The Australian National University

Event Horizon

Research School of Physics


Weekly newsletter | vol 42 no 7 | 22–26 February 2016


Director's Colloquium - 25 February

We’ve done it: the first direct observation of gravitational radiation - waves in spacetime - Professor David McClelland

» read more



Electronic Materials Engineering (EME)
Ms Martina Grether 3rd year Physics exchange student from ETH Zurich, undertaking a project in the area of ‘small angle x-ray scattering using Monte Carlo simulation’ with A/Prof Patrick Kluth.


Congratulations EME students

Miss Larissa Huston and Miss Qian Gao (PhD students) for winning the poster prizes at ICONN2016. Both received some monetary prizes and a nanotechnology book, presented by Nobel Laureates Brian Schmidt and W.E. Moerner.

Both Larissa and Qian got autographs from the Nobel Laureates - their books could be very valuable in the future........

Congratulations Mr Joshua Butson (Honours) for being awarded the John de Laeter Medal for Best 3rd year physics student at Curtin University 2014, awarded by Australian Institute of Physics (WA Branch).


Stochastic thoughts from your Director

If you’d like some historical perspective of the ANU take a quick look at this 1956 production.

The documentary is informative, but if you want to jump to our School go to the 24 min 11 sec mark (remember that Mt Stromlo Observatory was part of the School back then).  As quaint as the 50’s style might seem now, remember that was a state-of-the-art contemporary presentation of public science. It was produced in defence of the National Institutes Fund and the half-a-million pound start-up our School enjoyed at the expense of other Australian Universities (which had, btw, an economic power of almost $400M in today’s terms,  Unfaltering and resolute in his vision Oliphant leads with his views of how physics spans all, telling the atomic age audience that disciplines like astrophysics connects to the fundamental particle research he wishes to lead the world (detailed in his 1950 Nature publication). 

» read more



January is an exciting month on campus as we host the National Youth Science Forum and engage the students in a series of experimental activities in the various areas in the school. The activities are shared between Physics North and South and complement each other very well. The Spatial Filtering experiment is a favourite in Physics North and Felicity is shown explaining the results of the experiment she only completed in 2015! The students are selected by Rotary clubs and come from all parts of Australia and prove you can go without sleep for two weeks. Students visit the Gravitational Wave Research area and this year the rumours were rife that a major discovery was imminent. How right those rumours were! (Photo courtesy of NYSF) Andrew Papworth




Departmental seminars

Professor Kimberly Thelander - 23 February
Real-time investigation of III-V nanowire growth using in-situ TEM
» read more

Mr Xiaoming Yuan - 23 February

» read more

Professor Claes Thelander - 23 February
Electron and hole transport in radial GaSb-InAs nanowire junctions and quantum dots
» read more

Professor Chaohong Lee - 26 February
Topological photonic phase transitions and Thouless pumping of light
» read more

Professor Christoph E. Duellmann - 4 March
Along a GSI superheavy element experiment, including excursions to topics that link to ANU
» read more


Staff movements

Electronic Materials Engineering (EME)
Professor Hoe Tan 
is travelling 25 February - 4 March 2016. A/Prof Lan Fu will be acting Head of Department during this period.


Can a privileged white male like me talk about equality and diversity?

From the RSPE Equity and Diversity Committee

There's been a lot of talk recently about who should get to talk about equality. In particular, the appointment of former army chief David Morrison as Australian of the Year has come in for a lot of criticism. Anointed, essentially, for going against the conventional grain of an historically conservative workplace and speaking up against violence against women in his ranks, Morrison is coming under fire on all fronts – from veterans for not mentioning them; from his former speechwriter for being credited with the words that she wrote; from conservatives for being a feminist patsy; and from feminists from being a white, middle-class male.

» read more



Training course:

  • Corrosives (OHSA07) 17 March

Registration via HORUS


Recall of Apple brand two-prong detachable AC wall plug

The adapters were shipped from 2003 to 2015 with Mac and certain iOS devices, and were included in Apple World Travel adapter kits.

Users should immediately stop using the affected wall plug adapter and exchange it for a new, re-designed replacement adapter (at no cost).


PhB mentors needed

I am looking for academics willing to act as mentors for the incoming PhB students. The mentors should be available to meet with the students at least once per semester to chat with the students about their progress. Many mentors organise tours of the school for their student and assist the students with finding research projects suitable to their interests.

Such interactions are often beneficial for both parties and is great way to stay in touch with the undergraduate student cohort even if you don’t teach into the undergrad program. 

I will need 10-15 academic mentors.

Please email asap if you are interested and able to assist.

Ph what?

The 'PhB' is an undergraduate research-focused degree at ANU. The course is targeted at intellectually ambitious students who want to study at the highest level. One quarter of the studies, in the first three years, consists of individually tailored Advanced Studies Courses specifically designed to provide students with a strong base in research. These courses may consist of a reading course with a world-leading scientist or joining a research team to assist in the advance of knowledge. The fourth year is an Honours year centred around one of the science disciplines. Students must have a very high ATAR to be offered a place and maintain a HD average throughout their degree. 




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