Bridgwater gained a BA in chemical engineering at the University of Cambridge in 1959, an MSE in chemical engineering at Princeton University in 1961. He then worked for Courtaulds  before returning to Cambridge, obtaining a Phd in 1973  and a lectureship. In 1980 he took up a post as professor in the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, becoming Head of Department from 1983 to 1989, and Dean of the Faculty from 1989-1992 In 1993 he took up the position of Shell Professor of Chemical Engineering at Cambridge, which he held until his retirement in 2004, being also Head of Department from 1993 to 1998. Upon his retirement a symposium was held to celebrate his achievements, particularly in research into particle science, where he had authored some 200 papers.
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