Community and schools

Community and schools

Venus Halpha

We host a wide variety of events – come along and learn more about what we do, and how physics and astronomy affect you! We can also visit your school, or your school can visit us for the day. Browse our events below.

Ongoing Public Events

School Events

Photonics simulator

The photonics simulator

How fast will the internet be in the future? How can we make it faster? How can we increase the bandwidth of the internet?

The photonics game gives students information about how photonic components use light to convey signals (information) and shows how these components may be combined to make photonic circuits, such as in a computer, or optical communications networks on a larger scale. It also illustrates why light carries much more information than microwaves (mobile phones) and copper cables (electronics / radio waves).

Run the photonics simulator!

The photonics simulator as a teaching resource

  • Suitable age group: Stage 5 Science, Stage 6 Physics, Stage
    6 Engineering, Stage 6 Senior Science
  • Maximum number of students per session: Dependant on
    computer lab space
  • Availability: On campus or at your school
  • Length of session: 1.5 hours or double period

This is part of the Macquarie Experience program.

NSW Syllabus outcomes:

Stage 5 Science

  • 5.3 evaluates the impact of applications of science on society and the environment
  • 5.5 analyses how current research might affect people’s lives
  • 5.12 relates the interactions involved in using some common technologies to their underlying scientific principles
  • 5.14 undertakes first-hand investigations independently with safety and competence
  • 5.15 gathers first-hand data accurately

Stage 6 Engineering

  • H1.2 differentiates between properties of materials and justifies the selection of materials, components and processes in engineering
  • H2.2 analyses and synthesises engineering applications in specific fields and reports on the importance of these to society
  • H4.1 investigates the extent of technological change in engineering
  • H4.3 appreciates social, environmental and cultural implications of technological change in engineering and applies them to the analysis of specific problems
  • H6.2 demonstrates skills in analysis, synthesis and experimentation related to engineering

Stage 6 Physics – 8.2 The World Communicates

  • P1 outlines the historical development of major principles, concepts and ideas in physics
  • P3 assesses the impact of particular technological advances on understanding in physics
  • P4 describes applications of physics which affect society or the environment
  • P5 describes the scientific principles employed in particular areas of research in physics
  • P7 describes the effects of energy transfers and energy transformations
  • P12 discusses the validity and reliability of data gathered from first-hand investigations and secondary sources
  • P14 draws valid conclusions from gathered data and information
  • P15 implements strategies to work effectively as an individual or as a member of a team
  • P16 demonstrates positive values about, and attitude towards, both the living and nonliving components of the environment, ethical behaviour and a desire for a critical evaluation of the consequences of the applications of science

Stage 6 Senior Science

  • H1 discusses advances in scientific understanding and technology that have changed the direction or nature of scientific thinking
  • H2 applies the processes that are used to test and validate models, theories and laws, to investigations
  • H3 assesses the contribution of scientific advances on the development of technologies
  • H4 asses the impacts of applications of science on society and the environment
  • H5 describes possible future directions of scientific research
  • 9.4 Information Systems 2. Electromagnetic radiation can be modulated to carry different types of information 3. Electromagnetic waves have different properties which are utilised in a range of communication systems through air and space 5. Information can be transmitted in the form of electrical impulses 6. Electrical energy can be converted to light energy for use in optical fibre communication systems

‘Adopt a scientist’ to come to your school

Schools or classes can ‘adopt’ a Macquarie University physicist for a specific activity, event, talk or presentation.

The scientists can come to your school to discuss their research, assist in class research experiments or judge and assist in science competitions. Class groups can even come out to Macquarie University to see the scientists’ laboratory, research areas and perform activities in the laboratories.

This is part of the Macquarie Experience program.

Dr Helen Pask – Laser physics

Dr Pask’s research area is laser physics, and she has worked on many different kinds of projects with applications in telecommunications, medicine, defence and environmental science.

Associate Professor Orsola De Marco – Astronomy

Associate Professor De Marco’s main research areas are planetary nebulae, evolved close binaries and the common envelope interaction.

Come to a lecture course

Want to learn a little more about physics and astronomy? Enrol in any of our physics and astronomy units without undertaking a complete science degree.

Hologram – To Absent Friends

To Absent Friends is the world’s largest laser transmission hologram and was awarded the Grand Prix of the First High Tec Art Biennale in Nagoya, Japan in 1989. For this work Paula recreated a traditional Australian pub bar within the isolation of the National Acoustics Laboratory in Sydney, as well as a functioning holography lab. To Absent Friends was produced in 1989 and originally commissioned by Robert and Janet Holmes a Court in 1987. It was the largest holographic commission undertaken in the world. It remains the largest hologram showing the greatest depth of field on an international scale.

The three bar mirrors were replaced by three holograms revealing the state of the room at three moments during a New Year’s party. At strategic moments the guests were asked to vacate the bar-room while its disheveled condition was thoroughly photographed by Fiona Hall, whose images were used to reconstruct the various states of the room, in order for them to be recorded as holograms.

Both party and bar-room were a fabrication of the artist and were delicately and precisely staged. Thoroughly documented and orchestrated by Dawson, the ‘bar’ shell created within the isolation and quiet of the National Acoustics Laboratory, Sydney was a scientifically and artistically precise undertaking.

In 2005, Professor Paula Dawson generously donated this work under the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program to Macquarie University representing one of the most significant art works donated to the University. It currently resides in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Building E6B, Level 2.

The central concept of To Absent Friends is that of using contemporary domestic architecture as a memory repository not for factual information but for emotional states.

You can purchase a 50 minute DVD tour of the Hologram.

Find out more about Holograms and information on Paula’s work.

Absent friends hologram   Absent friends hologram

Photo Credit: Fiona Hall (left), Paula Dawson (right)

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