History of Physics Group


Our next meeting will be held in London on September 27th 2018. This will be an "open" meeting, at which Group members are invited to give short talks. The organising committee will be pleased to receive abstracts of no more than 500 words for 20 minute oral presentation or presentation by poster on any subject related to the history of physics. Submissions from Group members who have not given a talk at a Group meeting before will be especially welcome, as will submissions from students and early-career researchers. Richard Staley of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge will give the keynote talk, "Symmetries: On physical and aesthetic argument in the development of relativity". Please submit abstracts by 31 May 2018 to j.grozier@ucl.ac.uk.

We are also planning a meeting on November on "the history of physics in London universities.

The third International Conference on the History of Physics will take place in Donostia-San Sebastian (Spain) from 17-21 October, 2018. See the website for 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.

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