In the physics community, there are numerous organizations devoted towards helping those who wish to promote and advance our understanding of physics and the natural world. Many of these organizations have been around for more than a century, and have become an integral part of the process of scientific research and education. Whether you are already a professional physicist, a student wishing to learn, or are just someone with a casual interest in physics, the following five major physics organization are for you.
The Institute of Physics (IOP) is a worldwide organizations devoted to performing charitable acts that serve to advance the quality of physics education and research. With over 50,000 members, the IOP is one of the largest international organizations focused on the advancement of physics. In addition to its charitable work, the IOP offers career advice and other services meant to support the professional development of its members, such as their management of around 70 physics research journals.
The non-profit American Physical Society (APS) is an organization with around 50,000 members of physics enthusiasts and professional physicists. Founded in 1899 at Columbia University, the APS’ declared purpose is to advance and diffuse the world’s knowledge of physics. It publishes 13 scientific journals such as the prestigious “Physical Review” and “Physical Review Letters,” and offers numerous awards for those who make significant contributions to physics. The current official logo incorporates the phrase “APS Physics” into the design, due to the unpopularity of the anachronistic use of “physical” in the organizations official name.
The American Institute of Physics (AIP) is an incorporated 501(c)(3) not-for-profit supraorganization of “membership-societies” that include the APS, the AAS, along with many others. Its goal is to support its membership-societies in their efforts to advance and diffuse our knowledge and understanding of the physical world, while also seeking to promote the use and application of discoveries in physics that may benefit the welfare of humanity. Since its founding in 1932, the AIP has published the renowned “American Journal of Physics,” along with 18 other prestigious journals of physics research.
Located in Washington, D.C., the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is a physics NGO focused solely on matters relating to astronomy, astrophysics, and space exploration. Its stated purpose is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe. Both professional and amateur astronomers are served by the AAS through its multi-tiered membership organization structure, and the AAS is known for awarding prizes for important discoveries made by either professionals or amateurs.
Located in the United Kingdom, IPEM is the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine whose membership includes people from around the world. IPEM’s stated goal is to promote the public benefit through the advancement of our knowledge, research, and education of the applications of physics and engineering to the fields of medicine and biology. IPEM publishes three research journals including “Physics in Medicine and Biology,” and holds annual conferences where researchers can share their discoveries and organize collaborative efforts.
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There are many other organizations beyond those listed above, many of which have overlapping interests and goals, and there are even more organizations which focus on one specific aspect of physics or the physics community. Both science and education are collaborative efforts, and so it is important to understand how people with shared interests in physics communicate and interact with each other.