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Prof Alan Jones
Professor Alan George Jones, DSc 1 September 1947 – 13 August 2014


Alan Jones first joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at UCL in 1969 to study for a PhD looking at crystal size distributions developed in batch crystallization processes under the supervision of Professor John Mullin. After graduation he took a spell in industry with Unilever and then ICI.

He returned to UCL in 1980 as lecturer and broadened his interest in crystallization and precipitation processes, a key area of interest to the chemical industry with much of their product being in crystalline form. He contributed significantly to the understanding of the interactions between nucleation, crystal growth and agglomeration, especially in precipitation processes, by combining mathematical modelling and experimental studies. Much of this work he brought together in ‘Crystallization Process Systems’ published in 2001 by Butterworth-Heinemann. More recently his interests turned to the complexities of crystallization in organic systems. In particular he used a wide range of physical and chemical techniques to explore the complexities of phase transformations and chiral and racemic separations, essential steps in the production of many pharmaceuticals.

During this time Alan rose through the ranks to become Professor in 1994 and in 2003 he was appointed Ramsay Memorial Professor of Chemical Engineering and Head of Department.

As head, he was committed to the development of the department and its people. He was keen to improve education and the student experience at all levels, from improving departmental facilities through to significant contributions to programme accreditation with the Institution of Chemical Engineers.

Alan was an excellent colleague and a pleasure to work with. He was an exceptional manager who had time for all and a strong advocate for the department within UCL.

Despite personal tragedy and also undergoing dialysis in later years – ‘it is better than the alternative’ he would say – he was keen to pass on a strong department to his successor. This he achieved. He put the department on a solid foundation, making it ready for expansion and leaving an excellent legacy.

Two years ago, as he was about to stand down as head, he received the long-awaited kidney transplant and was looking forward to concentrating on research, doing some teaching and writing the second edition of his book.

However this was not to be. Following the transplant he suffered from a series of difficult-to-treat infections and spent much time in hospital fighting these infections, and we are sad to say that he lost that fight on 13th August 2014.

Those who knew him will recall him as a gentleman with a dry sense of humour, a dedicated head of department, determined to do his best for both his department and for UCL. Alan was proud. Proud to be Head of Department. Proud to receive the first DSc to be awarded by UCL. His family wanted to put a picture of him wearing his DSc robes in pride of place on the living room wall. Alan was also modest. He did place the picture on the wall, but behind a door where it would not normally be noticed!

Alan will be remembered not only as a great scientist and engineer for his work on crystallization processes, but also as someone who cared deeply for his department, UCL, and the discipline of chemical engineering.

He is sadly missed.

Page last modified on 03 sep 14 09:48