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Neutron Scattering 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. 

We are jointly hosted by the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society of Chemistry to represent UK users of neutron-scattering techniques. 

About the group

We formed in 1972 for scientists interested in the use of neutron scattering.

Neutron scattering to study the structure and dynamics of systems has continuously increased since neutrons became available in reasonable quantities from research reactors and accelerator-based sources.

Neutrons are used in academic research and industry. They are used in:

  • physics
  • chemistry
  • materials science
  • geology
  • archaeology
  • catalysis
  • biology
  • engineering

In the UK, neutron scattering has been extensively supported by ISIS Neutron and Muon source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire, funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

The UK is a major partner in the Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, France, which offers complementary instruments at a reactor source.

It is also funding and supporting the building of the European Spallation Source in Lund, Sweden. This will be the most powerful spallation source worldwide when it comes online in 2023.

What the group does

As a special interest, member-driven group, the Neutron Scattering Group works to promote neutron science actively with its UK user community. Our aims are to:

  • organise events to develop UK neutron user links and discuss results from neutron experiments;
  • provide links to and from UK-funded neutron sources and the European Neutron Scattering Association;
  • represent neutron scattering and its UK users within the IOP and Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) learned societies; and
  • support actively early career researchers in the UK to engage with neutron scattering.

Our mission is to support and develop the UK neutron community in a rapidly changing global neutron landscape, and to represent UK neutron scattering externally.

Additionally, we award the BTM Willis Prize and the Penfold-Thomas Prize annually.

Examples of activities include organising and contributing to conferences and schools involving neutron scattering research, e.g. the Faraday Joint Interest Group Conferences in 2017, 2021 and 2023, the Gordon Research Conferences on Neutron Scattering 2018 and 2019, the biennial Oxford School on Neutron Scattering and the science day as part of the The Neutron and Muon Science and User Meeting 2022.

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Group physics prizes

BTM Willis Prize

In 2007, the Neutron Scattering Group established a prize for outstanding neutron scattering science in honour of the founding chairman of the Neutron Scattering Group, Professor BTM Willis.

The prize is awarded to an individual in recognition of a single outstanding piece of work, or a longer term coherent body of work, in the application of neutron scattering to a significant problem in physics, chemistry, materials science, earth science, the life sciences, or engineering, or alternatively in recognition of a major development in neutron scattering instrumentation or techniques.


The recipient of the prize will normally be an early career scientist, i.e. in the first 12 years of a research career (allowing for career breaks) following the award of a first degree, who has made a substantial contribution to the development or reputation of physics/chemistry/biology in the UK or Ireland.

Previous winners:

2021: Dr Joe Paddison, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
2020: Dr Emily Draper, University of Glasgow
2019: Dr Lucy Clark, University of Liverpool
2018: Dr Roger H Johnson, University of Oxford
2017: Dr Andrew Seel, University College London
2016: Dr Katharina Edkins, Durham University
2015: Dr Aleksandra Dabkowska, King’s College London

Penfold-Thomas Poster Prize

We award an annual poster prize for contributions made by an undergraduate or postgraduate student at our Science Day.

Learn more about our prizes.

Group events

Read about our meetings on our website.

Find events for the Neutron Scattering Group


Committee and contacts

Chair Dr Ross Stewart, CPhys MInstP
Secretary Dr Lucy Clark, MInstP
Treasurer Dr Richard Campbell, MInstP
Ordinary Member Professor Carla Andreani, FInstP
Ordinary Member Dr David Barlow, MInstP
Ordinary Member Dr Emma Barney, MInstP
Ordinary Member Dr David Boldrin, MInstP
Ordinary Member Dr Elisabetta Canetta, MInstP
Ordinary Member Dr Edmund Cussen
Ordinary Member Mr Andrew McCluskey
Ordinary Member Dr Sanghamitra Mukhopadhyay, MInstP
Ordinary Member Dr Natasha Rhys, MInstP
Ordinary Member Dr Svemir Rudic
Ordinary Member Dr Gregory Neil Smith, MInstP

Email: [email protected]

Read more about the group.