Women in Physics Group

This is an IOP special interest group, which is a community of IOP members focused on a particular discipline, application or area of interest. Special interest groups allow members to connect and share knowledge and ideas. The IOP funds groups to deliver a range of activities including events, prizes and bursaries. All of our groups are driven by members.

About the group 

As a special interest, member-driven group, we encourage group members to participate in the IOP’s activities and support career progress with professional development.

We reflect the varied careers of women physicists in:

  • industry
  • teaching
  • research
  • academia
  • commerce

What the group does

Our current interests include:

  • career breaks
  • career management workshops
  • networking in the UK and Europe
  • education at primary, secondary and tertiary level
  • women in research and academia - especially those on short-term contracts

We welcome new members and suggestions for future events. Come and join us to contribute to our discussions.

Socialise, network and find out more about our group on Facebook.

Would you like to join this group?

Group physics prizes and competitions 

Jocelyn Bell Burnell Medal and Prize

The award is for women at the start of their careers who have made a substantial contribution to physics and who support and encourage others in the field.

The prize is £1,000. The winner also receives an Institute Bronze Medal. 

Nominees for the award must:

  • be women
  • have completed their first undergraduate (bachelor’s or master’s) degree in physics less than five years ago (not including career breaks)
  • be making a substantial contribution to physics
  • be working to support and encourage others in the field
  • be working in a physics based role e.g. researcher, graduate trainee or teacher or engaged in postgraduate study in physics
  • have their undergraduate degree listed on myphysicscourse.org. We consider nominees with non-UK degrees on a case by case basis

Learn more about the prize  



Dr Carmen Palacios-Berraquero

University of Cambridge, for discovering and patenting a method to create single-photon emitting sites in atomically-thin materials, deterministically – and for using a 2-dimensional device to all-electrically induce quantum emission from these sites.


Dr Jessica Boland

University of Regensburg. For developing novel techniques for characterising the charge carrier dynamics of semiconductor nanowires. This enabled demonstration of single nanowire terahertz detectors and ultrafast optically switchable nanowire-based terahertz modulators for ultrafast wireless communication.


Dr Jessica Wade

Imperial College London. For research on the molecular packing of organic semiconductors and how this influences device performance, as well as her work in promoting the field to others.

Annual conference and events

Find group events on our events portal.

Previous events

Getting Back into the Workplace

Tuesday 30 April 2019

A one-day meeting for women returning to the workplace after a career break with hands-on support and advice on returning to paid employment.

Employers and experts offered practical guidance on:

  • confidence building
  • goal setting
  • identifying skills and possible career paths
  • updating CVs
  • using LinkedIn and social media

The day included: 

  • mock interviews by employers
  • information on schemes to help people return to work
  • open panel discussion and networking

Download the programme to learn more about the event (PDF, 135MB). 

Tweets from the day: #IOPReturntowork2019

The Lives and Times of Pioneering Women in Physics

4 March 2015


Download the agenda for more information (PDF, 135KB)

Newsletters and physics publications

Download our newsletter number 20, spring 2016 (PDF, 1,596KB)
Download our newsletter number 19, September 2015 (PDF, 1.15MB)
Download our newsletter number 18, February 2014 (PDF, 5.31MB)
Download our newsletter number 17, 2012/2013 (PDF, 451KB)
Download our newsletter number 16, 2011/2012 (PDF, 866KB)


Useful links

Committee and contacts


Panel members 

Professor Dame S Jocelyn Bell Burnell

DBE FRS FRSE. Former President of the Institute of Physics (2008 to 2010), University of Oxford.

Professor Philippa Browning

Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, University of Manchester.

Professor Dame Athene Donald

DBE FRS. Professor of Experimental Physics, University of Cambridge.

Professor Brian R Fulton

Dean of the Faculty of Sciences, University of York and Chair of the IOP Juno Panel.

Dr Barbara J Gabrys

University of Oxford, Chair of the IOP Diversity and inclusion Committee

Professor Gillian Gehring

OBE. Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Sheffield, Team Leader ICWIP 2002, EPWS BoA to 2009

Professor Helen Gleeson

OBE. Cavendish Professor of Physics, University of Leeds

Professor Claudine Hermann

Ordre de la Légion d'Honneur (Grand Officier, Vice President EPWS, Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, and Femmes Sciences, France.

Professor Dame Julia Higgins

DBE FRS FREng. Emeritus Professor,Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London.

Professor Jessica James

Commerzbank, Head of Quantitative Solutions.

Professor Averil Macdonald

FRSA. Professor of Science Communication, University of Reading.

Professor Peter Main

Head of Department of Physics, Institute of Physics

Professor Andrew Randewich

Chief Scientist, AWE.

Professor Elaine Seddon

University of Manchester and Cockcroft Institute Daresbury.

Dr Uschi Steigenberger

Rutherford Appleton Laboratory STFC 

Elizabeth Whitelegg

Open University.

Professor Julia Yeomans

University of Oxford, Team leader ICWiP 2005, EPS Council.

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