Grand plan for the future of Australian physics

06 December 2012

A bold plan that aims to support and inspire the next generation of physicists, among other goals, will steer physics education and research in Australia for the next 10 years.

Launched by Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt, the Physics Decadal Plan 2012-2021 – Building excellence in physics, underpinning Australia’s future calls for:

  • Supporting physics teachers to inspire and train our next generation of physicists, to address Australia’s grand societal challenges
  • Building on the outstanding foundations established by the Australian Synchrotron, OPAL reactor and Square Kilometre Array, with a landmark scheme to establish a new major research facility of global impact
  • Engaging with the Australian Research Council and Clean Energy Finance Corporation to support physics research to innovate in clean power production
  • Strong support for Australian physicists to partner internationally to answer the big questions about the origin, evolution and fate of our universe
  • Attracting the world’s best and brightest to work and study in Australia

“Over the next decade there will be rapidly increasing opportunities to harness physics to serve our society in generating and managing electricity, improving medical diagnostics and therapy, climate change mitigation and much more,” Academy Vice President and Secretary for Physical Sciences, Professor Chennupati Jagadish, said.

“The Physics Decadal Plan provides a roadmap towards a vibrant future; it makes strong recommendations to help Australia make the most of the new quantum revolution and the quest for new physics."

“It also sets out a clear plan of action to inspire the next generation of physicists and ensure that physics helps Australian society to achieve its best educational, environmental, health and economic potential.”

Professor David Jamieson, Convenor of the Decadal Plan working group and Head of The University of Melbourne’s School of Physics, said that investment in this plan would build Australia’s future.

“In times of budgetary restraint it may be tempting to forego investment in the fundamentals – education, research and development, but this is a false economy,” he said.

“The 21st century promises extraordinary advances in our understanding of fundamental questions in physics and the application of physics to managing our complex society in an increasingly crowded and changing world.”

“Investment in this plan will build our nation’s future.”

The plan was developed by a working group of the Australian Academy of Sciences, in consultation with the nation’s physics research community and support from the Australian Research Council and the Australian Institute of Physics.

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Image: CSIRO Australia/Terrace Photographers

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