Obituary - Dr Peter Jost CBE HonFIMMM

Fellows' Lounge
21 Jun 2016

Dr Peter Jost  CBE HonFIMMM 1921-2016

It is with great sadness that we hear of the passing of Peter Jost at the age of 95. We have lost a vital figure, who will be sorely missed across our technology and materials community, the tribology community and wider scientific, technical and industrial communities around the world. 

Peter was instrumental in bringing the UK tribology community together to form UK Tribology (UKT), a joint venture between five learned societies – the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institute of Physics, the Institute of Engineering and Technology and the Royal Society of Chemistry. Peter was delighted that UK Tribology was incorporated into the Surface Engineering Division of IOM3 and attended the UKT launch event in November 2015 at 297 Euston Road. 

This year is the 50th anniversary of the government report on lubrication, friction and wear published on 9 March 1966, which was written by a committee chaired by Dr Jost, who coined the engineering subject name ‘tribology’ within the report. A reception was held by Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace in March to celebrate the anniversary. During this reception Peter was made an Honorary Fellow of IOM3, of which he was immensely proud.

His advice to the UK Government included the very significant 1966 DES Jost Report, which demonstrated that avoidable wear was costing the UK huge sums of money every year. It resulted in the setting up of several centres for tribology. He was an active member of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee and authored more than 150 publications, including a critical patent and a still classified paper. His industrial career involved being general manager, chairman and entrepreneur successfully establishing several tribology-based companies that covered the manufacture of lubricants, coatings and mechanical systems.

In 2009, still very active following a successful industrial career, he co-launched the concept of green tribology, paving the way for the first Green Tribology World Congress with 2,000 attendees. He was President of the International Tribology Council from 1973 and was a founding member of the IMechE Tribology Group from 1966. 

During his long and distinguished career Peter was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1969 by HM the Queen and was awarded many other honours including two honorary Professorships and eleven honorary doctorates. His numerous major international honours include awards from the Heads of State of France, Germany, Poland and Austria. In 2011 the Emperor of Japan conferred the Order of the Rising Sun upon him. In 2013 Peter was awarded the RAEng sustained achievement award.  

Peter Jost died on 7 June 2016 and leaves behind his wife Margaret, daughters Jennifer and Gillian and three grandchildren. Peter was truly a kind and great man who will be sorely missed by his family and those who knew him. He will never be forgotten by all those whose lives he touched.

Dr Peter Jost is pictured left with IOM3 President Mike Hicks.

Professor Robert JK Wood CEng FIMMM FIMechE FHEA and Keith Harrison CSci FIMMM