About the D.K.C. MacDonald Memorial Lecture
The MacDonald Memorial Lecture remembers the achievements of David Keith Chalmers MacDonald, born in Glasgow in July 1920. From an early age, he demonstrated considerable ability in mathematics and physics, and he graduated from Edinburgh University with first class honours. During the Second World War, owing to deficient eyesight, he served at the Military College of Science at Bury, where his remarkable talents for original research combining experimental and theoretical aspects became apparent.
In 1951, the year of the first Canadian Metal Physics Conference (the direct predecessor of the Canadian Materials Science Conference), MacDonald came to Canada. He and others associated with the National Research Council (NRC) soon became prominent and regular attendees at this annual conference. It was at the National Research Council that MacDonald developed an intense interest in the solid state at extremely low temperatures. He produced many papers of the highest quality during his tenure at the NRC. In 1957, MacDonald was diagnosed as having a rare neurological ailment that would lead to gradual debilitation of his limbs, and eventual death. His reaction was characteristic of his personality, and he increased the pace of activities to make the most of the time remaining. During this difficult period, the NRC, under Dr. Steacie, assisted him by providing special nursing and transportation services.
Keith MacDonald passed away in 1963. His honours included election to the Royal Society at a relatively young age, recipient of the Gold Medal of the Canadian Association of Physicists an honorary Professorship at the University of Ottawa, five books published, as well as the high esteem of his colleagues. MacDonald enjoyed a sense of achievement that is usually attained only at a more advanced age. He died a stricken but not unhappy man. It is no exaggeration to say that his contributions to metal physics in Canada set a standard that is yet to be surpassed.
The D.K.C. MacDonald Memorial Lecture has been a prominent feature of the Conference since 1964, and conference attendees have enjoyed Memorial Lectures presented by some of the leading figures in Materials Science, both from a Canadian and global perspective.