Firstly, thank you for inviting me to come on this special occasion.
Before I give out the MAD prize in physics, MAD standing for
Motivation, Achievement and Dedication, I'd like to say a few
words on what to me Physics is really all about.
It is about solving problems. Not
just technical problems but ALL problems. It is about how you live
your life. Do you feel empowered to solve the problems that come
your way or do you run from them?
When I teach physics to my
students I do so to give examples of solving real-life problems. The
skills they gain are applicable to ALL problems that may come their
way, from technical through to the more difficult social
problems. I work them hard, and they do so willingly because they
know that I care for their future as I do for that of my own
kids. Life is hard; don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It is by
solving the hard problems that we gain the confidence to tackle
the even harder ones. This is why I believe that
Physics is the ideal training ground for life generally.
In many ways learning physics is like participating in
sport. Everyone benefits, the more effort you put in the greater the
benefit. It is certainly true that natural aptitudes help to reach
higher levels, but all participants benefit.
One thing that physics, and science generally, teaches us is not too
take life too seriously. Ideas come and ideas go. Belief systems
that one generation holds as absolute truths are shown by the
next to be incorrect or at least incomplete. The key is to keep
asking questions and to have fun searching for the answers.
Above all, PAY ATTENTION to all that is around you. So, in
that spirit I thought to give you a little demonstration.
Now, how many of you thought to yourselves, when I came to the podium,
that I had a wheel in my hand (show the book)? Well, you are
correct. I don't have a wheel in my hand, I have three wheels in
my hand! What do wheels do? They spin stably on an axis. This
book has three axes of rotation. How many of them are stable?
(demonstrate that only the longest and the shortest axes lead to stable
rotations). So remebmer, if you ever feel the need to use a book
or a box as a wheel, use only the longest or the
shortest axis of rotation or else you will quickly wear-out the
bearings! Try and challenge your friends to make a stable
rotation about the middle axis! See if you can work out why this
axis leads to unstable rotations. Hint, university advanced
mathematical physics would be helpful!
At Murdoch Uni we know what it is like to succeed on the World
stage. We have been world-leaders in the theory of atomic collisions
for the last decade, been awarded three prizes for best Australian
Physics, and have been invited to give presentations at
the world's best universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard,
Caltech and many more. Atomic collisions go on all around and inside
us. Their understanding is crucial to many sciences and
technologies, including nanotechnology, quantum
computing and even biotechnology.
We work with NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, the United Nations, and the Lighting industry giant
Osram-Sylvania, utilising some of the world's fastest
supercomputers that have up to Tflop performance!
Our graduates find
diverse careers in Medicine, Finance, Defence, Industry, and the very best
often remain in Physics. The power of modern computers has made
computational physicists be some of the most
sought-after scientists in the world.
This prize was initiated by the physicists at Murdoch to encourage you
to consider further study in Physics. In addition, tax-free $4,000
scholarships are available for best starting students.
It gives me great pleasure to award the MAD for physics prize, which
is Stephen Hawking's book The Universe in a Nutshell, to ...
mailto: Igor Bray
Last modified: Tue Feb 25 14:53:34 HKT 2003