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Tributes following the death of Professor Sir David MacKay

We are sad to hear that Professor Sir David MacKay, the University of Cambridge’s Regius Professor of Engineering and former Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, died yesterday aged 48.


Prof. Lord Martin Rees, Fellow of Trinity College, University of Cambridge:

“David’s early death, following an illness that he chronicled on his blog with great courage, is devastating for his wife and young children. And it is a huge loss to academia — indeed to public policy generally. His world-leading research was exceptional in its range. But equally exceptional was his commitment to engage with students, the public, and the policy world. He was a genuine idealist, focused on addressing some of the world’s most challenging problems. He had done all this before the age of 50, and would surely have had a huge and benign influence in decades ahead.

“Those who know him will remember his engaging and enthusiastic personality. And all can look back thankfully on his inspiring legacy.”


Prof. Ian Boyd, Chief Scientific Adviser at Defra:

“We have lost a truly original thinker and a delightful personality.”


Prof. Dame Anne Glover, Vice-Principal External Affairs & Dean for Europe at the University of Aberdeen and Former Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission:

“I enjoyed every minute I spent with David and was always aware that he was very special.  He applied real mathematical rigour in his consideration of sustainable energy and for me, he achieved the almost impossible which was to write his book Sustainable Energy – without the hot air in such a way that readers were informed, challenged and at times found themselves bursting into laughter. I will miss him very much and my thoughts are with his family.”


Prof. Robin Grimes, Professor of Materials Physics at Imperial College London and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office:

“David promoted excellence in thinking using his science to identify technological and societal benefits. He often looked at problems uniquely, which is why his contributions will be remembered. Key policy makers overseas emphasise to me how his work continues to playing an important role informing their future energy policy. This is a legacy he would be proud of while being characteristically modest himself.”

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