Professor Williams' research interests include:
- Tribology: stresses, deformation and shakedown in rolling and sliding contacts
- Micromechanics of boundary lubrication
- Wear and surface damage of metals and non-metals
- Tribology of MEMS and micromachines
- Adhesion of soft materials
- Mechanics of metal cutting and forming
Professor Williams is also co-founder and co-director of the highly successful annual Cambridge Tribology Course.
After graduating from Cambridge in Mechanical Sciences, John Williams completed his PhD in the Department of Physics working with Professor David Tabor. He worked for a number of years for Tube Investments on a variety of industrial projects including early work on spiral groove seals before returning to an academic post in Cambridge in 1979. He has been Professor of Engineering Tribology since 2005. He is a Fellow and Director of Studies at Robinson College, Cambridge and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering
He is the author of a widely-used textbook, ‘Engineering Tribology’ published by CUP and of numerous journal and conference papers. In 1999, he was awarded the Tribology Trust Silver Medal, has been awarded both a James Clayton Prize and a Donald Julius Groen Prize by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and a Jacob Wallenberg Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.