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Institute of Physics announces new president-elect and Council members

Following an election voted on by its members, the Institute of Physics will appoint six new members of Council.


Dr Gayle Jodine Calverley-Miles, Professor Martin Hendry and Dr Alix Pryde will each serve for a four-year term, from 1 October 2019 until 30 September 2023. Dr Neil Thomson, Deborah Phelps and Professor Lesley Cohen will step down from Council on 30 September 2019.

Professor Sheila Rowan was elected to the role of president-elect. She takes up the post from 1 October 2019 and will become president on 1 October 2021.

Professor David Delpy was elected honorary treasurer and Professor Martin Freer as vice-president, science and innovation. They will join Council on 1 October 2019, when Professor Julian Jones and Professor Sarah Thompson (honorary treasurer and vice-president, science and innovation, respectively) step down, and will serve until 30 September 2023.

Mr Jonathan Flint – currently president-elect – will take up the role of IOP President on 1 October 2019, as the current president, Professor Dame Julia Higgins, comes to the end of her term of office.

Twenty-two people stood in the ballot for the six positions on Council. The results were announced at the IOP AGM on 24 July.

Honorary secretary, Professor Brian Fulton, said:

“I would like to thank our outgoing Council members for their hard work, commitment and the invaluable contribution that they have made to the IOP and to the development of our new strategy. I know that we will continue to work closely together as we take the IOP forward.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome our new members of Council. I am delighted that we are set to benefit from such a diverse range of experience as we look to maximise the benefit of physics for society.”

About IOP Council

Council members serve four-year terms, with the exception of co-opted members who are elected annually for a minimum of three years.

The honorary treasurer and the honorary secretary are eligible for election to a second four-year term.

A new president-elect is voted for every two years, and takes up the role for a two-year term.

Biographies of newly elected Council members

Professor Sheila Rowan MBE FRS FRSE FInstP

A Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Glasgow, Professor Rowan has been director of its Institute for Gravitational Research since 2009.

Her research is targeted at developing optical materials for use in gravitational wave detectors. It formed a crucial part of the advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)* upgrades, carried out between 2010 and 2015, that contributed to the first detection of gravitational waves – considered one of the most significant scientific breakthroughs of this century. As a result, Professor Rowan and the members of her team in Glasgow received a share of the 2016 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

She received her MBE in 2011 for services to science and received the IOP Hoyle Medal and Prize in 2016, in recognition of her pioneering research on aspects of the technology of gravitational wave observatories. She was also appointed Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland in June 2016.

* LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) is a large-scale physics experiment and observatory to detect cosmic gravitational waves and to develop gravitational-wave observations as an astronomical tool.

Professor David Delpy CBE FRS FREng FMedSci CPhys FInstP

Professor Delpy spent much of his career in medical physics and bioengineering at University College London, developing and commercialising instruments for monitoring patients in intensive care.

A Brunel University graduate, he worked in industry for two years before going to UCL. Over 35 years there he was a PDRA, Hospital Medical Physicist, Senior Lecturer and then Professor. He was a department head for seven years and then spent seven years as UCL Research VP. In 2007 he left UCL to take up the role of CEO at Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council leaving there in 2014.

From 2014-17 he chaired the Defence Scientific Advisory Council for the Ministry of Defence and since 2014 has Chaired the National Quantum Technologies Strategic Advisory Board.

Professor Martin Freer FInstP

Professor Freer has a background in nuclear physics. He was awarded the IOP Rutherford Medal in 2010 for his contribution to understanding the structure of light nuclei and has also been awarded the Humboldt Foundation’s Bessel Prize.

He has been chair of the Nuclear Physics Advisory Panel, advisor to a range of international facilities and Director for Research and Knowledge Transfer for the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. In 2015, he became the head of the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Birmingham.

Dr Gayle Jodine Calverley-Miles MInstP CPhys CSci MISct MBA

Dr Calverley-Miles has had a career which has encompassed laser physics and thin film coatings.  Her career then moved onto the development and testing of standards and specifications for incorporating simulation, animation, visualisation and other software developments into the assessment and testing of physics and engineering learning. She then incorporated this work into other higher education disciplines and in supporting universities in adopting and adapting scalable technologies. She is also involved in international examinations in physics and estate management.

Professor Martin Hendry MBE FRSE FInstP

Professor Hendry is a long-standing member of the IOP with many years’ experience in senior academic leadership roles, working within national and international organisations – together with a sustained track record of internationally-leading research in gravitational-wave astrophysics and a passion for teaching and communicating physics to the public.

He is Head of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Glasgow and chairs the IOP’s UK and Ireland Heads of Physics Forum, also serving on the IOP’s Science and Innovation Committee. From 2016-2018 he chaired the IOP Scotland Committee and now chairs the IOP’s Scotland Education Committee, whilst also serving as an ex officio member on the IOP’s Education Committee.

Dr Alix Pryde FInstP

Dr Pryde has had a successful career in technology, media and telecommunications. She has been associated to the IOP since being an undergraduate at UCL and a postgraduate at the University of Cambridge some 25 years ago, and has been a fellow of the IOP since 2011. Her areas of interest embrace inclusion and education, and she currently champions women in technology initiatives at Sky, to achieve 30% representation of women by the end of 2020.