Places Physics can take you

A big part of the TiS program is talking with students, their parents and teachers about why you would study Physics and what can you do with it as a career. Most people are aware of the Physics professor or the Physics teacher and would probably be also thinking of an Engineering type career as well. But that appears pretty narrow to most people, especially compared to mathematics which we are told we need for everything!

My first response is to say that Physics can take you anywhere! Physics is a discipline that teaches you not only the laws of nature but how to think analytically, critically, how to solve problems with a variety of methods often across many disciplines. To be a good Physicist you need to be able to understand a problem from all facets and to be creative to solve this problem in a new way. These skills are highly sought after in many industries and career fields.

I think about the careers my friends went into after they completed their Science degree majoring in Physics. The list is broad and varied;


Academia – Statistics and 3D animation as well as Astrophysics


Financial forecasting



Computer programming

Aircraft engineering

Children’s book author

There are even more listed on the School of Physics website.

There is also a very new field developing where Biology and Physics come together to form Biophysics and Bioinformatics. Traditionally these two sciences were at opposite ends of the Science spectrum but we see them come together when we investigate bionic devices, such as the bionic eye at MMI and require supercomputers for large amount of genome data to be analysed in the field of Bioinformatics. Sounds like Sci-Fi but all very real and we are just exploring the beginning of these fields.

Want to find out more? Of course you do! Come along to the Free Public Lecture at The University of Melbourne on Thursday March 6th if you are in town to hear about the amazing career of Dr Alicia Oshlack, head of Bioinformatics at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute at the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Come along to Dr Alicia Oshlack's talk about her career in Bioinformatics

Come along to Dr Alicia Oshlack’s talk about her career in Bioinformatics


2013 in review

We have already thrown ourselves into the new year and unbelievably it is almost 1/6 over! The last couple of months have been all about getting ready for this year’s observing season and program, but I thought it might be a good time to reflect on last year and then relate some of the end of year stories that seemed to have been waylaid over the holiday period.

My last job at the end of 2013 was to collate all the attendance data and write a letter congratulating all the TiS schools on the amazing job they have done bringing Astronomy into their schools. The following is a snapshot of some of the amazing stats from the last two years;

10  full TiS Schools each with their own 12″ SC Telescope


135 astronomy sessions have been held

29 observing sessions have been solar observing

only 35 sessions were to cloudy for observing

3 special events including Transit of Venus and 2 partial eclipses

1 Astronomy camp


2710 of the attendees have been students

445 of the attendees were teachers

394 of the attendees were parents

and 360 attendees were siblings, community members and students from other schools.

181 attendees were members from the Astrophysics Group and students at The University of Melbourne

What we did:

All 8 planets have been viewed through at least 1 of the telescopes

11 Telescope licenses were awarded in 2013

4 professional development sessions were held for TiS teachers, students and parents

Our first Astrophotography Competition was held with Scienceworks with 9 Prizes awarded

The Web:

74 posts



Thank you to all our followers, those who contributed to the posts, left comments and retweeted our tweets and are helping to get the message of our program out there. I look forward to telling you more about the program and reading your comments this year.

Sponsors and Supporters:

The Astrophysics Group at the University of Melbourne have driven this program, but if not for the time and energy donated by our wonderful students and postdocs, the depth of the program would not have been achieved. I would like to thank them for their support and enthusiasm as do the TiS teachers and students.

ScienceworksMelbourne Planetarium and Quantum Victoria have been huge supporters of the program from day 1 hosting and collaborating on many events for us. We would like to thank everyone for this support and look forward to working with you again this year.

CAASTRO and CSIRO have been instrumental in their guidance and support for the program. CAASTRO sponsoring many of the Astrophotography prizes.

Sheldon and Hammond have been great sponsors, helping many of the TiS family reach their dream of owning their own telescope and they also donated our major prize for the Astrophotography competition.

We look forward to more collaborations with these amazing groups in 2014 along with our major funder, the Laby Foundation with the support from School of Physics and the Astrophysics Group.

A busy year to be followed by an even busier one this year I am sure!