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Herbert G. “Mac” MacPherson

ConsultantChicago, IL

Oak Ridge, TN
EngineerManhattan Project VeteranScientist

Herbert G. “Mac” MacPherson (1911-1993) was an American nuclear engineer.

MacPherson’s expertise on graphite made him a valuable consultant for the Manhattan Project. He co-developed a method to produce massive quantities of nearly boron-free graphite, a discovery important to the success of the nuclear reactors at Oak Ridge and Hanford. As Alvin Weinberg later noted, without his contributions, “the plutonium-producing reactors at Hanford would not have chain-reacted.”

In 1956, MacPherson joined Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he later served as deputy director. He also played a major role in developing the molten salt reactor, an experimental nuclear reactor, at Oak Ridge.

Herbert G. “Mac” MacPherson's Timeline
1911 Nov 2nd Born.
1932 Received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
1937 Received a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley.
1937 Joined the National Carbon Division of the Carbide and Carbon Chemicals Company.
1940 Met Enrico Fermi, Leo Szilard, and Herbert Anderson to discuss procurement of high-purity graphite.
19421945 Worked as a consultant to the University of Chicago Met Lab and co-developed a method for producing nearly boron-free graphite.
1956 Joined Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
19641970 Served as deputy director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
1993 Jan 26th Died in Guadalajara, Mexico.

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