Institute of Physics
|Motto||Intellegite et explicate|
(Understand and explain)
|Formation||14 February 1874|
|Professor Dame Julia Higgins|
|Paul Hardaker (CEO)|
The Institute of Physics (IOP) is a scientific charity that works to advance physics education, research and application. It was founded in 1874 and has a worldwide membership of over 50,000. The IOP supports physics in education, research and industry. 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. The IOP's publishing company, IOP Publishing, publishes more than 70 academic journals and magazines.
The Physical Society of London had been officially formed on 14 February 1874 by Frederick Guthrie, following the canvassing of opinion of Fellows of the Royal Society by William Barrett at the British Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Bradford in 1873, with John Hall Gladstone as its first president. From its beginning, the society held open meetings and demonstrations and published Proceedings of the Physical Society. Meetings were held every two weeks, mainly at Imperial College London. The first Guthrie lecture, now known as the Faraday Medal and Prize, was delivered in 1914.
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, following discussions between William Eccles and William Duddell, 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., and in 1918 the Institute of Physics was created at a meeting of the four societies held at King's College London. In 1919 Sir Richard Glazebrook was elected first president of the institute. and in 1920, the Institute of Physics was incorporated under special license from the Board of Trade. The inaugural meeting of the Institute took place in 1921. As with the Physical Society, dissemination of knowledge was fundamental to the institute, which began publication of the Journal of Scientific Instruments in 1922. The annual Reports on Progress in Physics began in 1934 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.
In 1932 the Physical Society of London merged with the Optical Society to create the Physical Society. In 1960, the Physical Society and the Institute of Physics merged, creating a single organization with the unwieldy name The Institute of Physics and the Physical Society, with John Cockcroft elected at its first president. The new society combined the learned society tradition of the Physical Society with the professional body tradition of the Institute of Physics. Under the leadership of Thomas E. Nevin an Irish branch of the Institute of Physics was formed in 1964. Upon being granted a royal charter in 1970, the organization was renamed as the Institute of Physics.
There are four grades of membership: Associate Member, Member (MInstP), Fellow of the Institute of Physics (FInstP) and Honorary Fellow. Undergraduates, apprentices and trainees can become Associate Members, and qualification for MInstP is normally by completion of an undergraduate degree that is "recognised" by the institute – this covers almost all UK physics degrees. A MInstP can become an FInstP by making "an outstanding contribution to the profession." These four grades of membership replaced the previous seven grades in January 2018; the changes introduced then removed affiliate memberships for undergraduates (they are now associate members), removed the post-nominal letters AMinstP, and allowed automatic qualification as full members after graduation. Associate members are also now voting members.
The institute grants academic dress to the various grades of membership. Those who have passed the institute's graduateeship examination (offered 1952–1984) are entitled to a violet damask Oxford burgon-shaped hood. Corporate members are entitled to wear a hood of Toronto full shape in violet damask, lined in violet and faced on the cowl with 2"/5 cm shot crimson silk. The gown for members and those who have passed the graduateship examination is the same pattern as that used by the University of London for their Bachelor of Arts, but with the sleeves loped by violet cords and buttons, the Fellow's gown follows the pattern of the Doctor's robes of Oxford University in black with (according to Groves 2014) 4" cuffs in violet damask, or (according to the IoP website) 15 cm cuffs and 10 cm facings in violet taffeta, the cuffs slightly gathered with red cords and violet buttons. Fellows wear a doctor's bonnet in black velvet with red tassels, other grades wear a standard black mortarboard with black tassels.
The institute grants the professional title of Chartered Physicist (CPhys) under its own charter, Chartered Engineer (CEng) as a nominated body of the Engineering Council, and Registered Scientist (RSci) and Registered Science Technician (RSciTech) as a licensed body of the Science 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. From 2012, it requires re-validation every three years. In order to gain the CPhys qualification, a physicist must be appropriately qualified (an accredited MSci or MPhys integrated 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. 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. The IOP also developed the Integrated Sciences degree, which is run at four universities in England. 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. IOP runs the Stimulating Physics Network, aimed at increasing the uptake of physics at A-level, and administers teacher-training scholarships funded by the Department for Education.
In March 2019 The Institute of Physics launched the Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund with the goal of helping female and black students to become physics researchers. The program is funded by Jocelyn Bell Burnell and provides aid to low-income students as well as those who qualify for refugee status. Bell won the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics in 2018 and donated the entire £2.3 million prize money to launch the fund.
The institute is also interested in the ethical impact of physics, as is witnessed though the Physics and Ethics Education Project.
IOP Publishing is a wholly owned subsidiary of the IOP that publishes more than 70 academic titles. 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.
An elected Council 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 Professor Dame Julia Higgins. 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.
The institute awards numerous prizes to acknowledge contributions to physics research, education and application.
- The Isaac Newton Medal is awarded annually to any physicist, regardless of subject area, background or nationality, for outstanding contributions to physics. It is accompanied by a prize of £1000 and the recipient is invited to give the Newton lecture.
- The Michael Faraday Medal and Prize is a prize awarded annually for outstanding contributions to experimental physics to a physicist of international reputation in any sector.
- The Max Born Medal and Prize is awarded yearly by the German Physical Society and the Institute of Physics (IOP) in memory of the German physicist Max Born. The prize recognizes "outstanding contributions to physics" and is awarded to physicists based in Germany and in the UK or Ireland in alternate years.
- The Katharine Burr Blodgett Medal and Prize is a prize awarded annually for outstanding contributions to the organisation or applications physics to a physicist in an industrial or commercial context in any sector.
- The Dennis Gabor Medal and Prize is a prize awarded for distinguished contributions to the application of physics in an industrial, commercial or business context.
- The Rayleigh Medal and Prize, established in 2008, is awarded biennially, in odd numbered years, for distinguished research in theoretical, mathematical or computational physics.
- The Ernest Rutherford Medal and Prize, awarded biennially in even numbered years, was instituted in 1966, replacing the Rutherford Memorial Lecture. The award recognises distinguished research in nuclear physics or nuclear technology and is named in honour of Lord Rutherford of Nelson.
- The Joseph Thomson Medal and Prize, established in 2008, is awarded biennially, in even numbered years, for distinguished research in atomic (including quantum optics) or molecular physics.
- The Thomas Young Medal and Prize is awarded biennially, in odd numbered years, for distinguished research in the field of optics, including physics outside the visible region.
- The Edward Appleton Medal and Prize is awarded for distinguished research in environmental, earth or atmospheric physics. Originally named after Charles Chree, it was established in 1941 and is currently awarded in even-dated years.
- The Kelvin Medal and Prize instigated in October 1994 in recognition of the importance of promoting public awareness of the place of physics in the world, of its contributions to the quality of life and its advancement of an understanding of the physical world and the place of humanity within it.
- The Lise Meitner Medal and Prize, established in 2016, for "distinguished contributions to public engagement within physics".
- The Marie Curie-Sklodowska Medal and Prize was established in 2016 for "distinguished contributions to physics education and to widening participation within it".
- The James Clerk Maxwell Medal and Prize, awarded annually since 1962 to recognize outstanding early-career contributions to theoretical physics.
- The Daphne Jackson Medal and Prize, established in 2016, is awarded "for exceptional early career contributions to physics education and to widening participation within it".
Since its formation the institute has had its headquarters in London. The early meetings of the Physical Society of London were hosted in South Kensington, until a permanent base was found in Burlington House in 1894. In 1927 the Institute of Physica acquired, rent-free, 1 Lowther Gardens, it was joined there by the Physical Society in 1939. During the Second World War, the institute moved temporarily to the University of Reading. After the war, the institute returned to London, first to 19 Albemarle Street, where it stayed for little over a year, before moving to 47 Belgrave Square in December 1946. The Physical Society continued to be based in Lowther Gardens until 1960. The institute moved to 76 Portland Place in 1996.
In 2013 the IOP bought a property in King’s Cross for use as its new headquarters. This was the source of some controversy, as local residents objected to the design and size of the new building. After an initial approval in February 2015, it took almost ten months of additional negotiation before planning permission was ultimately granted by the Islington Council in December 2015. The IOP moved into this new building 29 October 2018.
- Lewis, John J. (2003), The Physical Society and Institute of Physics 1874-2002, Institute of Physics Publishing, ISBN 0-7503-0879-6
- "The Institute of Physics Annual Report 2015" (PDF). Institute of Physics. p. 7. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
- Staff contact details
- "About the Institute", Information, Institute of Physics and IOP Publishing, 2011, retrieved 2010-10-04
- IOP About uS
- Institute of Physics Policy Activities
- Becoming Chartered by the Institute
- IOP Publishing Archived 2014-11-13 at the Wayback Machine
- "The History of the Institute", History, Institute of Physics and IOP Publishing, 2009, retrieved 2009-08-25
- "Sir Richard Tetley Glazebrook". National Physical Laboratory. Archived from the original on 30 March 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
- Institute of Physics History
- About Us: Early History of IOP in Ireland Foundation of the Irish branch
- Royal Charter of the Institute of Physics
- IOP recognised courses
- "Summary of changes to the membership structure". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
- Misc robes
- Specifications on the IoP website are in cm; Burgon Society publications give specifications in inches
- Nicholas Groves (2014). Shaw's Academical Dress of Great Britain and Ireland - Volume II: Non-degree-awarding Bodies. Burgon Society. p. 203. ISBN 978-099287400-1.
- "Academic Dress". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
- "IOP licensed to award professional registrations". Institute of Physics. 20 May 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
- "Chartered status". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
- "Charter and Bylaws" (PDF). Institute of Physics. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
- "Chartered Physicist (CPhys)". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
- "Register of Accredited Courses" (PDF). January 2016. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- Letter to Advancing Physics users
- Integrated Sciences
- Stimulating Physics Network Archived 2015-02-16 at the Wayback Machine
- Teacher Training Scholarships
- Fund to boost female and black physicist numbers By Pallab Ghosh, BBC News, 19 March 2019
- Institute of Physics Council
- "IOP awards". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
- "The Isaac Newton Medal". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 2014-11-05.
- "The Faraday medal". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 2011-08-24.
- "The Born medal and prize". Institute of Physics. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
- "Max-Born-Preis" [Max Born Prize] (in German). German Physical Society. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
- "The Swan medal". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 2016-04-29.
- "The Rayleigh Medal and Prize". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- "Lord Rutherford of Nelson". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
- "The Thomson Medal and Prize". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- "The Young Medal and Prize". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- "Appleton medal and prize". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- "Physics education and widening participation within it and public engagement within physics". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
- "Physics education and widening participation within it and public engagement within physics". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
- "The Maxwell medal and prize". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Daphne Jackson Medal and Prize". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
- "Row over plans for Institute of Physics building in King's Cross". Islington Gazette. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
- "Residents take apart Institute of Physics case on eve of planning meeting". Kings Cross Local Environment. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
- "We moved to King's Cross on Monday 29 October". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
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