Physics Outreach

The School of Physics runs a range of activities for school students and teachers, the general public and our alumni and friends.

Programs run by the Schools include:

  • in-school and on-campus demonstration lectures for primary and secondary schools (MUPPETS, WARP)
  • enrichment studies for secondary school students (Physics Gymnasium Lectures)
  • resources for science teachers
  • Telescopes in Schools run by the Astrophysics Group in partnership with the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics, Quantum Victoria and Melbourne Planetarium
  • Work Experience program for Year 10 students.

Programs run by the University include:

  • University of Melbourne Extension Program (UMEP) in which secondary students may take 1st year university level Physics subjects. More details on the UMEP program.

Physics Gymnasium Lecture series

Are you interested in a career in science or engineering? Eager to find out more about the world around you? You will find studying Physics a lot easier with these special lectures. Formally known as the VCE lectures, while they do explore the current VCE curriculum, these lectures are open to students of all ages with a keen interest in Physics, as well as teachers and parents

This is a Covid-safe event. The lectures will be delivered to a live audience in the School of Physics. The lectures will also be live streamed, so you can watch from your home or classroom if need be. You will receive the Zoom link two days before the lecture.

Lecture 1: Thursday 12th May, 5.30pm

Special Relativity

Albert Einstein at a chalk board.

Come and join us for the first lecture in the 2022 series as Prof Jamieson asks what is so special about relativity, Einstein's greatest achievement.

Explore the ideas around special relativity, the facts, the proof and how vital this amazing phenomenon is to our current every day life.

Lecture 1 recording

Lecture 2: Thursday 2nd June, 5:30pm

Electromagnetic waves and the songs of the Solar System

Professor Andrew Melatos

NASA image of nine planets in the Solar System

Come and join us for the second lecture in the 2022 series as Prof Melatos introduces us to the songs of the solar system and what they have to do with electromagnetic waves.

Lecture 2 recording

Lecture 3: Thursday 16 June, 5:30pm sharp

Learn to Program a Quantum Computer

Professor Lloyd Hollenberg

IBM Quantum Computer

Come and join us for the third lecture in the 2022 series as Prof Hollenberg introduces us to just enough quantum mechanics to start programming a real quantum computer.

This session will be conducted in the School of Physics computer lab using a Quantum User Interface simulation program developed by Prof Hollenberg's team. Hence there are very limited seats on campus for this session.

You are able to try to program a Quantum computer with our simulator in the link below.

QUI

Lecture 4: Thursday 4th August, 5:30pm

Gravity

Dr David Simpson

Red ball swinging into three silver balls

Come and join us for the fourth lecture in the 2022 series as Dr Simpson shows us the ups and downs of gravity.

How does gravity affect us, see it happen with lots of demonstrations.

Register for lecture 4

Lecture 5: Thursday 18th August, 5:30pm

Graphic of white light being refracted through a prism and dispersed into different colours.

Come and join us for the fifth lecture in the 2022 series as Prof Quiney explores the photon - is it a wave or a particle? Could it be both?

Take a journey into the amazing world of the photon. It’s history, present and future.

Register for lecture 5

Lecture 6: Thursday 1st September, 5:30pm

Graphical representation of light and atoms interacting.

Come and join us for the sixth lecture in the 2022 series as Prof Roberts looks at the future of optics.

This talk will present an overview of relevant optics, how light and matter interact on the nanoscale, and the new field of meta-optics.

Register for lecture 6

Work experience at the School of Physics

Our work experience program gives Year 10 students the opportunity to experience a week at the university from the perspective of both a research student and an academic. With three streams to choose from (Astrophysics, Particle Physics and Nanoscale Imaging), there is a specialism to suit any student's interest in physics. Students will undertake a wide variety of fun and educational activities and projects throughout the week that will both engage and inspire.

Applications for this popular program are currently closed. Any further enquiries can be directed to outreach@physics.unimelb.edu.au. Please note that due to staffing and timing constraints, we are unable to offer any work experience outside the official program dates.

Teacher information days

Each year the School hosts an in-service day for secondary science/physics teachers. It is designed to keep you aware of developments in physics research and to keep the School informed regarding the current VCE physics syllabus. Spaces are normally limited so it is best to register as soon as possible.

Due to restrictions related to COVID-19, all events have been postponed until further notice. Check back soon for more information.

Laby VCE Physics Teachers' Grant

The Laby Foundation is offering grants with the aim of building capacity in physics teaching across Victoria, specifically targeting (but not solely limited to) disadvantaged and rural schools. The grants are available to help fund teachers to attend the Focus on Physics In-Service event.

We invite applications from interested schools/teachers. Funding up to $500 per school is available, depending on circumstances. Funds are to cover the registration fee and CRT cost. The number of grants is limited and will be assessed in the order they are received.

Provide your case for sponsorship (a substantiated statement) based on the following selection priorities:

  • Geographical and/or socio-economic disadvantage
  • Access to high-quality professional learning in order to strengthen capacity in teaching physics
  • Low uptake of science subjects at VCE level, particularly physics, and/or low science profile in the school
  • Other disadvantage identified by the applicant.

Complete and submit the online application form, which includes your response to the selection priorities. Your statement addressing one or more of the selection priorities must be concise, totalling no more than 500 words. We are looking for key factors supporting your application, with brief substantiation (e.g. school data, the web address to evidence, a clear statement of fact). A letter advising of the outcome of the grant will be sent to applicants. Successful applicants will be advised on how to arrange payment of funding (CRT and/or travel costs only) which will be paid after the event.

Request an online form now

Contact us

If you would like to contact us regarding a School trip, or borrowing equipment, or anything Physics related, please don't hesitate to email outreach@physics.unimelb.edu.au.