Rachel Youngman on Looking Glass: Society

Looking Glass is a new podcast from the Institute of Physics. In this first series, author and journalist Angela Saini hosts challenging conversations about our society, exploring ideas and innovations across disciplines to create a blueprint for a future world. Here, IOP Deputy Chief Executive Rachel Youngman explains why we’ve created the series – and why it’s so relevant.


Rachel Youngman

We are living through a period where so many aspects of our society are being laid bare. We are seeing research that is normally hidden away in labs being played out on our TV screens every day. 

We see how science takes uncertainty and works to find answers and solutions that will save lives – and allow us to live our lives. We are seeing how our educators must find and adapt to new ways to teach a generation. And we continue to see the inequality and injustice in our world.

When I think back over my career where I have spent a lot of time focusing on social justice in many countries, so much of what I have tried to do is push for change by promoting the value of hearing from different voices, cultures and disciplines, opening up channels so people can listen and be part of talking about challenges and creating change. That is what I see as the power of conversation as a force for good in our society.  

So it seems very natural to me that we use our organisation’s platform, through the podcast series Looking Glass, to amplify voices from different disciplines who have thoughts and opinions about the challenges facing our society.  

I hope Looking Glass will help us all to reflect on our role as active citizens. To explore the incredible ways that physics sits squarely in our society and helps our lives. And to reflect on what it means to be part of a science institution celebrating its 100th anniversary whilst looking to its future in a world that is changing. 

From conversations about health and inequality, climate, and the beliefs of indigenous communities, to the role of social media and cancel culture, I hope you will find Looking Glass an interesting and lively contribution to the conversations by different voices that we can all think about and learn from. 

My enormous thanks to the talented IOP team led by Louise Swan, to our professional and full of fun podcast production company Chalk & Blade and to the fabulous Angela Saini, for creating such an enjoyable listening experience. 

Rachel Youngman, IOP Deputy Chief Executive

Search for Looking Glass in your favourite podcast app and subscribe now – or listen at:

https://play.acast.com/s/looking-glass