Partner societies

Physics by its nature is an international endeavour that is not constrained by national borders.

Physicists cross national boundaries, seen by our membership demographics, to collaborate with partners to solve the societal challenges that face humanity on a global scale, as well as engage in experiments, using facilities such as the Large Hadron Collider, to expand the boundaries of knowledge.  

The international nature of physics means that the IOP has a role to play to influence and develop the environment within which physics is learnt, taught, researched and applied on a global scale. This is one of the drivers behind the IOP looking to provide opportunities for its members to network with the international physics community. Indeed, partnering with other organisations provides us with the opportunity to share our own knowledge, harness the expertise of others and offer more cost efficient resources internationally.  

To this end, the IOP is a member of several international umbrella bodies that hold leadership roles for physics and its subfields in the global context. These bodies, often associated closely with pan-scientific unions, provide a framework for collaboration for the international community of scientists and engineers. The IOP is currently a member of the European Physical Society; the European Optical Society; the International Commission for Optics; and the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics.

One of the mechanisms the IOP has to build international relations is through its relationships with national physical societies, where a number of opportunities exist for physicists to network and potentially collaborate, which includes attendance at meetings and conference, as follows:

  • To enhance scientific relations and improve communication between physicists across the world, the IOP entitles current members of national physical societies of their country of residence and/or employment to attend conferences organised by the IOP at the same rates as would apply to members of the IOP. Information about the range of national and international events organised by the IOP and its members can be found here.
  • Additionally, the IOP welcomes the exchange of information between itself and representatives from national physical societies, in support of mutual collaboration along the lines of capacity building, education, science and innovation, membership, and degree accreditation. This can often include the organisation of official visits to the IOP’s London office and other places of interest; recently we welcomed a visit from a delegation of the Chinese Physical Society.
  • The IOP also maintains close relations with a number of national physical societies with which it has agreements to jointly support a number of bilateral international awards, which celebrate the best of physics to reward researchers for groundbreaking work. These include the Born medal and prize jointly with the German Physical Society; the Holweck medal and prize with the French Physical Society; the Massey medal and prize with the Australian Institute of Physics; and the Occhialini medal and prize with the Italian Physical Society.
  • Furthermore, we have some formal and informal agreements in place that allow IOP members to participate in overseas events organised by partner national physical societies. This includes the Cockcroft and Walton/Homi Bhabha Lecturer Exchange Programme with the Indian Physics Association; the biennial Meeting of Polish Physicists and the IPSEC with the Polish Physical Society; the Physics Days annual meeting of the Finnish Physical Society; the biennial congress organised by the Australian Institute of Physics and its partners; and reciprocal rates for members to submit papers and attend meetings organised by the American Physical Society, the Canadian Association of Physicists, amongst other national physical societies.

If you are interested in finding out more about the IOP’s international work, please contact the international team at