John Bridgwater: 1997—1998
John Bridgwater was born on 10 January 1938. Following an education at Solihull School, he obtained an MA in chemical engineering from St Catharine's College Cambridge in 1959, and an MSE in the same subject from Princeton University in 1961. He then began work as a chemical engineer with Courtaulds before moving into academia in 1964 as a demonstrator and lecturer in chemical engineering at the University of Cambridge, while at the same time studying for his PhD, which he obtained in 1973.
He was appointed Esso Research Fellow in Chemical Engineering at Hartford College, Oxford from 1971-1973, subsequently taking on the role as Lecturer in Engineering Science at the University of Oxford and being appointed Lubbock Fellow in Engineering at Balliol College from 1973-1980.
A move to the University of Birmingham followed as he took up a post as Professor in the School of Chemical Engineering, becoming Head of the School three years later in 1983. In 1989 he became Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and remained in that role until his return to Cambridge in 1993, latterly also leading the Ceramics Processing Group in the University of Birmingham's IRC in Materials for High Performance Applications. Back at the University of Cambridge he became Shell Professor of Chemical Engineering and also Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering.
John Bridgwater's key interest was in particle technology and he did much to initiate new lines of work to open up the discipline. Early work with David Bagster inthe 1970s on flow over blades led to a series of papers on the fundamental processes that determine the relative motion of particles when these are deformed in the bulk. This could not be exploited until the advent of the positron camera, and he helped to develop the positron emission particle tracking (PEPT) technique during his time at the University of Birmingham.
He also had a number of international connections through his appointments as Visiting Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada (1970-1971) and Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley, USA (1992-1993).
In 1983 he became Executive Editor of "Chemical Engineering Science", a role which he fulfilled for some 13 years before becoming the Chairman of the journal's Editorial Board in 1996. He was appointed by the former Science & Engineering Research Council (SERC) as a member of its Engineering Board from 1986-1989 and also served as Chairman of its Process Engineering Committee at the same time.
John Bridgwater joined IChemE in 1962, transferring to Fellow in 1974 and served on its Council as an elected member from 1987-1990 before returning as Vice President in 1995 for two years before taking on the Presidency. He became a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1987.
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