The IOP’s #iamaphysicist day appeals to scientists across the globe

27 May 2016

An IOP social media campaign asking physicists to share photos of themselves became one of the top trends on Twitter in several countries on 26 May.

The IOP’s #iamaphysicist day appeals to scientists across the globe

The campaign aimed to show the diversity of the physics community and challenge stereotypes, focusing on the question: "What do you think a physicist looks like?” Physicists were asked to take photos of themselves or their colleagues in action and to share them using the hashtag #iamaphysicist.

It launched on26 May and by midday on the following day there had been almost 4,000 posts across nearly 2,000 users using the hashtag and there was a total reach of more than four million users seeing content that included it, while content using #iamaphysicist had appeared on people’s timelines nearly 21 million times.

Between 1pm and 3pm the campaign was trending in several UK cities including London, Oxford, Cambridge, Birmingham, Sheffield, Southampton and Edinburgh, then it began trending in Washington DC, Chicago and Seattle from 6pm GMT, and then was trending in Australia.

The #iamaphysicist campaign seemed to catch the imagination of people around the globe, ranging from an individual high school student in Ghana to groups of physicists at universities in the UK, and there were group photos including female physicists at the Cavendish Laboratory Cambridge, teams at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, Fermilab, and Berkeley Lab, and tweets from the African School on Electronic Structure Methods and Application.

The campaign’s organiser, IOP media officer Philippa Skett, said: “It was incredible to see that this campaign went global, with people across America, Africa, and even Antarctica taking part and sharing their photos.

“The idea of the campaign was to showcase the diversity of jobs that physicists do, the diversity within the community of physicists and to really celebrate the importance of physics and physicists as a whole.

“It was great to see physicists from across the world using the hashtag to speak and share ideas too; the campaign really brought the global community of physicists together and overall it was a terrific and positive experience and maybe something we will repeat in the future, as people seemed to love the idea of a dedicated #iamaphysicist day.”

Highlights from the #iamaphysicist hashtag have been accumulated into a Storify piece  or you can follow the hashtag on twitter.