Professor Sheila Rowan elected as Physical Secretary of the Royal Society

Published: 20 July 2023

The University of Glasgow’s Professor Sheila Rowan has been elected as the Royal Society’s new Physical Secretary and Vice-President.

Professor Rowan will take up the post in November, succeeding Sir Peter Bruce at the end of his five-year term.A portrait of Professor Sheila Rowan
She will join Professor Alison Noble and Sir Mark Walport who have been confirmed as joint Foreign Secretaries of the Society.
The Royal Society’s other Vice Presidents are Dame Linda Partridge who is Biological Secretary and Professor Jonathan Keating who is Treasurer.
Since 2009, Professor Rowan has been Director of the Institute for Gravitational Research at the University of Glasgow’s School for Physics and Astronomy, and in 2021 became President of the Institute of Physics (IOP).
Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society said: “Sheila will bring a wealth of experience from a variety of influential roles, from senior leadership in the field of gravitational wave detection to serving as Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA) to the Scottish Government (2016-21) and the UK CSA Champion for Quantum Technology. In these roles, she has been able to advocate for the importance of science in an independent and evidence-based way.”
Sheila is an advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion in science, and has in her role at the IOP helped promote the ‘Limitless’ Campaign to influence stakeholders to remove barriers to engagement in physics. She is also a current member of the Royal Society’s Public Engagement Committee.
Professor Rowan said: "I am pleased and proud to have been elected as the Royal Society’s new Physical Secretary and Vice-President.
“It’s an honour to have this opportunity to serve the Royal Society. I’m looking forward to working with colleagues across the Society, and the Fellowship, to promote and support excellence in the physical sciences and to help deliver positive scientific impact.

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, said: "I want to congratulate Professor Sheila Rowan on her appointment to this prestigious position at the Royal Society. Sheila is an outstanding scientist, leading the Glasgow team responsible for contributing to the discovery of gravitational waves – one of the most significant scientific breakthroughs in recent decades. During her time as Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland, Sheila also demonstrated her ability to foster collaboration in R&D across our sector in Scotland and beyond.

“We are delighted that a University of Glasgow Professor has been appointed to this position at a time when the role of science in solving the greatest challenges we face has never been more important. I wish Sheila well as she takes up her new role."

First published: 20 July 2023

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