Science Minister joins 40,000th member celebrations

19 January 2011

David Willetts, the Universities and Science Minister, attended celebrations at the Institute of Physics (IOP) last night, Tuesday 18 January, to mark the accession of IOP’s 40,000th member.

David Willetts and Samuel Arnold

Samuel Arnold, a 20 year old first year physics undergraduate at King’s College London, received his membership certificate from the Minister, in front of an invited audience.

Introducing the occasion and detailing IOP’s history, Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, IOP’s past-president, said, “There could be no better testament to the continuing relevance of this venerable institution than the continued growth in membership – from the first 29 in 1874 to over 40,000 in 2011.  That is what we are here to celebrate this evening, by presenting a special certificate to our 40,000th member.”

The IOP’s Vice-President for Membership and Qualifications, Jenny Richards, said, “It’s particularly heartening that recent growth in membership has been dominated by school and university students.  Of our 40,000 members, 13,500 are undergraduate members, and our youth members, aged 16-19, studying physics before university, make up another 3,000 members.  Nearly half of our membership is under 30; a wonderful prospect for the future of physics.”

The Minister expressed his admiration for scientific organisations such as IOP, “I salute the Institute for your achievement in building up your membership.  It’s great to be reaching this target, and particularly so with so many young members. We should be proud of our history in physics and look forward to a strong future.”

Asked how he felt to become IOP’s 40,000th member, Samuel Arnold said, “Very shocked, but excited. I have come across the IOP many times before but didn’t realise the subscription base was so large. I’m delighted that it is so.”

Sam continued, “I believe it’s really important for more physics ideas to be shared with and understood by the general public.  Physics for me has not only provided answers to many unanswered childhood questions but has also presented just as many compelling new ones. It is continuously crossing new frontiers of knowledge with the application of research accelerating the development of technology, evolving and shaping society with it.”

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