It’s with great sadness we learned of the death of Prof Sir David MacKay, FRS. He taught three of the Mythic Beasts founders information theory in 1999–2000, a fascinating and stunningly well-lectured course. The textbook Information Theory, Inference, and Learning Algorithms is freely available to download. Prof MacKay believed it was possible to make the world a better place.
David’s other textbook Sustainable Energy, is not only fascinating, but vital reading for anyone interested in energy policy. It’s excellent, not because it provides answers, but because it teaches the tools to work things out. Can we power the UK only from wind energy? No. Can it make a substantial contribution? Yes, If we built lots and lots of wind how much can it contribute? Hopefully around 25% if you include a lot of offshore.
If more people read and understood the book we’d have fewer articles about the amazing solar panels that create power from rain, when the abstract tells us they create micro amps and milli-volts, throwing away 180W/m2 of solar to create 0.000000001W/m2 from rain.
David’s website withouthotair.com is prepaid far in advance and will remain available for many years to come.