations to Zelio Fusco, Mohsen Rahmani, Thanh Tran-Phu, Chiara Ricci, Alexander Kiy, Patrick Kluth, Enrico Della Gaspera, Nunzio Motta, Dragomir Neshev, and Antonio Tricoli* for their recent publication in Advanced Materials. Photonic Fractal Metamaterials: A Metal–Semiconductor Platform with Enhanced Volatile-Compound Sensing Performance.

» read more


Bringing ANU Entrepreneurs to the World

Prof. Daniel Shaddock, RSPhys, ANU and a team of more than 25 physics scientists, researchers, engineers and designers are working towards capturing a $15 billion market. Head of Innovation at ANU, Prof. Michael Cardew-Hall is responsible for identifying intellectual property within the university and finding ways to bring the new ideas to the world. Prof. Cardew-Hall said over the last few years the university has been very active in the development of startups out of Canberra. CT Story: Alex Crowe Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

» read more


2020 AIPNSW Industry Day Events

This week - Three Faces of Physics, Podcast Club – Does Time Exist? and Start-ups in Lockdown.

» read more


Ion Beams and Cancer

Our primary weapon against disease is early diagnosis. With COVID19 a probe tube is inserted into the nose to acquire a sample for testing and the newest diagnostic for cancer is using ion beams for sub cellular resolution of the infection. At the heart of these Time of Flight Secondary Ion Spectrometers is a portable machine developed by a Silicon Valley Start-up using an ion beam system from Oregon Physics that has at its heart a plasma source developed 20 years ago by the SP3 group at RSphysSE. And now, through a Linkage grant, Prof Christine Charles and the SP3 team will work with Dr Noel Smith - Oregon Physics, to make the next generation of negative ion sources using caesium impregnated surfaces to produce negative beams of O3. This will allow much finer diagnostics and the possibility that the system can be transported by road to allow cheap and efficient mass screening for cancer. Ion Beams and Cancer as an infographic (Image by Prof Rod Boswell)




School Seminar

Wednesday, 11 November
Dr Taiki Tanaka
Creating New Elements

» read more



2 November
Virtual Workshop on Strongly Coupled Light-Matter Interactions: Models and Applications
» read more

3 November
Ms Rowena Yew
Metal Oxide and Oxynitride Semiconductors for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting
» read more

6 November
Prof Stephen Hyde, University of Sydney
The simplest 38 (or so) fold-classes of RNA (or DNA) by base-pairing. Knots and tangles from string sequences, and sequences for knots and tangles
» read more

4 November
ARC Laureate Fellows Sharon Parker, Lisa Kewley and Jolanda Jetten
Women in Research, Small Wins webinars: Staying sane whilst managing home-work challenges
» read more

5 November
Inclusive leadership in times of uncertainty 
» read more


20 November
RSPhys Writing Workshop
The 2020 ANU Academic Skills Centre writing workshop series will hold its next workshop for RSPhys students via the Zoom platform focussing on journal writing. 

» read more


Prof Ben Buchler will be acting HOD of the DQS from the 2 – 15 November 2020 whilst Prof John Close is on leave.


ANU Node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter and Particle Physics has a new admin email address.  This email address is to be used for all administrative matters related to the Centre -


The School tours of the RSPhys building site have been a huge success. Further tours will be arranged later in the year. Should you be interested in joining please email to be added to a waiting list. (Photo taken by Patrick Romero Aguilera)


Physics @ ANU



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