March 27, 2015
Ian Hutcheon

Ian Hutcheon passed away on March 26th. Ian was a Fellow of The Meteoritical Society since 1986. He received a BA in Physics from Occidental College in 1969 and earned a PhD in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1975. In 1983 he went to the California Institute of Technology as a Senior Research Associate to work with Jerry Wasserburg, applying Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) to the study of meteorites and their inclusions. (I recall visiting Ian at Caltech when I was a graduate student. I spent a week with him working on the ion probe, analyzing REEs in Calcium-Aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs). Ian was generous with his time, introducing me to SIMS analysis and we had many stimulating discussions on formation of CAIs and other issues in meteoritics. He was a good friend and long time collaborator ever since.) In 1993 Ian went to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) where he was Deputy Director of the Glenn Seaborg Institute and Group Leader of the Chemical and Isotopic Signatures Group in the Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division in the Physical and Life Sciences (PLS) Directorate of LLNL. His work at LLNL was in nuclear forensics but he continued to maintain a vigorous meteorite research program as well.

Ian made many contributions to isotopic studies of meteorites and dating extraterrestrial materials using SIMS. He was a key developer of Nuclear Forensics as both a field of scientific investigation and a scientific discipline with important applications to national security. He conducted the first NanoSIMS-enabled studies of biological materials. He authored and coauthored more than 200 papers and book chapters, and co-wrote the book “Nuclear Forensics Analysis” with colleagues Pat Grant and Ken Moody.

Ian received many honors throughout his career and has a mineral, hutcheonite [Ca3Ti2(SiAl2)O12], named for him. Most appropriately, hutcheonite is a garnet mineral found in a CAI from Allende. In honor of Ian, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently established the “Dr. Ian Hutcheon Post-Doctoral Fellowship” at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) to support research in nuclear forensics as part of The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office’s (DNDO) National Nuclear Forensics Expertise Development Program.

Ian leaves his wife of 41 years, Nancy Hutcheon, former Education Coordinator for summer internships in PLS, his children, Douglass Hutcheon and Dana Gordon.

Categories: In Memoriam