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Culture, history and society

Honorary Fellows: Professor Brian Foster

For his leadership of experimental particle physics internationally and, in the United Kingdom, for the promotion of physics both by novel public engagement and high-level involvement in learned society activities.


Professor Brian Foster

Professor Brian Foster has been a leader of experimental particle physics for forty years both nationally and internationally.

In the UK he co-founded the IOP Particle Physics Group in 1984 and afterwards chaired the Nuclear & Particle Physics Division. He had important roles in the SERC and PPARC, serving as chair of the Particle Physics Committee, chair of the PPARC Science Committee and a member of PPARC Council.

Foster has always fought for physics as an underpinning subject, giving over 300 talks in the last 15 years to schools and the general public. His passion for public engagement is marked by the foundation of the highly successful Oxford May Music and Science Hamburg & Alexander von Humboldt Music Festivals.

He was a member of IOP Council and its finance committee. He was a member of the physics panel for RAE2008 and oversaw an excellent outcome for physics in REF2014 as chair of the physics panel and member of Main Panel B. He has also served in many roles for the Royal Society; in particular as a member of the Royal Society Public Engagement Committee, where he has advocated growing involvement of Fellows in the Society’s programme. He was elected to a three-year term on the Royal Society’s Council and was appointed vice-president in 2018.

Internationally, Foster was a leader of the TASSO experiment, which discovered the gluon, and was for four years spokesman of the ZEUS experiment, which revolutionised our understanding of the structure of the proton. Foster was for many years scientific advisor to the UK delegation to the CERN Council. He has also played many roles inside the peer review structures of CERN. He was chair of the European Committee for Future Accelerators and a member of the International Committee for Future Accelerators, the coordinating body for world particle physics. He has led international efforts towards the next major accelerator in particle physics as European director of the International Linear Collider and as a member of the International Advisory Committee for the Chinese Electron-Positron Collider. He served on the Evaluation Committee of the German Science Council, the highest German scientific advisory body.