Physics Talented Student Program

For students who want a little more

If you have a high ATAR (or equivalent) then there is a special physics program for you! The School of Physics Talented Student Program (TSP) is part of the Faculty of Science Talented Student Program. The program is offered by invitation of the Dean of Science on the basis of ATAR score for first year students, and examination performance for students in subsequent years (see the Faculty information for details). In special circumstances, Physics may allow a small additional number of high-achieving students to participate in Physics TSP activities.

This program extends the physics course by special seminars and project work, together with a major excursion in the second semester break to locations of interest. The seminar program sometimes has a theme each year. In 2005 we focussed on the International Year of Physics which celebrated the 100th anniversary of Einstein's miracle year and in 2009 we celebrated the International Year of Astronomy. In most years, we introduce you to research highlights in the School of Physics, with presentations by staff, postdoctoral fellows and postgraduate students.

The special project work in the July semester introduces students directly to research activities in the School and to other staff members and postdocs. The aim is to broaden your knowledge of physics and give you an insight into how physicists think and how a real research project is tackled. There is also an emphasis on cross disciplinary subjects and the relationship of physics to the community as a whole. Check out below the diverse range of topics covered in the TSP projects in previous years. You can download selected presentations by clicking on the title pages. You can also download selected project reports.

Why do a program that involves extra work? Students in the program are the top students of their year. You will get special tuition and attention. As well, you will enjoy the company of other talented students working on special projects.

The TSP coordinators are Dr Helen Johnston and . Contact them for more information.


2014 TSP Excursion

The TSP excursion in the mid-semester break in 2014 took 25 students on a 3-day tour (1-3 October) to facilities around Canberra. On the first day we visited Geoscience Australia and were given a tour of facilities, including the Sensitive High Resolution Ion Microprobe (SHRIMP) and the Tsunami Warning Centre. The following day visited the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex at Tidbinbilla, followed by a tour of the plasma labs and nuclear facilities at the Australian National University physics department. On the final day we visited Mt Stromlo Observatory and toured the instrumentation labs there.

Some photos from the 2011 TSP tour to Parkes, Siding Spring and Narrabri observatories can be viewed here [pdf].


TSP Research seminars 2015: LT 5, Thursdays 1pm


Research talks for 2015. Talk titles will be added as they become available.
DateSpeakers
19 March Luke Barnes: Galaxy formation in the multiverse Joss Bland-Hawthorn: Front-row seat on the daily life of a supermassive black hole
26 March Mike Biercuk Chris Ferrie
2 April David Reilly (lab tour)
9 April mid-semester break
16 April Cliff Kerr Roger Fulton
23 April Christene Lynch Marco Tomamichel
30 April Ben Eggleton (lab tour)
7 May Nic Scott Maryanne Large
14 May Stephen Bartlett Archil Kobakhidze
21 May Chunle Xiong Simon Murphy
28 May General discussion on exam technique: Slade LT8
04 June Second semester projects

TSP special lectures

This is an occasional lecture series offered to second year students and anyone else who is interested.


Physics TSP projects for 2nd semester 2015

Projects for second semester will be available by the end of May. We will have a meeting in Week 13 to discuss how it works.

In the meantime, here is last year's list of projects to whet your appetite.


Some 2010 TSP project reports


When a black hole winks in a galaxy far, far away
(Cleo Loi)

In search of antimatter in the universe (Chris Herron)

Surface waves in degenerate plasma (Dominic Williamson)

Beyond the lens of the looking glass (Matthew New-Tolley)

Experimental verification of the practicality of a photonic crystal lantern (Jiro Funamoto)

Some 2009 TSP project PowerPoint presentations



Falling into a black hole (1.7 MB)
(Alison Hammond/Jason Cheng)

...the universe through polarised sunglasses (600 kB)
(Adam Schaefer)

The mechanism of the alpha rhythm (700 kB)
(Annemari de Silva)

Exploding stars and dwarf galaxies (2.3 MB) (Dominic Williamson)

Methanol masers around young massive stars (1.4 MB) (Ben Pope)

Computational Science Lab Tips



  • The workstations in the lab run Red Hat WS5
  • Your account name will usually be the same as your UniKey account name
    unless you have a physics account.
  • The workstation home accounts are all backed up.
  • You may share data with computers outside the lab provided you have ftp clearance on the remote
    system. You cannot send files to the lab from outside.
  • Printing can be arranged on as as needed basis, it is a good idea to give alot of warning that this will be needed.
  • You will be given a temporary password in the first instance, you should change this
    as soon as you log on the first time.
  • Remember, you are responsible for anything that happens from your account.
    It is in your interests to keep the password private.
  • Software available in the lab

    • Matlab
    • Mathematica
    • IDL
    • Fortran (Gnu Fortran 77)
    • C V4


  • The lab is in room 359 of building A28 if you need card access
  • Card access is only available during working hours.


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