2012 In PAIN.

Summary of our news, antics and general mayhem for 2012.

Full Listing of PAIN News and Events for 2012:

Wakey... Wakey...

15th January 2012:
  • PAIN is off to an exciting start in 2012 with... a meeting... and room warming... There will be some kind of GM held in 7-208 at 12:00 midday-ish, Friday 27th January, to discuss... Really Important Stuff. Elise says so and she is secretary so she should know! Join, re-join, rejoice, and discuss important club business for 2012. Enquiries to the exec here.
  • Wrapping up last year, The archives of PAIN activities for 2011 can be found here: Advertising Graphics - Physics & Phun - News & Announcements - Photo Galleries - Physics Poetry - Physics Illustrated #1 - Physics Illustrated #2 - Error Bars - Mailing List - Past Exec.

  • 23rd February 2012:
  • Market Day is Wednesday 22nd February. Come visit the PAIN stall, which will probably be somewhere near Parnell, join the club, shake hands with a holographic pig (or something like that), join the club, generally make physics phun, join the club and just say hello. Enquiries to the exec here.
  • PAIN is building up momentum (always conserved) in 2012 with our next exciting innovation, A New Logo. This was designed by Wonder Woman herself, Secretary Elise, and features GRΣΣK CHARACTERS! That logo is coming soon to a T-shirt near you.

  • 19th February 2012:
  • Thank you everyone who helped out on Market Day, and made it such a successful and fun event for all of us - President Kyle.
  • Free BBQ Friday 2nd March. PAIN will be hosting a free BBQ. (to be confirmed, details will be announced).
  • First Error Bar for 2012 is LN2 icecream, Friday 2nd March. Cryogens meet calories to give "yum" in the first error bar for 2012. This will be held in ΦTR, Parnell 7-208, starting 5:00PM promptly. To see how just much fun this is, look at what we did last year.

  • 11th March 2012:
  • PI day is next week some time, but we aren't sure when. You get to choose! Would you like your PI day on Wednesday 14th or Friday 16th? Vote in the poll on facebook, link. PI day celebrates all things 3.14159etc related with PI related food, clothes, songs, and competitions. This is what we did in previous years. 2009 part 1 2009 part 2 2008

  • 15th March 2012:
  • A decision has been made! PI day is on Friday 16th, ΦTR, Parnell 7-208, starting 5:00PM promptly.

  • 18th March 2012:
  • The AIP is holding a careers evening Wednesday 21st of March, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Queensland University of Technology, Gardens Point, Owen J Wordsworth Room (S block, Level 12). A panel of physicists from industry to academia, including UQ's Dr Tamara Davis will be speaking on their careers. This will be followed by pizza, refreshments, mingling and networking. Undergrad and postgrad physics students, AIP members and non-members, and others are welcome.
    RSVP: Monday 19th March: k.vernon@qut.edu.au

  • 26th March 2012:
  • We think the Error Bar for Friday 30th is "Holography and Microwave Oven". To find out for sure, be there, 5:00PM, 7-208, ΦTR, this Friday. This will be followed by the ever popular pizza slices and cans of drink at $1.00 each. Use your membership card to get a free drink.
  • Please note the new URL for UQ Physics. It has migrated to the SMP website. http://www.smp.uq.edu.au

  • 18th April 2012:
  • The Error Bar for Friday 20th April is... LAB TOURS! Are you qurious about Quantum Optics, excited about Excellence in Engineered Quantum Systems, or baffled by Bose-Einstein Condensates? This Friday is your opportunity to meet postgraduates, and also undergraduates who have done the appropriate research, and learn what goes on in the lab! Start at 5:00PM, 7-208, ΦTR, this Friday. Finish with pizza slices and cans of drink at $1.00 each. Use your membership card to get a free drink.

  • 22nd April 2012:
  • Q: What is the next Error Bar? A: Stevo's Trivia! These were incredibly popular and great fun last year, so now we are having one this year. When will it be held? What is the room number? Has Stevo run out of questions? Are pizza slices and cans of drink still only $1.00? (Answers: 5:00PM Fri 4th May, 7-326, no, yes) What is the correct spelling for President Kyle's surname?

  • 6th May 2012:
  • Questions were asked, answers were given, chocolates and pizza were eaten, and a generally good time was had by all. Trivia night was won by team which started the evening as N2D but ended up as N2DA.

  • 13th May 2012:
  • We have an Error Bar for Friday 18th, Stirling Engines! This Friday Sammy and Nathaniel will leading us building working (?) Stirling Engines from soft drink cans and other common items. These clever heat engines are external combustion, with sealed working fluid system. Carolyn assures us that they are completely non-splody! Start at 5:00PM, 7-208, ΦTR, this Friday. Finish with pizza slices and cans of drink at $1.00 each. Use your membership card to get a free drink.

  • 23rd May 2012:
  • We have started a special section just for important news about the upcoming Transit of Venus on 6th June.

  • 27th May 2012:
  • Next Friday 1st June is bad physics movie. Vote for the movie now on the facebook page, click here.

  • 31st May 2012:
  • The movie is Star Wars, Friday 1st June, 7-222 commencing 5:00 PM sharp. Subject to time and level of interest this might be followed by The Fifth Element.

  • 1st June 2012:
  • PAIN is holding a physics study day on Wednesday the 6th of June (Wednesday of Swot-Vac). This will be a day for physics students to come along and get help from a range of tutors and lecturers. All of your lecturers are going to be there for at least one hour during the day, so it would definitely be very beneficial to come along to this! Details are as follows: TIME: 9am - 5pm LOCATION: 32-213 (Note change of room!) Parnell Bldg Room 301. A free lunch will be provided! A full schedule for this day (ie. when each lecturer will be there) will be released soon. Please RSVP for the study day by following this link. It is important that you RSVP, so that we know how many people we need to feed. Have a look at the Transit of Venus on the same day! Telescopes will be available.
  • TRANSIT OF VENUS IS ALSO THIS WEDNESDAY 6th! If you miss this, the next one is in 105.5 years!

  • 6th June 2012:
  • Lecturer schedule for study day 6th June is here.
  • Met Bureau forecast for Wednesday (transit) is "fine and partly cloudy". Met Bureau
  • The Transit of Venus is TODAY, 8:15AM to 2:44PM Brisbane time. graphic

  • 7th June 2012:
  • PAIN wishes all students the very best for their exams.
  • Transit of Venus photo gallery is here.
  • They aren't transits, but we have some other physics pictures here.
  • There are no more Transits of Venus for 105.5 years :( pic

  • 18th June 2012:
  • Astrocamp 2012 will be held on the 17th to 19th of August. Further details will be announced shortly. Mars and Saturn will be in conjunction too!

  • 25th July 2012:
  • Market Day is on Wednesday 25th of July. Come visit us! We will be located somewhere near Parnell. Join the club, have fun and generally socialise.
  • Some general information on Astrocamp can be found on this page. The flier for Astrocamp 2012 is here.

  • 2nd August 2012:
  • The Error Bar for Friday 3rd August is... building an electronic gizmo. You will use real electronic components, real electricity, and real solder containing real Tin and real Lead. Ummm... real Lead! After you have had your recommended daily intake of elemental Plumbum (should be small, wash hands) there will be real pizza and real cans of drink at $1 each, 5:00PM, 7-208, ΦTR, Fri 3rd.

  • 24th August 2012:
  • Documentary night is tonight 24th: Starting 5:00 PM, Parnell 7-234, we will be screening "Can We Make a Star on Earth", followed by "Carl Sagan - Cosmos".

  • 29th August 2012:
  • We have an Error Bar for Friday 31st August! We are going to be measuring the speed of light... using chocolate... and a bucket. Carolyn says that this "smells like science". This will be followed by highly scientific pizza slices and very cylindrical cans of soft drink at $1 each, 5:00 PM, 7-208, ΦTR, Fri 31st.
  • On Friday 7th September is doco night #2. Movies, videos, science, documentaries will be shown on the big screen. Room will be announced shortly. Vote on the facebook page until 8:00PM on the 5th to influence the outcome!

  • 12th September 2012:
  • This Friday 14th, build a Cloud Chamber! The Error bar for this Friday is building a cloud chamber, also called a Wilson chamber. This device was the first type of detector used in early particle physics. This will be followed by pizza slices and cans of soft drink at $1 each, 5:00 PM, 7-208, ΦTR, Fri 14th.

  • 28th September 2012:
  • The drought has broken. We have NEWS, NEWS and more NEWS...
  • Error Bar for Friday 5th October is Trivia Night. This is of course Murray's Trivia. Q: Will there be questions? A: Yes! Q: Will there be answers? A: Not sure, we hope so, that's up to you, 5:00 PM, 7-326, Fri 5th! Q: Will there be prizes? A: You betcha! All this excitement will be followed by pizza slices and cans of soft drink at $1 each. Hint: What is the name of the kebab shop in Bay Tce Wynnum. There is a link to a pic on the news page of this website.
  • On Friday 12th October David Barry will tell us about the science of donating to charity, 7-326, 5:00 PM. Entry is by gold coin donation. No! No! No! Entry is free. See how charitable we are? The pizza slices and cans of soft drink afterwards are almost free at $1 each.
  • It's that time again, AGM, Friday 12th, 4:00 PM, 7-208, ΦTR. It's time (as Gough said in 1972) to get rid of the old lot, and to select and install a new lot. That's it, ELECTIONS for the exec for 2013. If you would like to nominate or be nominated, email Prez Kyle.

  • 12th October 2012:
  • Out with the old. In with the new. It had to be done and it was. This is of course the AGM, held on Friday 12th. Your new exec for 2013 is President Carolyn Wood (she of social convenor fame from 2012), Treasurer Henry Nourse and Secretary Cait Adams. Social convenors for 2013 are Ben Duffus and Geoff Bonning. Email the team at <pain-exec@lists.sps.uq.edu.au> or look at the admin page.

  • 24th October 2012:
  • Good Movie with Bad Physics, 26th October, "The Avengers". This is the final Error Bar for 2012. It will be held starting 5:00 PM promptly-ish, in a room, in Parnell, possibly 326, so check on the whiteboard in the tea room! It's in 7-234!
  • Study Day, Wed 31th October: A physics study day, organised by PAIN will be held on the 31st. Priestly (maths) rooms 67-342, 67-343, 10:00AM to 4:00PM. If those rooms fill up, Parnell 7-209 and 7-204 will be used. Schedule: PHYS1002, Joel and Ian, 10-11 AM. PHYS1171, Margaret, 2-3 PM. PHYS1160, Anton, 2-3:30 PM. PHYS 2041, Taras, 2-3 PM. PHYS 2082, David Parkinson, 12-1 PM. Another study session will also be available, PHYS2041, Simon, 10 AM to 12 PM, 5-213 (Richards bldg).

  • 1st November 2012:
    PAIN wishes all students the very best for exams.

    2nd November 2012:
  • Free talk on large optical telescopes: A free talk will be held at the Brisbane Planetarium on 10th November. For full details see the UQ announcement here.

  • 17th November 2012:
  • Happy Next Orbit. Formal activities have concluded for 2012. We will be back in 2013 with the shiny new exec putting even more errors into the Error Bars, more Phun into the Physics, and more pizza into the slices. Hint: Ours is the third one out.
  • Eclipse 14th November: There is now a photo gallery for the Solar Eclipse, here.
  • Archive of PAIN activities for 2012 can be found here: News, Physics and Phun Mailing List Physics Illustrated Error Bar List
  • Exec contact details: Your exec for 2013 is President Carolyn Wood (she of social convenor fame from 2012), Treasurer Henry Nourse and Secretary Cait Adams. Social convenors for 2013 are Ben Duffus and Geoff Bonning. Email the team at <pain-exec@lists.sps.uq.edu.au> or look at the admin page.

  • Physics Phun, Physics Trivia and Great (?) Moments in Science for 2012.

    15th January 2012:

  • Why on earth would a sculptor make a bronze brain and half bury it in the ground? Who cares. What is far more interesting is the location of this particular brain (not it's identical twin which is elsewhere), Albert Einstein Science Park, Telegraphenberg Hill (a tautology), Potsdam Germany. There are several scientific buildings on the site. It was in one of these buildings that Michelson made his first unsuccessful attempt to find the luminiferous aether, before teaming up with Morley to perform the more accurate and better known experiment. There was still no luminiferous aether though. The park is also the site of the Albert Einstein tower, which houses a solar telescope intended to measure gravitational red shift of the sun's spectrum. Initially at least, this measurement didn't work either. Gravitational red shift was first demonstrated elsewhere by Pound and Rebka in a very clever laboratory experiment. (and I got my favourite experiment, Pound Rebka, onto the website - webmaster) Science Park Wikipedia Michelson and Morley Luminiferous Aether Einstein Tower Pound Rebka

  • 11th March 2012:

  • One by one the chemical elements were discovered, starting with early use of common elemental metals (Cu, Au, Pb, Ag, Fe) long before modern recorded history. From about the 1700s onwards, recognisably modern chemical and electrochemical techniques isolated (or liberated) gases, metals and non-metals (P, Co, Pt, Ni, Mg, H, O, N, Cl, Mn, Ba etc). While various periodic tables were created by others, the definitive version and precursor to standard modern tables is attributed to Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869. Known elements were organised, but the table contained gaps which led to predictions of new elements, which were subsequently discovered. Fluorine, the most reactive element, was not the last to be isolated but due to the extreme difficulty of working with it only nobel gases and rare and radioactive elements followed. After other researchers died in the attempt, Fluorine was finally isolated by Henri Moissan in 1886 using electrochemical means. There matters might have ended, but for Karl Christe. Approaching the 100th anniversary of the isolation of Fluorine, Karl, an expert in the element, was asked to give a talk explaining why it would never be possible to isolate Fluorine, the most electronegative element, by purely chemical means, only electrochemical. With decades of experience, Karl immediately knew this was wrong. Within a few days he had isolated Fluorine by purely chemical means, starting with precursor reagents that can be derived from naturally occuring minerals by purely chemical means. Ignoring the artificial superheavy elements, which are useless for chemistry, Karl Christe wrote the last page of the last chapter of the book about how the periodic table was filled. Scientist illustrated is not Karl Christe.
    Timeline Periodic Table Fluorine Henri Moissan Karl Christe

  • 21st March 2012:

    GMI Fluid Dynamics:
  • Australia is the land of droughts and flooding rains. Other countries have... well... other kinds of floods. Spare a thought for the residents of the St Giles area of London, England in 1814. On the 17th October a huge vat at the Meux and Co Brewery containing 135,000 imperial gallons (610 kl) of beer ruptured. This caused other vats to rupture in a domino effect, and a total of 323,000 imperial gallons (1.47 Ml) of beer poured through the streets of London. Basement rooms, homes for whole families in the slum area, were flooded. People desparately tried to salvage the precious liquid either for sale or personal consumption using kettles, cups and even their hands. The local pub was damaged by the flood trapping an employee! The brewer had already paid excise duty to the government on the beer that was lost! Eight people drowned or died from other injuries.
    If that was't bad enough, fast forward a century to Boston, MA, USA, January 15th 1919, when the Great Molasses Flood happened. A giant storage tank at the Purity Distilling Co (what is it about alcohol?) burst releasing 2,300,000 US gallons (8,700 m3) of molasses. An immense wave of molasses between 8 and 15 feet (2.5~4.5 m) high swept along streets at 35 MPH (56 km/h), exerting a fource on the ground of 2 ton/ft2 (200 kPa). Steel girders were bent and a railway was damaged by the flood. 21 people and several horses were killed, and many others injured. Oh, the viscosity of it!
    Beer Molasses

  • 26th March 2012:

    GMI Quantum Electrodynamics:
  • Serious audiophiles spend enormous amounts of money on their hifi systems, hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases, to get the very best ampilifiers, speakers, DACs, long crystal oxygen free interconnect cables and so on. The "golden ears brigade" as they are called want only finest quality electricity to power all that expensive equipment, which in turn requires a superior 50/60Hz power cable. That grey or black PVC thing hiding behind your computer just isn't good enough. (What about the house wiring that supplies the power point?) The "Lessloss DFPC Signature" is the first 50/60Hz cable designed using the principles of Quantum Electrodynamics! WHAT? That's Feynman stuff! He won a Nobel prize for it! (What about the wires running from the house up the street to the substation?) It is claimed that electron/photon interactions in the 50/60Hz cable affect audio quality. (What about the transmission grid that connects the substation to the power station?) The DFPC only costs $1150.00 too! (Why is only the last 2m important?) CAVEAT EMPTOR! .
    Stereo Times Lessloss Feynman QED Oxford: "caveat emptor"

  • 18th April 2012:

    GMI Specific Gravity:
  • Don't you just hate it when you car runs out of fuel? Wouldn't you just hate it even more if you were a passenger on a commercial jet aircraft that ran out of fuel? This has happened a few times, with mixed results. One notable incident, nicknamed the "Gimli Glider", occurred on 23rd July 1983 when Air Canada flight 143 ran out of fuel at 41,000 ft. It glided to a landing that could be described as "good enough under the circumstances". What went wrong? Canada was in the process of converting from imperial to metric units, and the almost new Boeing 767 was one of the first aircraft to be calibrated in liters and kilograms rather than the old gallons and pounds. When the aircraft was being refuelled a "conversion factor" of 1.77, the specific gravity of jet fuel in pounds.liters-1, was used instead of the correct value of 0.803 for kg.liters-1. As a result the aircraft took off with only 22,300 pounds of fuel on board, less than 50% of the required 22,300 kg. The aircraft also had some faulty instruments that prevented the error from being detected, but that is another story (a Great Moment in Soldering).
    Gimli Glider

  • 22nd August 2012:

    Phunny Physics Photo:
  • Is this an orrery or a eatery? Are those planets or funny coloured falafels? Upon close inspection it turns out to be a complete Solar System, with the Sun and all *9* planets before Pluto was demoted. This astronomical gastronomical planetary kebabery can be found in Bay Tce Wynnum. Photo is courtesy of Reuben P.

  • Special Transit of Venus section:

    On June 6th this year an extraordinary astronomical event will occur, a transit of Venus. The planet Venus will pass between Earth and the Sun, appearing as a small dark dot against the Sun. It was to observe the transit of Venus in 1769 that Captain James Cook sailed to Tahiti.


    Transits of Venus are so rare that in the entire history of science only 6 have ever been observed. The wikipedia entry describes transits, their history and their scientific importance extremely well. It is a great story, and includes such memorable characters as Johannes Kepler, Jeremiah Horrocks, Edmund Halley, Guillaume Joseph Hyacinthe Jean-Baptiste Le Gentil de la Galaisière, Mikhail Lomonosov, and our own Captain James Cook.

    Even better, Eastern Australia is a very good location from which to view the 2012 transit. It starts at 8:15AM and ends at 2.44PM local time. The entire transit is visible (subject to weather), rather than just part of the transit before sunset or after sunrise. NASA provides viewing times for various cities around the world. NASA (UTC) NASA (Local time) Plenty of additional information will be available on the internet and in media. I (webmaster) saw the transit in 2004. I recommend that you see this one.

    ***WARNING*** Never look directly at the Sun to observe a transit or solar eclipse. Consult an expert. Use a telescope properly configured for solar viewing. Use goggles certified as safe for solar viewing.***NEVER*** improvise with sunglasses or other filters. ***BEWARE*** of cheap telescopes and filters. Only purchase equipment from a reputable supplier. Safe viewing instructions are provided by NASA and Exploratorium. I (webmaster) have personal experience with the method described as "projecting the image with binoculars". It works well.

    Viewing instructions are here: NASA Exploratorium

    UQ Transit of Venus Announcements:
  • 30/05/2012 - This UQ web page will provide live streaming video of the transit, here.
  • 24/05/2012 - UQ, AAQ will provide telescopes for public viewing. details here
  • 23/05/2012 - UQ have issued this announcement.

  • 6th May 2012:

    Transit Trivia #1, Guillame Le Gentil:
  • To celebrate the upcoming Transit of Venus on June 6th, we bring you some Transit Trivia. In March 1760 French scientist Guillaume Le Gentil departed Paris, to observe the 1761 transit fron the French colony of Pondicherry in India. A slight war between France and Britain disrupted these plans and he was unable to make the observation. He then decided to wait (8 years!) and observe the 1769 transit. This observation was prevented by bad weather. After even more delays he eventually arrived back in Paris, 11 years after his departure, only to find that he had been declared dead. His wife had remarried, he had lost his seat on the Royal Academy of Sciences, and his relatives had plundered his estate. With legal action and help from the King, he was declared alive and well, regained his seat, remarried, and lived happily for another 21 years.
    Guillame Le Gentil Transit of Venus

  • 13th May 2012:

    Transit Trivia #2, Mikhail Lomonosov:
  • To celebrate the upcoming Transit of Venus on June 6th, we bring you some Transit Trivia. Mikhail Lomonosov is an extremely famous scientist of the old Soviet Union (now Russian Federation). He observed the 1761 transit from St Petersberg, and observed a "ring of light" near the perimeter of Venus, even as it was crossing the edge of the Sun. He attributed this to refraction in Venus' atmosphere. Lomonosov predicted, correctly, that Venus has an atmosphere. To honor his achievements, a town, a university, an underwater oceanic ridge, craters on both the Moon and Mars, and a gold medal have been named "Lomonosov". His likeness has appeared on a coin. One more accolade is on the way. The Russian Federation has begun manufacturing floating nuclear power stations. Just tow to where it is needed, anchor, and plug in to the grid. The first of these will be named "Akademik Lomonosov".
    Mikhail Lomonosov FNPS Akademik Lomonosov
    Image courtesy of Lorenzo Comolli,
    Gruppo Astronomico Tradatese, ESO VT-2004 Project.

  • 23rd May 2012:

    Transit Trivia #3: What about Mercury?
  • To celebrate the upcoming Transit of Venus on June 6th, we bring you some Transit Trivia. Transits of Venus are rare, only 4 every 243 years. Transits of Mercury are downright commonplace though at 13 or 14 per century. Is it possible to have simultaneous transits of both Venus and Mercury? Several people, incuding John Walker, asked this question and the answer is yes. It is predicted to occur on the 26th of July in the year 69163. This is the result of a long term computer simulation and accuracy of the prediction is not guaranteed. A similar prediction has passed peer review and been pubished, June 2004 issue of The Journal of the British Astronomical Association. Set an alarm in your personal organiser!
    Fourmilab (Great geek website!) Wikipedia
    Animation Peer reviewed paper.
  • 4th June 2012: It's almost time!
  • We are almost there. The Transit of Venus is this Wednesday June 6th. Safe viewing instructions are above, but what else can we do to assist you in observing and enjoying the transit? Jeremiah Horrox, prior to making the first ever observation of a transit in 1639, "rejoiced exceedingly in the hope of seeing Venus in the Sun". We should too. Horrox was concerned about the possibility of a "clouded atmosphere". He was well aware (in 1639), as were the Astrologers, that Mercury and Jupiter in conjunction with the Sun, as they were at the time, was a sign of bad weather. We should probably try the Bureau of Meteorology. Should we provide some super accurate computerised predictions from Fred Espenak "Mr Eclipse" at NASA? What about Michael Zeiler's visibility diagrams? No, no, no! Below are the predictions and diagrams from Richard A Proctor in 1883. After the pair of transits in 1874 and 1882 Proctor wrote a book and left us his best predictions and advice to assist us. "...I venture to hope that there then be found, among old volumes on their book-stalls, the essays and charts by which I have endeavoured to aid...". Thanks Richard!
    Michael Zeiler, Richard Proctor, etc Fred Espenak at NASA Met Bureau Brisbane forecast.

  • 6th June 2012: Today!
  • The Transit of Venus is TODAY, 8:15AM to 2:44PM Brisbane time.
  • Met Bureau forecast for Wednesday (transit) is "fine and partly cloudy". Met Bureau
  • 7th June 2012: No more :(
  • There are no more Transits of Venus for 105.5 years :(
  • Transit of Venus photo gallery is here.

  • Some unauthorised logos found their way on to the website during 2012:

    April 2012: Alienese.

    May 2012: Transit of Venus.

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