The Australian National University

Event Horizon

Research School of Physics


Weekly newsletter | vol 46 no 6 | 15–19 February 2021


Director's Message

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you had a pleasant weekend.

Last week I held a School meeting to address questions about the Implementation Schedule. At this meeting, and in several other discussions subsequently I was asked to clarify aspects of the process, give guidance on how academic staff might select the optimal group and discuss how resources will be equitably distributed. The first thing to highlight is that Departments form only the pastoral foundations of a grander strategic framework of cross-Department engagement outlined in the first report of the Research Working Party. I am convinced this framework will establish the basis for informed strategic decision. Much of the appeal for me is that it actively encourages interactions across the School. My first task is to reorganise Departments to facilitate the four Working Parties, who will help us all set strategy and derive guidelines.  The CoS Phase 1 Change Implementation Plan defined Departments;

The new Departmental structure will maintain cultural integrity around cognate technical resources. The newly-configured Departments will:

· Provide pastoral care, a duty of care extending across all staff and students, with peers helping set the tone and standard of collegiate behaviour. Departmental heads will help to establish the collegial tone of the Department.

· Ensure a safe working environment through appropriate inductions and due care.

· Act as a recurrent budget unit to incentivise foundational teaching and research activities,

· Focus specific technical expertise, particularly around design and development of the core facilities in the Department.

· Provide balanced representation in the School Executive across areas of research with very different resourcing requirements.

Departments are naturally arranged around aligned technical facilities, thus the codes that loosely define the current groupings reflect our National facilities, shared infrastructure in the new building and areas of National commitment. This is to ensure that each of the five Departments will have equitable access to the now Central School technical staff resources. The Infrastructure Working Party is working to guide this intention. The second thing to say about Departments is that staff may readily transfer, especially in this early stage. I intend to publish the preliminary academic staff lists on Wednesday. This, in no way, locks staff into a Department and I imagine that some movement will occur even over the next few weeks. That is all perfectly fine and I am happy to facilitate where needed. At present, around 70% of staff have nominated their preferred Department and all Departments are more or less evenly populated so far. To accommodate this fluidity I have pushed some of the dates back slightly in the revised Schedule, as well as adding some FAQs. 

I will hold a second School meeting on change implementation at 1200 today. All are welcome.

This week’s pic provides us a window on 1980, when the School had a band. During the week I had the pleasure of speaking with Kerri van Belkom, daughter of Colin Steele seen here playing banjo.  Kerri remembers fondly being a child accompanying her father at many School events. Colin was in the main mechanical workshop from the late 60’s until 1982 when he retired to the North Coast. Kerri sent me a lovely bundle of School memories of her dad’s time here that will be added to our archive. If anyone can help, I would be pleased to discover who the other band members are?  

Have a great week,


Commencement Address – Monday 15 February, 11am

All questions can be directed to

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ANU 2025 Plan

Have your say. Attend forums, submit written feedback, participate in focus groups or complete the survey. More information can be found on the ANU 2025 website.

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AINSE 2021 Postgraduate Research Awards (PGRA) – applications now open (applications close 15 April 2021)

New ANSTO FutureNow Scholarships – applications now open (FutureNow Plus applications close 12 February 2021 & FutureNow applications open April 2021)

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Unleashing the superpowers of materials with the flash of a laser

Scientists have devised a way to reveal the superpowers of a crystal, with a mere flash of laser light.

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Scientists create armour for fragile quantum technology

An international team of scientists has invented the equivalent of body armour for extremely fragile quantum systems, which will make them robust enough to be used as the basis for a new generation of low-energy electronics.

» read more




Oliphant Tea Room

The Oliphant tea room is open with tea bags & black coffee only.

Please remember to bring your own cup & spoon.


Building and Room Security Access

Please note that the school now has a general access restriction of 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.  

Only those people that have been approved by the WHS team (updated risk assessment, training and safe work procedures in place) will be granted additional access (24/7).

If you need to complete a new after-hours risk assessment, please see the new top section here:




Departmental seminar

Dr Michael Hall - 17 February
Causal vs retrocausal models of quantum correlations
» read more


Public Lecture - 18 February

Anti-gravity devices: are they realistic? - Dr Peter J Riggs

» read more


School Seminar Program - 24 February

How nanostructured materials bring new functionalities to optical systems - Prof. Dragomir Neshev, Prof. Chennupati Jagadish, Prof. Ilya Shadrivov, and Prof. Lan Fu

» read more


Know your administrator...

Julie Arnold - EME & NLPC

Petra Rickman - NP/HIAF & ARC CDM

Belinda Barbour - DQS

Nikki Azzopardi - AM, CPF, LPC & TP


The Energy Change Institute, which was based in the Cockroft Building, has been consolidated into the new ANU Institute for Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions. Read more.


...About Health & Safety Representatives (HSRs)

The powers and functions of HSRs are to:
• represent the workers in their work group in relation to work health and safety matters
• monitor the measures taken by the PCBU to comply with the WHS Act in relation to their work group members
• investigate complaints from work group members about work health and safety
• inquire into anything that appears to be a risk to the health or safety of work group
members, arising from the conduct of the business or undertaking.

» read more


HR - Vacancies

As part of the College’s Change implementation, two of the proposed positions to be created within the School are now active (or soon will be) on the ANU internal job website. A Technical Engineer role overseeing the operations, integration and strategic direction of the School’s Workshops and a Senior School Administrator role with a focus to support WHS. This recruitment is following the ANU EOI process and I encourage those interested to discuss and apply. Contact to discuss further.


An EOI to fill a secondment vacancy around Stores, Purchasing and Finance for the School is now open to members of the School only. Please see weblink for more info.

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NHMRC schemes opening in 2021 (Q1)

The College of Science Research Office (CRO) is now inviting notices of intent (NoI) to submit applications for the following schemes opening in 2021.


From Previous Weeks...

Volume Imaging Symopsium
16th - 19th February 2021

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Physics @ ANU



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