21 March 2016

Ninety not out: John Davidson recognised for fluidisation research

John Davidson prsented with BSL medal
University of Cambridge Emeritus Professor, John Davidson, has been awarded the Institution of Chemical Engineers’ (IChemE) inaugural Bird, Stewart & Lightfoot Medal. Recognising his pioneering work in mass transfer and chemical reactions in gas-liquid systems, it was presented at a special symposium staged in Davidson’s honour.

The John Davidson Symposium, held in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge, celebrated the former IChemE president’s work in chemical engineering research. Davidson spent more than 60 years with the department and was its head from 1974 to 1993. Although now officially retired, he remains active in research and maintains close relations with the department.

Professor Davidson was presented with the medal by IChemE's chief executive David Brown and director of policy and publications, Claudia Flavell-While. University colleagues, as well as Davidson’s close friends and family, turned out for the event - which also marked his 90th birthday.

On presenting the award, Flavell-While said: “John has made an outstanding contribution to increasing our understanding of heat, momentum and mass transfer phenomena inside multiphase systems, especially those involving granular flows, fluidised beds and bubble columns. He’s a master of the art; describing complex phenomena in a simple, elegant and clear manner. As a result, he is widely recognised as a founding father of fluidisation in chemical engineering.”

Professor Davidson said: "Chemical Engineering has been my life for 64 years. I'm delighted to have the recognition. It's especially welcome as a birthday present to mark my 90th year".

The Bird, Stewart & Lightfoot Medal is awarded to those who have made an outstanding contribution to research in the area of transport phenomena.

Davidson was president of IChemE in 1970-71. He published the seminal work, Fluidised Particles, in 1968 and is widely regarded as the founding father of fluidisation in chemical engineering. He has played a pivotal role in increasing understanding of heat, momentum and mass transfer and is widely known for his work on fluidised beds and bubble columns.

My IChemE

IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).