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Education and outreach

Introducing the “I am a physicist” challenge

15 February 2019

Much of the information in this news article is now out of date. Our dedicated page on the challenge offers an up-to-date, broader overview.

We’ve teamed up with Girlguiding Nottinghamshire to launch a new “I am a physicist” challenge, a badge for would-be physicists. 

The challenge is designed to introduce girls and young women to the fascinating world of physics in a way that is accessible, fun and educational.

The badge itself is being piloted in Nottinghamshire - led by the IOP East Midlands in partnership with Girlguiding - but the challenge and resources are available for anyone to use. 

Deborah Phelps, safety and reliability engineer at Rolls Royce Civil Aerospace and also a Brownie leader in West Bridgford, was the driving force behind setting up the challenge. “We want to show girls that physics is interesting, fun and worth considering as a career. We’ve designed the challenge to appeal to girls of all ages, with activities suitable for five-year-olds right through to 18-year-olds.”

Follow the hashtag #iamaphysicist to join in or find out more. 

For more information on the challenge, download the challenge syllabus (PDF, 1MB).

Read more about the work of Deborah Phelps with the IOP and how you can take volunteer.

If you have questions you can't find the answers to here, please contact us at [email protected].


  1. You and your group have completed the badge and would like to request some badges.

    Excellent – well done. Please fill in the feedback form and we'll post your badges as soon as we can.
  2. You’re having trouble attaching the feedback form.

    The feedback form is now available to fill in online.
  3. You would love to do the badge, but have seen the pilot is in Nottinghamshire and your group is outside of Nottinghamshire. Can you still do the badge?

    Yes you can! Groups outside of the county are welcome to complete the challenge badge and will receive badges in return for feedback. However, we’re unable to offer support outside of Nottinghamshire for the meet/visit section of the badge. However, you may already know a physicist who could help. Perhaps one of your girls’ parents is a physicist? Or try your local observatory, university or science museum for contacts or a visit.
  4. You are based in Nottinghamshire but don't know any physicists and are looking for help with the meet/visit part of the badge.

    We are trying to get a physicist to as many groups in Nottinghamshire requesting help as possible. Please bear with us as visits are in high demand. You can help us by specifying in your email: where you are, the number of girls in the group and some suggested dates for a visit. Also please consider combining with other groups as larger groups will get priority. If you can't wait, we also recommend asking your girls’ parents if they are, or know any, physicists. Or arrange a visit to your local observatory or a science museum such as Green's Mill or Leicester Space Centre.
  5. You haven't started the badge yet but are wondering how long the free badges will be available?

    We are currently working with Girlguiding to establish the future of this badge. Until an agreement has been announced, we will continue to provide free badges to anyone who has completed the badge (Nottinghamshire and beyond).

Roll of honour

Groups who have completed the badge:

  • 17th Abingdon Brownies
  • 3rd Aimington Rainbows    
  • 1st Allington Rainbows    
  • 3rd Amington Brownies  
  • 7th Andover Rainbows 
  • 1st Arbury Rainbows    
  • 1st Ashbourne Brownies    
  • 3rd Attenborough Rainbows    
  • 3rd Attenborough Brownies  
  • Barton Guides      
  • 1st Beeston Brownies    
  • 2nd Beeston Rainbows    
  • 3rd Beeston Rainbows    
  • 5th Beeston Guides    
  • 6th Beeston Brownies    
  • 6th Beeston Rainbows    
  • 20th Birkenhead North Rainbows   
  • 18th Birkenhead North Brownies   
  • 295th Birmingham Brownies    
  • 4th Bloxwich Senior Section   
  • 1st Brailsford Brownies    
  • 1st Brailsford Rainbows    
  • 1st Bramcote Rainbows    
  • 2nd Brechin Rainbows    
  • 7th Bridgwater St Johns Brownies  
  • 1st Carlton Rainbows    
  • 1st Carnoustie Rainbows    
  • 10th Castleford Rainbows    
  • 8th Castleford Rangers    
  • 12th Chester (St Marks) Rainbows  
  • 33rd City of Coventry North Rainbows 
  • 1st Coalville Rainbows    
  • 1st Coalville Brownies    
  • 1st Collingham Guides    
  • 3rd Coppull Parish Rainbows   
  • 27th Crosby Brownies    
  • 1st Cuxton Rainbows    
  • 1st Daybrook Brownies    
  • 1st Daybrook Rainbows    
  • 82nd Doncaster Rainbows    
  • 1st East Markham Brownies   
  • 1st Edwalton Brownies    
  • 1st Edwalton Rainbows  
  • 1st Elkesley Rainbows  
  • 1st Fazeley Brownies    
  • 1st Fazeley Rainbows    
  • 1st Finchfield Guides    
  • Fishbourne Rainbows     
  • 2nd Gamston Brownies    
  • 1st Great Paxton Brownies   
  • 1st Great Paxton Guides   
  • 1st Great Paxton Rainbows   
  • 1st Hagley Rainbows    
  • 3rd Hagley Brownies    
  • 1st Halling Rainbows    
  • 1st Halling Brownies    
  • 1st Halling Guides    
  • 1st Halling Rangers    
  • 9th Hamilton Rainbows    
  • 2nd Harestock Rainbows    
  • 2nd Harestock Brownies    
  • 3rd Hawick Rainbows    
  • 1st Hordon on the Hill Rainbows 
  • 1st Hucknall Rainbows    
  • 7th Kettering Rainbows    
  • 3rd Keyworth Brownies    
  • 3rd Kidderminster Rainbows    
  • 1st Kinoulton Brownies    
  • 2nd Kirkintilloch Brownies    
  • 2nd Lady Bay Brownies   
  • 10th Leeds Rainbows    
  • 10th Leeds Brownies    
  • 1st Lossiemouth Brownies    
  • 19th Mansfield Brownies    
  • 4A Mansfield St Johns Brownies  
  • 4A Mansfield St Johns Rainbows  
  • 7th Mansfield Brownies    
  • 3rd Milton Rainbows    
  • 8th Newton Guides    
  • 1st Norton Rainbows    
  • 104th Nottingham Rainbows    
  • 105th Nottingham Guides    
  • 105th Nottingham Rangers    
  • 37th Nottingham Brownies    
  • 74th Nottingham Guides    
  • 84th Nottingham Guides    
  • 96th Nottingham Guides    
  • 1st Onslow Village Guides   
  • 1st Radcliffe Rainbows    
  • 1st Radlett Guides    
  • Retford Division Brownies    
  • Retford Division Guides
  • 3rd Rainworth Brownies  
  • 3rd Rainworth Rainbows  
  • 1st Ratby Guides    
  • 1st Rochester West Rainbows   
  • 4th Rothwell Rainbows    
  • 2nd Saltash Rainbows    
  • 43rd Saxlingham Nethergate Norwich Rainbows  
  • 3rd Southwell Guides    
  • 1st St Helen Auckland Guides  
  • 37th St Aidans Guides   
  • 53rd St Martian's Nottinghamshire Brownies  
  • 1st Stapleford Guides    
  • 1st Stoke Brownies  
  • Summersdale Rainbows      
  • 1st Three Bridges Rainbows   
  • 2nd Toft Brownies
  • 2nd Toftwood Rainbows    
  • 3rd Toton Brownies    
  • 1st Tower Bridge Brownies   
  • 12th West Bridgford (St Paul's) Guides 
  • 14th West Bridgford Brownies   
  • 3rd West Bridgford Rainbows   
  • 4th West Bridgford Guides   
  • 5th West Bridgford Brownies   
  • 1st Whetstone Rainbows    
  • 1st Whetstone Brownies    
  • 1st Wilford Rainbows    
  • 5th Wollaton Brownies    
  • 3rd Wombourne Rainbows    
  • 1st Woodthorpe Guides    
  • 2nd Woodthorpe Rainbows    
  • Wollaton Rainbows    
  • Worksop Division Brownies
  • 1st York (St Margaret's) Brownies  
  • 1st York (St Margaret's) Rainbows