University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy
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George C. Francis (M.S., Physics, 1949)


I lived in Maryland most of my years after college.

I met my wife Mary Alice there either at work (Aberdeen Proving Ground) or at church in the early 1950s. I served as elder, deacon, trustee, church treasurer, committeeman, and choir member of the Presbyterian Church. We both sang in church choirs and community choruses and enjoyed concerts, musicals, plays, etc. After 12 years in Chapel Hill, NC, we are now retired in suburban Baltimore, MD. I have enjoyed golf, ten pin bowling, bridge and other games, travel, computing, Kiwanis, and the clarinet. I taught college math full time at Carleton College, Northfield, MN (1949-52) and part time at the University of Minnesota IT (one year) and Columbia University, NYC (one year). I developed software for military applications, Ballistics Research Laboratories, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD for about 30 years, using historic computers EDVAC, ORDVAC, BRLESC 1 & 2, and Control Data Cyber Series, DEC, PDP, and others creating guided missile simulations, battle tank duels, trade off studies on armor vs. agility; helicopter evasiveness studies; simulation of a fire control communications device; developing of algebraic symbol manipulation programs; advanced information storage, retrieval, and selective dissemination procedures. I am listed in Who’s Who in the East for 1968-69. I am a member of the American Mathematical Association, Association for Computing Machinery, and special interest groups (SIGs). Even now I teach use of personal computers, email and the internet to some of our fellow retirees. While I was there, the Physics Department was part of the SLA College (now CLA) for undergrad study and the Graduate School for more advanced work in the 1940s. The Van de Graf machine stood out back and was a mystery to most passers by. The University was one of the largest in the country just after World War II (about 27,000 students). Physics was relatively small but had its share of students, especially for freshman lecture classes of several hundred. Hi to our classmates! My favorite Professors were J.W. Buchta, Alfred Nier, Frank Oppenheimer, E.L. Hill, and the Optics group, plus several in the Institute of Technology (before Physics joined IT). I remember Dr. Nier always liked to do his teaching at 8:00 a.m. (not my favorite hour), so he could get back to his lab research as early as possible. Dr. Oppenheimer always paced back and forth in front of the class, with chalk in one hand, and an eraser in the other. Sometimes he used the eraser before the class saw what the chalk had written. Dr. Hill was developing the course text as he went, and we usually got the printed lesson the next day. It could not be much “hotter off the press” than that! Optics and Spectroscopy class and lab led to one of my three long papers in lieu of a master’s thesis (Plan B in those days). Those were interesting times!