Memorial website in the memory of your loved one
Tributes and Condolences
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Will always remember his imparted knowledge  / Javier Rosa (Student)  Read >>
Will always remember his imparted knowledge  / Javier Rosa (Student)
I was a student of Professor Horton's in 2008 for an all too brief semester. I enjoyed his lectures and his style was incredibly compelling. I'm saddened to hear of his passing, but glad so see that so many others enjoyed his work as much or more so than I did. While I don't do any professional work in physics I use its principles and I still wish to understand the world. Whenever a question of physics comes to my mind his teachings will be valued again and again. Close
Why I love Physics Today  / Steve Shoopak (Student)  Read >>
Why I love Physics Today  / Steve Shoopak (Student)
I took an intensive course in Physics with Prof. Horton back around Summer '85 over on the Busch campus.  They were still building SERC, and I remember Prof. Horton making it a delightful and educational time for me.  He never refused to answer a question, put on wonderful demonstrations, and made Physics a joy to learn!  I still remember what he taught to this day, and find myself using it quite often in everyday life.

He will be sorely missed.  To this day, I still tell stories about his classes, and use them as an example that Physics is a fun and worthy subject.

God Bless! Close
A eulogy to my father  / Jonathan Horton (Son)  Read >>
A eulogy to my father  / Jonathan Horton (Son)

Tribute to George K. Horton by Jonathan C. Horton
Rutgers University 12 Maart 2010


On behalf of the Horton family thank you for sharing this afternoon with us in memory of our father. The tributes we have heard from former students colleagues and friends have touched our hearts and softened the pain we feel from his loss. He was here at Rutgers for half a century; his professional work dominated his life; you have painted a vivid picture of his devotion and service to science to teaching and to this University. He had planned to retire at the end of this 2009-2010 academic year an occasion the administration at Rutgers had generously offered to commemorate with a celebration of his career. Instead we are gathered here to celebrate his life. That is altogether fitting because his career was his life.

I am Jonathan Charles Horton. George Klaus Horton was my father. He was a great man. He was a force of nature a patriarch an academician an intellectual a liberal who believed in the goodness of the human community a man who drank deeply from the cup of life. He was also endowed with amazing relentlessness; woe to those on the other side of the castle gate when the Horton battering ram went into action. Splinters would fly: but he got things done things he believed in things he thought were good for Rutgers for science and for his students.

My Dad was an indefatigable optimist. That was the supreme feature of his personality. He saw the best in every situation and in every person. He was utterly positive about life. At times I would try to argue with him and point out that someone had failed him or that something was not in his best interest. But his optimism was incurable; he was a true disciple of Pangloss. It was uplifting to be in his presence for he inspired those around him to believe that anything is possible.

In part this optimism was innate. It was also the optimism of a man who escaped death as a child and treated his life as an unexpected gift. As others have mentioned my father was a Jew who grew up in Nazi Germany. He knew what it was like to be chased home from school by racist bullies to see his family humiliated to see his father lose his job. This was his passport stamped with a large red “J” by the Germans. His photograph captures the tentative smile of a young man who cannot quite believe his good fortune: thanks to the generosity of relative strangers his life and the lives of his sister and parents were spared. They got out of Berlin 6 months before the barbarians unleashed their war on the civilized world. Almost everyone else in his family was lost.

My father was determined to take full advantage of this second chance at life. He worked so hard at his studies and the transition from German to English that he was admitted to Rugby College an elite British high school. From there he went on to Imperial College and the University of Birmingham where he earned his PhD with Sir Rudolph Peierls another German Jewish war refugee. His story was the timeless immigrant’s story echoed all over the world in different places and circumstances: getting ahead in a new society through education and hard work. For ever after my father had a special place in his heart for England. He also had a special sympathy for fellow immigrants and went out of his way to help those from foreign shores pursue academic careers in the United States. He also had a natural sympathy for those who came from a disadvantaged background and focused later in his career on helping minority students succeed in science.

The experiences I’ve described also explain my father’s service to the Rutgers chapter of the American Association of University Professors. He was firmly on the side of the underdog. He saw himself as the court of last resort for those who had been treated unfairly at Rutgers when it came to decisions regarding tenure and promotion. His activities may have irked the Rutgers administration at times but there is always room within the halls of a great university for due process and for appeal of decisions that are sometimes wrong.

My father was a scientist first and foremost. The work of the scientist is creative like the work of the author painter or composer. But unlike the latter who can invent freely the scientist must pry truth from nature relying on data and facts which can be verified by others. The process is demanding sometimes exhausting consumptive of vast measures of time and energy competitive and often fraught with uncertainly. The reward is the joy of discovery and the sense that one is contributing to a grand enterprise: the forward march of mankind. But there is a heavy price to pay. Only a fellow scientist can understand this burden.

Outside his work my father was dedicated to his family. He encouraged us to excel in our schoolwork and pushed us hard. As a young boy I remember standing with him in a long line outside the Rutgers observatory waiting our turn to peer through the telescope. He showed me how to stamp my feet to keep them from freezing in the snow and ice. A one minute glimpse of Saturn and its rings electrified me and gave me a life-long love of optical instruments. Here’s a book Samuel Eliot Morrison’s Oxford History of the American People inscribed to me when I was 10 years old: “To Jonathan for a good year in Grade 5 Daddy”. I read it from cover to cover. One of his most famous quotes came when I was a high school student and did poorly on the PSAT test the warm-up to the all important SAT exam. He took one at my results and said “with those scores you won’t even get into Rutgers”.

It was not only about academics. He encouraged us to compete in athletic events helped us to find summer jobs and stimulated our interest in politics and current events. The tedium of long car trips was relieved by endless general knowledge quizzes. “What was the name of Horatio Nelson’s flagship at the battle of Trafalgar? In what year was the Principia published”? Above all each of us was taught to love music with Belinda playing the violin me the cello and Lisa the flute. Although my father never had the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument he loved to go to concerts especially with my mother his bride of 60 years. He would often fall asleep during concerts especially long operas and then awaken at the end to pronounce it a superb performance. He would then begin to unleash thunderous applause accompanied by shouts of “bravo” that would shake the house.

In 1963 our youngest brother David Horton was found to have a craniopharyngioma a tumor at the base of the brain that is notoriously difficult to treat. My father was 37 in the prime of his physics career at Rutgers. For the next 10 years he devoted himself to saving his son. David was taken to Boston Children’s Hospital where the best neurosurgeons in the country operated repeatedly in an attempt to cure him. David died in 1973 when I was a freshman at Stanford. My parents with the loving help of Hans Fischer drove his body up to Children’s Hospital. The following month my father wrote me this letter to console me. I am going to read it because we can use my father’s words today to console ourselves over his death:

Maart 21st 1973

Dearest Jonathan

I thought I would write to you and tell you that I miss you but am happy at the thought that you are having a chance to develop your talents in a congenial atmosphere. Today would have been David’s thirteenth birthday – how he would have enjoyed it. Still I looked through my 1972 diary with Mummy the other day and again and again we saw “bad day for David vomiting etc”. We are apt to forget all the bad times and that is how it should be. We remember David shooting baskets doing homework enjoying music or a game at the Garden or on TV – but what about the malaise the headaches the vomit etc? Really what I remember so well is the fight he put up again and again he bounced back but fate was against him and he had no long term chance and it would have been selfish to cling to him. What a blessing that he did not suffer for long and that he was never aware of his fate. So now we can only comfort each other. Yet how can I comfort you except to tell you that I think of you often share in your triumphs your trials and both your Mom and I are there to talk to to give advice to reminisce and to share. I hear from Belinda that you are having your troubles adjusting and so do we all. It’s natural and expected. In fact Pam and I were commenting that things are getting worse! Not better. As the presence of David recedes and ties loosen we try to clutch at every straw. But there is nothing so final as death. We just remarked this morning at breakfast that nothing will bring David back and that we must make the required adjustments. We must look forward. Obviously we shall cherish him in our memory and try to learn from his example.

My father was amazingly fortunate to be able to work teach and enjoy life up until a few months before he died. I took this picture of him just a year ago as he was waiting for his lecture to start his 98th semester of teaching at Rutgers. Last summer we held a family reunion at the New Jersey shore to celebrate his 83d birthday. It was also his 60th wedding anniversary because he married my mother on his 23d birthday. By that point he had severe congestive heart failure and he could hardly walk more than 20 feet even with a walker. We persuaded him to go into the swimming pool and once in the water he discovered that his buoyancy allowed him to walk about easily without assistance. He gathered his grandchildren into the fold of his giant arms smiled at me and said “This is the true meaning of happiness”.

A few weeks before he died I visited my father. He was sitting in his armchair. I knew that he had only a few weeks or at best a month or two to live. He being the perpetual optimist thought he had a few years left. I asked him “How are you doing” and he replied “great”. I said “What do you mean great”? He responded “Well I’m alive”. He never complained.

My father had an amazing memory for quotes especially Shakespeare. Let me say goodbye to him with these words of Prospero from the Tempest:


These our actors
As I foretold you were all spirits and
Are melted into air into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision
The cloud-capp’d tower the gorgeous palaces
The solemn temples the great globe itself
Yea all which it inherit shall dissolve
And like this insubstantial pageant faded
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.



Thank you.

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Very Sad News Indeed  / Howard Levine (Student and Admirer )  Read >>
Very Sad News Indeed  / Howard Levine (Student and Admirer )
I was a graduate student in physics during the mid and late 1970's and got to know Prof Horton as a teaching assistant.  Back in those days we could earn another $300 a semester for teaching an additional section and believe me this was dear money to us poor grad students.  Dr Horton always took care of me best he could and introduced me to Michael Klein as we taught in the summer school together and still remain friends.  Prof Horton was unique in so many ways but always I felt treated the grad students as young colleagues.  In the years that have transpired since I received my Ph D I have thought often of him but never got the opportunity to visit with him and for that I am sorry.  He will be missed by anyone who knew him.  To me he will always represent Rutgers undergraduate physics education.  Miss you George! Close
The Consummate Teacher  / Dave Maiullo (Student, colleaque, and friend )  Read >>
The Consummate Teacher  / Dave Maiullo (Student, colleaque, and friend )
I first knew George as an undergraduate student when I was attending Rutgers in 1979. I also worked for and with George over the past 25 years in the Lecture Demonstration facility of the RU Physics Dept. In many ways George was a "larger than life" figure in our Dept. He was also a tenacious advocate for anything he believed in and he would tell you what he thought usually till he got his way. This influence and strength resulted in many improvements in the undergraduate teaching efforts of our Dept. If one just reviews the team of people he recruited and assisted in his time at RU one can't help but realize his presence will have a lasting positive influence for years to come if not forever throughout the Physics Dept. and Rutgers University.

On a personal level his pressure prodding and support helped make me a better professional physics demonstrator than I would have ever achieved otherwise. He could be a joy to work with as he loved demonstrations but would just as often make you wish you had taken a sick day. Of course both types of events helped me develop as a person and professional.

He also loved his wife and his family. Over the last few years more than once during class his wife Pamela called his cell phone worried about his health. He would pause the class and lovingly tell her he was teaching but yes he would be home as soon as he could get there. One student told me it was the most romantic thing she had ever seen.

But my lasting image and memory of George will always be his relationship with his students. No matter what he would stay and assist students for as long as they had questions. Before and after his classes in the Physics Lecture Hall he would sit and regale the students with physics knowledge and the history of the craft. He humanized physics for so many and gave thousands an appreciation and understanding they would never have achieved otherwise.

Goodbye George and thank you for your friendship.

And if there is a Physics Lecture Hall in heaven I'll bet it has a rotating stage. Close
Sad news  / Alex Maradudin (Collaborator)  Read >>
Sad news  / Alex Maradudin (Collaborator)

I have known George Horton so long that I can no longer remember when and where we first met. I think it was in the 1960s and might have been earlier. Although we coauthored one paper dealing with anharmonic vibrational properties of crystals in my view our most fruitful collaboration which extended over a period of more than then years consisted of editing a seven – volume series of contributed volumes titled Dynamical Properties of Solids which was published by North – Holland in Amsterdam. Our success in persuading just about everyone who was anyone in the field of phonon physics at that time to contribute to this project was due in large measure to the respect in which George was held by the members of that community and to his powers of persuasion. I am very proud of that series and am grateful for having been invited to co – edit the series with George. He was a pleasure to work with and exemplified for me the description “a gentleman and a scholar.” I will miss him.

Alexei A. Maradudin
Research Professor of Physics
UC Irvine

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GKH and Rutgers are part of my life  / Mike Klein (Post-doc)  Read >>
GKH and Rutgers are part of my life  / Mike Klein (Post-doc)
GEORGE KLAUS HORTON

I first met George when I was at then end of my first yearas a graduate student in the UK. Indeed I was on a multi-author paper at the Low Twmperature Physics Conference in London. This was September 1962. I had published my first paper in Phys Rev and George knew my work. George vigorously courted me to be a post-doc. So when I finished my PhD I visited Rutgers Physics during the summer of 1964 and again in the summer of 1966. The hospitality from George and his group was incredible coming as i was from the UK where people were addressed by their last names! These visits had an effect. The following year I actually gave up a junior faculty position in Chemistry at Bristol University to sign on as a post-doc with George at Rutgers Physics in Juli 1967. Under George's leadership the group was very productive. Lasting friendships were created. I stayed until November 1968 when I left for Canada to take up a permanent job at the National Research Council in Ottawa.

I maintained my connection with George over the next decade or so visiting frequently and indeed he twisted my arm to
teach Physics 101 in the summer program which I did through the 1970's and beyond. He also twisted my arm to produce chapters for his opus with Alex Maradudin on phonons.

However my research interests gradually moved to molecules (I am a trained chemist!!) soft materials (biophysics) and chemical biology. So we lost contact other than ritual exchange of christmas cards from George and Pamela which Brenda and I greatly cherished.

George Horton and Rutgers Physics are part of my life.
George was a larger than life figure who certainly changed my life for the better. His care and nurturing of family and friends and his outgoing personality were contagious.

George always had time for any "stray" student (or professor). He worked tirelessly for others. We will miss him.

Mike Klein
Hepburn Professor Emeritus
University of Pennsylvania
and Carnell Professor
Temple University
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My memories of George Horton  / Phyllis Zatlin (AAUP colleague )  Read >>
My memories of George Horton  / Phyllis Zatlin (AAUP colleague )

It must have been in the mid-1960s that I first met George Horton back when I became involved with the AAUP and he was among our finest faculty leaders. I soon had reason to ask him for help when my contract as assistant professor was renewed over the protests of the senior men in my department and I was warned erroneously as it happens that I would never get tenure. George patiently told me as he did many others how to proceed. He was there to give me sound advice in my other battles in the early 1970s. Certainly he was sympathetic to the difficult situation of a number of women faculty members at a time when Rutgers College was still a men’s school.

As I read Judy Stern’s lovely tribute to George I am reminded once again how nice it was to have RCHP for our health needs. I knew that George was a guiding force behind that venture and that a garden within the complex was dedicated to the memory of his little son. Would that RCHP had continued consistent with George’s vision of what health care should be.

My deepest sympathy to George’s family and friends.

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My hero!  / Judith Stern (colleague & friend )  Read >>
My hero!  / Judith Stern (colleague & friend )
George Horton was one of the most important persons in my life. We met in 1977-78 when I persuaded him to represent me as an AAUP counselor in my grievance against the Department of Psychology and Rutgers University for denial of promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure. A bright silver lining of the ensuing years-long arduous“tenure-battle” was getting to know George Horton. Chatting with George was always a pleasure including such topics as politics - Rutgers national and world - and our mutual love of music especially opera. Despite how much work he did on teaching research department University and family matters George gave me many hours of his time. George applied to my case his astonishing wisdom perseverance and energy leaving no stone unturned. As the ordeal was overwhelming to me he served as my surrogate therapist as well. Nonetheless it took a while to learn certain details of his personal life such as the horror of growing up as a Jew in Germany during the rise of Hitler and the family’s flight to England. George’s father — a judge of such repute that he was invited back to serve in the post-WW II West German judicial system — was a likely model for George’s many successes as an AAUP counselor. My teaching and research career eventually flourished again justifying the efforts of my counselors on my behalf. To thank George I gave him a gold ring inscribed with “My Hero.” I was gratified to see him wear this ring and to hear from George’s daughter Lisa recently that he prized it; I hope that it is passed on to his son Jonathan an outstanding physician-scientist at UCSF. George played another role in my life that continues to this day and that positively affects many others. George Horton was the major force behind the establishment of the first HMO in our area the Rutgers Community Health Plan (RCHP) and served on its board in its initial years. When he decided to step down George nominated me to this board. I served until RCHP was privatized the sale of which resulted in the creation of the Rutgers Community Health Foundation. I'm still on the RCHF board and served as its President a few years ago. Since 1979 RCHF has given away many millions of dollars in grants for health projects in central NJ yet another long-term legacy of George’s devotion to students colleagues Rutgers the larger community and the world. George Horton's generosity enthusiasm and creativity will be very much missed. Close
Mr Mineral Water  / Jangchub Daniel Bowles (Nephew)  Read >>
Mr Mineral Water  / Jangchub Daniel Bowles (Nephew)

I was so sad to hear of my Uncle passing away in November. He was a legend to me though sadly we were separated by The Atlantic Ocean. One fond memory of him was introducing me to fizzy mineral water. I was only a young child and thought it was so funny to drink water that fizzed. Well I can't really remember him drinking anything else and it certainly worked he had one fizzing mind.

Looking forward to seeing you all in person on the 12th.

Regards Jangchub

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...a typical act of kindness...  / Roger Cowley (friend and collaborator )  Read >>
...a typical act of kindness...  / Roger Cowley (friend and collaborator )
I was saddened to hear of the death of a longtime friend and collaborator. The second half of my academic career was largely
shaped by a typical act of kindness on George's part. We had corresponded from time to time because of our overlapping
research interests and he knew I was looking for a position in the United States. George noticed that there was an opening
at the Camden campus and wrote to tell me about it. I took the job and it led to a thirty-year collaboration with George.
We published more than thirty articles and book chapters together.

Another adventure we shared was to produce a videotape of a physics demonstration that involved sending blocks of wood into
the air by firing bullets into them. The video has been shown in my department for the last twenty years. We had hoped that
it would be the first of a series of videos but the granting agencies were still a little hesitant about funding educational
projects and it was not to be. This was at the beginning of George's interest in Physics Education Research. Later he
created his Physics Learning Center. I stole that idea from him and set up my own learning center in Camden which was
eventually absorbed into the Student Learning Center program.

Over the years I had many opportunities to see George's kindness at work. He was always quick to help anyone faculty
member graduate student or undergraduate who had a problem that he thought he could solve. We all try to do our parts
but George set an example that few can equal.
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Dr. G. K. Horton , Mensch  / Robert Feldman (Quantum mechanics marker )  Read >>
Dr. G. K. Horton , Mensch  / Robert Feldman (Quantum mechanics marker )
Dr. G. K. Horton was a 'Mensch.' This is a Yiddish word describing a man con- cerned about others and responding to an inner urge to do his best for others. All can become a Mensch but few are. When a Mensch walks the earth we are all better off. I remember Dr. Horton as the only physics faculty member who spoke English as the English speak it On a personal level when I was forced out of Rutgers at the height of the Viet- namese War he wrote me a recommendation more generous than my abilities merited and I was admitted to graduate school given a deferment and received my Ph.D. in physics from a branch of NYU. A Mensch like Dr. G. K. Horton was a blessing for all who crossed his path. Close
ps / Peter Lindenfeld (friend and colleague )  Read >>
ps / Peter Lindenfeld (friend and colleague )
I am trying to get this note to say M A R C H... Close
a note to all  / Peter Lindenfeld (friend and colleague )  Read >>
a note to all  / Peter Lindenfeld (friend and colleague )
This is for those who didn't leave their e-mail addresses: there will be a memorial meeting on Maart 12 in the physics lecture hall at Rutgers. We will get together at 2.30 with a program of talks and music from 3 to 5 followed by supper on the third floor of the Serin physics building. Please write to me with your e-mail address and whether you will be coming. Close
note to all  / Peter Lindenfeld (friend and colleague )  Read >>
note to all  / Peter Lindenfeld (friend and colleague )
This is for those who didn't leave their e-mail addresses: There will be a memorial meeting on Maart 12 in the physics lecture hall at Rutgers. We will get together at 2.30 with a program of talks and music from 3 to 5 followed by supper on the third floor of the Serin physics building. Please write to me with your e-mail address and whether you will be coming. Close
aubrecht@mps.ohio-st-ate.edu / Gordon Aubrecht (former student, and later friend )  Read >>
aubrecht@mps.ohio-st-ate.edu / Gordon Aubrecht (former student, and later friend )
I will miss George and his passionate love for physics. In later life I was able to help him as a friend and I am grateful I could. We had more than a few conversations about learning and teaching; I wish we'd had more because they were always stimulating.

I took the same Thermo class as Wes van Pelt. An interesting anecdote from that class was his telling us dryly there would be a little "quiz" the following Monday (about a month into class). We all thought well a little quiz. It turned out it was a hellacious midterm and I don't think any of us physics majors finished. We were all caught completely unprepared our own fault of course. I don't know about Wes but though I did not do well on that test I think I still managed to ace the course. (I was not so lucky when I took Elihu Abraham's graduate QM course my senior year and got a B which I remember well.)

George was fun to listen to but he had his tics. He had a VW beetle at the time and my stepdaughter Laurie was maybe 3. Because of the way he pronounced the Greek letters beta being "bee-ta" Laurie confused his car and his betas together and called him beeta bum. I hope he never learned that. Close
Professor Horton  / Wes Van Pelt (former student )  Read >>
Professor Horton  / Wes Van Pelt (former student )
Professor Horton taught my undergraduate Thermodynamics course at Rutgers in 1963. I am still passionate about Physics and remember his class well. It was only today (30 Januari 2010) that I dug out my old Sears text and thought to Google the name of my old professor that I learned he died only a few months ago. Close
George's contributions  / Peter Lindenfeld (friend and colleague )  Read >>
George's contributions  / Peter Lindenfeld (friend and colleague )
There was a remarkable meeting on November 23 organized by Eugenia to bring people together to talk about their interactions with George. The outpouring of love admiration and respect was extraordinary and wonderful. Several people said that they owe their jobs and in some cases even the existence of their positions to George. He was described as having the ideas for innovations and being relentless in his pursuit of seeing them turned into reality.

Eugenia talked about arriving in this country and finding herself embraced by George and starting her job in the Department within a few days while just barely getting oriented. Suzanne called him a surrogate father and described his guidance as she started out here. Gabe Alba talked about first being in one of George’s classes and eventually being asked to fill his present position as supervisor of the laboratories. And it wasn’t only staff positions: Alan Van Heuvelen’s faculty position would not have existed nor filled by Alan without George’s strong advocacy.

In the last year or two as he became weaker George insisted on continuing to teach the largest lecture course that we have. He was asked whether it wouldn’t be better for him to have a less demanding course but he said no this is what I want to do. He couldn’t have done it without the help and support in the lecture hall of David Maiullo. David made him sit down between classes but that was not so easy since he would stay with the students and answer questions as long as they continued.

George’s single-minded quests were sometimes difficult for the Department’s chairs. Torgny as the present chair described how in contrast to others George would lean forward sitting at the edge of his chair while discussing his latest idea and how it should be brought about. An earlier chair became so enervated by George’s continuing pressure that he refused to continue to see him and asked that all of George’s requests should go to me to be relayed to him. Mohan Jolie and Joel expressed their admiration for him. Joel did not hide the fact that he had serious differences with George and others talked about their fights with George and the fact that he could be difficult. But everyone agreed that the only thing that motivated him was what he could do for the students. One student was there and talked about his experience in George’s class of advanced mechanics.

There was only one thing that could deflect him from his work. Noemie talked about the seven years of the life of his son David who had multiple medical difficulties when care and support for him took priority over all else.

I was honored that Eugenia asked me to preside over the meeting. I recalled my lunch with George two weeks before he died. At that time George showed me the note from the Dean offering to underwrite a celebration of his retirement at the end of his fiftieth year as a faculty member. In it he also said that a new faculty member should be found to continue the emphasis on teaching that characterized George’s work. George said that he was reluctant to accept the invitation for a celebratory meeting but we came to agree that it would be an educational venture showing how much could be achieved in the Department and the University by a dedicated individual. As we continued to talk we touched on six areas where George had made major contributions.

One was his research on phonon physics. (A phonon is a quantum of vibrational energy in the atomic lattice of a solid.) He co-edited a series of volumes that represented the standard literature in the field. When he was considered for promotion to the highest rank of Professor one of the letters that were solicited called him “Mr. Phonon” to describe his leading role among his colleagues. In spite of the impressive spectrum of his achievements the promotion did not come easily. It was eventually granted with my help as his AAUP (faculty union) advocate. He was himself one of the most successful AAUP advocates with over 30 faculty members who owe their continued faculty status to him.

With the enormous difficulties of his son he saw that the medical benefits that were available at Rutgers were inadequate. At this time when what we now call HMOs were largely unknown he was the founding and driving person in the creation of the Rutgers Community Health Plan an organization that for many years took excellent care of the medical needs of every member of the staff and faculty of the University.

When he was president of the AAUP he and Paul Leath (whom he asked to become vice-president) created the sabbatical program which continues to exist and flourish. They also restructured the salary table for all faculty members laying the groundwork for the rank of Professor II.

There are two more lasting monuments to George’s creativity both of which he started in the Physics Department. One was the Physics Learning Center. He recruited Brian Holton as its director and the two of them found space in a barracks building and created a student-friendly organization that provided tutoring and review sessions and a place to study with reference material and old exams. Its success led to its expansion to be the present Math and Science Learning Center. It continues in more modern surroundings but the spirit of the original group is hard to recapture.

Finally there is what is now known as the Gateway program. It was first a physics course for students who were either underprepared or had poor experiences in their previous attempts to study physics as part of the engineering curriculum. We are not here talking about a remedial course. Rather it was and continues to be a “regular” course but with more time and more support by dedicated teachers. It is parallel to the first year of a two-year sequence and in the second year the participants are on their own to sink or swim in the standard traditional course. This is a very severe test but they’re swimming! That the course continues successfully is a tribute to George’s vision and to the dedication of its present instructor (Suzanne) and her assistants. The program now includes a second physics course as well as courses in other departments.

As I think of these developments I remember also the strong opposition that George had to overcome. Many objected that the new courses were going to lower standards and dilute physics. Some of us including me gave the project little chance. George’s advocacy single-mindedly focused on his objective prevailed. His projects remain alive today and his life stands as a model to all of us of what can be accomplished by a single individual.

At our meeting George’s dedication to his students was mentioned by everyone. His accomplishments however went far beyond his teaching. He was an agent of change and created innovations in widely diverse areas. He had hoped to be there for a review of some of his contributions. Now we will have to do it without him. I look forward to a joyous celebration of George’s inspiring life.





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George's legacy looms large  / Mark Croft (Colleague)  Read >>
George's legacy looms large  / Mark Croft (Colleague)
Prof. Horton was a cornerstone of the Rutgers Physics Department for 50 years.  He undoubtedly brought physics into the lives of more undergraduate physics students than any past (and probably any future) member of the department.  Moreover he did so with an unparalleled style that combined tremendous enthusiasm expertise ability to communicate and dedication to his students. Our dedication naturally follows from his long and intense involvement in incorporating lecture demonstrations into the lives of undergraduate students numbering in the 10000's.  He was a friend to physics to students to the lecture hall and its demonstrations and to his colleagues.  We regret his passing but must be heartened by the fact that he did what he loved teaching physics to the end.  Indeed the physical challenges that he overcame weekly in his last year of teaching were heroic: teaching the largest course in the curriculum in the face of obviously deteriorating health.  Having talked with his students it was clear that they recognized and deeply appreciated his courage dedication expertise and devotion to them.  George Horton's legacy looms large and the fact that he did what he loved (with grace passion and expertise) to the end can not help but make one feel gratified for him. Close
wonderful colleague and friend will be missed  / Paul Leath (Colleague and friend )  Read >>
wonderful colleague and friend will be missed  / Paul Leath (Colleague and friend )

I have fond memories of many wonderful and useful discussions with George about physics physics teaching and learning the Physics and Astronomy
Department Rutgers University and the AAUP. No one cared more for his students than George. He was most concerned with their learning and marveled in their later success. However George made major contributions to and caused major improvements in
Rutgers University.

In the early 60's George was the chair of the tiny physics department at Douglass College and realizing the need for improvement made the first overtures toward consolidating
this department with the much larger one at Rutgers College thus creating the first single multi-college science department at Rutgers-New Brunswick. This was long before the academic reorganization in the early 80's that consolidated all departments
in the arts and sciences on the Campus and allowed the Physics
Department to combine resources and avoid the inter college bickering and divisions that often occurred in other disciplines.

It was George that no doubt played a major role in my career in
university administration. Shortly after the AAUP was named the faculty union in the late 60's George then the president of the Rutgers AAUP recruited me to join the AAUP and become the chair of its bargaining team with the University. During this time with a few others we worked together as a team and it was a very
productive time.
I certainly got to see George's determination to get things done often to the annoyance of the administration. But it was very successful. The RCHP the first HMO in New Jersey was created largely due to George. Rutgers created for the first time a sabbatical program a dental program the alternate benefit program for faculty (TIAA-CREF was chosen.) new faculty salary scales and a faculty merit program. The University faculty tenure and promotion rules were rewritten and the Professor II rank was created.
Through this experience with George I learned a lot about getting things accomplished at universities. No doubt because of this experience I was asked a few years later during the Bloustein era to join the University administration.

As Provost I experienced from the administrative side George's
determination and persistence as the Physics Learning Center and later the Math-Science Learning Center were created. These provided major assistance to student learning in the sciences and were models to be duplicated elsewhere.

Later as Department Chair George was often in my office suggesting ways to enhance the reputation and effectiveness of the Department of Physics and Astronomy from arguing why we should hire more outstanding faculty to why we needed a new
state-of-the-art facility new program or course. Indeed he basically created our Gateway courses our introductory physics course for non-science majors and others. Until he died he was arguing strongly for a new physics lecture hall with a rotating stage to assist in setting up lecture demonstrations.

George was a wonderful colleague and friend whom we shall all miss very much.

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