Glass Reflections
Cambridge 7th to 9th September

Presenting Author:
Bob Newport
< >

article posted 27 Jan 2015

Bob Newport

Having gained his PhD at the University of Leicester Bob took the post of Lecturer in Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Kent in 1985. Bob's research team consistently focused their work on understanding the atomic-scale structure of novel amorphous (non-crystalline) materials of contemporary interest such as non-linear optical glasses and "sol gel" glasses/glassy materials which may be catalytically or biologically active.

His more recent interests centred primarily on the synthesis and basic understanding of a wide range of bioactive glasses, which have a range of potential applications including bone regeneration, antibacterial materials and drug delivery systems. The structure of a given material is arguably the key factor in determining its macroscopic properties: the ethos of his work derives from his central interest in explaining why novel amorphous materials behave in the way they do: in other words to provide the research that will underpin a full understanding of their technologically useful attributes.

In 2007 he was awarded the higher research degree, a DSc, by the University of Leicester. He has been a member of or has chaired several national research panels and committees, in the UK and in France, and has been consulted by, or has taught at, universities and companies in Sweden, Germany, Italy, Canada, Australia and the USA. He has chaired the Science & Technology Facilities Council's Physical & Life Sciences Committee and was a member of their Science Board; until the end of 2014 he was a member of the Science Advisory Committee of the Diamond Light Source.

Public engagement with science has increasingly assumed a central place in his activities throughout the past few years.

Mellor Memorial Lecture
Glass: out of History and Art and into Tissue Regeneration
Bob Newport
School of Physical Sciences, Ingram Building,The University, Canterbury, CT2 7NH, UK.

Making glass is one of our oldest technologies, refined and developed through the millennia and having an impact in all aspects of modern life. From its deceptively simple beginnings, glass has found a place in art and technology: a material of beauty as well as utility. In our current century, glassy materials are now used as smart drug delivery systems and even as scaffolds for regenerating a patient's lost bone. In his talk Bob Newport will attempt to unravel some of the science behind glass and to reveal aspects of modern research into its atomic-scale properties.

About the Mellor Memorial Lecture
When the Institute of Ceramics was formed in 1955 it was agreed that a Mellor Memorial Lecture would be held every year to celebrate the life and work of Dr Joseph Mellor the former secretary of the British Ceramic Society from 1905 until 1937.

Joseph William Mellor b.1869 d.1938

Joseph Mellor was born in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England in 1869. When he was ten years old his family emigrated to New Zealand, and in 1899 graduated from Otago University with a first class honours degree in Chemistry. He married in 1899 and moved back to England, being awarded a research scholarship at the University of Manchester.

Around 1902 he took a teaching appointment at the grammar school in Newcastle-under-Lyme - this first brought him into touch with the Staffordshire pottery industry and soon he was giving lectures to evening classes on ceramics, amongst other subjects. In 1905 he took charge of the County Pottery Laboratory, Tunstall, and became secretary and editor to the Ceramic Society. His academic reputation was such that in 1908 he was offered (but declined) the chair of chemistry at the University of Sydney, Australia.

Mellor continuing investigations covered a broad field, ranging from individual factory problems over such matters as the performance of fire bricks, the nature and behaviour of glazes, and the constituents of clays. During the First World War his chief work concerned the improvement of refractory linings of steelmaking furnaces. This was because German and Austrian materials could no longer be obtained. By 1920 almost a hundred papers, the majority bearing Mellor's name, had appeared from the Tunstall Laboratory, and in 1927 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society

Soon afterwards the County Pottery Laboratory was merged within the newly formed British Refractories Research Association and Mellor remained as director until his retirement in 1937, though pressing on at the same time with the writing of his monumental Comprehensive Treatise on Inorganic and Theoretical Chemistry.

This annual lecture pays homage to the achievements of a great man.