2003

 

 

hofman pictureDennis G. Hoffman, 1930-2003

Dennis G. Hoffman, emeritus professor of physics, died on March 18 at the age of 72, in Portland, of complications following surgery. As a member of the Reed faculty for 31 years, Hoffman was known for his warm disposition and commitment to the richness and variety of life.

Hoffman was born on April 17, 1930, in Selby, South Dakota, and grew up in Fresno, California. As a child, Hoffman was both a chess champion and an Eagle Scout. His father encouraged his inquisitive nature with a chemistry set and by taking him stargazing. He graduated in 1952 from what was then Fresno State College and worked at the Office of Naval Research and Livermore National Laboratory. At Livermore, Hoffman entered a top-secret program and worked on a measuring device to record the intensity of the hydrogen bomb exploded in the Bikini Atoll. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1961, but had already joined the Reed faculty in 1959. He spent his entire professional career at Reed, retiring in 1990.

Hoffman was an integral part of the Reed physics faculty; he helped redesign the advanced physics course and pioneered the use of digital computers. The faculty resolution passed at his death noted that, “He was extraordinarily versatile, teaching everything from natural science and general physics to quantum mechanics, solid state, and electrodynamics. He was as comfortable in the laboratory as the lecture hall; as happy discussing the history of physics as debating abstruse theoretical questions. With students and colleagues alike he was generous and unpretentious, confident but unintimidating.” This generosity overflowed around campus, and his cheerful laugh was often heard reverberating in the hallways.

In his personal life, Hoffman explored the world with his characteristic curiosity and enjoyment. He was an accomplished classical and Flamenco guitarist, sailed the San Juans and the Florida Keys, and, above all, loved to travel with his wife, Carole, and his children. Even after heart problems, he enjoyed a full and active life, including visits to five continents. Hoffman is survived by his wife, three sons, three daughters, his brother, and five grandchildren. End of Article

 

 

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2003
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