John Francis Richardson was born on 29 July 1920 in North London. He joined Imperial College London as an undergraduate student, graduating with a first-class bachelor degree in 1941. He stayed on to pursue a PhD in the suppression of burning liquids; his research, which was sponsored by the Ministry of Home Security, helped the understanding of extinguishing properties of foams, carbon dioxide and halogenated hydrocarbons. During the Second World War he experimented with large-scale fire-control in Manchester and South Wales.

He started lecturing in 1947, gained his doctorate in 1949 and later he was promoted to senior lecturer. During this time, his research focused on particle mechanics and fluidisation, and it provided the basis for industrial processes such as catalytic cracking. As well as his results in research, he is also well-known for the production of the six-volume textbook with John Coulson, another Imperial lecturer, titled Chemical Engineering. It was first published in 1954 and it is known to be the first ever chemical engineering textbook for undergraduate students.

Between 1958 and 1960 he worked in industry on manufacturing flavours and fragrances for food, pharmaceutical and consumer products. After that, he was appointed as a Head of Department in Chemical Engineering at University College Swansea where he remained until his retirement in 1987. As a Head of Department he was very active in setting up engineering-oriented biotechnology courses and he was well-known for his inspiring leadership.

He served as the President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers in 1975-76 and was also part of many industrial committees. He also provided summer courses for young girls who aspired to be engineers and supported the work of the Women's Engineering Society. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1981 and was honoured by an OBE in 1981.
He met his future wife through their shared love of folk dancing and they were founding members of the Society of International Folk Dancing in 1946, before they married in 1955. Professor Jack Richardson died on 4 January 2011.

Jack Richardson - Obituary - Telegraph 3 February 2011
Coulson & Richardson, Chemical Engineering, volume 1, 6th edition (1999).