John Enderby was an experimental physicist who developed innovative ways of using neutrons to study matter at the microscopic level. His research particularly advanced our understanding of the structure of multicomponent liquids - those made up of two or more types of atoms - including commonly used liquid alloys and glasses.
John’s techniques meant that the relative positions of the various types of atomic nuclei can be deduced from diffraction patterns arising from the quantum wavelike scattering of the neutrons. His work included the surprise discovery that aqueous solutions - important in biology as the environment for an organism's chemical reactions - have a quasi-lattice structure.
Amongst John's awards were the Guthrie Medal of the Institute of Physics, an institution he later served as President. He was awarded a CBE in 1997 and knighted in 2004 for services to science and technology. Since retiring, John continued innovating: one of later inventions allows the measurement of insulin levels in people with diabetes without the need for blood tests.
Sir John was the Physical Secretary and Vice President of the Royal Society from 1999 until 2004.