Johnson graduated from the University of Nottingham with
a BSc in 1958 and obtained his PhD there in 1961 with
a thesis on cationic polymerisation of vinyl monomers
under Professor Dan Eley. Polymer chemistry has remained
Tony's research area since, with periods of postdoctoral
work in Canada and Sussex, before he became a senior lecturer
at Lanchester Polytechnic and then the University of Bradford.
At Bradford he was promoted to a personal Chair in polymer
science in 1985 and he became head of the department of
chemistry and chemical technology there in 1987. In 1989
he was appointed as an associate director of the Interdisciplinary
Research Centre (IRC) in polymer science and technology
involving the universities of Bradford, Durham and Leeds.
April 1996, Tony moved from Bradford to Leeds as professor
of polymer science and technology bringing his group to
set up his IRC laboratories on the third floor of the
department of chemistry, also occupying space in the 'physics
barn' area. The department had not seen equipment on the
scale of Tony's operation before. The barn area is dominated
by an ex-industrial reaction injection moulding facility
with which he investigates the rates of polymerisation
as part of his research in reactive processing. On the
laboratory scale, Tony's interests are in the area of
polymerisation reactor studies, with particular emphasis
on novel control approaches to tailoring the properties
of the polymers produced. Tony's work is interdisciplinary
and, although of a genuine fundamental nature, always
aims to connect to industrial problems. His contributions
have been recognised through many awards and prizes, including
the Swinburne Award in 2000 from the Institute of Materials
to 'recognise achievements of the person who has made
an outstanding contribution to the advancement of knowledge
of the science and engineering of plastics'.
his career, Tony has won over 150 major grant or studentship
awards from the research councils and industry, supervised
over 80 PhD students and has typically maintained a research
group of the order of 20 staff, with an annual research
turnover of approximately £1 million. He is the director
of two University spin-off companies, Heavydown Ltd. and
Gluco, and has wide experience as an industrial consultant
and expert witness.
his formal retirement, Tony is taking up a position of
research professor in the department, with a particular
remit to help develop departmental-industrial links as
well as to continue his own research and commercial themes.
We wish Tony and his wife, Maureen, well in the future.