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Culture, history and society

History of Physics Group

This is an IOP special interest group, which is a community of IOP members focused on a particular discipline, application or area of interest. 

Special interest groups allow members to connect and share knowledge and ideas. The IOP funds groups to deliver a range of activities including events, prizes and bursaries. All of our groups are driven by members.  

About the group

As a special interest, member-driven group, our main aims are to research and present accounts of the ways in which the subject of physics has developed, and also of the lives and achievements of the men and women who orchestrated this development.

We also explores ways in which historical developments can be used in the understanding, teaching and general communication of physics.

Our main areas of interest are:

  • the history of physics discoveries, theories and concepts
  • the history of experimentation and instruments
  • the history of interactions between physics and society
  • oral history and archives

What the group does

We provide a forum where the different and somewhat fragmented disciplines of physics and related subjects are able to interact fruitfully. We pursue the study of the history of physics from the perspective of the physicist, and so our activities are of particular interest to physics practitioners, but we also encourage dialogue between physicists and professional historians of science.

We organise several lecture meetings each year which last between half a day and two days, many of them in collaboration with other IOP special interest groups, and usually around a specific theme. We also support meetings organised by others when these are likely to be of interest to its members.

Our group also produces:

  • regular substantial newsletters which include written accounts of some of the talks from these meetings
  • other articles and book reviews on the history of physics
  • group news

We have also published an e-book which arose out of one of our meetings.

Joining an IOP special interest group

For non-IOP members: Become a member now

For IOP members: Find out how to join a group

Physics resources

Watch videos of our presentations:

Group events

Find events for the History of Physics Group


Useful links


Committee and contacts

ChairDr Hugh Deighton, CSci CPhys FInstP
SecretaryMr Julian Keeley, MInstP
TreasurerProfessor Alison McMillan, CPhys FInstP
Ordinary MemberMrs Angelina Anderson-Groves, MInstP
Ordinary MemberProfessor Gareth Appleby-Thomas, MInstP
Ordinary MemberDr Joanna Ashbourn, CSci CPhys MInstP
Ordinary MemberMr Paul Burton, CPhys FInstP
Ordinary MemberMr Malcolm Cooper, MInstP
Co-opted MemberProfessor Edward Davis, FInstP
Ordinary MemberDr Angela Dyson, MInstP
Ordinary MemberDr Peter Ford, MBE FInstP
Co-opted MemberDr Juan-Andres Leon, MInstP
Ordinary MemberDr Alexander May, MInstP
Co-opted MemberDr Vincent Smith, MBE FInstP

Email: [email protected]