John (Jack) Francis Richardson: 1975—1976

John (Jack) Francis Richardson: 1975—1976

Jack (as he was known to all and sundry) Richardson was born in 1920 and was educated at Franklin House Primary School and Owen's School in North London, before moving to Imperial College and then the University of Swansea. In 1938 he entered the City & Guilds College to take the undergraduate course in chemical engineering, which had only started the year before, and obtained a first.

His postgraduate research on "The suppression of the burning of liquids", for which he was awarded his PhD in 1949, was sponsored by the Ministry of Home Security Fire Research Group. In 1947 he was appointed a lecturer at Imperial College under Sir Alfred Egerton, and eight years later became a senior lecturer under Professor D M Newitt.

Jack Richardson was one of the founders of the British school of chemical engineering science, as evidenced in 1954 when the first of two volumes of "Chemical Engineering", written conjointly with his colleague Professor John M Coulson, was published. They developed it as an exercise in setting forth a first degree university course, resting on firm foundations of applied physics and thermodynamics. By the time he left Imperial College in 1958 the department's course had been firmly established.

He joined Boake Roberts & Co Ltd, taking part in the commissioning of a large plant at Rainham, before carrying out development work on several processes for making organic chemicals at Stratford. 

Two years later in 1960 he moved back to academic life when he was appointed Chair of Chemical Engineering at Swansea, where he became involved in the planning and construction of a large building for the applied sciences, to which the department moved six years later.

He continued his research in particulate systems at Swansea and in 1971 edited (with D G Peacock) a third volume of "Chemical Engineering" in collaboration with present and past colleagues on the staff. He was held in high regard within the Department at Swansea leading to his appointment as Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science, Member of the College Council and Vice Principal during the period from 1973-1975.

His lengthy active involvement in the Institution, which included being Honorary Librarian from 1953-1960, a member of the Education Committee, founder Chairman of the Careers Committee, Chairman of the South Wales & Monmouthshire Branch, and a member of the Development Working Party, was recognised in 1969 when he was awarded the Arnold Greene Medal.

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