June 11, 1917–May 8, 2002
BY ALBERT SILVERMAN AND PETER STEIN
BOYCE DAWKINS (“MAC”) McDaniel died from cardiac arrest unexpectedly and quickly on May 8, 2002, at his home at Kendal of Ithaca in Ithaca, New York. For more than half a century Mac played a leading role in the birth, development, and mature phases of accelerators and experimental particle physics. Throughout his career his time, often on a daily basis, was seamlessly divided between administration, accelerator physics, instrumentation, and particle physics.
Mac was born on July 11, 1917, in Brevard, North Carolina, the youngest of the three children of Allen and Grace McDaniel. He completed high school in Chesterville, Ohio, in 1933 and graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1938. In 1940 he received his M.A. degree under Eugene Crittenden at what is now Case Western Reserve University, and immediately entered a Ph.D. program at Cornell University. As a graduate student of Robert Bacher from 1940 to 1943, he built a multichannel high-resolution time-of-flight energy spectrometer and used it to carry out precision measurements of the energy levels of indium for his thesis (1946).
Following the completion of his Ph.D. he accepted a postdoctoral position at MIT to learn the rapidly evolving field of fast electronics to apply it to particle physics research.