Authorised form of nameField; John Edwin (1936 - 2020)
Dates1936 - 2020
Place of birthStourbridge, Worcestershire, England, United Kingdom
Date of birth20/09/1936
Date of death21/10/2020
Research fieldPhysics
Materials science
High-speed photography
University of Cambridge, Department of Physics, Professor of Applied Physics (1994-2003); Deputy Head of Department (1995-2003); Emeritus Professor of Applied Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory (2003-2020)
OBE 1987
Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa (2002); Honorary QinetiQ Fellow (2009)
Duddell medal of the Institute of Physics (IOP) 1990; John Rinehart Award by DYMAT 2009; honorary doctorates at the University of Lulea, Sweden and Cranfield University
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election10/03/1994
Age at election57
Royal Society activityCommittee and panels:
Esso Energy Award Committee (1995); Panel I(B), Former Soviet Union (1995-1997); Royal Society Research Grants, Board C (1995-1997)Mullard Award Committee (1995-1998); A-Side Editorial Board (1998-2000); Conference Grants Committee (2002-2004); International Travel Grants, Panel 4 (2002-2004); Committee on the Scientific Aspects of International Security (2007-2009)
Published works
General contextJohn was a renowned experimentalist working in areas which overlap physics, chemistry, engineering and materials science. In his university laboratory for high-speed photography, John helped to develop the latest cameras which now cover a range from a few frames a second to 20 million a second. Combining this facility for direct observation with ingenious and original techniques he resolved many problems of impact, fracture and erosion including the stress field at the tip of fast-moving cracks. He greatly extended our understanding of explosive reactions, rock mechanics and the failure of diamond films. John’s work, which covered a wide range of practical topics, had an important influence on engineering design as well as being good physics. His advice and help were widely sought by government establishments and industrial laboratories both in this country and abroad.

Professor John Field OBE FRS died on 21 October 2020.
Royal Society profile, (accessed 12 November 2020)
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA4424
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
EC/1994/15Field, John Edwin: certificate of election to the Royal Society24/05/1993
IM/001411Field, John Edwin1994
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