Professor John F Knott OBE FREng FRS

(part-time) Professor of Metallurgy and Materials

The University of Birmingham, School of Metallurgy and Materials

Past Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge

Fundamentals of Fracture Mechanics


Date of Birth

9 December 1938, (Bristol, England)

University degrees

  • 1959 BMet - First-class honours in Metallurgy, University of Sheffield

  • 1963 PhD University of Cambridge

  • 1991 ScD University of Cambridge

  • 2004 D.Eng (honoris causa) University of Glasgow

  • 2010 D.Eng (honoris causa) University of Sheffield

Career History and Employment

  • 1949-1956 Foundation Scholarship, Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital, Bristol.

State Scholarship.

  • 1956-1959 Undergraduate, Department of Metallurgy, University of Sheffield.

First Class Honours, Mappin Medal, Nesthill Medal.

  • 1959-1962 Research Student, Department of Metallurgy, University of Cambridge,

(member of Pembroke College). Thesis: “Notch Effects in the

Deformation and Fracture of Mild Steel”; Supervisor: Sir Alan Cottrell.

  • 1962-1967 Research Officer, Central Electricity Research Laboratories,


  • 1967-1981 University Lecturer, Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy,

University of Cambridge.

  • 1981-1990 Reader in Mechanical Metallurgy, University of Cambridge.

  • 1990-1996 Professor and Head of School, School of Metallurgy and Materials, The

University of Birmingham (RAE scores: 1992 5A/5A, 1996 5*A).

  • 1995-1998 Dean of Engineering, The University of Birmingham.

  • 1998-2009 (Feeney) Professor of Metallurgy and Materials

  • 2009- to date (part-time) Professor of Metallurgy and Materials

  • 1967-1990 Goldsmiths’ Fellow, College Lecturer and Director of Studies in

Metallurgy and Materials Science, Churchill College, Cambridge.

  • 1988-1990 Vice-Master, Churchill College.

  • 1991-2006 Title E Fellow of Churchill College.


  • 1974 Fellow of the Institution of Metallurgists (FIM, now FIM3)

  • 1985 Fellow of the Welding Institute (FWeldI)

  • 1994 Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (FIMechE)

  • 1988 Elected to Fellowship (Royal Academy) of Engineering (FREng)

  • 1990 Elected to Fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS)

  • 1994 Elected as Overseas Fellow of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

  • 2003 Elected as Foreign Associate of the U.S. Nat. Academy Engineering

  • 2005 Elected as Foreign Member of the Japan Institute of Metals

  • 2006 Elected as Foreign Fellow of the Indian Nat. Academy Engineering

Further Awards and Honours

  • 1973 LB Pfeil Prize for Physical Metallurgy, Institute of Materials

  • 1978 Rosenhain Medal for Physical Metallurgy, Institute of Materials

  • 1978 Leslie Holliday Prize, Institute of Materials

  • 1999 Grfffith Medal, Institute of Materials

  • 1992 Hon. Professor - Beihang University

  • 1996 Hon. Professor - Xi’an Jiaotong University,

  • 1984 Elected as Honorary Fellow of the Intl. Congress on Fracture

  • 1993-97 President of International Congress on Fracture

  • 2003 Robert Franklin Mehl Award, TMS (Spring Meeting 2005)

  • 2004 Awarded OBE “for Services to Nuclear Safety”(invested 21 Oct)

  • 2004 Leverhulme Medal, the Royal Society (presented 30 Nov)

  • 2008 Awarded the Brooker Medal (TWI) for 2007

  • 2009 Awarded the Platinum Medal of IOM3 (conferred 7 July)

Publications/Lectures/Research Supervision

Author of the seminal monograph “Fundamentals of Fracture Mechanics” Butterworth and Co. -1973, reprinted 1976, revised 1979 (Japanese and Russian translations 1977),

“Worked Examples in Fracture Mechanics” Knott, J.F. and Elliott, D. Institution of Metallurgists, 1979. “Fracture Mechanics - Worked Examples” Knott, J.F. and Withey P.A. Institute of Materials, 1993, reprinted 1998. Professor Knott has published over 325 scientific papers in journals or conference proceedings on fracture, fatigue and embrittlement in engineering alloys, has given over 100 keynote/plenary lectures at international conferences, and a similar number of seminar presentations to University groups or to Industrial laboratories, all over the World.

Note particularly:

  • 20 Sept 1999 The Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering Lecture

“Two Steps from Disaster - The Science and Engineering of Structural Integrity”.

  • 6-10 Oct 2002 “The John F. Knott Symposium” TMS Fall Meeting, Columbus,

Ohio, Ed W.O. Soboyejo, J.L Lewandowski and R.O. Ritchie.

  • 14 Feb 2005 The TMS Institute of Metals Lecture “Power in Trust”

  • 5 Dec 2006 The Hatfield Lecture “Quantifying the Quality of Steel”

Professor Knott has supervised 72 PhD/Eng.D students (52 Cambridge; 20 Birmingham) for their doctoral degrees. He has directed the research of over 20 Postdoctoral Research Assistants and has collaborated with over 30 Visitors from overseas.

Recent and Ongoing Professional Affiliations

  • 1988-to date Member of Technical Advisory Group on Structural Integrity (TAGSI).

  • Deputy Chair from 2002, Chair from April 2010

  • 1991-2005 Member of Nuclear Safety Advisory Committee (NuSAC). Deputy Chair from 2002, Acting Chair 2003-4.

  • 1997-2005 Member of NuSAC Research Committee (Chair 2000 - 2005)

  • 2003-to date Member Graphite Technical Advisory Committee

  • 2002-to date Member of MOD Research Programmes Group

  • 2006-to date Member of Defence Nuclear Safety Committee

  • 1987-2000 Member of Rolls-Royce Materials and Processing Advisory Board

  • 2000-2011 Chair, Rolls-Royce Materials, Manufacturing and Structures Advisory Board. From 2011, member of MMSAB.

  • 1989-to date Member of the Research Board of The Welding Institute (TWI).

  • 1995-2003 Member of RS/RAE NPL Research Monitoring Committee

  • 1999-2005 Member of Editorial Panel for Proc. Roy. Soc. A

  • 2007-to date Member of Royal Society International Travel Grant Committee

  • 2001, 2003 Member of Panel for Philip Leverhulme Prizes in Engineering

  • 2003-to date Editor, “Materials Science and Technology”