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2014 Gifford Lecture Series: University of Edinburgh

What is Caesar’s? Adjudicating Faith in Modern Constitutional Democracies to be held on Monday 19 May 2014. [More…]

2014 Gifford Lecture Series: University of Glasgow

Givenness and Revelation begins Tuesday 20 May 2014. [More…]

YouTube Channel

Gifford Lectures now has a YouTube Channel! [More…]


A new Gifford Lectures page for St. Andrews. [More…]

Eight Books Based on Gifford Lectures

Eight books derived from the Gifford lectures are available. [More…]


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Donald MacCrimmon MacKay

1922 - 1987

Emeritus Professor Dept. of Communication & Neuroscience, Univ. of Keele



Donald MacCrimmon MacKay was born in Caithness, Scotland, in the northern fishing village of Lybster in 1922. He studied physics at St. Andrews University, graduating in 1943. Following three years of service with the British Admiralty, he pursued postgraduate research into the limitations of high-speed electronic analogue computers, receiving a Ph.D. in 1951.
MacKay’s work with early computer technology led him to study the differences (rather than the similarities) between the human brain and computers. His research in this field contributed to developments in early information theory and the theory of brain organisation. From 1946 to 1960, MacKay lectured in physics at Kings College, London. He moved in 1960 to the University of Keele in Staffordshire, where he helped to establish the renowned Department of Communication and Neuroscience, where he continued with his research until he became Emeritus Professor in 1982.
In 1986 MacKay delivered his course of Gifford Lectures at the University of Glasgow, under the title ‘Under Our Own Microscope: What Brain Science Has to Say about Human Nature’. He died the following year from lymphoma. His lectures, edited by his widow, Valerie, with content assistance from his friend Professor Neil Spurway of the University of Glasgow, were posthumously published under the title Behind the Eye in 1991.
MacKay’s principal publications include: Analogue Computing at Ultra-High Speed (1962); Freedom of Action in a Mechanistic Universe (1965); Information, Meaning and Mechanism (1969); The Clockwork Image (1974); Science, Chance and Providence (1978); Human Science and Human Dignity (1979); Brains, Machines and Persons (1980); and The Open Mind (1988).
Michael W. DeLashmutt
University of Glasgow
Templeton Press