About us

The Institute of Physics (IOP) is the professional body and learned society for physics in the UK and Ireland, with an active role in promoting co-operation in physics around the world. We strive to make physics accessible to people from all backgrounds. 


Our 21,000 members demonstrate their professional expertise in physics in settings ranging from schools, universities and national research facilities, to businesses of all sizes, and in roles as varied as teacher, researcher, apprentice, technician, engineer and product developer.

What is physics?

Physicists study how the universe behaves and apply that knowledge to improve our lives. They study everything from the smallest particles to the whole universe. As such, physics underpins chemistry, biology, engineering, and many other scientific disciplines.  

The importance of physics

Understanding how the universe works gives us tremendous power to change our world.  

Many of the biggest changes in our lives have been made possible by physics: mobile phones, the internet, medical imaging devices and electric cars. 

Physicists can help us tackle the challenges our world faces, like dealing with climate change and feeding and caring for a growing global population.  

More than 2.7 million people in the UK work in industries powered by physics. These include energy, healthcare, telecommunication, manufacturing, transport, aerospace and defence.  

Our goal

The IOP works to ensure physics improves all our daily lives and our future.  

What we do

  • We work to break down barriers preventing people from under-represented groups becoming physicists.
  • We bring physicists in the UK, Ireland and around the world together to share knowledge, support each other and build the teams which deliver breakthroughs. 
  • We share those breakthroughs and other research in a wide range of journals. 
  • We help turn scientific discoveries into real world applications. 
  • We make sure physicists have a voice in the big debates of our age, about education, science, innovation and wider policy. 
  • And we help physicists share the wonder and excitement they feel about their subject with the next generation of potential physicists, from all walks of life.  

Find out more about our strategy, Unlocking the future.
Find out more about Limit Less, our campaign to support young people to change the world and fulfil their potential by doing physics.