Thursday, 29 September 2016

Rough-as-guts first pass at notes from ACSME discipline day

General comments
Should we regard physics as the “liberal arts”of science? Would that help or hinder our students’s employability?

Who Employs your physics graduates?

Existing surveys:
Australian graduate destination survey; incomplete, self-selection bias
UK IoP survey- excellent, very complete.
University Alumni associations, particularly Go8
Need to use Networking
ADFA@UNSW knows where all their graduates go b/c military. (Most ADFA go into engineering.)
Sensing/Sensor networks
Big Data
Marketing (Loreal example-numbers specialist on marketing team)
Scientific instrument sales
Business Analyst in local government
UNSW open day pamphlet- “Our graduates get jobs in the following industries….”
Animation/game design
Big Data (e.g. traffic analysis)

2008 UQ Graduate destination survey
Complete cohorts more useful than all cohorts
Use linkedIn/social media to stalk
BoM/ABS, Teaching

What do you tell parents at open Day?

“I’m not aware of any unemployed graduates in physics. Blinkers may apply”

Would you ‘Let”your children do physics?

Anything modelling- especuially ability to switch between different models e.g. at different elngthscales.
Knowing that there may be more than one contributing factor- so not thinking the problem will be solved by just one thing.

Doomsday scenario- you’re sacked. How get a job?

Do a gred cert in editingà publishing job

Management consulting X2 (BCG)

Go off-grid and live on savings

Train Driver

Safety (Radiation, Laser)
 Start a business in the secondary school sector (particularly regional) consulting/ontracting to schools, e.g. professional development, motivation. (X3)

Write textbooks (although poor royalties)
Write worksheets (Teachers Pay Teachers)
Create web presence: Physics Girl, Venitsium

Masters of Actuaryship

Secondary school teaching X2
TAFE teaching

Editing/rewriting thesis/research articles

David Hoxley
Department of Chemistry and Physics
La Trobe University

We had a great discussion about the agenda- you can see the raw whiteboards here:

They will be transcribed and summarised in due course.

For the record, the previous discipline days are also being summarised:

2015 (Curtin): SoLT (Jasmina)
Journal article draft (IJISME)

2014 (UTS): Flipping (Theo, Chris) 
AIP PEG white paper

2013 (Uni of Canberra): Accred/standards/TLOs (John)
AIP PEG white paper



David Hoxley
Department of Chemistry and Physics
La Trobe University

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Agenda for discipline day 2016 at UQ

Hi Folks,

the gathering will be relatively informal, with a simple agenda:

  1. WIL and employability in Physics degrees; past and future
  2. Report of outcomes of previous ACSME discipline days
  3. Advance call for nominations for Chair of AIP PEG (to be decided at AIP congress)

Here are a few questions to think about before tomorrow. Please feel free to email me any responses ( and to invite anyone you think appropriate to do the same.

  • Do you have complete records of where your physics students go after they graduate?
    • Can we pool this information nationally to get a picture of employment outcomes?
    • Has this already been done?
  • We talk in general terms about how employable our students-what evidence do we have?
    • What do you tell Parents at open day?
  • If you had to get a new job outside the University sector tomorrow, where would you apply?

Look forward to seeing you there.


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

ACSME discipline Day

Australian Institute of Physics Education Group

Discipline network meeting

To be held in conjunction with the 2016 Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education (ACSME)
At the University of Queensland on Friday, 30 September, from 11.00am – 12.30pm, followed by light lunch

The meeting will be held in building 24 (Social Sciences) room 24-328

It is free to attend and all physics teaching colleagues are welcome. Please feel free to circulate this invitation.

Further information about the ACSME conference and venue map are attached, and online at:

Please rsvp to for catering purposes

See AIPEG blog at

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Australian Council of Deans of Science Teaching and Learning conference

Just about to go to ACDS T&L conference- go to one of these if you can. Most Associate Deans of Teaching and learning- smart, dedicated, experienced people.

Monday, 8 February 2016

SAGE: Athena SWAN for australia

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Advice to a first year student interested in a career in astrophysics

As first year co-ordinator, I get quite a few emails like the below. Am I doing it right?

Hi David. I would like to pursue a career in astrophysics and have enrolled in PHY1AST. I have enrolled in math subjects such as MAT1ICA, MAT1NLA and MAT1CDE. Are there any other maths subjects I need to enrol in or are recommended?

Hi Slartibartfast,

You don’t need any special maths to do PHY1AST, but you will need lots in order to pursue an astrophysics career. So yes, all the ones you have listed will be useful.

I very much recommend any of these excellent moocs:

Here is a reddit AMA done by the driving forces, Paul Francis and Brian  Schmidt:

In general, the more maths you do at first year, the better- but don't do more than you feel comfortable with. Depth not breadth, and all that. :-)

Best wishes,