Malcolm Nicol, 1939-2009

Malcolm Nicol passed away on May 7, 2009. This very sad event represents a significant loss to the high pressure community. To all of us, Malcolm was known for his warm and kind character and for his deep scientific insight. He was a great supporter of AIRAPT, serving 4 terms as treasurer from 1999 until the last meeting in Catania in 2007.

Malcolm Nicol earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1963 at the University of California, Berkeley and was a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles until 1999. Since that time, he was on the faculty of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Most recently, he was the director of the High Pressure Science and Engineering Center (HiPSEC) at UNLV, which brings together scientists from many fields of research, including the shock compression groups at the Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. He also was a founding member of the HPCAT consortium at the Advanced Photon Source, and was instrumental in bringing about the cutting-edge high pressure techniques pioneered by the HPCAT staff.

Professor Nicol played a key role in the development of the use of Raman spectroscopy in the diamond cell in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Starting more than 30 years ago, he made numerous significant contributions to the expansion of the oxygen phase diagram and pioneered the study of reaction kinetics of organic materials in shock experiments. Personally, I worked with him at UCLA on spectroscopic temperature measurements in the diamond cell in the mid 1980s and I remember his collaboration during our first synchrotron measurements at the HASYLAB in Hamburg, which shaped my career significantly.

We will all miss a great leader in the field of high pressure research, his stimulating activity at our meetings, and a very good and dear friend.

Reinhard Boehler
(President, AIRAPT)