In memoriam: John David Jackson

John David Jackson - unofficial portrait

Portrait by Kurt Gottfried, 1978.

Eminent physicist (John) David Jackson passed away in Lansing, Michigan, on May 20, 2016 at age 91.

London, Ontario born David Jackson received his Honors B.Sc. in Physics and Mathematics from Western in 1946.

The late Prof. Emeritus Don Moorcroft described the effect that David Jackson had in his brief tenure as an undergraduate at Western.

"Some of the graduates from this period went on to prominent careers in science. I remember R.L. Allen telling me that he sometimes asked the students in the class to suggest questions for the final exam in the 4th year course in electricity and magnetism which he taught (I think some of their mark was based on the quality of the questions). This led to difficulties for R.L. in 1946 when one of the students provided questions which were too difficult for the instructor, let alone the others in the class. The student's name was J. David Jackson (MIT, PhD, 1949; now emeritus professor of Physics, University of California, Berkeley), who went on to a very distinguished career, and, amongst graduate students, notoriety, as the author of Classical Electrodynamics, which has provided problems to confound several generations of graduate students (and the occasional instructor!). Western recognized Dr. Jackson with an Honorary D.Sc. in 1989. Recently Dr. Jackson has very generously endowed a graduate scholarship in the Department in memory of his parents, as well as two undergraduate science scholarships, named in honour of R.L. Allen and Gar Woonton.

Dr. Jackson won a gold medal in physics in 1946.", writes Moorcroft.

The University of California at Berkeley web pages provide this glimpse into David Jackson's career,

"John David Jackson received his B. Sc. from the University of Western Ontario in 1946 and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1949. He taught at McGill University for seven years and at the University of Illinois for ten before coming to Berkeley in 1967. He has held a Guggenheim Fellowship (Princeton, 1956-57), a Ford Foundation Fellowship (CERN, 1963-64), and Visiting Research Fellowships at Cambridge (Clare Hall, 1970) and Oxford (Jesus College, 1988-89). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He is the author of a well known graduate text, Classical Electrodynamics (Wiley, 1962, 1975, 1998), as well Physics of Elementary Particles (Princeton Press, 1958) and Mathematics for Quantum Mechanics (W A Benjamin, 1962). He has contributed to numerous summer school lecture series, and for 17 years served as Editor of Annual Review of Nuclear and Particle Science. Service to the University of California includes Department Chair (1978-81), and Head of the Physics Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (1982-84). He retired from teaching in 1993 and is presently a Participating Retiree in the Physics Division, LBNL. Avocations: swimming (for exercise), hiking in the mountains, scientific bibliophily."

[In memoriam from Fermilab] [in memoriam Lansing State Journal]

[program from Sept. 24, 2016 memorial service in Kensington, California (pdf)]