Editorial: EPS a utopia?

By . Published on 20 November 2017 in:
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EDP Sciences has finished digitizing all of back issues of  Europhysics News (EPN). Now all EPN issues are in digital format and with a very good quality.

The first EPN issue was devoted to the foundation of EPS and can serve as a testimony of the first ever EPS General Meeting.

The European Physical Society (EPS) was founded on 26 September 1968, in Geneva. The aim was to unite physicists throughout Europe and those from neighbouring countries, and to address problems involving the physics community that needed to be handled on a supra-national basis.

During the official inauguration of EPS at the Aula Magna of the University of Geneva, Gilberto Bernardini, then President of the EPS Executive Committee, presented the reasons to create the EPS, and its aims.

The formation of the EPS evidenced the will of the physicists to collaborate in strengthening the European cultural unity. But this ideal of collaboration should evolve from a utopia to a reality.


  • Physics publications in Europe
  • Coordination of European meetings and conferences
  • The problem of physics teaching throughout Europe

were presented as obvious practical activities in the transformation of the utopia to reality.

G. Bernardini also pointed out the risks: “But what may be considered utopian in the foundation of the European Physical Society is the implicit belief in Europe”, but the final message was: “We do believe, then, that Europe is the country that has the best chance of bringing a fundamental contribution to the creation of this new approach to life where science will represent a new humanism for the structure of the Societies, as well as for the comfort of the individuals. The European Physical Society, according to us, should be framed within these hopes.”

All this was happening in 1968, when social and political turbulences were sweeping a European continent divided in ideological blocks.

It is clear that many things have changed in Europe over  the past 50 years, and EPS has moved with them. It has consolidated its structures and evolved with time.

EPS had leading roles in the World Year of Physics 2005 and the International Year of Light 2015. EPS has developed its Divisions and Groups including a wide variety of expertise. It manages prestigious and well-established conferences and meetings in various areas of physics. It is involved in physics education and outreach. In recent years it has been more in demand in “Brussels”, when European matters in physics were concerned, and a point of presence in Brussels was created.

Next year EPS will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary. Many things remain to be done in physics in Europe, but looking back to 1968, EPS continues to turn utopian ideals into reality.

Victor R. Velasco
scientific Editor of EPN

  1. Featured in EPN
  2. EPN archives are available on line
  3. EPS Executive Committee and Staff activities September 2017

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EPS Executive Committee and Staff activities October 2017

The EPS works to support its members. Find below the list of activities of the EPS Executive Committee and staff last month: