Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Appendix Three- Correspondence, Visitors, and Gifts

Thank you so much to lots of lovely friends who have offered to visit me in hospital!

Ramesh and I are wanting to keep life really simple at the moment, and for me, rest in bed is crucial at the moment; so we are declining most visits for the next few days at least.

If you would like to visit me, just send me an email or a text. I am typically able to read both emails and texts quickly, and I can easily send brief responses by my phone. But as I said, for the time being, we are accepting very few of your lovely offers of visits.

When it comes to gifts, space is very tight on the ward, and my appetite is a fragile flower, so please don't bring any gifts. In case it is helpful for there to be an alternative gift-giving channel, I'll set up a JustGiving site, dedicated to the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity.



Thank you for all the warm messages from everyone!

I've now spent 7 days and 7 nights in Addenbrookes.

My medical news is we are still waiting for lab results to come back from last Friday's bronchoscopy, and I am still waiting for decisions to be made about what tests might be done on my bones or bone marrow. If I lie still in bed, I feel OK. Anything more (eg peeing) tends to feel like breathless hard work. This situation seems fairly stable, with no strong signs yet of weakening nor of recovery so I imagine I'm likely to continue to be in Addenbrookes for another week or two.

50 comments:

Tony Robinson said...

Please do set up a JustGiving site.

Nicolas said...

Hello David,

We have only met a few times, first in Toronto and then when I was a fellow at Darwin college. Your appetite for knowledge and truth were an inspiration. The way you made the best out of your cancer, by once again providing information to the rest of the world, is telling.

I hope that you'll spend as much time with your family as possible and, regardless of what happens, you will have shaped this world in a way few people have.

Best,
Nicolas Le Roux

Unknown said...

Dear David

I was/am very sorry to learn of your illness. It was a pleasure to get to know you through Cambridge ultimate and to be inspired by your passion for science and our world. I know from first hand what cancer can do to families and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

I hope that you get to spend more time with them and that there will be more appendices to come

Jonathan Middleton

Lyndsay Williams said...

Dear David,
I am so sorry to hear of your illness. I am so pleased to have met you and been inspired by your work including your book Sustainable Energy. I enjoyed meeting you and hearing about your design on Dasher, when at Microsoft, and also your home energy presentation in Girton.
I have read all of your blog and I think it will help others.
Best Wishes,
Lyndsay Williams
Girton.

gw265ster said...

Dear David,

It's good to see your customary ability to get to the heart of the matter - though we are sad to read the context. We're thinking of you over here in Dunedin.

all our best wishes

Giselle Walker & Dave Eyers

IN-omaly said...

i just (yesterday) discovered that information theory, inference and learning algorithms was an awesome book. cited the outer product property (C.4) of symmetric matrices.

the complex eigenvectors on p608 are so intense too, i love it!!

WHY AM I ALWAYS (pathetically so in this case) LATE TO THE PARTY :P

i will carry this book close to my heart dr mackay. people are often so caught up trying to be remembered, that they forget the best way to live forever is to do great work.

what. a. book. you are indeed the master.

Margaret Hobbs said...

I don't want your family to be absent from these posts, though you know we are also not visiting so that you can keep your energy for Ramesh and the children. But inadequate words will have to express our love and gratitude for all you mean to us, to join this chorus of appreciation. Love, mag xx

IN-omaly said...

just learned your father, dr donald macrimmon mackay, was an absolute legend.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/240239910_The_MacKay-skinner_debate_A_case_for_nothing_buttery

debated BF SKinner on TV eh! unreal man! absolutely unreal! how well you've represented your father and his work. he would be so proud!!

gagan said...

wow,

just found your father's 1947 paper describing an electrical machine capable of generating functions!

"a high-speed electronic function generator"
http://www.nature.com.sci-hub.io/nature/journal/v159/n4038/pdf/159406a0.pdf

and his follow-up beauty
"multiplication and division by electronic-analogue methods"
http://www.nature.com.sci-hub.io/nature/journal/v163/n4147/abs/163650a0.html

WOW!!!

better late than never!! wow!!

Margaret Hobbs said...

David lost his fight for life today. He died this afternoon. But just as people still seem to be appreciating his father, who died 30 years ago, I am sure they will be appreciating him for many years to come.

gagan said...

RIP dr mackay.
:'(

Marta Milo said...

David was the most inspiring person I have ever met, read and had the privilege to listen to. His death is an immense loss for his family and for all of us who where touched by his clarity of thoughts and inspired by his work.
My deepest thoughts to Ramesh and the children and to his family.
Thank you David for everything you gave us.
Marta

gagan said...

Father Donald MacCrimmon MacKay (1922-1987) and son David John Cameron MacKay (1967-2016) will be remembered as some of the best scientists the UK has produced. An immediate comparison that comes to mind is Sir Joseph John Thomson (1856-1940) and son George Paget Thomson (1892-1975).

We will try to uphold the prestige and recognition they bestowed upon our field (Machine Learning and Information Theory). Like Dr Donald MacCrimmon MacKay, Dr David John Cameron MacKay leaves us before the world could learn of the significance of his contributions.

After reading some of Dr Donald MacCrimmon MacKay's work, I could see why Alan Turing later joined the Ratio Club.

The incomparable humility, dedication, bravery, passion and ability of Father Donald MacCrimmon MacKay was unquestionably upheld by his son Sir David John Cameron MacKay.

We will celebrate these UK science titans through their work, which will become increasingly important in charting the course for the next century of science research.

Ken Wright said...

Very sad news. My condolences to the family. I had the immense privilege to work with professor mackay, on the global calculator and the international climate risks work. He was a humble, kind and immensely intelligent man. He is the reason I no longer eat meat and has had a positive and permanent impact on my life. A quite brilliant person.

Ken Wright said...

Very sad news. My condolences to the family. I had the immense privilege to work with professor mackay, on the global calculator and the international climate risks work. He was a humble, kind and immensely intelligent man. He is the reason I no longer eat meat and has had a positive and permanent impact on my life. A quite brilliant person.

Musumbu Dibwe Pierrot said...

So so so sad to hear that this great man has passed away. Exceptional teacher an inspirational human being. I still remember his lectures at AIMS Cape Town. The error correcting code challenge and how he took the entire class for a trip to Robben Island. A hands on Professor. Who got his hands dirty to help his students apply the theory he presented in the lecture room. He sat next to me to help me debug the segmentation faults on my error correcting code C routine. We helped me to prepare my Quantum mechanics overview presentation in his office at AIMS. It is very painful. Very hard to express the pain.

Unknown said...

I was so sad to hear the news this evening. I had the privilege of playing ultimate frisbee with David for a number of years, and I will forever be grateful for the mentorship he provided as I was discovering this sport we both loved. I have shared this blog with the Strange Blue Alumni group on Facebook, as he was so beloved of us all.

David was an extremely inspirational person, so generous with his time and patient in his approach to those less brilliant than him (everyone). He will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

Tim Stone said...

I was delighted, honoured and massively enthused working with David in DECC from 2008 to 2013 as he was the only person I have been lucky enough to work with who was in my eyes a genius. Pragmatic, practical, unswervingly honest and a joy to work with. Few people have had such clarity of insight into the energy challenge (and that's being as polite as I can) and none have had David's ability to communicate it so lucidly and so effectively.
We were all immensely lucky to have had his brain, passion and humanity and will miss him dreadfully. But his wife and children are the ones who now need our thoughts and prayers.

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

I will never forget David for his kindness towards me when I suggested a pretty bonkers idea to him some years ago. Rather than point out the statistical error I had overlooked, he invited me to lunch at Darwin and took me gently through the issues. This has had a major effect on me as it has cautioned me to take care with seeing patterns where there may not be any, an extremely important maxim to follow. What a lovely, kind man.

I loved his book on energy, so clear, and I loved the way he had wired up his house to get interesting data off it.

And now he has gone, too late to tell him thank you.

He had so many friends, and I know all of us will embrace his bereaved family.

Unknown said...

Condolences to his family and friends - what an inspiring man!

Angela Yu said...

I learned so much from David when I was a grad student at UCL. How fortunate we were that he took the time and energy to come and visit us regularly at Gatsby, and share with us his insight and wisdom. He had such a way of saying something incredibly incisive, that made you want to laugh at how simple some complicated-looking thing really is. I always thought of him as an exceptionally intelligent person among many bright people, but over the years, I also came to realize what an extraordinarily good person he was.

I have been following David's last adventure through his blog, and I often struggled with whether to post something, as I felt unsure what I could write that would be worthy/appropriate to go with the blog. Now I wonder if I missed an opportunity to let David know how he has touched my life. I didn't expect the bad news yesterday, despite his "last post", as he still seemed so lucid and concerned about others in his appendices.

I know my life will continue to be touched by David for many years to come, whether it is about machine learning, alternative energy, or matters of life and death. And I am so glad that David left us so much of his writing, so that many others who have never even heard of him before now can continue to benefit from all that he had to share.

My sincerest condolences to his family, and everyone else grieving over his loss.

Douglas Lindsey said...

Sir David, so sad to hear of your passing. I will always enjoy our "destructive but productive" arguments decades ago in SoCal. I think you knew that I knew that you knew that you were always right. (Hahaha) I especially enjoyed our conversations as of late about Arizona Rainbows, automobiles, furnaces, bicycles and even toy trains. I plan on honoring you by simplifying my life as a whole just like the simple sunny days in SoCal. Life IS too short to have it any other way. Everyone knows your achievements. I hope that students and everyone may learn more about the David that would stop to admire the geometry of even butterflies. I can think of no other human being that explained more in detail of why and how something is the way it is. I know it tore away at you on "why and how" this was happening to you. Some things I'm afraid we will never be able to answer. Rip my friend. Salute.

Doug Lindsey

wookey said...

Bummer! Having not been following closely, I hadn't realised he was ill last time I saw him (doing good work on Huntingdon Rd at the Cycle Campaign) - I just thought he was getting even balder, so today's news was a shock: smart, thin, cycling, Cambridge types are not supposed to keel over at 48.

I've just read this whole blog, and it doesn't seem like the chemo 'odds' really paid off, in terms of having much extra time for fun, but I guess I'd try the same thing. And of course he remained remarkably cheerful and interesting to the end.

Anyway, this is all very sad. The man was a star in more than one field, and no doubt would have done plenty more good things if his TP53 worked better. Life is most unfair: people this competent and nice with it should be given a longer go.

grahamswift_2000@yahoo.co.uk said...

I had the pleasure of Knowing both David and his brother Robert when they were both pupils at Newcastle High School. It has been interesting to follow their respective careers since leaving school. David has kept in touch with many of his school contemporaries and former teachers , enjoying contact and adding to their comments on Facebook , as well as by email. We all send our condolences to his wife and children and to all of his relatives.

bert hubert said...

Goodbye and thank you so much - I hope David's work continues to bear fruit. My tiny contribution: https://medium.com/@bert.hubert/honouring-david-mackay-s-contribution-to-the-future-of-energy-being-pro-arithmetic-58fd1de99643#.15hoodqel

Scottish Scientist said...

I was honoured indeed when David commented on my blog post,
World’s biggest-ever pumped-storage hydro-scheme, for Scotland? - David MacKay's comment, April 15, 2015 at 8:30 am

My favourite, most referenced chapter - 26 Fluctuations and storage

Thank you for your gigantic shoulders to stand on David.

Scottish Scientist

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Ramakrishna Akella said...

May you rest in peace.

Siobhan Mellon said...

David inspired many people locally. When we set up a group called Histon and Impington Climate Change Action, he came and gave a talk in the village about Sustainable Energy, and a couple of years ago he gave a talk in Girton on the things he has done in his own house to limit CO2 emissions. Both were brilliant, and hugely engaging. It was generous of David to give his time to these small scale things.

Deep sympathies to his family.

Joseph Ratliff said...

I had the pleasure of reading David's book "Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air." It was by far and away the best book I've read on the topic.

May you rest in peace David.

Ajay Kumar Kalva said...

Great inspiring personality and your soul may Rest In Peace,

Regards,
Ajay Kumar

Mark said...

My condolences.

Thanks for all your contributions to education, computing and the environment.

Mark

Margaret Hobbs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margaret Hobbs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margaret Hobbs said...

The funeral has been arranged for Friday 6th May at 11am. Those wanting more details should look at http://www.darwin.cam.ac.uk/David_JC_MacKay. In accordance with David's wishes, donations may also be made for the benefit of Darwin College through links on that page

David Casale said...

My condolences to all David’s family and friends, as an energy professional of some 31 years I stumbled across SWTHA as I myself tried to ‘Figure it Out’ in 2009. The book saved me at least a couple of months work!
We have all lost a leading light in the truthful dissemination of advice on the transition to a low carbon economy and I’m sure other potential we shall now never discover.
RiP

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Keith Henson said...

I never met David in person, but we had many interactions in email over the past 8 years. I found his analysis of renewable energy both sound technically and some of the clearest writing I ever have seen.

One of David's objections to proposed renewable schemes was the amount of land area it took and the limited amount available in the UK. I took such concerns to heart with respect to power satellites. Although they use something around 4-5% of the UK land area, they can be put over pasture or farmlands which are 40% and 20% respectively. David wrote about this energy alternative here: http://withouthotair.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/solar-power-from-space.html

He was never reluctant to look into new ideas to see if they made sense.

His death is a huge loss, for the world and the UK.

I was going to send this to him soon as we had it done, but we were to late for him to see it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrcoD_vHzxU&feature=youtu.be
power sats as a solution for CO2

RiP

Keith Henson

Emily Gardner said...

My heartfelt condolences to David's family. I only just learned of David's truly untimely death while listening to Radio 4's 'More or Less'. As a Darwin student, I remember David so well, and was privileged to play string quartets with him and two other members of College in the mid-90s. What a tremendous loss to academia, and all of society.
Emily Gardner

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Rhian Morgan said...

I never knew David as a scientist. Almost 15 years ago he was just a very kind man who had just returned from Switzerland and fed my four year old chocolate while wheeling her around on his bike. With love and prayers to his family. Rhian Morgan

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ajay said...

Dear Ramesh
I am extremely shocked to read that David is no more with us. I was one of the lucky ones to be acquainted to him. He visited Lesotho twice, and facilitated Lesotho teachers twice by exploring some topics in Physics. Then he met me and my family when we visited UK, long ago in 2000's.

He also supported me during my first year of PhD. His latest message in early this year indicated his illnesses, but I never thought that it would be terminal. I just read a couple of articles on him and only then I learned that he is no more with us. Dear Ramesh, I pray for you and the family. I will miss him in many ways. He was always willing to share his knowledge and expertise with the reachers in Lesotho, though his memories about Lesotho was bitter. Yet,he helped us. May god bless you and your kids.

Ajay

ajay said...

Dear Ramesh
I am extremely shocked to read that David is no more with us. I was one of the lucky ones to be acquainted to him. He visited Lesotho twice, and facilitated Lesotho teachers twice by exploring some topics in Physics. Then he met me and my family when we visited UK, long ago in 2000's.

He also supported me during my first year of PhD. His latest message in early this year indicated his illnesses, but I never thought that it would be terminal. I just read a couple of articles on him and only then I learned that he is no more with us. Dear Ramesh, I pray for you and the family. I will miss him in many ways. He was always willing to share his knowledge and expertise with the reachers in Lesotho, though his memories about Lesotho was bitter. Yet,he helped us. May god bless you and your kids.

Ajay

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