John W. Lyons, Ph.D.
Distinguished Research Fellow
Dr. John W. Lyons, consultant and retired Director of the Army Research Laboratory (ARL), is a physical chemist with degrees from Harvard College and Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He served in research and development positions with the Monsanto Company for eighteen years. In 1973 he joined the Commerce Department's National Bureau of Standards (NBS) at Gaithersburg, Maryland. At NBS Lyons was the first director of the Center for Fire Research and then in 1978 the first director of the National Engineering Laboratory, a unit that came to include about half of the NBS programs. In 1990 Lyons was appointed by President George Bush to be the ninth director of NBS, by that time renamed the National Institute of Standards and Technology or NIST. In September 1993, he was appointed the first permanent director of ARL. At ARL, Dr. Lyons managed a broad array of science and technology programs: electronics, information science and technology, armor/armaments, soldier systems, air & ground vehicle technology and survivability/lethality analysis.
Dr. Lyons has published four books and over sixty papers. He holds a dozen patents. He has served on many boards and commissions, most recently the National Commission on Superconductivity, the National Critical Technologies Panel, the Federal Advisory Commission on Consolidation and Conversion of Defense Research and Development Laboratories, and in 1993, chaired the Blue Ribbon Committee on Research and Public Services for the Board of Regents, University of Maryland System. He currently serves on two boards of visitors at the University of Maryland. He is a member of the National Research Council's Board on Army Science and Technology and currently chairs the BAST's Committee on Army Science and Technology for Homeland Security. He served as a member of a Congressionally-mandated committee at the National Defense University to study the potential effectiveness of the Defense laboratories in the transformed military of the future. He has received the Department of Commerce Gold Medal and the Department of the Army's Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service. Dr. Lyons was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1985. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Washington Academy of Science, and is a member of the American Chemical Society and of Sigma Xi.