Clerk Maxwell Lecture
6 March 2014 | Royal Institution, London, UK
About the speaker
David MacKay FRS, Chief Scientific Advisor, DECC, Professor of Natural Philosophy, University of Cambridge
David MacKay was appointed as Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on 1st October 2009. The Chief Scientific Advisor’s role is to ensure that the Department’s policies and operations, and its contributions to wider Government issues, are underpinned by the best science and engineering advice available.
David MacKay studied Natural Sciences at Trinity College, and then onto Caltech to complete a PhD in Computation and Neural Systems.
In 1992 he returned to Cambridge as a Royal Society research fellow at Darwin College. In 1995 he became a university lecturer in the Department of Physics, where he was promoted in 1999 to a Readership and in 2003 to a Professorship in Natural Philosophy. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 2009.
In 2013 David MacKay was appointed Regius Professor in Engineering at the University of Cambridge. Regius Professorships are Royal academic titles, created by the monarch. The Engineering role is a new Regius Professorship, announced in 2011 to celebrate the Duke of Edinburgh’s 34 years as Chancellor of the University.
David MacKay’s research interests include reliable computation with unreliable hardware, and communication systems for the disabled. He believes that what the climate-change discussion needs is clear, simple numbers, so that we can understand just how big our challenge is, and not be duped by wishful thinking.
His book on the subject (Sustainable Energy - Without The Hot Air: David MacKay, UIT Cambridge, 2009) has received endorsements from all sectors and from all political parties; The Economist called it “a tour de force”, and The Guardian called it “this year's must-read book”.
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