2016 Physics Conference


Monday 6 June 2016

University of Sydney



Click on the links below to view event details



Registration Details

Registration Pricing

Keynote : Dr Tara Murphy

Tara Murphy is an astrophysicist working in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney and a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics. Her research focuses on detecting and studying transient and highly variable astrophysical phenomena with next generation radio telescopes. In particular, she is interested in developing and applying novel computer science techniques to data-intensive research. She leads an international team of researchers searching for variable and transient sources with the Murchison Widefield Array and the Australian SKA Pathfinder telescopes in Western Australia.

Tara is passionate about teaching and high school outreach. She has been a director of the National Computer Science School since 2004 and director of the NCSS Challenge, an online programming competition that has taught thousands of high school students how to code. In 2012 her work in scientific research and public outreach was recognised by the award of NSW Young Tall Poppy of the year and she also received an ALTC Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning in 2010. In 2014 Tara co-founded a start-up company, Grok Learning, to get high school students around the world excited about computational thinking.




Extreme events: exploring the transient radio sky

Radio astronomy is undergoing a revolution. New telescopes are letting us see the sky in a way that has never been possible before, and is opening up new areas of exploration.

One of the exciting projects we’re working on in CAASTRO is the search for transient sources - astronomical objects that appear and disappear on short timescales. These events let us probe extreme conditions in the universe, such as the moment when a black hole forms.

I will also discuss how the way we do science is changing in the era of big data. In particular I will tell the story of how one of our undergraduate students made the serendipitous discovery of plasma tubes in the Earth’s ionosphere.


Workshop program


Session 1A
How the use of technology has improved attainment in HSC Physics and why
Simon Crook, USyd

Session 1B
Astrophysics in the Classroom
Jennifer Lynch, USyd

Session 1C
Developing Skills for Senior Physics in Years 7 to 10
Jeff Stanger, St George Girls HS

Session 1D1D
Teaching Physics for the first time, common pitfalls, solutions and suggestions
Aaron Cook, Kirrawee HS


Session 1E
Come Together: Clearing Up Fusion Confusion
Dr Renee James, astronomy professor and popular science writer.  Professor Physics Department- Sam Houston State University Huntsville, Texas :


Session 1F
Literacy in Stage 6 Physics
Vatche Ansourian, DoENSW


Session 1G
Introducing the IEEE Tryengineering and Trycomputing lesson plan material, and Teacher/Student Support Programme
Graeme Gwilliam,  Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)



Session 2A  
Life Beyond the Solar System?
Rob Hollow, Outreach CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science


Session 2B
APPS/Simulations  for Physics
Brett McKay, Kirrawee HS


Session 2C
Teaching Moments from HSC Exam Questions
Manju Sharma, USyd


Session 2D
How to be a Physicist
Tom Gordon – KickStart


Session 2E
Validity, Reliability & Accuracy
Simon Crook, USyd


Session 2F
Games and Online Learning
Jaya Chowdhury,  Macquarie University & Darryl Nelson, Snowy Mountains Grammar



Physics Teachers Forum

Time: 2:15 - 3:30 PM

Please bring along your questions to ask our forum panellists at the Physics Teachers Forum at the end of the day

Moderators: Assoc Prof Manju Sharma (USYD), Prof Les Kirkup (UTS)

Theme: Bridging the gap between high school and university Physics


    Brief introduction from the moderators
    Brief introduction by each panellist

Aim of the forum: What do the university lecturers think our students bring with them from schools? How can high school teachers further strengthen student skills!

Introducing our Physics Conference Panel Members, some of whom are associated with coordinating and teaching first year physics; with their postgrad students being invited to participate in forum discussions.

USYD: Dr Helen Johnston

UNSW: Dr Elizabeth Angstmann

UNSW: Scott Liles

UTS: Daniel Golestan

ANSTO: Rod Dowler


Australian Professional Teaching Standards

Addresses the following National Professional Standards for Teachers:

The keynotes and workshops are targeted to assist participants in working towards each of the following standards. In addition, teachers working towards higher level standards who provide workshops will be supported with certificates to confirm their presentations.


6.2.2 Use the professional standards to identify personal professional development needs and plan accordingly.

6.3.2 Contribute to collegial discussions and apply constructive feedback from colleagues to improve professional knowledge and practice.

7.4.2 Participate in professional and community networks and forums to broaden knowledge and improve practice.



Completing STANSW Physics Conference will contribute 5 hours of QTC Registered PD addressing  6.2.2, 6.3.2, 7.4.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.




Print this page