As part of its mission to promote physics and support physicists, the Institute of Physics aims to improve public understanding of and engagement with science
For the UK to be able to tackle today?s challenges and those of the future, it will need excellence in physics research and a strong supply of physics-trained workers. The Institute of Physics is working to make this happen.
The Institute of Physics strives to make physics accessible and engaging to the general public
In the current economic turbulence, the UK needs to strive to maintain its competitive advantages, and it is understood by everyone from government through to business that scientific research is essential to this. The importance of physics as a driver of the UK?s economy, through both the technologies and innovations created by physics research and the contributions of physicstrained people, should not be underestimated.
It is because physics has this importance and diversity that the Institute of Physics occupies a unique position. We are a scientific charity with a clear mission ? to promote physics and support physicists, wherever they may be. We are able to support all aspects of physics, from education to academic research to physics in industry.
We believe that one of the keys to meeting the challenges faced by the UK is to create a population with a greater understanding of and engagement with science. To accomplish this, we believe that physics should be both accessible and engaging to the general public. Our Physics Buskers tour music festivals and community events, sparking the interest of passers-by with physics ?tricks? done using everyday household items. Our award-winning website (www.physics.org) is the public?s ?guide to physics on the web?, bringing together resources, links and activities at all levels of understanding to stimulate interest in the world of physics.
Within education, we work independently and with government to increase the number of students studying physics at all levels. We believe that expert physics teachers, who are able to convey their knowledge and enthusiasm, are a strong factor in students enjoying physics in school. Ensuring that there is an expert teacher in every school means that all students are given the opportunity to develop their own interest, with a view to ensuring more students continue to study physics to higher levels. To support these expert teachers, we provide specialist teaching materials and operate successful Physics Teachers? Networks, where they can exchange ideas and methodologies and discuss best practice in physics teaching.
We also work with those teaching physics who don?t have a specialist background in the subject through programmes such as the Supporting Physics Teaching initiative, which provides targeted resources to help them to gain a better understanding and increase their confidence with the material. At the higher level, we audit and accredit degrees to ensure that physics teaching in universities is strong, and to ensure that physics degrees continue to produce graduates that are valuable to all sectors of the economy. The UK has formidable strength in university physics research ? second only to the US on most measures ? and the Institute is active in its support for excellence in this research.
Innovations such as solar panels are made possible by the application of physics research
In addition, we operate leading national and international scientific conferences where researchers from many disciplines can come together to present cutting-edge science and exchange ideas. Also, our publishing company, IOP Publishing, is a world leader in the dissemination of physics research through our award-winning journals. We recognise that physics is much broader than an academic discipline: physics extends into almost all sectors of business in the UK. Companies that depend on physics and employ physics-trained people make a huge contribution to the UK economy. This contribution may be direct, through employment and revenue, or by bringing physics research from the universities to the marketplace, or indirect, through creating an environment where other businesses can thrive.
Areas that depend directly on the products of cuttingedge physics research range from telecommunications to car manufacture and electricity generation. The application of physics research in these sectors can generate products and innovations which enable the successes of other sectors of the economy, for example the pharmaceutical industries that depend on equipment developed from physics research to identify and characterise novel drugs for use in medical treatment. In the same way, almost all modern medical imaging techniques have their origins in cutting-edge fundamental physics research.
The Institute is well placed to support all of these companies through our Corporate Affiliates Network, which brings together a diverse range of businesses that depend on physics. We host a programme of meetings on topical issues where businesses can meet to discuss developments and opportunities in their fields and produce publications and bulletins to keep them updated of developments in other areas of physics. Our Small Business Network hosts targeted events for physics-based SMEs, promoting networking and knowledge exchange between companies with shared interests.
But we do more than just work with these areas of physics independently. Our strength is the diversity of our membership, which bridges the divides between physics research, physics education and businesses that depend on physics. It enables us to bring all the communities together, linking them through the common strand of physics.
To enhance this connection, we have recently launched an online members? network, MyIOP, which allows online networking and free and open discussion of all issues relating to physics. From this base, we are able to provide a strong and clear voice for all of physics to all audiences from specialists through to government and to the general public.
The Institute of Physics works to break down barriers, encouraging the exchange of knowledge and promoting physics. Join us.
For more information, contact:
Director, communications and external relations
The Institute of Physics
76 Portland Place
London W1B 1NT
Tel: 0207 470 4800
Added the 23 August 2009 in category Innovation UK Vol5-1