Origins of the Polymer Physics Group

A meeting on the “Physics of Polymers” was held on January 10 - 12, 1961 in Bristol.  This is believed to be the first of its kind in the United Kingdom.  The organisers did not identify themselves as a Polymer Physics Group.  A report on the meeting was later published: D.C. Bassett, British Journal of Applied Physics (1961) 12, 261.

The Polymer Physics Group was initiated following an informal meeting between Ian Ward, Andrew Keller, Arthur Charlesby, Geoff Allen and David Whiffen in 1963. Ian Ward had recently returned from working in the USA and proposed that a group was set up similar to that organised by the American Physical Society.

Ian Ward approached ICI (via Dr. Rowland Hill, Research Director of ICI Fibres) for financial support.

Arthur Charlesby offered the Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham as the venue for the inaugural meeting of the Group, which was held on April 1-3, 1964.

Ian Ward agreed to act as Secretary and Treasurer and opened a bank account at Harrogate. Mrs. Margaret Ward set up the accounts and handled the receipt of the cheques for £5 from attendees.

Sir Charles Frank agreed to act as the Group Chairman, and Sir Gordon Sutherland was invited to open the conference.

Initially set up as an independent British Polymer Physics Group, it later became a joint Group of the Institute of Physics and the Chemical Society/Royal Society of Chemistry.

Thanks to Ian Ward and the Keller Archives in Bristol for information.

Previous Chairs of the Polymer Physics Group

  • Sir Charles Frank: 1963 – 1967
  • Leslie R.G. Treloar: 1967 – 1971
  • Ian M. Ward: 1967 – 1971
  • Andrew Keller: 1975 – 1981
  • Barry Jennings: 1981 – 1987
  • David C. Bassett: 1987 – 1993
  • Alan H. Windle: 1993 – 1999
  • Geoffrey Davies: 1999 – 2005
  • Richard A.L. Jones: 2005 – 2011

Biennial Meeting history of the Polymer Physics Group

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