UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy


Dr John McKenzie

My first degree was the Natural Sciences Tripos (with Part II Physics) from St John's College Cambridge, after which I started research in the Cavendish Laboratory, making a propane bubble chamber. A couple of years later the research group moved to Oxford, but I gained my PhD (rather than DPhil) in 1960. I continued working in the Nuclear Physics Lab at Oxford, in a group developing a liquid helium bubble chamber, until 1963, when I moved to be a Research Physicist at Carnegie-Mellon University (Pittsburgh). The group there was developing a liquid helium bubble chamber with superconducting magnet, in collaboration with the Argonne National Lab (Chicago). After the bubble chamber, superconducting magnet, and the Argonne ZGS accelerator had all managed to work at the same time, I moved to the campus at Pittsburgh to analyse the data for hypernuclei.

In 1969 I joined UCL as a Lecturer in the HEP group working on neutrino interactions. My interests in computer-assisted learning developed to the level whereby I became Director of 'CUSC', a collaboration of UCL with Surrey University and Chelsea College, to promote CAL in Biology, Chemistry and Physics teaching at undergraduate level. This led to my book: "Interactive Computer Graphics in Science Teaching". During 1974 to 1984 I was the departmental Tutor to Physics Students, and from 1984 became Senior Lecturer, Faculty Tutor and Sub-Dean, introducing the first administrative computers into Faculty Offices.

After ten years as Faculty Tutor I decided to return full-time to the department again, and was asked to take over as undergraduate Admissions Tutor. My normal retiring age was reached in 1998, but the HoD asked me to stay on until the major quality assessment exercise was completed in 2001. Since then, I have kept busy with administering the UCL Alumni London Group, which puts on about 30 events per year for its members and is open to all graduates and staff of UCL.