Shock physics focuses on the understanding of what happens to matter under extreme conditions. These conditions can occur naturally, such as during planetary impacts within the solar system, or may exist within the core of planets or other astrophysical phenomena. They may also arise as a result of man-made processes related to aeronautics, national security applications and energy futures.

In collaboration with partners from across the UK and overseas, the ISP undertakes research over multiple scales, from seconds to picoseconds and from bulk to atomistic level. Examples include investigations into the origin of dynamic material strength, studies of force protection, the behaviour of biological materials under intense loading, and the development of improved energetic materials. This work is enabled by the broad range of state-of-the-art experimental platforms, diagnostics and modelling capabilities at Imperial. The Institute also aims to educate the next generation of scientists and engineers in the science of shock waves, ultrafast material phenomena and matter at extreme conditions.

Multi-scale physics of extreme conditions
Multi-scale physics of extreme conditions

Further information:

Institute Structure

The ISP is guided by an Internal Management Committee and an Operations Management Board, both chaired by our Director, Dr William Proud. The IMC meets every two months and the OMB quarterly.  Dr Proud has overall responsibility for all academic and safety aspects of the ISP.  He manages the research team and is responsible for effective delivery of the ISP training programme, for example the MSc in Physics with Shock Physics.  Day-to-day management of the ISP is provided by the programme team, led by Alice Moore, located in the ISP headquarters at Imperial’s South Kensington campus.  This team is responsible for business development, programme management and reporting.  The team also runs a joint AWE/Imperial Technical Operating Group to review and agree solutions to technical issues relating to Imperial’s large bore Gas Launcher.  For the second phase of the ISP, we have established a Strategic Advisory Board chaired by Dr Chris Deeney - Department of Energy, USA.  We also have a Gas Gun Governance Committee to review and agree proposals to use the Gas launcher.

Institute of Shock Physics Organisation Structure 2014

Membership and Registration

Membership of the ISP is open to anyone from a university or not-for-profit organisation and staff in AWE, our primary sponsor.  To become a Member, please fill in your details on the form on the link below.  You can un-register at any point by emailing us.

Registered members will benefit from:

  • Regular updates, by e-mail, on the activities of the Institute of Shock Physics in the form of a newsletter
  • Updates on collaborative research opportunities
  • Invitations to seminars, workshops and training courses organised by the ISP (note, whilst most of these activities are free to Members, there may be a small charge to cover the cost of some training events)
  • Opportunity to suggest an MSc/MPhil project

Membership of the IOP Group on Shock Waves and Extreme Conditions is advised for all ISP members.

Please click here to register as a Member of ISP

Institute Sponsorship

Industry Membership is open to anyone from a for-profit organisation and is agreed on an annual basis.  This category of membership attracts a small cost and can be undertaken at two different levels, Silver or Gold standard.  In both cases, membership is enabled through a membership contract.  Please contact us to arrange a visit to discuss your requirements.

Silver Standard members [cost £5k per annum] benefit from:

  • Regular updates, by e-mail, on the activities of the Institute of Shock Physics
  • Updates on collaborative research opportunities
  • Four free places on ISP training courses
  • Ability to specify the project for one of the Masters in Physics with Shock Physics or MSc General Physics students (note an additional charge may be made if the project requires specialist equipment, laboratory space or expensive consumables which the ISP does not have or have access to)
  • Formal recognition as a sponsor, incorporating a logo on the ISP Annual Review and our web site

Gold Standard members [cost £25k per annum] benefit from:

  • Regular updates, by e-mail, on the activities of the Institute of Shock Physics
  • Updates on collaborative research opportunities
  • Free places on ISP training courses or one bespoke training course provided by the ISP exclusively for the member’s staff
  • Sponsorship recognition of one of the Masters students on the Physics with Shock Physics Master’s course run by the Department of Physics
  • An opportunity to deliver a colloquium lecture to the ISP Masters in Physics with Shock Physics and ISP PhD students and to present career opportunities and targeted recruitment to these students
  • Five days of consultancy with ISP research staff
  • Formal recognition as a sponsor, incorporating a logo on the ISP Annual Review and on our web site

Gold Standard Industry Members who wish to work more closely with the ISP on research programmes are also eligible to apply for Academic Visitor status.  Academic Visitors have access to hot-desk space in the ISP, access to the Imperial library, an Imperial College e-mail address, and are able to work in Laboratories supported by the ISP.

For further details, please contact:

Ms Alice Moore
Programme Manager
Institute of Shock Physics
Room 728, Blackett Laboratory, 
Prince Consort Road,
Imperial College London, 
South Kensington Campus, SW7 2BW, UK


tel: +44(0) 207 594 7396
Institute of Shock Physics website

ISP Strategic Advisory Board

This board was formed in early years of the ISP for the purpose of seeking strategic guidance moving forwards.

The board met in it's annual meeting on Tuesday 4th March 2014 at Imperial College London.

The current Board Members are:

Dr Chris Deeney, DOE, (Chair)

Prof Malcolm McMahon, Edinburgh
Prof Jerry Chittenden, Imperial
Prof Adrian Sutton, Imperial
Dr Dave Chambers, AWE
Prof Mark Burchell, Kent and STFC
Prof Sir Peter Knight, IOP, Imperial, Royal Society (Absent)
Dr David Rugg, Rolls Royce
Dr Paul Loubeyre, CEA
Dr Ian Cullis, QinetiQ
Dr Chris Thompson, Cranfield

Members of the ISP/ICL management team in attendance:

Dr William Proud (Director)

Dr Daniel Eakins (Lecturer)
Dr Simon Bland (Lecturer)
Prof Roland Smith (Head of Plasma Physics)
Prof Steve Rose (Founding Director) may also attend on an ad-hoc basis

Ciara Mulholland (Minutes secretary)