Professor Jon Binner CEng FIMMM (Profile)

Fellows' Lounge
22 Jun 2011

Professor Jon Binner FIMMM is Professor of Ceramic Materials and Head of
the Materials Department at Loughborough University. From August 2011,
he will become the Dean of one of the 10 new Schools being formed at the
University. He is also a Visiting Professor at Beijing University of
Chemical Technology and Kunming University in China.

He obtained his Bachelors and PhD from the Ceramics Department at Leeds
University and has since worked as an academic at the Universities of
California at Los Angeles, Leeds, Nottingham and Brunel. He was also
Head of Department at the latter.


Ceramics research

The focus of his research is to generate the necessary scientific
understanding and required engineering solutions to create process
routes for ceramic materials that display technical and/or financial
advantages over existing processes and which yield new or improved

He works on systems as diverse as a new processing route for traditional
clayware, and nanostructured ceramics, ceramic armour and ultra high
temperature ceramics that can withstand temperatures approaching
3,000°C. Jon has won over 100 research grants totalling in excess of
£8.5M and has published 170 research papers, as well as editing or
contributing to 19 books, and given numerous talks at international
conferences. He holds six patents with two more in the pipeline.

Jon's involvement with IOM3

Jon has been a Fellow of IOM3 since 1999. He Chairs the Ceramic Science
Committee and is Vice-Chairman of The Ceramics Society. He will take
over as Chair of the latter this year. He is a member of the Council,
Communications Board and the Defence, Safety & Security Committee.
He will become Vice-President of IOM3 later this year.

Jon received the Holliday Prize from the Institute in 1995 and the Ivor
Jenkins Medal in 2007. Jon is also a Fellow of the Institute of
Nanotechnology and a member of the American Ceramic Society and the
European Ceramic Society. He serves on the Council for the latter and is
a member of the EPSRC College. He has been a Chartered Engineer since

Through his academic roles and his interaction with IOM3, Jon has been
able to help advise and guide the careers of students and more junior
colleagues at a range of institutions. He finds this particularly
satisfying, especially when they keep in contact as their careers

While his favourite piece of advice – ‘never get personally involved in
your own life’ – might seem eccentric, it gets attention and can then be
explained as keeping a sense of proportion and feet on the ground. It
is easy to get carried away by swings of fortune and being able to
remain objective (rather than subjective) can allow a clear mind to be
applied to the most apparently intractable problem.


The importance of communication

Jon has always been keen on communicating ideas and concepts – hence his
role as an academic – and it has involved him in a number of editorial
positions. He has been a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the
IOM3 journal Advances in Applied Ceramics since its inception. He was also on the Editorial Board for its predecessor. He was a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Materials: Design and Applications published by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers from 1999-2003 and edited Advanced Ceramics Report for Elsevier from 1985-1998.

Perhaps his proudest ‘communication’ moments were associated with his
radio interviews. He appeared on Material World on Radio 4 in 2003, and
on BBC local radio in 1989 with David Bellamy to discuss his research
into creating a carvable artificial ivory to protect the elephant
population in Africa. This helped his mother-in-law win a competition by
correctly identifying the subject when his piece was subsequently used
as a ‘mystery topic’ on the same radio station a few years later.