JOHN MCKAY (1939-2022)

Born in Kent, England
Educated at Dulwich College
Bachelor degree from U of Manchester (1961-1962)
PhD from U of Edinburgh (1971)
Professor and mentor at Caltech, McGill and Concordia University
World renowned mathematician
“Monstrous Moonshine” discoverer (1978)
McKay conjecture and McKay correspondence
Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2000)
2003 CRM-Fields Prize for Mathematics
Author of numerous valuable research papers
The list goes on and on forever

But John was never flattered by these recognitions
Because he didn’t t want to be satisfied with his achievements and realizations
He constantly kept his curiosity and observations flowing in his veins
As he said “You have to have a lot of curiosity and do a lot of thinking”
John Harnad said “McKay’s peculiar genius lies in noticing connections that no one else has seen”
His knowledge was unusually broad in an era of specialization
John saw mathematics as an aesthetic attraction
For John, pure math has a beauty that verges on the spiritual

In his last five years he had to stay in a nursing home
Which perhaps turned out to be his true meaningful and spiritual years of life
As John was in close contact with people, his caregivers days and nights
He did not feel depressed at all without being able to do researches or conferences
He was even cheerful and transformed his knowledge of “basics” into “applications”
John brought smiles and wonders to the CHSLD Louis-Riel orderlies
He called them angels and showed them his broad knowledge about their original country
He found the underlying “connection” between himself and his caregivers
He was not a religious practitioner but truly lived and cared for others

John was humble, simple and never spent on luxuries
But he was ready to donate generously to the charities
Or the environment projects to protect the whale species
And to make this world a pollution-free
He had a modest house, a 10$ watch and kept his Toyota Tercel for thirty years
He was an unselfish remarkable professor, collaborator and mentor who always inspired, stimulated and encouraged his peers and students in their researches and studies
He was a kind pleasant friend and a gentleman
He felt so sad to see the Ukrainian people suffering from the Russian invasion that he did not want to turn on the television

John was so passionate about mathematics during his entire life
But he finally found zen in his last moment with beloved Trinh at his bedside
At precisely 1:34 am of the April 19 serene night
He woke up and slowly opened his eyes
To see his wife watching him tenderly and dearly as always
As she was praying Amitabha Buddha for Mercy and Infinite Light (1)
To guide John on his new journey for the Truth of Life
He will find out the interconnection and dependance between the universes and minds
He will discover the true and perfect Moonshine
At 1:45 am peacefully gone to sleep, John began his new chapter toward the Infinite Life (2)

May your noble compassionate dreams and wishes come true, and the sorrows of your beloved family will soon fade away
In Buddha we pray

2022-04-22 (Montréal)
Nghiep Huan Duong

John McKay (born 18 November 1939 in Kent, passed away 19 April 2022 in Montreal)
(1) Infinite Light (Wisdom, Enlightenment): Amitabha Buddha
(2) Infinite Life (Immortal): Amitayus Buddha