North East Branch honours physics on stage star

18 January 2013

The IOP honours and recognises the contribution of individuals to the many different aspects of physics every year.

Innovation Awards

One aspect well covered is about scientific excellence in research and application of physics. However the work of the IOP in spreading the word about physics to a wider audience, particularly through branches, is often done by volunteers. 

The Institute of Physics Branches Prize, established in 2001, is one way that Branches can honour their most prolific and enthusiastic volunteers. It is perhaps indicative of this description of David Featonby that it took almost six months for him to be available to receive his Prize at our Gareth Roberts Memorial Lecture in December. 

In the meantime he was continuing his work with young people demonstrating sometimes quite profound physics using household materials and simple equipment as well as being heavily involved in the international steering committee for Science on Stage 2013 travelling to Copenhagen and Berlin, for example, since being selected to go to the international science teacher event some years ago.

David was a member of the NE Branch committee for 9 years, and has been a staunch supporter of Branch activities. On retirement from teaching he worked as a consultant until January 2012 for IOP as a Physics Network coordinator in the NE. 

His enthusiasm for physics is infectious and he has worked tirelessly to promote physics in a variety of venues, even writing scientific explanations for display next to the water features in Alnwick gardens. He is a very popular deliverer of workshops on a variety of physics topics including the physics of toys. 

This has widened his reputation and he has this year delivered workshops in Slovakia and Norway and closer to home, passing on his enthusiasm and expertise through volunteering at Physics in the Field events in the region.

We have other excellent volunteers in the region and the Branch wishes to continue making nominations for the Branches Prize in future. 

Perhaps you know someone working under the committee's radar or who is presently an unsung physics hero. Please get in touch with our Chair if you do.