History of Physics Group


Upcoming meetings:

  • Scientific Legacy of the Third Baron Rayleigh

    The event on Thursday 19 September 2019 in Cambridge will cover the life and work of John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh.

    The event will consider the life and work of John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh (1842 – 1919) on the 100th anniversary of his death. Topics to be covered during the day will include Rayleigh and the Cavendish Laboratory, his work on sound, colour vision, biological colours and the polarisation of the blue sky, the discovery of argon, correspondence with Stokes, Kelvin and others, and a lecture given by Rayleigh on Faraday at the Royal Institution.

    Location and booking details



Our most recent newsletter is a special issue on Rutherford's Chemists (April 2018) based on a meeting held in Glasgow in July 2017. This newsletter is not available in print form, but can be downloaded from our newsletter page. Our most recent regular issue, No 35, can also be downloaded from there.


About the group

The group was established in 1984. Its main aims are to secure the written, oral and instrumental record of British physics for posterity and to explore ways in which history can be used more effectively in the understanding, teaching and general communication of physics. Since the history of physics deals with all aspects of physics the group also hopes to provide a forum whereby the different and sometimes fragmented disciplines of physics and related subjects may interact fruitfully.

Four major areas of interest have been identified:

  • oral history and archives
  • the history of experimentation and instruments
  • the history of physics ideas
  • the history of the interactions between physics and society.

The group intends to pursue those aspects of the history of physics which especially require the skills of the physicist and which are of particular interest to the practitioner of physics. It is generally felt that nineteenth- and twentieth-century physics will be of greatest interest to members of the Institute.

To achieve our aims the group holds at least two half- or one-day meetings and an evening lecture each year. In addition a regular newsletter is issued which contains information on past and future meetings of the group and related organisations, articles on the history of physics, and group news.

Related information


IOP Groups

How to join a group

All groups are open to all IOP members

Research Student Conference Fund

The Institute of Physics provides financial support to research students to attend international meetings and major national meetings.

Early Career Researchers Fund

The Institute of Physics provides financial support to early career researchers to attend international meetings and visit international facilities.

Cookie Settings