open day

At the School of Mathematics and Physics, our staff is actively engaged in a range of activities that contribute to the wider community. We believe that mathematics and physics are fundamental tools that people use to discover, learn and make an active contribution to society with ... and we're not talking about having everyone become a quantum physics expert!

Being a scientist isn't for everyone but science is a huge part of our daily lives, even if we don't acknowledge it, such as the computer you are currently using, our transport, your mobile phone, mp3 player, the materials your house is made of, the list goes on.

So why not engage in some of the activities on this page and learn something you didn't know about the world around you ... a little ground knowledge in the tools surely is a good thing!

If you would like to find out more about our engagement activities, please contact Ms Julie Baglot at +61 (0) 7 3346 9498 (office tel) or +61 (0) 411 162 577 (mobile) or

Regular Events or Things to See

The Pitch Drop Experiment: The famous pitch drop experiment began in 1927 to illustrate that everyday materials can exhibit quite surprising properties. Professor John Mainstone and Professor Thomas Parnell (posthumously) were jointly awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for Physics in 2005. The experiment is also listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's longest running laboratory experiment.

BrisScience: BrisScience is Brisbane’s monthly series of talks on science, featuring dynamic speakers working at the leading edge of science and technology. The talks are free and open to all.

Tools of Science: A series of meetings hosted by The Physics Museum, at The University of Queensland. For students, scientists, engineers, historians of science and technology, teachers, collectors, and all those fascinated by old scientific instruments.

Physics Museum: The museum houses a collection of instruments, books and memorabilla dating back to the very beginning of The University of Queensland. Among other things, it offers visitors an insight into how things used to be done, and to see how to use a slide rule, computer punch cards, computer magnetic memory, a 1 meter searchlight mirror, and shake hands with their own image.

Queensland Junior Physics Olympiad (27 June - 1 July 2016): The Queensland Junior Physics Olympiad (JPhO) is a five day (non-residential) program for Year 10 and outstanding Year 9 students with an interest in science and mathematics.  By presenting physics in a manner that complements senior physics, JPhO aims to develop problem solving skills as well as appreciation and understanding of physics.

Physics Colloquium: Physics Colloquia are held on Friday afternoons in Room 222, Parnell Building (Building 7), from 4-5pm. All are welcome to attend! Refreshments are served before the talk, from 3:40pm.

Maths Colloquium: The Maths Colloquium is the main event of the Maths Department. It is directed to students and academic staff working in pure and applied mathematics and statistics. The aim is to present expository lectures appealing to this broad audience.

Pure Mathematics Seminars: The Pure Maths Seminars cover a diverse range of interests in all aspects of pure mathematics. This seminar series is the successor of the UQ Algebra, Combinatorics and Topology seminar and started in March 2012.

Statistics, Modelling and Operations Research Seminars: This seminar is the successor of the CARM/CSTAT seminar series and commenced in early 2013.


Professor Ross McKenzie -

Student Societies

UQ Demo Troupe: The UQ Demo Troupe is a group of students at the University of Queensland who are interested in spreading their enthusiasm for science and maths. We meet regularly to learn how to perform science demonstrations, and to develop new demonstrations. We frequently visit schools to perform science shows, and we present regular lecture demonstrations for undergraduate subjects at UQ.

PAIN is the students' club for Physics at University of Queensland, and is affiliated with the Student Union. We are sensitive intellectuals with a good sense of fun, and include undergraduate and postgraduate students and a few others. We meet every Friday during semester at 5:00PM in the Physics Tea Room in Parnell buiding (7-208, aka ΦTR) for a semi-organised activity followed by pizza and soft drinks. These vaguely physics-themed events are affectionately named 'Error Bars', and are usually followed by some socialising and conversation about science, engineering and the meaning of life. An appetite for pizza is beneficial, but all that is required is a little interest in science and engineering. Come and meet us!

For Industry

At SMP we engage with industry through research collaboration, student supervision, scientific seminars, consulting and student internships. Further details are in our industry engagement page.