Skip To Content

In Memoriam: H. Angus Macleod, 1933 - 2021

Apr 29, 2021

H. Angus MacLeod, OSA Fellow and recipient of the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal, passed away on 29 April 2021, at the age of 87. Macleod was a renowned researcher, having made significant contributions in the area of thin film optical filters and optical coatings. He was best known for Thin-Film Optical Filters, an introduction to thin-film optical filters for both manufacturers and users, now in its fifth edition. However, Macleod was a prolific author and published over 200 papers in the area of optical coatings, all the while becoming a beloved mentor, collaborator, and colleague to his many students and members within the scientific community.

Macleod was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and developed an interest in physics while a pupil at Lenzie Academy. He would go on to study natural philosophy at the University of Glasgow, now known as the School of Physics and Astronomy. Following his graduation in 1954, Macleod accepted a graduate apprenticeship with Sperry Gyroscope Company in London. Macleod would subsequently work at Williamson Manufacturing, Mervyn Instruments, and Sir Howard Grubb, Parsons and Company. His expertise in optical coatings continued to develop, and in 1969, he was approached by a small scientific book publishing company and asked to write a book on optical filters. Macleod’s Thin-Film Optical Filters was published with great success.

Following the success of his book, Macleod accepted a research professorship in thin-film physics at Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic. While at the university, MacLeod completed a Doctor of Technology degree and served as an Associate Professor at the University of Aix-Marseille in France. In 1979, Macleod, his wife Ann, and their five children moved to Tucson, Arizona, so that he could accept a position at the Optical Sciences Center (OSC) at the University of Arizona. Macleod would work with Peter Franken, Bill Wolfe, and Francis Turner and assist with building the thin-film group at OSC. He and Ann would establish their company, Thin Film Center Inc., which specialized in thin-film software in optical coating design. The company experienced tremendous growth, and in 1995, Macleod retired from OSC in order to focus on Thin Film Center full time. He became an emeritus professor at OSC and continued to teach a course on optical thin films.

Macleod was recognized with many awards during the course of his career, including the OSA Esther Hoffman Beller Medal (1997), SPIE Gold Medal (1987), 2000 John Matteucci Award (International Conference on Vacuum Web Coating), 2002 Nathaniel H. Sugerman Memorial Award (Society of Vacuum Coaters), and 2008 Senator Award (European Vacuum Coaters). Macleod received the Esther Hoffman Beller Award for his outstanding record of contributions to the education of the optics community about the properties, design, manufacture, and measurement of thin film optical coatings and filters. By emphasis on logical understanding and reasoning and through the use of new methods in computer-aided design, he has brought clarity and understanding of the field to a generation of researchers and engineers. He was named an OSA Fellow in 1980 and was an OSA Emeritus member, having joined the society in 1976.

Macleod was known by his colleagues to be kind and generous with his time. Over the course of his career, he volunteered extensively with The Optical Society serving in numerous positions, including on the OSA Board of Directors (1987-1989), on the OSA Executive Council (1989), and on the Executive Committee of the Science & Engineering Council (1992-1993). Macleod was a dedicated contributor to the Optical Interference Conference, having served in many roles since 1991, including member and chair of the Program Committee and as a member of the Optical Interference Coatings Advisory Committee. In addition, Macleod served on OSA award selection committees, the Nominating Council, and program committees for Frontiers in Optics (1993-1994).

Angus was a colleague, mentor, and friend to many within the scientific community and will be dearly missed. He was a founding member of the optical coatings technical community, and his research advanced the field along numerous pathways. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Ann, four sons, and a daughter.

OSA and the scientific community mourn the loss of Hugh Angus Macleod.


Awards & Distinctions

Image for keeping the session alive