Professor John Knott OBE, FREng, FRS

Professor John Knott

It is with sadness that the School of Metallurgy and Materials note the death of Professor John Knott, OBE, FREng, FRS on 5 October 2017 following his long battle against ill-health. 

John was a leading expert in alloys, fracture and structural integrity applied particularly in the fields of nuclear power generation and aero-engine applications. He made many significant contributions to the quantitative scientific understanding of fracture processes in metals and alloys, and its applications in engineering. His wide range of expertise was utilised extensively on advisory committees for both Government and Industry organisations including Rolls-Royce Group plc.

His many awards included the Pfeil Prize (Iron and Steel Institute), Rosenhain Medal and Prize, Griffith Medal and Platinum Medal (all Institute of Materials), TWI Brooker Medal, Sir Alan Cottrell Gold Medal (International Congress on Fracture) and two Honorary Doctorates (Sheffield and Glasgow universities). He was elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering (1987), to the Royal Society (1990) and awarded an OBE for services to Nuclear Safety (2005).

John spent his academic career at the Universities of Cambridge and Birmingham. He was appointed as Head of Department of Metallurgy and Materials and Professor of Metallurgy and Materials in 1990, and served as Dean of our Faculty of Engineering from 1995-1998. He was Feeney Professor of Metallurgy from 1996-2009. Even in retirement, John put his energy into teaching and research, and this continued almost until the end of his life.

A commemorative day to celebrate his many academic achievements is planned to be held at the University on Thursday 19 April 2018; it is hoped that many of his friends and colleagues will be able to attend. This will include lunch and further details are available from either Dana Vasiljevic ( or Paul Bowen (