John Colligon obtained a First Class Honours BEng degree from the University of Liverpool Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department in 1958 and went on to complete a vacuum-based PhD in the same department in 1962 under the supervision of Professor Harry Leck. John has since had a research career, now covering 60 years, always in the field of Vacuum and its applications. He says he can honestly claim that he has never had any pressure in performing his work!
Following his PhD John was a Research Fellow at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough working on momentum accommodation of an ion beam on a surface (of relevance to satellite drag forces) and also on low energy sputtering. He then moved to Salford University in 1968 (with the sputter equipment) and continued to work in the field of Ion-Surface Interactions and thin films. In 1988 he became Professor of Surface Coatings and Characterisation first at Manchester Metropolitan University and, in 2014, at Huddersfield University where, in 2016, he was made Emeritus Professor.
Outside the research his interests were also related to vacuum. John was a member of the Editorial Board of VACUUM from 1978 and became Editor-in-Chief in 1981. He is currently Special Issues Editor of this journal. In 1986 he was asked to take on the role of Recording Secretary for The International Union of Vacuum Science, Technique and Applications (IUVSTA). During this period he persuaded IUVSTA to set up the European Vacuum Conference and held the first event in Salford in 1988. This series has continued with the next conference EVC15 run by the Swiss Vacuum Society in Geneva from 17-22 June 2018. In 1989 John was elected as Secretary General of IUVSTA, a position which he held for 3 consecutive 3 year terms. He has since served as Chair of the Thin Film Division of IUVSTA . In this role John had to find a Recording Secretary. Harry Leck volunteered and performed an excellent job with the help of his wife Esma. It was slightly strange to me that my previous boss was now working for me but Harry was, as always, very supportive.
John is a Fellow of IET and member of its Tribology Steering Committee, Fellow of IOP and past Chair of its Vacuum and Ion and Plasma Surface Interactions Groups, received the IOP Phillips Award in 2013, the British Vacuum Council Senior Prize 2015 and was made a Fellow of the American Vacuum Society “for pioneering studies of energy-assisted deposition of thin films and controlled surface modification by dynamic recoil mixing and for applications to novel materials” in 1998. Outside work he still plays tennis and is interested in languages.
Above: Harry Leck and John Colligon (right) standing by the Berlin Wall. [The picture was taken on 16th March 1990 as Harry & John travelled to the Executive Council Meeting (ECM62) of IUVSTA.]
Below: John receives his award from Dr Ron Reid (R).