Dick Jones graduated MSc in Chemistry at Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) in 1962 and then came to Britain to study for a PhD in Polymer Chemistry at the University of Leeds. This was awarded in 1966 on the basis of a thesis entitled 'The ferric chloride photosensitised polymerisation of acrylonitrile in dimethylformamide', after which he was appointed Lecturer in Applied Chemistry at Lanchester Polytechnic, latterly Coventry University.
In 1970 he joined the University of Kent as Lecturer in Chemistry and, while maintaining his research in polymer chemistry, had responsibility for developing a course that combined Chemistry and Electronics – Chemistry with Control Engineering – which ran until the late 1980s.
Dick’s research into mechanisms of polymerisation has ranged from fundamental studies of charge-transfer interactions of monomers and radical initiators through to the mechanisms underlying the functioning of photo- and electron beam resists. He was a visiting researcher at the University of Southern California in 1980 investigating aspects of chemi-luminescence accompanying the formation of co-ordination complexes, and was involved in a 10-year collaboration with the Japanese government agency NEDO during the 1990s for research into the mechanisms of the synthesis of polysilanes and their derivatives.
Appointed Professor of Polymer Science in 1998, Dick was Head of the School of Physical Sciences from 2000-2004. From 1997 to 2013 he was also variously a titular member or associate member of the Polymer Division of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), Chairman of its Subcommittee on Polymer Terminology, 2005-2013, and UK National Representative, 2012-2017.
Since retirement from the University in 2004, he has continued to lead and otherwise contribute to IUPAC projects and thereby to internationally recognised recommendations concerning polymer terminology and nomenclature, the largest and most testing of which, ‘Terminology and Nomenclature of Inorganic and Co-ordination Polymers’, is still under development at the time of writing. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and thereby a Chartered Chemist, his continuing work for IUPAC sustains his additional recognition as a Chartered Scientist.