John Johnstonwas born in Perth, Scotland on October 13, 1881. He was a Carnegie Scholar at St. Andrews University Scotland from 1903-05. He received his B.Sc. degree in 1903 and the D.Sc. in 1908. He was awarded honorary Sc.D. degrees from New York University in 1928 and Lehigh University in 1929.
Dr. Johnston was Research Associate in Physical Chemistry at M.I.T., 1907-08; chemist in the Geophysical Lab. Carnegie Institute, 1908-16; head of research department at American Zinc, Lead and Smelting Co., 1916-1917; chemist at the U.S. Bureau of Mines, 1917-1918; and with the National Research Council, 1918-1919.
In 1919, Dr. Johnston became Professor in the Chemistry Dept. at Yale University and later Chairman of the Department. He resigned from Yale in 1927 to become head of the Research Laboratory of the U.S. Steel Corp. at Kearny, New Jersey.
Dr. Johnston was active in The Electrochemical Society and served as President 1933-1934. He was involved with other scientific societies; American Chemical Society (ed. board 1914-23, Councilor, 1936); Society of Metals; Faraday Society; Mining and Metallurgical Engineering; Franklin Institute; British Institute of Metals; London Iron and Steel Institute; Bunsen Gesellshaft; and Verein Deuts. Eisenhuttenleute.