Jonathan Tennyson did his undergraduate work at King’s College, Cambridge, earning at BA in Natural Sciences in 1977. He then did his Ph.D. in Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Sussex. After his studies, he spent two years as a Royal Society Western European Exchange Fellow at the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands.
In 1982, he joined the Theory Group at Daresbury Lab, where he was made a permanent staff member in 1985. In October of that year, he became a lecturer at the University College London in Theoretical Atomic Physics. He became a full professor of physics there in 1994. In 2005, he became the Massey Professor in Physics, the position he holds today.
He has authored over 600 papers, a number of popular science articles, and the textbook Astronomical Spectroscopy: An Introduction.. He is a fellow of the Royal Society and OSA. In 2007, he received OSA’s Ellis R. Lippincott Award “for his contributions to theory and simulations of rotational-vibrational spectra of small molecules and applications for practical purposes.”