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Physics in the Spotlight

This year, the Institute of Physics (IOP) launched a new type of annual forum – four days of discussion, debate and knowledge sharing at the IOP’s flagship King’s Cross building.


Progress in physics depends on collaboration – and, as physics has a critical role to play in issues from climate change to food security that will define our global future, the value of that collaboration is greater than ever.

To help foster new links and new understanding, the IOP hosted its first Physics in the Spotlight forum in October. Over four days at the IOP’s flagship King’s Cross home, more than 250 physicists from the UK, Ireland and beyond came together for a wide range of discussions, debates, panel talks and knowledge sharing sessions.

An event to inspire connections

It’s an event where disciplines come together and connections are made. Attendees included leading thinkers from many of the IOP’s 51 special interest groups, which cover topics from optics in quantum technologies to machine learning and oceans and the climate. Special interest groups meet as a group or operate primarily online. But at Physics in the Spotlight, the groups came together to meet, discuss areas of interest, learn together and expand their networks. Physics in the Spotlight saw physicists at every level – from students to IOP Fellows – come together.

“We have ambitious plans for Physics in the Spotlight,” IOP’s Head of Science and Innovation Anne Crean said after the event. “It’s been fantastic to see so many physicists at the event move beyond the disciplines they are familiar with and seek out new ideas and new approaches.

“We launched Physics in the Spotlight because physics has so much to offer to urgent global debates, but it’s also easy to feel you only have time to focus on your role, your research, your specialist field,” Anne added. “I hope that this event can help people feel a greater sense of freedom and a greater sense of opportunity.”

To find out more about Physics in the Spotlight or send feedback, email groups@iop.org.