Malcolm MacGregor

Obituary of Malcolm Herbert MacGregor

On Friday, April 19th, 2019, Malcolm Herbert Mac Gregor, loving husband to Eleanor D. Mac Gregor, passed away at nearly 93-years of age. Malcolm was born on April 24, 1929, in Detroit, Michigan, as the oldest of three sons born to Herbert Mac Gregor and Mary Horvath. Malcolm served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and then enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1946, where he graduated in 1953 with a BA in mathematics, and an MA and PhD in physics. During those years he met his wife, Eleanor, won her heart by playing Clare de Lune on the piano, and married her in 1943. Their first son, Bob, was born in 1951, followed by son John in 1953. This was the same year in which the family moved to Walnut Creek, California, before settling in Livermore, where Malcolm joined the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, and became the first physicist to run experiments on the laboratory's variable energy cyclotron. From 1960-1961 Malcolm held a NATO fellowship at the Neils Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, while at other times teaching several physics courses and becoming a thesis advisor at UC Berkeley. His youngest child, Elise, was born in 1965, one year before he got accepted as a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Between the years 1970-72, Malcolm delivered invited colloquia on particle physics at more than 20 universities in the U.S. and Canada. His publications include over 100 refereed papers in experimental and theoretical physics, and sole authorship of numerous books, including The Nature of the Elementary Particle (Springer 1978), The Enigmatic Electron (Kluwer 1992 and Springer 2013, followed in 2017 by a self-published second edition), and The Power of Alpha (World Scientific 2007, which was featured by the Scientific American Book Club). During these highly productive years, in which Malcolm remained a devoted father and continued to study the piano, he also became an avid tennis player, summertime waterskier, and windsurfer at his family's cottage in Kincardine, Ontario, Canada. Friends and grandchildren revered him for being a "punster," whose infamous wordplay elicited groans during every family event. Malcolm retired from the Livermore Lab in 1995, and within a few years moved with Eleanor to Santa Cruz, California, where he continued working diligently on his final book, The Alpha Sequence, which is currently being reviewed for publication. Malcolm is survived by his wife, Eleanor (CA), younger brother Donald (NV), youngest brother Bruce (NY), Bob's two daughters, Marisol and Katrina (both from CA), John's two sons, John Jr. and Jeremy (both from CA), Jeremy's two sons, Jace and Colton, and Elise's two daughters, Ayla and Ariel (both from CA). Malcolm's memorial celebration will be held on Sunday, May 19th, at his home in Santa Cruz, starting at 2:00 pm.

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