University of Texas
Gerald Wayne "Jerry" Hoffmann
July 11, 1944–March 17, 2016

 

 

Gerald Wayne "Jerry" Hoffmann


The entry below uses information from various sources, including Jerry's obituary.

Gerald “Jerry” was born to Walter S. and Loretta Rosile Biicek Hoffmann on July 11, 1944, in Burbank, California and died gracefully at his home in Austin, TX on March 17, 2016. Jerry’s grandfather, William F. Hoffmann, was a minister. Jerry’s father, Walter S., was born in Nebraska on August 10, 1914, and died on July 30, 1982, in Burbank, California. Walter enlisted in the U. S. Army in 1942. He is shown at right.

Loretta, his mother, was born in Chicago, Illinois, on June 18, 1917, and died January 29, 1999, in Carlsbad, CA. She is shown at left. Walter and Loretta were married on November 11, 1936. Walter and Loretta's wedding picture is shown below.

 

 

 

 

 

Walter and Loretta had two children, Gerald Wayne and his younger sister Christine “Tina” (Hess). Christine’s 1962 school picture is below. The family lived in Burbank.

 

 

 

Jerry graduated from John Burroughs High School in 1962. Below we see his sophomore class picture in 1960. He was a varsity cross-country runner during his junior and senior year. Pictures of the track team are shown in album at the end of this page.

 

 

 

 

 

Following graduation from high school, Jerry continued his education at Occidental College and the University of Chicago. He then went on to obtain his PhD in Experimental Nuclear Physics from UCLA in 1971. He did his experimental work, under the supervision of Professor George Igo, using a 50 MeV cyclotron at UCLA. After receiving his PhD he joined the physics faculty at the University of Texas (1972).

At Texas, he spent the first several years doing experimental research at the University’s on-campus Center for Nuclear Physics using its EN Tandem Accelerator. In the mid-1970s, he took a four-year leave of absence from the University to be an MP-10 staff member at the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility (LAMPF). He conducted experimental research with the High Resolution Proton Spectrometer (HRS), was responsible for the operation of the HRS, and was physics liaison for HRS users from various universities in the country. He returned to Austin in 1980 and continued research at LAMPF until 1992. In 1992, he joined the STAR [Solenoidal Tracker at RHIC (Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider)] Collaboration. In recent years, Professor Hoffmann’s STAR work has concentrated on Research and Development (R&D) for detector upgrades and construction projects resulting from the R&D such as the Silicon Vertex Tracker, the Large Area Time of Flight Subsystem, and the Muon Telescope Detector Subsystem.

Dr. Hoffmann was a tenured physics professor at the University of Texas. He had a passion for work, love for his research, enjoyed teaching students, and researching experimental nuclear physics was one of his favorite studies. His relationship with his UT colleagues was profound and a vital role in his life. Alan Schroeder, Marti Barlett, Lanny Ray and Jo Schambach were astounding colleagues and also friends for a lifetime.

Jerry was made a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1998. His citation read, “For contributions to precision measurements of intermediate energy proton-nucleus scattering cross sections and polarization observables, development of polarized nuclear targets, and the understanding of nucleon-nucleus scattering dynamics.”

In 2003 and 2011, Jerry received the College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award in Physics.

Jerry met his wife, Linda Roxanne Hunter, while he was in college, and they married in September of 1967 and shared 47 years of marriage together. An early photo of them is shown at right. Gerald was fondly known as ‘Guppy’ or ‘The Gupster’, after a joke that started decades ago between himself and his wife Linda. Since then, Jerry was commonly known as Guppy by those he loved and those who loved him. Guppy was a loving provider and took care of his family. He worked incredibly hard and loved challenges, big and small. Jerry's pride and joy in his golden years was his German Shepherd, Isabelle. Jerry was a boating enthusiast and loved being outdoors. He was capable of fixing or rebuilding anything, whether it was a broken car, washing machine or endless antiques. Jerry was a lifelong Willie Nelson fan, loved the motto ‘In Texas, We Don't Dial 911’ and strongly believed in his right to bear arms.

Preceding Jerry in death were his parents and his cousin Randy Rounds. He is survived by his wife, Linda Hoffmann of Austin, TX; daughter and son-in-law, Amy and Chris Corley of Georgetown, TX; son, Austin Hoffmann of Austin, TX; son, Alden Hoffmann of Austin, TX; granddaughters, Paighton and Westlin Corley of Georgetown; granddaughters, Hendrix and Nixon Hoffmann of Austin, TX; sister and brother-in law, Tina and Craig Hess of Tujunga, California; many other beloved relatives, Isabelle his favorite canine companion; Lois, his favorite feline companion.

Dad, we will miss you and can't express in words what life will be like on earth without you here, but we know you are with the Lord and will see you someday. We love you. Psalm 23 was your favorite, and we will always remember that.

 

The family thanks Hospice Austin for the wonderful care and guidance through this time of need and helping Jerry pass in a peaceful and dignified way.

Acknowledgement: Special thanks to Amy Hoffmann Corley, Jerry‘s daughter, for providing information and family photos.

 


Tributes to Jerry Hoffmann from Colleagues and Friends

From Professor George Igo, Jerry’s supervising professor at UCLA. His photo is at right.

Dear Sirs and Ladies, I want to report some facts about the recently deceased Professor Jerry Hoffman.

In 1968, I joined the UCLA Physics Department as a Professor. Professor ‘Reg’ Richardson and other members of the cyclotron group had just completed the conversion of a conventional cyclotron into a spiral ridge cyclotron which produced 47 MeV protons. I was
assigned to supervise two student’s PhD programs. One of these students was Jerry Hoffmann.

LAMPF, an 800 MeV proton linear accelerator, was on the drawing boards. A number of us from various institutions were interested in using the 800 MeV protons to measure inelastic scattering from nuclei. This would require the construction of a spectrometer, appropriately named ‘The High Resolution Spectrometer’, HRS, which was approved by the director of LAMPF, then in an early stage of construction.

I decided that we could build a spectrometer at the spiral ridge cyclotron laboratory at UCLA whose design would follow the conceptual ideas of the HRS. I immediately assigned Jerry Hoffmann to work on a design based on the design features of the HRS adapting a unused magnet. Jerry utilized a computer program to produce a magnet design. Unfortunately, the DOE did not approve the modest funds we asked for because the cyclotron laboratory was being shut down. Jerry had developed a design that I believe would have been successful if it had been funded. The remainder of his doctoral studies quickly lead to a doctoral thesis using the (p,n) reaction to produce research that had considerable impact on that research field and brought recognition to him. Subsequently, he moved to the University of Texas where he rapidly became a key player in nuclear physics. Some time later, he was asked by the Director of LAMPF to take charge of the HRS laboratory, on leave of absence from UT, at Los Alamos.

Jerry was able to create a collegial atmosphere that made it easy for users to perform experiments at the HRS during the extended period when he was at LAMPF. During this time and subsequently during the years when the HRS laboratory was in operation, the UT group was very strong and competitive. He pushed forward with his colleague, Lanny Ray, a program of experiments that were technically of high quality and thus acted as a real challenge to other users as I can confirm as one of the users. On one occasion, the UT group, however, went wrong! They strongly asserted that two experimental quantities, the differential cross section and the single spin asymmetry were sufficient to determine the elastic scattering of protons from nuclei. A subsequent measurement of a third variable showed this to be incorrect! Otherwise their record was unassailable!

Changing the subject, I can report the Jerry was a very good gopher shot whenever challenged at his home estate!

 

 

 

 

Gerald W. Hoffmann Photo Album
Jerry Hoffmann
Jerry Hoffmann
Jerry and sister Tina in dance competition. ca. 1956.
Jerry’s early science success.
Jerry Hoffmann’s senior picture from John Burroughs High School 1962 yearbook Akela. He is in middle of bottom row.
Varsity track team members, L to R. Howard Ray, Bill Cope, Brent Carruth, Gerald Hoffman, Wayne Perryman, Tod Ellis and John Reiger.
John Burroughs High School1962 yearbook Akela .
Varsity track team. Jerry Hoffmann, front row, third from right. John Burroughs High School 1962 yearbook, Akela.
Linda and Jerry Hoffmann, First Christmas, 1967, $.99 tree.
Jerry Hoffmann
Jerry Hoffmann,
Los Alamos Meson Physics Facilty (LAMPF)
Jerry Hoffmann
Jerry Hoffmann
Jerry Hoffmann at the computer.
Jerry Hoffmann receiving teaching award from Dean Maryann Rankin. Physics Chair Roy Switters at right.
Linda and Jerry Hoffmann at Lake Austin.
Left to Right; Austin, Linda, Jerry, Alden and Amy. Jerry’s prized German Shepard, Isabelle, is in front.

Hoffmann family in Maui.
Front Row: L to R: Chris and Amy Corley, Paighton and Westlin Corley, Linda and Jerry
Back Row: Alden, ?, Austin

Linda and Jerry Hoffmann at the Driskill Hotel, Austin, Texas.
Jerry’s much loved dog, Isabelle
Jerry Hoffmann