History of Physics Group


The Group is planning three or four meetings in 2015, either on its own or in partnership with other IOP Groups or other organisations. The first will be on 4 March at the IOP, joint with the Women in Physics Group; the second will be From Hooke to Helioseismology in Leicester on 9-10 April.

Two newsletters are currently in preparation, and will be mailed to members as soon as possible. Newsletter No. 32 will include articles on the Wheatstone Wave Machine, and Faraday’s “blue” plaque – commemorating a remarkable master as well as a remarkable servant; and reviews of a recent history of the German Physical Society in the Third Reich, and of Hasok Chang’s “Is Water H20?”

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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