UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy

Prof John Finney

Prof John Finney

Emeritus Professor of Physics

Dept of Physics & Astronomy

Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Jan 2001

Research summary

My research interests are largely in disordered condensed matter, from disordered crystals such as the ices, to glasses and liquids, with particular stress on aqueous systems and the role of water in biological and other processes. Present (neutron and x-ray) structural work focusses on (a) high pressure ices, (b) aqueous solutions of molecules of chemical and biological importance and (c) amorphous ices, while (d) the relationship between the dynamics and activity of enzymes is being pursued using neutrons and other techniques.


My first degree in Natural Sciences (with emphasis on Physics) was from Jesus College Cambridge in 1964, after which I took a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at the University of Leicester . From 1965 to 1968, I worked as Research Assistant to Prof JD Bernal in the Crystallography Department at Birkbeck College , London , where I also gained a PhD for research on models of simple liquids. I stayed at Birkbeck as a Lecturer, then Reader (1977-86), before being awarded a personal chair in 1986. In 1988, I moved on secondment to the ISIS Facility at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, where as Division Head and subsequently Chief Scientist, I was responsible for building up the science programme on the (then new) pulsed spallation neutron source. In 1993, I moved here to UCL as Quain Professor of Physics, where I have built up a new team in Condensed Matter and Materials Physics. From 1993 to 1996 I was Science Coordinator for the European Spallation Source Project.