skip to primary navigationskip to content

Professor Sir David Mackay 1967–2016

last modified Apr 28, 2016 02:08 PM

Professor Sir David Mackay passed away on 14 April 2016. Professor Mackay joined the University of Cambridge as a Natural Sciences (Physics) undergraduate in 1985 and then went on to complete his PhD at the California Institute of Technology in Computational Mathematics. In 1992, he returned to Cambridge as the Royal Society Smithson Research Fellow at Darwin College and University lecturer in Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory, becoming professor in 2003.


Professor Mackay’s influential book “Without the Hot Air” was published in 2008. He was selected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2009 and in the same year joined the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) as Chief Scientific Advisor until 2014. It was during his time at DECC that David launched the  “2050 “calculator”, an online calculator which allows the user to control the energy demand and supply to reach the UK 80% CO2 reduction target by year 2050. This later led to the global calculator.  David was appointed Regius Professor of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, first holder of the royally-appointed post in 2013. David was honoured for his services to scientific advice in Government and to science outreach in the 2016 New Year's Honours List.


Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, said: "David was the model of a scientist in government; challenging, insightful and with the ability to explain the most complex subjects in a clear way. His legacy, including the 2050 calculator now emulated across the world and his brilliant book on sustainable energy, was deservedly recognised by a knighthood earlier this year. His ideas and arguments will continue to influence how we deal with climate change.”


Image credit: Darwin College, University of Cambridge