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Here you will find the latest member announcements along with signposting to advice and support on developments affecting the physics community.

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21 June 2024

IOP event promotes female role models in STEM

The Development Team hopes similar gatherings can inspire young physicists. Read on to find out how to join one.

Who wouldn’t have been excited by the 2024 Celebration of Physics, held by the IOP at Silverstone on 4 June? Attendees had the chance to:

  • try their hand at a race-car simulator;
  • listen to exciting talks (including on the future of spaced-based solar power); and
  • celebrate Award winners from across the IOP community.

Alongside the main programme, the IOP Development Team was pleased to hold a small-group event with a real-life racing driver: Abbi Pulling, F1 Academy driver for Rodin Motorsport and Alpine Racing Academy driver. She spoke alongside Ann Hodgetts, mechanical engineer and Southwest STEM Lead for STEMazing, an inclusion not-for-profit, with IOP group chief executive Tom Grinyer hosting.

Abbi and Ann had a wide-ranging discussion about their fields, and it was insightful to hear about where their experiences aligned. The importance of getting young people to see themselves in particular roles stood out. Ann described how STEMazing’s Inspiration Academy connects primary school children with women in STEM as visible role models; Abbi reflected on the encouragement and mentorship she had from other racers in her family.

Audience members (from industry, the charities sector and government) then had a chance to question our panel. When asked for her favourite race from her career, Abbi might have chosen her recent double win on the Miami circuit. Instead, she described a rainy afternoon in the junior leagues where she was struck off-track at Brands Hatch. Despite dropping into last place, she fought her way back to a top-three finish.

We were also pleased to be joined by our President, Professor Sir Keith Burnett, who opened the event with remarks on the importance of our attendees’ support for the IOP.

We think this event gave our invitees a different way to think about the importance of access to STEM careers on and off the racetrack, as well as a chance to network. We look forward to holding similar gatherings in the future.

If you would like to know more, please contact Ozdemir Ahmet at [email protected].

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Tom Grinyer, Abbi Pulling and Ann Hodgetts standing together

(l-r) Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Tom Grinyer, Abbi Pulling and Ann Hodgetts

12 February 2024

IOP branch committee member lands top astronomy award

IOP Lancashire and Cumbria Branch committee member Professor Ian Robson has been awarded the 2024 Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) Service Award (A).

The award recognises significant achievements in and the promotion of astronomy and geophysics.

Ian has been active in astronomy for more than 50 years, during which time he has directed observatories and been in charge of innovative instruments such as the James Clerk Maxwell submillimetre telescope and the UK Infrared Telescope.

According to the RAS (PDF, 196KB), Ian has given considerable effort to public engagement and “talent to astronomy, carrying out his own research, particularly on active galactic nuclei, deftly negotiating the funding challenges and politics involved in managing facilities and delivering major projects, and inspiring the public and young scientists”.

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