Dr. John Hoffman, professor emeritus of physics and founding school member of The College of Texas at Dallas, died Feb. 3. He was 91.
Starting within the 1960s, Hoffman designed and constructed scientific devices for satellites, planetary missions and different area probes for experiments that traveled thousands and thousands of miles all through the photo voltaic system. His mass spectrometers — devices that measure the traits of atoms and molecules present in atmospheres and soils — helped discover Halley’s comet; accompanied Apollo 15, 16 and 17 astronauts to the moon and the Pioneer mission to Venus; and aided within the discovery of water on Mars.
In 1966 he joined the atmospheric and area sciences analysis group on the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest (GRCSW), which turned UT Dallas in 1969. Along with educating, Hoffman was a member of the William B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences, which is a part of the Department of Physics within the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. He retired in 2017.
Dr. R. Richard Hodges Jr. (left) and Dr. John Hoffman, of their laboratory in 1983, labored collectively on the lunar orbital mass spectrometer that was aboard the Apollo 16 mission in 1972.
“Within the early days of area sciences at UT Dallas, John Hoffman constructed numerous area experiments for operation at Earth, the moon, Mars, Venus and comets. He offered a basis for the worldwide popularity in area experimentation that UT Dallas enjoys right now,” stated Dr. Roderick Heelis, who joined UT Dallas in 1972 and is director of the Heart for House Sciences and Distinguished Chair in Pure Sciences and Arithmetic. “His gadgets carried out with such predictable reliability that he was the ‘go-to man’ at any time when key discoveries of the fundamental fuel concentrations in planetary environments have been required.”
In a 2009 interview, Hoffman described rising up with each music and physics; his father was a chemistry professor, and his mom an achieved pianist. He picked up the clarinet and ultimately the oboe, however he stated he had a “massive battle” with himself making an attempt to determine whether or not to pursue science or music. Finally, he acquired his bachelor’s diploma in physics from St. Mary’s College of Minnesota, as it’s now recognized, and his grasp’s and doctoral levels from the College of Minnesota. Hoffman’s mentor there was Dr. Alfred O.C. Nier, who pioneered the event of mass spectrometry.
Earlier than he joined the GRCSW, Hoffman spent seven years on the U.S. Naval Analysis Laboratory creating miniaturized mass spectrometers for spaceflight.
of Dr. Hoffman
Visitation for Dr. John Hoffman will probably be 5 p.m. Friday, March 12, at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, 720 S. Floyd Highway, Richardson, TX 75080. Remarks and rosary will observe at 6:30 p.m. A funeral Mass will probably be 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 13, on the church. A reception will probably be held afterward.
To make a memorial reward to UT Dallas in reminiscence of Hoffman, please go to giving.utdallas.edu/hoffman.
As a member of NASA’s Phoenix Mars Mission in 2008, Hoffman designed a mass spectrometer for the lander that analyzed gases from soil samples on the purple planet, which make clear Mars’ ambiance and local weather historical past.
He additionally designed mass spectrometers that flew on NASA’s Ambiance Explorer C and D satellites. Additionally on board was an instrument designed by Hoffman’s brother, Robert, who was an area scientist at NASA’s Goddard House Flight Heart.
“I’ll always remember listening to John communicate and present mass spectrometer information getting back from the moon’s floor reside throughout my very first week at UT Dallas in September 1972,” stated Dr. A. Dean Sherry, professor of chemistry and the Cecil H. and Ida Inexperienced Distinguished Chair in Methods Biology. “For sure, John had an enormous affect on all younger school who got here to the College over many a long time. He won’t ever be forgotten.”
Hoffman served as head of the Division of Physics from 1978 to 2001 and was affiliate dean for undergraduate training from 2000 to 2009. He additionally was president of the Texas Part of the American Affiliation of Physics Academics from 1993 to 1995 and was UT Dallas’ consultant to the Texas House Grant Consortium from 1992 to 2006.
“John was not simply an instrument builder, he was additionally an impressive communicator. … Unselfish engagement together with his friends and college students alike is the explanation that John turned so efficiently immersed within the development of the College from its authentic days. We are going to miss the various contributions made by John in so many areas. However what a pleasure to look again on all his accomplishments and to acknowledge that his contributions are completely embedded within the work we do right now.”
Dr. Roderick Heelis, director of the William B. Hanson Heart for House Sciences and Distinguished Chair in Pure Sciences and Arithmetic at UT Dallas
In 2016 Hoffman and fellow founding school member Dr. James Carter, an affiliate professor emeritus of geosciences who invented simulated moon dust, visited Dr. Richard C. Benson, who had simply been put in as the brand new UT Dallas president.
“I totally loved my conversations with Professor Hoffman, and I marveled at his many accomplishments as a scholar and educator,” stated Benson, who holds the Eugene McDermott Distinguished College Chair of Management. “My first such assembly was in 2016 when he and Professor Carter got here to my workplace to increase the singular, and completely pleasant, custom of resting class rings in a field of simulated lunar regolith earlier than issuing the rings to the scholars who would put on them. I used to be struck by the whimsey of the custom and the apparent affection that Professors Carter and Hoffman had for our college students.”
Dr. John Hoffman developed a mass spectrometer that proved very important in discovering water on Mars.
Along with his educating and analysis, Hoffman was very lively in science outreach, taking part in physics demonstrations and hands-on actions for youngsters and the general public on campus, in colleges and locally. Hoffman was not solely a member of the group that flew a mass spectrometer on the European House Company’s Giotto mission to Halley’s comet in 1986, he additionally flew with colleagues on a Braniff Worldwide Airways particular flight to indicate the passengers a greater view of the well-known comet than might be obtained from the bottom.
“John was not simply an instrument builder, he was additionally an impressive communicator,” Heelis stated. “Many have loved the motivational talks about his analysis work in addition to his explanations of basic bodily processes illustrated with energetic demonstrations. Unselfish engagement together with his friends and college students alike is the explanation that John turned so efficiently immersed within the development of the College from its authentic days.
“We are going to miss the various contributions made by John in so many areas. However what a pleasure to look again on all his accomplishments and to acknowledge that his contributions are completely embedded within the work we do right now.”