IOP Scotland

The Institute of Physics is the professional body and learned society for physics in the UK and Ireland. On these pages you can find more information about the IOP’s work in Scotland.

The IOP in Scotland aims to promote the role of physics in education, health, the environment, technology, and scientific literacy.

We work with a range of partners to support and develop the teaching of physics in schools; we encourage innovation, growth and productivity in business including addressing significant skills shortages; and we provide evidence-based advice and support to policymakers across Scotland.

Our members come from across the physics community whether in industry, academia, the classroom, technician roles or in training programmes as an apprentice or a student. However our reach goes well beyond our membership to all who have an interest in physics and the contribution it makes to our culture, our society and the economy.



The role of physics in supporting economic growth and national productivity in Scotland

Read the introduction and download the report

Education support

Support for teachers

IOP Scotland’s education manager and physics coaches provide a range of support for teachers, including workshops, day meetings and online forums.

Details of upcoming events organised by IOP Scotland physics coaches can be found at Talkphysics events.  

Physics teaching resources can be found on IOPSpark. Further details of IOP’s wider support for teachers can be found on the IOP education page.

In Scotland we hold two major annual career-long professional learning (CLPL) events for physics teachers:

  • The Stirling Physics Teachers Meeting is the must-attend event of the year and is usually held in May;
  • The Physics Teachers Summer School takes place over four days in May and is a residential event with high-quality physics education professional learning.

Support for students in Scotland

We organise a range of events and activities and offer IOP membership.

Find out more

Public engagement

Pop-up physics busking at the IOP Festival of Physics in Edinburgh

Public engagement programme

Learn about and get involved with our diverse portfolio of activities, ranging from early-years storytelling to pop-up physics busking and beyond.

Read more

Support and grants

IOP Scotland public engagement grant

Find out more about how to apply to receive up to £2,500 for physics-based events and activities.

Find out more
Kelvin Maxwell

Kelvin Maxwell Fund

Support for physics outreach exclusively in Scotland, to reach new audiences and inspire Scotland’s future physicists. 

Find out more about the fund

Member activities

Seniors group

This group is intended for members of IOP Scotland who have ceased full-time employment and who are over 55 years of age. 

The primary objective of the group is to facilitate members to contribute to the professional activities of the IOP in ways that are normally different from those associated with full-time employment. In particular, the seniors group provides a means of exchanging information between members about relevant professional activities. Members are encouraged to make a contribution to the community in various ways, including:

  1. support of organisations such as the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation.
  2. serving on IOP panels, such as the fellowship panel.
  3. becoming a science and engineering ambassador through STEMNET.

Lunchtime rendezvous

The main social activities of the seniors group are the lunchtime rendezvous, which normally consist of coffee, two lectures and lunch. At present these meetings are held regularly in Aberdeen in October, in Glasgow in January and in Edinburgh in March and the latest details can be found on the Scotland Calendar.

For further information, contact Gail Millar. Email: [email protected].

Policy in Scotland

IOP in Scotland aims to influence government policy and decisions in Scotland, regarding the funding of scientific research, physics education at all levels, the public perception of physics, and regarding physics in industry.

To this end, members of the Institute of Physics in Scotland Committee sit on influential committees and advisory boards where possible.

The committee is keen to ensure that the views of the members are well represented and so would be delighted to hear from anyone who would be interested in giving feedback on drafts being prepared. If you would like to be kept on an email listing for this purpose or just have physics issues which you would like to raise, please contact us.

Policy consultations in Scotland

Read our archive of key policy papers for Scotland.

View recent policy documents


Chair Ms Laura Thomas, MInstP
Vice-chair Dr Iain Moore, MInstP
Secretary Dr Kate Macdonald, MInstP
Treasurer Dr Susannah Heck, CEng MInstP
Inclusion and Diversity Advocate Dr James Howarth, MInstP
Retired Members Representative Mrs Gail Millar, CPhys FInstP
Ordinary Member Dr Dawn Beddard, MInstP
Ordinary Member Dr Jean-Christophe Denis
Ordinary Member Mr Lachlan Dufort-Kennett
Ordinary Member Professor Giles Hammond, FInstP
Ordinary Member Miss Karen Haughian, MInstP
Ordinary Member Dr Katherine Kirk, CPhys FInstP
Ordinary Member Dr Nicolas Labrosse, FInstP
Ordinary Member Mrs Julia Paterson, MInstP
Ordinary Member Dr Peter Sneddon, MInstP
Ordinary Member Dr Tom Vettenburg, MInstP
Ordinary Member Dr Alan Walker, MBE FInstP


View upcoming events for Scotland on our events site.

IOP Scotland education committee

The IOP Scotland education committee is a sub-committee of the IOP Scotland committee. The chair of the IOP Scotland education committee is an ex-officio member of the IOP Scotland committee.

Members of the IOP Scotland education committee 2021-22

  • Bruce Sinclair (chair)
  • Laura Alexander
  • Norman Bethune
  • Anne Brown
  • Drew Burrett
  • Paul Campbell
  • David Greig
  • Ann Griggs
  • Aileen Hamilton
  • Ken Hargreaves
  • Nick Hood
  • Nancy Hunter
  • Jane Manson
  • Chris Noble
  • Malcolm Thomson
  • Muza Farid (in attendance)
  • Stuart Farmer (in attendance)
  • Alison McLure (in attendance)
  • Charles Tracy (in attendance)
  • Derek Young (in attendance) 
  • Lisa Jardine-Wright (ex-officio)
  • Laura Thomas (ex-officio)

Noted physicists

Blue plaques in Scotland

The IOP has erected blue plaques in various locations in Scotland to celebrate physicists who lived or worked in the locality.

Read more

Area policy

It is important to note that the IOP Scotland branch has to abide by the Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016, which aims to increase the level of public transparency in relation to direct, face-to-face contacts made between certain individuals or organisations and the Scottish parliament or Scottish government.

In Scotland the PVG disclosures run by Disclosure Scotland are in place instead of DBS checks. For more information on applicable checks see

Contact us

You can contact us by emailing Head of Scotland Alison McLure.

Become a member

Member benefits include a link to the physics community in Scotland via activities such as lectures, seminars, conferences and outreach events for all those with an interest in physics.

Learn more about other member benefits