After gaining his PhD in 1953, Professor Smallman spent five years at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell before returning to the University of Birmingham, where he became Professor of Physical Metallurgy in 1964 and Feeney Professor and Head of the Department of Physical Metallurgy and Science of Materials in 1969. He subsequently became Head of the amalgamated Department of Metallurgy and Materials (1981), Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and the first Dean of the newly created Engineering Faculty in 1985. For five years he wasVice-Principal of the University (1987-92). He has held visiting professorship appointments at the University of Stanford, Berkeley, Pennsylvania (USA), New SouthWales (Australia), Hong Kong and Cape Town, and has received Honorary Doctorates from the University of Novi Sad (Yugoslavia), University ofWales and Cranfield University. His research work has been recognized by the award of the Sir George Beilby Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of Chemistry and Institute of Metals (1969), the Rosenhain Medal of the Institute of Metals for contributions to Physical Metallurgy (1972), the Platinum Medal, the premier medal of the Institute of Materials (1989), and the Acta Materialia Gold Medal (2004). Hewas elected a Fellowof the Royal Society (1986), a Fellowof the RoyalAcademy of Engineering (1990), a Foreign Associate of the United States National Academy of Engineering (2005), and appointed a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1992. A former Council Member of the Science and Engineering Research Council, he has been Vice-President of the Institute of Materials and President of the Federated European Materials Societies. Since retirement he has been academic consultant for a number of institutions both in the UK and overseas.
Professor Ngan obtained his PhD on electron microscopy of intermetallics in 1992 at the University of Birmingham, under the supervision of Professor Ray Smallman and Professor Ian Jones. He then carried out postdoctoral research at Oxford University on materials simulations under the supervision of Professor David Pettifor. In 1993, he returned to the University of Hong Kong as a Lecturer in Materials Science and Solid Mechanics, at the Department of Mechanical Engineering. In 2003, he became Senior Lecturer and in 2006 Professor. His research interests include dislocation theory, electron microscopy of materials and, more recently, nanomechanics. He has published over 120 refereed papers, mostly in international journals. He received a number of awards, including the Williamson Prize (for being the top Engineering student in his undergraduate studies at the University of Hong Kong), Thomas Turner Research Prize (for the quality of his PhD thesis at the University of Birmingham), Outstanding Young Researcher Award at the University of Hong Kong, and in 2007 was awarded the Rosenhain Medal of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. He also held visiting professorship appointments at Nanjing University and the Central Iron and Steel Research Institute in Beijing, and in 2003, he was also awarded the Universitas 21 Fellowship to visit the University of Auckland. He is active in conference organization and journal editorial work.