Asking for a “strong, positive signal” for science

6 October 2011

Professor Sir Peter Knight, President of the Institute of Physics (IOP), has opened IOP’s Awards Ceremony with a plea to Government to commit to increasing funding for science once the nation’s balance sheet recovers from recent economic turmoil.

Toast Master at the IOP Awards 2010
Toast Master at the IOP Awards 2010

David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science, who was guest speaker at the Awards Ceremony, was thanked by IOP’s President for helping protect science funding in last year’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

Professor Knight said, “We would be very foolish to forget that – at a time when the UK is making police officers redundant, scrapping our only aircraft carrier and closing public libraries – science has survived remarkably well.

“We know that public funds are under huge pressure, and we’re not looking for miracles now. But if the government shares our view that research excellence can restore Britain’s economic vibrancy, why not make a firm commitment for the future, to renewed investment in the science base?

“What a strong, positive signal that would send to our young scientists and engineers about their future prospects here, in the UK.”

In his speech, Professor Knight also requested a moment of silence for the passing of Professor Marshall Stoneham, who served as IOP President from 1 October 2010 until his untimely death in February this year.

Reflecting on the significance of the past year for UK physics, Professor Knight commented on the Nobel Prize for Physics 2010, which was awarded to two Manchester-based physicists for the discovery of the ‘wonder material’ graphene, and the changes in the education landscape, which are helping turn the tide for physics education in schools across the country.

About the event, Professor Knight said, “This is our annual opportunity to remind ourselves of the strength and reach of UK physics, and to celebrate the achievements of those who have excelled in physics teaching, research, outreach and application.”

YouTube video profiles of the Gold Medal winners.