Institute of Physics

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This article is about the London-based professional association for physicists. For other uses, see Institute of Physics (disambiguation).
Institute of Physics
IOP Institute of Physics
Abbreviation IOP
Motto Intellegite et explicate
(Understand and explain)[1]
Formation 14 February 1874
Headquarters London
Membership 50,000
President
Frances Saunders[2]
Key people
Paul Hardaker (CEO)[3]
Website www.iop.org

The Institute of Physics (IOP) is a scientific charity devoted to increasing the practice, understanding and application of physics.[4] It has a worldwide membership of around 50,000.[5] The IOP supports physics in education, research and industry.[6] In addition to this, the IOP provides services to its members including careers advice and professional development and grants the professional qualification of Chartered Physicist (CPhys), as well as Chartered Engineer (CEng) as a nominated body of the Engineering Council.[7] The IOP's publishing company, IOP Publishing, publishes more than 60 academic titles.[8]

History[edit]

John Hall Gladstone, the first President of the Physical Society of London.
The Institute of Physics building in Portland Place, London

The Institute of Physics was formed in 1960 from the merger of the Physical Society of London, founded in 1874, and the Institute of Physics, founded in 1920.[9] The Society was officially formed on 14 February 1874 with John Hall Gladstone as its first president.[1] From its beginning, the society held open meetings and demonstrations and published Proceedings of the Physical Society.[1]

In the early part of the 20th century, the profession of "physicist" emerged, partly as a result of the increased demand for scientists during World War I. In 1917, the Council of the Physical Society, along with the Faraday Society, the Optical Society, and the Roentgen Society, started to explore ways of improving the professional status of physicists.[9] In 1920, the Institute of Physics was created under special license from the Board of Trade. Sir Richard Glazebrook was elected first President of the Institute.[10] As with the Physical Society, dissemination of knowledge was fundamental to the Institute, which began publication of the Journal of Scientific Instruments in 1922.[9] The annual Reports on Progress in Physics began in 1934[1] and is still published today. In 1952, the Institute began the "Graduateship" course and examination, which ran until 1984 when the expansion of access to universities removed demand.[9]

In 1960, the Physical Society and the Institute of Physics merged, creating the Institute of Physics and the Physical Society, which combined the learned society tradition of the Physical Society with the professional body tradition of the Institute of Physics.[11] Upon being granted a royal charter in 1970, the organization renamed itself to Institute of Physics.[12]

Membership[edit]

There are three grades of membership: Associate Member (AMInstP), Member (MInstP) and Fellow (FInstP). Qualification for AMInstP is normally by completion of an undergraduate degree accredited by the Institute – this covers almost all UK physics degrees.[13] An AMInstP can become an MInstP by gaining professional experience as a physicist and an FInstP by making "an outstanding contribution to the profession." MInstP and FInstP are the two corporate grades of membership, granting the right to vote in Institute elections. There are also student and affiliate grades of membership for those currently studying physics degrees and those who do not have accredited degrees (or equivalent experience).[14] The Institute grants academic dress to the various grades of membership.[15] Those who have passed the Institute's graduateeship examination are entitled to a violet damask Oxford burgon-shaped hood. Corporate members are entitled to wear a hood of Toronto shape in violet damask, lined in violet and faced on the cowl with crimson silk.[15]

Services[edit]

The Institute grants the professional title of Chartered Physicist (CPhys) as well as Chartered Engineer (CEng) as a nominated body of the Engineering Council. Until 1998 CPhys was granted automatically with MInstP, however since then it has become a separate qualification that is equal in stature to Chartered Engineer. In order to gain the CPhys qualification, a physicist must be appropriately qualified (an MSci or MPhys undergraduate master's degree is standard, although experience leading to an equivalent level can be counted), have had a minimum of two years of structured training and a minimum of two years responsible work experience, have demonstrated a commitment to continuing professional development, and have gained a number of competencies.

The IOP accredits undergraduate degrees (BSc/BA and MSci/MPhys) in physics in British and Irish universities.[13] At post-16 level, the IOP developed the 'Advancing Physics' A-level course, in conjunction with the OCR examining board, which is accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. Advancing Physics was sold to Oxford University Press in January 2011.[16] The IOP also developed the Integrated Sciences degree, which is run at four universities in England.[17] The IOP provides an important educational service for secondary schools in the UK. This is the Lab in a Lorry, a mobile laboratory in a large articulated truck. This has three small laboratories where schoolchildren can try out various hands-on experiments, using physics equipment not usually available in the average school laboratory. Sponsorship is provided by EDF Energy and support from the British Science Association.

Publishing[edit]

Main article: IOP Publishing

IOP Publishing is a wholly owned subsidiary of the IOP that publishes more than sixty academic journals. Any profits generated by the publishing company are used to fund the IOP. It won the Queen's Award for Export Achievement in 1990, 1995 and 2000 and publishes a large number of journals, websites and magazines, such as the Physics World membership magazine of the Institute of Physics, which was launched in 1988.

Governance[edit]

An elected Council[18] governs and controls the affairs of the Institute. The Council meets four times a year and has up to 25 members of whom 16 are elected by members of the Institute.

The President is elected by the membership of the Institute and serves a term of two years. The current President is Frances Saunders. The history of the Institute, from its founding as the Physical Society of London through to today's Institute has meant that the name of the post held has varied.[1]

Awards[edit]

The Institute awards numerous prizes to acknowledge contributions to physics research, education and application.[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Lewis, John J. (2003), The Physical Society and Institute of Physics 1874-2002, Institute of Physics Publishing, ISBN 0-7503-0879-6 
  2. ^ IOP Council
  3. ^ Staff contact details
  4. ^ "About the Institute", Information (Institute of Physics and IOP Publishing), 2011, retrieved 2010-10-04 
  5. ^ IOP About uS
  6. ^ Institute of Physics Policy Activities
  7. ^ Becoming Chartered by the Institute
  8. ^ IOP Publishing
  9. ^ a b c d "The History of the Institute", History (Institute of Physics and IOP Publishing), 2009, retrieved 2009-08-25 
  10. ^ Richard Glazebrook biography
  11. ^ Institute of Physics History
  12. ^ Royal Charter of the Institute of Physics
  13. ^ a b IOP accredited courses
  14. ^ Grades of membership
  15. ^ a b Misc robes
  16. ^ Letter to Advancing Physics users
  17. ^ Integrated Sciences
  18. ^ Institute of Physics Council
  19. ^ "IOP awards". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 

External links[edit]