John Cameron could have been the last director of the Indiana University Cyclotron Facility, the person who mothballed the 65-year-old physics research center. Instead, he broadened its mission and put it on solid footing for the future.
Cameron grew up in northeastern Ireland and earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Queen’s University in Northern Ireland. He worked at a nuclear facility in England before moving with his wife, Cathleen, to the University of California in Los Angeles for graduate school. He was recruited to direct the cyclotron in 1987, after directing the Nuclear research Centre at the University of Alberta and working for the French nuclear commission.
With no federal funding available for the cyclotron, Cameron persuaded Indiana legislators to spend $10 million on the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute, a cancer treatment center that treated its first patient in 2004. He also helped secure funding for the IUCF’s Low Energy Neutron Source, which uses slow-moving neutrons to reveal the internal structure of objects, ranging from molecules to large industrial products. LENS will train scientists to work at the U.S. Energy Department’s $2 billion Spallation Neutron Source in Tennessee.
Cameron, emeritus professor of physics, retired as IUCF director in 2004 and from IU last July. He is president of two new companies: PartTec Ltd., which seeks to transform discoveries into commercial products and services; and ProCure, which is exploring the market for proton therapy.