John Ankner received a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1990 on the development of neutron scattering techniques and instrumentation. He worked as a Post-Doctoral researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) from 1990-93, where he helped construct the first dedicated neutron reflectometer at the NIST Reactor and implemented reflectometry data reduction and analysis software. His research focused on the study of the giant magnetoresistive effect (GMR) in thin films. From 1993-98 he worked as a staff scientist at the Missouri University Research Reactor (MURR) where he helped design and build another reflectometer, which was used to study a wide range of topics in magnetic and polymer film structure. In 1998 he was hired by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to work on instrument design and construction at the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), successfully completing, commissioning, and developing a wide-ranging external user program at the Liquids Reflectometer over the intervening two decades. In 2021, he signed on to work on the Second Target Station upgrade to the original SNS.