Professor Williams obtained his BSc (1969) and PhD (1973) degrees from the University of New South Wales before moving to Europe and North America for a series of research and industry appointments. He returned to Australia to take up an academic post at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 1978 and became Director of the Microelectronics and Materials Technology Centre in 1982. In 1988 he moved to the Research School of Physical Sciences at ANU as Foundation Professor of the Department of Electronic Materials Engineering. In 1997 he assumed the additional role of Associate Director of the Research School of Physical Sciences & Engineering at ANU and took up the Directorship of the School in 2002. He retired from this position in 2012 and is now an Emeritus Professor in the Research School at the ANU.
Professor Williams has carried out research in diverse areas of materials science, nanotechnology, ion-solid interactions and semiconductors for over 45 years. He has published over 450 refereed papers and five books in a broad spectrum of sub-fields within semiconductors, materials science and processing, device fabrication and engineering. He is particularly well known internationally for his pioneering work on ion implantation into semiconductors, solid phase epitaxial growth of silicon, innovative development of ion beam analysis methods, impurity gettering in silicon and nanoindentation of semiconductors. He was awarded the Boas Medal of the Australian Institute of Physics (1993) and the Thomas Rankin Lyle Medal of the Australian Academy of Science (2011). He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the Materials Research Society, American Physical Society, is President of the Australian Materials Research Society and is the Chair of the Academy’s National Committee for Materials Science and Engineering. He has served on the MRS Council and has been a Vice President of the International Union of Materials Research Societies.