Kenneth Johnson, born in Barrow in 1925, studied mechanical engineering at Manchester during World War II. After some years in industry and an early appointment back in Manchester, he spent most of his academic career teaching and researching at the Engineering Department of Cambridge University. He was also a long-serving Fellow of Jesus College. He was renowned for the insightful analysis of meticulous experiments in contact mechanics. He was widely acknowledged as the doyen of this area, particularly after the publication of his seminal work of the same name. His major publications included topics in friction and wear, rheology and lubrication, rolling contact and adhesion. Important applications of his insights included the prediction of corrugations and cracks in railway lines. He was gratified when, after many years of dormancy, his ideas in adhesion were used by others to explain the climbing behaviours of insects and other small animals with soft feet. He was a devoted family man, characterized by warm personal qualities that won him many friends around the world.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society