Hugh Angus MacLeod was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1933. He graduated in 1954 from the University of Glasgow with a degree in natural philosophy and moved to London where he was an apprentice with Sperry Gyroscope Company. He worked at Sperry until 1960 when he started at Williamson Manufacturing, where he stayed for three years. At that time, he moved to Mervyn Instruments. Mervyn was ultimately sold to an American company, and MacLeod quickly found a new job with Sir Howard Grubb, Parsons and Company, where he was head of the optical coating department.
He wrote Thin-Film Optical Filters, and after the book’s success MacLeod transitioned into academia. He spent some time teaching in France as Professeur Associé at the University of Aix-Marseille, and he was awarded the degree of Docteur Honoris Causa by the university in 1997. His biggest career move came when he took a position at the Optical Sciences Center at the University of Arizona in Tuscon, Arizona, USA. In his time there, he formed the Thin Film Center, Inc., which provides software for design, analysis, and manufacture of optical thin-film. In 1995, he retired from teaching to focus on the company full-time, though he teaches “Optical Thin Films” once a year at OSC.
MacLeod was elected a Fellow of the Society in 1980. In 1997, he was awarded the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal.