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.
Watch videos of our presentations:
- Bohr and Moseley in Manchester by Neil Todd
- Private sources of Niels Bohr’s early creativity by Finn Aaserud
- HGJ Moseley in interaction with Bohr and Rutherford by John Heilbron
Find group events on the IOP events site.
- October 2019 (PDF, 3.4MB)
- December 2018 (PDF, 1.6MB)
- April 2018 on Rutherford's Chemists (PDF, 2.2MB)
- January 2018 on the History of Colliders (PDF, 1.8MB)
- November 2017 (PDF, 1MB)
- British Society for the History of Science
- The H Word, Solar eclipse science: how the motions of the heavens affect events on earth (Guardian history-of-science blog)
- Department of History and Philosophy, University of Cambridge
- Manchester Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine
- Institute of Engineering and Technology Biographies of Eminent Scientists and Engineers
- Report of Professor Helene Langevin-Joliot's talk on her grandmother, Marie Curie, given at our meeting on pioneering women in physics.