We are sad to announce that Professor Malcolm Heggie FRSC passed away on Thursday 17th January 2019, at the age of 63. His contributions to Carbon Science were manifold, particularly within the UK where he co-founded the British Carbon Group and chaired it for many years, as well as founding and co-organising the annual NanoteC conferences for 20 years, chairing Carbon 2006 and other meetings.
He was one of a kind: first and foremost an excellent scientist, rigorous and visionary in his understanding of defects in carbon, but also an energetic and engaging science communicator, who turned his hand to producing stage shows about his research and even performing a stand-up comedy routine about Carbon.
Malcolm's research bridged chemistry, physics, and applied mathematics. He worked on many different materials over his career and is best known for his contribution to the understanding of graphite, for which he was presented with a Special Recognition Award (2008) from the British Carbon Group for outstanding leadership. Malcolm's theoretical work on defects and radiation damage in graphite is highly cited and in addition, he developed a 'ruck and tuck' model to explain the structural changes in graphite under irradiation.
Malcolm obtained a Physics and Chemistry Combined Honours degree from Exeter University, followed at the same institution by a PhD in 1982 in Theoretical Solid State Physics under Bob Jones. In the ensuing five years he worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr Jones on dislocations and plasticity in silicon and quartz, including periods as CNRS Chercheur Associé au CNRS in Grenoble with François Louchet and Gästforskarer in Umeå with Arne Claesson. This was followed by independent research in graphite (with Brian Kelly, UKAEA, and Mike Tucker, CEGB), in ice and quartz (as NERC Special Fellow), and in semiconductors becoming a SERC Advanced Fellow in 1990 within Computer Science at Exeter University. In 1996 he moved to an academic position in Chemistry at University of Sussex, working with John Murrell, Harry Kroto, and other eminent chemists; he was promoted to Professor of Theoretical Chemistry in 2004. In 2012 he took a Professorship in Chemistry at the University of Surrey, before moving to a part-time Chair at Loughborough University in 2016.
Malcolm gave outstanding and entertaining talks, many of which have been captured as internet lectures. He variously dressed as his hero Steed from The Avengers, brought along homemade props, recreated the movement of carbon dislocations using his body, and frequently sang. He was in demand as a plenary speaker at international meetings such as at the annual CARBON conference, and his warmth and friendly personality made him a pleasure to work with. Many in the Carbon community considered him a close friend. He leaves his wife Sally and daughter Laura.