Born to Glenn William and Alma Ora (Miller) McIlwain in Houston, TX.
Marries Mary Louise Hocker.
Earns a Bachelor of Music from North Texas State College.
Earns a Master of Science from the University of Iowa.
Earns a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Iowa.
Devised the universally used magnetic coordinate system for studying charged particles in space.
Teaches as an assistant professor the University of Iowa through 1962.
Is an associate professor of physics at the University of California San Diego through 1966.
Is a member of the fields and particles subcommittee within the space sciences steering committee at NASA through 1966.
Is a member of the anti-submarine warfare panel within the President’s Science Advisory Committee through 1967.
Is a member of the committee on potential contamination and interference from space experiments within the Space Sciences Board through 1971.
Teaches as a professor at the University of California San Diego until his retirement in 1992.
Is a member of the advisory committee for radiation hazards in supersonic transports within the Federal Aviation Administration through 1971.
Is honored as a Guggenheim fellow and receives this honor again in 1972.
Receives the Space Sciences Award from the American Institute of Aerospace and Astronautics.
Receives the John A. Fleming Award from the American Geophysical Union and remains a fellow of the organization.
Receives the Senior U.S. Scientist Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany.
Is a member of the Fachbeirat Institute Extraterrestrial Physics within the Max Planck Institute in Garching, Germany, through 1983.
Is on the Space Sciences Board of the National Research Council through 1986.
Is named professor emeritus by the University of California San Diego and presently maintains this title.