Dr. George Randolph Kalbfleisch, 75, Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Oklahoma, of Norman, died Tuesday, September 12, 2006 at Norman Regional Hospital.
George Kalbfleisch was born March 14, 1931 in Long Beach, California, to Friedrich Carl and Hildegard Kalbfleisch. He graduated from Phineas Banning High School, Wilmington, California, in 1948. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Loyola University, Los Angeles, California, in 1952. On October 23, 1954, he married Ruth Ann Adams in San Pedro, California. He received his Ph.D. in experimental High Energy Physics in 1961 from the University of California at Berkeley. He worked as a post-doctoral associate at the University of California at Berkeley with Dr. Luis Alvarez, as a staff physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York, for twelve years, and at Fermi National Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois, for three years. He performed experiments in the systematizing and the discovery of new particles since 1958, using beams of muons, pions, kaons, protons and antiprotons, and neutrinos. He worked with liquid hydrogen bubble chambers until 1972, and subsequently worked with electronic spectrometers. He performed research at CERN Laboratory in Switzerland during a sabbatical in 1972. While at Fermilab, he was in charge of the superconducting quadrupoles for the Tevatron (at that time, the world's highest energy machine), built more than twenty prototype quadrupoles, and developed and provided the production tooling from which more than 200 quadrupoles were made for the Tevatron.
Dr. Kalbfleisch came to the University of Oklahoma (OU) in 1979 where he established the OU High Energy Physics group (OU-HEP). He was elected as a Fellow in the American Physical Society in 1982 for his discoveries of the first hyperonic beta decay, of the ninth pseudoscalar meson, the first direct observation of the electron-neutrino in muon decay and direct measurements of the velocities of neutrinos. In 1990, he established a sister High Energy Physics group at Langston University, Langston, Oklahoma. He was a consultant for the Super Conducting Super Collider Laboratory in Waxahachie, Texas until the United States Government canceled that project in 1993. In 1999, Dr. Kalbfleisch retired from teaching at the University of Oklahoma, although he continued conducting research as Professor Emeritus of Physics until a few weeks before his death. In 2001, he was the first physicist inducted into the inaugural Alumni Wall of Fame at Loyola Marymount University, in honor of his lifetime achievements. His research has included the study of "charm" and "beauty" quantum states at Fermilab and neutrino properties in-house at OU, and was supported by continuing grants from the United States Department of Energy. He finished the search for low mass accelerator produced magnetic monopoles (E-882, 1995) approved by Fermilab and performed at OU. Most recently, he worked on an EDM (electric dipole moment) of the electron experiment at OU, with younger collaborators. He published more than one hundred and ninety articles in elementary particle physics.
His parents preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Ruth Ann; his four children Karen Kalbfleisch and her husband, Richard Butler, of Roanoke, Virginia, and their twin daughters, Kathryn and Lauren Butler; George Kalbfleisch, Jr. and his wife, Andrea, of Dry Ridge, Kentucky, and his daughter Jennifer Kalbfleisch of Florence, Kentucky and her daughter Noelle Winters of Queens, New York; Julie Collins and her husband, David, of Norman, Oklahoma, and their son, David Collins, Jr.; and Carl Kalbfleisch and his wife, Mande, of Carrollton, Texas, and their sons Eric Kalbfleisch and Brendan Olsen. Other survivors include his two brothers, Herbert Kalbfleisch of Nabburg, Germany, and Fritz Loura and his wife, Jane, of Seattle, Washington, and their daughters, Paige and Elise Loura; his father-in-law, Norman Adams, age 95, and his wife June, of San Mateo, California; Bradley Rearden of Carrollton, Texas; and many friends and colleagues around the world in the field of physics.
Visitation with the family will be held at University Lutheran Church, 914 Elm Ave, Norman, Oklahoma 73072, from 7:00-9:00 PM on Friday, September 22, 2006. A memorial service will be held at University Lutheran Church at 2:00 PM on Sunday, September 24, 2006.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorial contributions be sent to The University of Oklahoma Foundation designated for the George R. Kalbfleisch Memorial Fund, 100 Timberdell Road, Norman, Oklahoma 73019.
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Last Updated: September 18, 2006, by: carl at kalbfleisch dot us