Tim Wiles receives national IOP prize for voluntary work in the north east

2 March 2015

Physics graduate Tim Wiles has been awarded the 2014 Institute of Physics Branches Prize, which was established to recognise voluntary work for the IOP’s branches by members.

Tim Wiles

Wiles, who recently completed an undergraduate degree in natural sciences at the University of Durham, was presented with the award at the annual dinner of the IOP’s North East Branch on 28 February.

The prize is given each year to one or more members who have made exceptional contributions to the activities within a branch to enhance the promotion of physics. Nominations are made through the chair of the appropriate branch, and in Wiles’ case the choice was approved unanimously in a vote of representatives of all the IOP’s nations and branches.

Presenting the prize, the North East Branch chair, Richard Hornby, said Wiles had a passion for physics and physics communication. “His enthusiasm knows no bounds as he has striven to take the communication of physics and the work of the Institute of Physics to new audiences in and around the north east,” he said. “He has been instrumental in founding the Durham Café Scientifique and has seen this grow from an initial idea to a regular event programme that attracts audiences of 40-plus. He was often seen in a bright yellow T-shirt in Durham Market Square, directing people to the event and encouraging those out shopping to join in!

“In addition to attendance at five Physics in the Field events he has assisted the regional officer, Alex Brabbs, with train-to-teach events, careers and STEM fairs, and is a fantastic role model for physics and science students at all levels.”

Wiles had volunteered during his first few weeks at Durham, had been an active member of the North East Branch committee and was a link to the Durham undergraduate membership, remaining involved even after moving out of the area, Hornby said. “He has given much of his time to volunteer and can always be relied upon to encourage others new to the team and engage members of the public with his easy-going approach and enthusiasm for the subject.”

As well as the national prize, the branch also presented its own award for Outstanding Commitment to Outreach to Geoffrey Heywood, and awards for Commitment to Outreach to 10 other members, at the dinner.