The Australian National University

Event Horizon

Research School of Physics


Weekly newsletter | vol 46 no 49 | 13–17 December 2021


Director's Message

Dear Colleagues,

As we start to wrap up another engaging teaching year I asked Siobhan Ryman, our PEC administrator, to tally up the achievements in 2021 to help everyone to better grasp the grand scale of our education program.

Students enrolled in our undergraduate program:

  • Physics 1st year students: Sem. 1 = 379, Sem. 2=245
  • Physics 2nd year students: Sem. 1=121, Sem. 2=93
  • Physics 3rd year students: Sem. 1=77, Sem. 2=60
  • Honours students: 16 completed at the end of 2021, 6 students commenced mid-year to complete in 2022

     Academics who have taught throughout the year: 65
     PhD student taught throughout the year: 77

Numbers of active HDR students: 143
     Academic staff supervisors: 100 (of 134) 

Numbers of active Masters students: 47 (five MSc programs)
     Academics who have taught throughout the year: 54
     PhD students taught throughout the year: 21

Numbers of Shandong students taught in each intake: 300 1st year students, 80 students in 2nd year, 80 in 3rd years
     Academics who have taught throughout the year: 8
     PhD students taught throughout the year: 10

These are magnificent results. My thanks and congratulations to all the staff and students so richly engaged in these programs this year.

Last week I showcased the team working on a novel focussed ion beam technology, this week the same team have announced a new type of satellite propulsion engine, fuelled by naphthalene (aka moth balls). Lead by Professor Christine Charles (NPAA), PhD student Dimitrios Tsifakis and representative from Boswell Technologies, Em/Prof Rod Boswell, the team have demonstrated the novel use of this material as a propellant in planned missions with ACT company, Skycraft, in mid-2022.  (See ANU press release)

This week’s image is to bring to your attention a serious incident in a laser lab last week. While our colleague luckily escaped permanent disability the incident could have easily been disastrous for the individual. Accidents of this nature are reported to Parliament. Our primary obligation is to the safety of ourselves and our colleagues and I take this opportunity to remind everyone that a combination of absence from the lab, end-of-year tiredness and just general COVID-fatigue that we are all feeling are contributors to increasing the likelihood of an accident. Please stay vigilant and use your PPE. Early next year I will hold a series of mandatory lunchtime meetings to remind us all of our many workplace obligations to ourselves and our colleagues.



Reminder to Clear Your Purchase Card

All purchases need to be submitted and approved in Concur by Thursday 23rd December.


Moon to Mars Trailblazer Stage 1

The Moon to Mars initiative supports Australian researchers and businesses to join NASA’s endeavour to go forward to the Moon and then go on to Mars.

An objective of the Trailblazer program is to develop foundation services rover solutions, capable of collecting lunar regolith and delivering it to a NASA science in-situ resource utilisation (ISRU) facility. Intended outcomes include the intended operation of an Australian asset on the Moon and improved collaboration with international space agencies including NASA.

» read more


Joint Strike Fighter Industry Support Program (JSF-ISP) - Production and Modernisation

The objective of JSF-ISP opportunity is to provide funding to Australian companies and research organisations to support the development of new or improved capabilities that may enhance their ability to win work in the production and modernisation of the JSF Program. A proposal must enhance Australian defence industry skills, capabilities and competitiveness, and improve Australia’s participation and competitiveness in the global economy.

For this grant opportunity, individual grants will range from $150,000 to $1.5 million over a maximum of three years. The grant will provide up to 50% of the eligible project expenditure.

Applications can be submitted at any time while the opportunity is open. A total of $4 million is available over seven years, closing 30 June 2028.

Please inform the College Research Office of your intent to apply as soon as possible.


Notice of Intent (NoI) Form for ARC and NHMRC Schemes Opening in 2021/22

The College of Science Research Office is now inviting notices of intent (NoI) to submit applications for the following schemes:

» read more


Science Communication PhD Workshop: Open for Registrations for CoS/CHM PhD Students

The Centre for the Public Awareness of Science (CPAS) has historically offered an annual 2-day Science Communication workshop for PhD candidates from SHM schools. Due to Covid-19, they have not been able to offer this workshop in person since 2019.

They are now calling for registrations from SHM PhD candidates for their 2022 workshop, to be held on 1 and 2 February 2022, from 9am to 5pm each day, in the Marie Reay Building in Kambri.

Please send your expression of interest in attending the workshop, by email to: Places are currently limited to 60 attendees.

» read more




» read more


Returning to Campus

Updated Process and Mask Protocols

» read more



Goran Radovanovic will be away 13/12/21 – 3/1/22.

Adrian Sheppard will be acting Head in DMP from 13/12/21-27/1/21


University Shut Down

The University shutdown period is 23rd December 2021 COB, re-opening 4th January 2022.


2022 Wall Planners

2022 wall planners will be available at the Store from December 20th.


The RSPhys Store

Stores and Purchasing will be closed from Thursday 23/12/21 COB, and will re-open Tuesday 4/1/21 – no deliveries will be accepted during this time.

For information on building mail (letters, journals, magazines), 'read more'.

» read more


EOY Finance Processing Cut-offs

EOY Systems & Processing Timetable

For more information contact the Purchasing Team.

» read more




Departmental seminars

Associate Professor Luke Connal - 15 December
Multimaterial 3d printing
» read more


Know your administrators...

L-R: Belinda Barbour, Sonia Padrun, Petra Rickman, Nikki Azzopardi, & Julie Arnold

» read more


Know your School team...

Sue Berkeley -
Finance Team Leader

Goran Radovanovic -
Stores Services  

Hannah Phan - Purchasing/Finance Services 

Patrick Romero - Stores/Purchasing Services


Know your student admin...

Liudmila (Luda) Mangos -
Higher Degree Research admin
C3.02C, Cockcroft bldg (Mon-Fri 9.30-5pm)

Siobhan Ryman -
Physics Education Centre admin and HDR
1.05, Bldg 38A (Mon-Tues 8.30-4pm) ; C3.02C, Cockcroft bldg (Wed-Fri 8.30-4pm)


Matthias Wurdack (he/him)

Disha Kapasi (she/her)

Shridhar Manjunath (he/him)

Elizaveta Melik-Gaykazyan (she/her)

Ben Swinton-Bland (he/him)

Mahdi Davoodianidalik (he/him)


HDR Student Reps - Seeking Expressions of Interest to Join our HDR Student Reps in 2022

Do you want to become a HDR Student Rep, 'Read more' ?

» read more


ANU COVID Pathway to 2022

» read more


From Previous Weeks...

AINSE Update

VS Postdoctoral Fellowship in Valuing Local Co-Benefits for Indigenous Communities


Physics @ ANU



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