Plenary Speaker - David St John

Professor David StJohn

Professor David StJohn

Plenary Speaker

Professor StJohn’s research interests are the solidification of Al, Mg and Ti alloys and topics ranging from wear and corrosion, reduction of iron oxides and microstructure-property relationships and has published 350 papers in journals and conference proceedings. Prof StJohn was awarded the John Campbell Medal in 2014, the Materials Australia Silver Medal in 2011, the American Society of Metals Henry Marion Howe Medal in 2006 and the Magnesium Technology Award by TMS in 2003.  
Professor StJohn has held appointments in Canada, RMIT University and CRA-Advanced Technical Development in Perth as well as a long association with UQ. Prof StJohn has made a significant contribution to developing research – industry partnerships. He was with the CAST Cooperative Research Centre becoming CEO from August 2002 until 2008. He led the successful bid for the Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) in 2008 and initiated the Centre for Advanced Materials Processing and Manufacturing (AMPAM) at UQ in 2009. Current industry partners include Magontec, Cook Medical, Bluescope Steel, Nihon Superior and Baosteel. He also received funding from the Queensland State Government and the Australian Federal Government for the Advanced Engineering Building (AEB) and was Chair of the Project Control Group for the construction of the AEB, completed in 2013. Prof StJohn is currently Emeritus Professor at UQ.


A scientific journey of over forty years supported and inspired by creative interactions with the manufacturing industry and government priorities is explored. This exploration focuses on examples of the presenter’s research from peritectic solidification to extractive metallurgy, tough ceramics, light metal alloy design, corrosion, casting and back to the study of solidification characteristics such as hot tearing and grain refinement. The varied pathways of this research were built on a foundation of a strong desire to carry out fundamental research that was influenced by industry and government research priorities. Another important factor that facilitated applied and scientific discovery is the joy of collaboration. In parallel to details of the science, the talk will reflect on these considerations in terms of what research was selected, how it was undertaken and the impact the outcomes had on manufacturing and the field of materials science.