George Horton
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Tributes and Condolences
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The Horton Technique  / Leonard Feldman (Student)  Read >>
The Horton Technique  / Leonard Feldman (Student)

George Horton was the instructor in my first real Quantum Mechanics course taught from the second edition of Schiff --about 1963. I still refer to the book on occaission.

As we all know he was an excellent instructor.
In these small classes he had a technique of calling on each of us randomly with a relatively simple question (for him) to move the lecture forward. The process terrified most of us in the class-
I feared it.

When I became a lecturer I wound up using precisely the same process. As I learned and is obvious to all Professors it  was more to gauge myself the instructor than to test the students. I refer to it as the "Horton Technique".

George was a dedictaed teacher and strong advocate for Physics and Rutgers. He was also a caring individual
who made special efforts on behalf of his students. He will be missed.


Len Feldman

Dr. Horton  / Patty Gulyas (Secretary)  Read >>
Dr. Horton  / Patty Gulyas (Secretary)
I want to extend my deepest sympathy to the family of Dr. Horton.  I have been his secretary for the past 25 years or so...I know he thought the world of his students just by the MANY MANY recommendations I did for him over the years....he saw good in all!  He will be missed..... Close
Prof. Horton is remembered all over the world  / Marina Milner-Bolotin (Former colleague )  Read >>
Prof. Horton is remembered all over the world  / Marina Milner-Bolotin (Former colleague )
I would like to express my deepest condolences to Dr. Horton's family and the Department of Physics. I was lucky to get to know Prof. Horton when I spent 3 years teaching at Rutgers University (2001-2004). At that time Dr. Horton organized many special events on physics teaching. He was such a knowledgeable person and he was always ready to share his knowledge with others. I just finished my Ph.D. and had very little university physics teaching experiences. He encouraged me to pursue my career in physics education and shared with me why he liked physics teaching... He knew lots of exciting stories about it. I remember Dr. Horton invited a SmartBoard company to show us how we can use this technology in physics teaching. This was especially interesting for me and gradually I became more and more interested in using technology in physics teaching. George Horton was one of these people who live a huge impact on people who were lucky to get to know them. I feel fortunate I was one of them.
I would like to express my deepest condolences to Dr. Horton's family.
Marina Milner-Bolotin
Ryerson University
Toronto Canada Close
We will Always Remember  / Daniel Fram (Former Student )  Read >>
We will Always Remember  / Daniel Fram (Former Student )
I had the pleasure of being in Dr. Horton's Physics I and II classes as an engineering student some 18 years ago. I remember Dr. Horton having a quiet and distinguished manner and a great sense of humor. His lectures were always packed. When he would walk into the room the entire section of some two hundred students would always yell "GEORGE!" in unison as a greeting. That always seemed to bring a smile to his face. My favorite memory of him was when he rode into the lecture hall on a cart propelled by fire extinguishers pointed out the back. He would pull up to the first row of students and say "It goes in reverse too would you like to see"? At that point he would activate the fire extinguishers on the front of the cart and spray the students in the first few rows as he moved backwards to a roar of laugher. He was clearly one of the most popular professors among the engineering students. He even had somewhat of a cult following. We will never forget him. In a previously posted tribute someone suggested that Rutgers name a building after him. I think that's a great idea and I hope that the University will consider it. Close
George as dedicated educator and scientist  / Gerald Goldin (colleague)  Read >>
George as dedicated educator and scientist  / Gerald Goldin (colleague)
When I joined Rutgers' faculty in 1984-85 I was deeply impressed by George's idealism in working to create the Physics Learning Center -- an inspiration to students to connect with the phenomena of physics and to faculty to emphasize the meanings behind the theories we teach. Later when the Center had some organizational difficulties I had the privilege of working alongside George together with Robert Wilson to provide for its continuation and ultimately its expansion. Now the Math/Science Learning Center led by Kathy Scott this is very much George's legacy as it continues to inspire new generations of science and mathematics students. In several other projects working with George over the past 25 years including planning for some of the Physics and Astronomy Education Research at Rutgers it is his personal warmth and dedication that I remember most that earned him the respect and admiration of so many. George was a dedicated scientist in the best sense. He shared with me some of the pride he felt in his seminal contributions to density functional theory decades ago and his much more recent work with Chris Dewdney on the interpretation of relativistic quantum mechanics; and he encouraged me in my own research directions. I will miss him very much. Close
I'll miss you Dr. Horton!  / Christina Speciale (Former Student )  Read >>
I'll miss you Dr. Horton!  / Christina Speciale (Former Student )
I had Dr. Horton as a teacher just last semester and I would sit with him before class each day and he would help me understand the topics we were learning. He was probably my favorite teacher I have had at Rutgers. He always had a smile on his face and I truly enjoyed learning from him. Whenever I got a problem right he would say to me "You're exactly right!" and that always made me motivated to learn and do more. Also I loved hearing his stories about when he had seen or spoken with some of the great scientists we were learing about. I am so grateful to have had him as a professor and I will miss him very much.
Many things that I owe George  / Eugenia Etkina (colleague)  Read >>
Many things that I owe George  / Eugenia Etkina (colleague)

There is little in my present professional life that I do not owe to George. He gave me my first job in the US (in the Physics Department) he encouraged me to go to my first AAPT conference he basically "forced" me to get my PhD and supported me when I applied for my present job. When I got the job he went out of his way to help me get started. He also introduced me to Physics Education Research to context-rich problems and many other things that are my life now. He was a tough boss but he was also a great teacher. We laughed together when he would start correcting the 250 version of the lab I wrote - because he would be correcting his own corrections. He was always there when I needed help and helped without any hesitation any worries about consequences he just did it. I wish I thanked him more I wish I told him more what he did for me but even if I spoke to him every day for the past 14 years (this is how long I have known George) it would not be enough.

Thank you George.

George's love of teaching  / Mohan Kalelkar (Faculty colleague )  Read >>
George's love of teaching  / Mohan Kalelkar (Faculty colleague )
I've known George since 1978 when I came to Rutgers.  We had numerous discussions over the years and what came through clearly was his immense love of teaching.  In every course he taught he liked to think of the students and himself as forming a community a family.  The students responded to this and many students over the years told me of their fondness for him.

In 2003 we had funds available to give Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards to two graduate students.  However we had three excellent candidates and couldn't decide which two to pick.  George immediately suggested making a collection to get funds for a third award.  George led the effort to organize the collection and we succeeded and made three awards.

In 1989 George won the Warren Susman Award which is the university's highest award for excellence in teaching.  In 2006 George generously nominated me for this award and took complete charge of putting together a large nominating packet including getting many people to write letters of recommendation for me.  He did this despite the fact that his health had already begun declining.  He was successful and I did win the award.  I am deeply grateful for George's effort on my behalf and more generally for his many years of love for his students. Close
20 years of George  / Gabe Alba (Colleague and friend )  Read >>
20 years of George  / Gabe Alba (Colleague and friend )

I've known George since I was an instructor in his ground-breaking Physics 123 course over twenty years ago. He recruited me into my current position ten years ago.

He could be quite demanding at times but he always tried to return a favor. When I ran into some problems in grad school I worked hard for him as a TA (conducting his workshops at the old PLC and review sessions at the PLH) so he persuaded the Graduate School to renew my assistantship. It was always that way with George.

I continued to help him in his constant struggles with basic computer skills which was ironic given his high intelligence.  When I lost several teeth to a racquetball accident a few years back he took up a collection and presented me with a generous check (a large percentage was his contribution) toward my dental bills.

The last thing I did for him was install Snow Leopard
the latest Macintosh operating system on his Macbook Pro computer (which I'd convinced him to get). In return he gave me the Snow Leopard disk. 

He will be missed and he most certainly left his lasting legacy on this Department (just look at the PLC) and on the University.   My thoughts are with his wife Pamela his children and his grandchildren.

talks with George  / Morrel Cohen (Colleague)  Read >>
talks with George  / Morrel Cohen (Colleague)

My occasional talks with George in his corner office were among the highlights of my 11 year association with the Department. Our talks ranged widely over the history of physics our own scientific interests the welfare of the Department and the teaching of physics. Knowing my interest in density functional theory (DFT) George showed me his PRL anticipating by many years a key aspect of DFT one belatedly and inadequately recognized.

George's warmth good humor grace and scholarship perfused and informed those conversations making them so pleasurable that they often went on longer than they should have.

We had aware of each others existence through our papers for some time before we first met while he was still at the University of Alberta when I was there to give a colloquium at the invitation of George's colleague Bhatia. I met him again here at Rutgers in 1968 when I gave the Department colloquium at Elihu's invitation. Those were brief meetings which gave no anticipation of the coming richness of interaction that I would later enjoy after I joined the Department.

Though my history with George has not been long and deep I shall miss him greatly.

George helped many people  / Alan Van Heuvelen (Colleague)  Read >>
George helped many people  / Alan Van Heuvelen (Colleague)
George helped Rutgers physics develop a national reputation for education reform. The Math/Science Learning Center was a national model. The extended courses were models for helping disadvantaged students interested in science careers. Both of these George Horton innovations have been sustained for many years thanks to George and to younger colleagues. George in his late 70s with the vigor of a young professor took on the difficult task of teaching the 500-student course for biology majors. He was patient but at the same time extremely determined to make things better. I thank George for his help in many different ways in my life. Close
five foot picture of George's face  / Anthony Barker (former student )  Read >>
five foot picture of George's face  / Anthony Barker (former student )
George Horton taught me first real physics course-mechanics 381. He said it was an honor to be the one to show us variational methods for the first time. He was full of stories about Euler and Lagrange and other great figures in science. He was so popular with us that my house mates (fellow students of his) kept a five foot picture of George's face on the wall outside our dorm. Close
professional physicist at Livermore  / Lee Bernstein (former student )  Read >>
professional physicist at Livermore  / Lee Bernstein (former student )
George is a big part of the reason why I am still in physics. When I was an undergraduate he was the first faculty member to "take a chance on me" and incorporate me into his teaching and research Close
George lives on  / Kathryn Urich (Colleague)  Read >>
George lives on  / Kathryn Urich (Colleague)
I was sorry to hear about George's unexpected passing. Yet he
lives on - as shown by the great respect and admiration in the emails of his colleagues and students. Close
prof horton  / Sani Patel (student)  Read >>
prof horton  / Sani Patel (student)
As soon as I found about Professor Horton's death I became shocked and upset. I actually had him last year for general physics 1 and 2 what an awesome person he was!... I thought it would be nice to dedicate the Physics Lecture Hall in his honor. I am not sure what the odds of that are but that would really mean a lot to those who knew him especially his students! Close
The department lost its father  / Suzanne Brahmia (colleague and friend )  Read >>
The department lost its father  / Suzanne Brahmia (colleague and friend )

The department will never be the same without George around.

He was a big man with sincere optimism and he cared deeply for Rutgers.  Regardless of how crummy he felt the past few years he was always the first one to take on the tasks that improved the health and direction of the department.  He attended the meetings no one wanted to attend because he knew that his presence somehow made a difference.  And it always did.  He made the incredible credible because he knew it would one day make Rutgers a more hospitable place to work and learn.

I  learned from George that every student has learning in them and that it is our responsibility as educators to help them find it - anything less and we aren't doing our jobs.  Over the years of observing George in action I learned about believing that the right things would eventually come to fruition given enough tenacity and elbow grease.  Tenacity was his middle name.

I will miss being able to sit down in his big leather Rutgers chair (his gift from Rutgers for FIFTY YEARS of service) and bouncing ideas off of him.  His perspective was golden.  I guess nothing lasts forever.

We'll miss you George and hope you are finally getting the rest you've earned.

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