Dr. George Galeczki Passing
Dr. George Galeczki
(born 12 Dec 1945, deceased 20 April 2016)
George was a multi talented scientist, at home in theory, experiment – and in at least 6 languages (among which Hungarian, Rumanian, Hebrew, and, of course, English, German, and French). He had an adventurous life. Born in Lugoj (Romania, close to the Hungarian border), he got his PhD in 1980 at the Technion in Haifa (Israel). He specialized on semiconductor infra red detectors and magnetism. For his work he was awarded the Landau Research Prize.
A report in a Hebrew newspaper about a project at the 2nd Physics Institute of Cologne University caught his interest and he decided to join the German group there for a sabbatical. He was to stay in Cologne for the rest of his life. Fitting to his widespread interests, he worked in various fields, from semiconductor physics to what then was called “mesoscopics”, the physics of small particles (a field to become “nanotechnology” later). He added to practically all topics in the Cologne group and was a welcome participant in brainstorming sessions. After his contract expired, he turned to fundamental physics, realizing that mainstream physics lived with many -often severe- flaws. When he happened to meet me one day at the institute library (both of us held no position there any more), he took me aside with a mysterious “did you know that special relativity is completely wrong?”. No, I didn’t, but I was to learn soon. Now my interest was caught. That was in 1994. George introduced me to an incredibly rich amount of material he had been collecting over the years – he was a living encyclopedia.
This is when we teamed up. In summer 1995 we attended a small and very private “dissident” workshop in Munich on cosmology organized by Halton Arp. In the sequence of events, George, always agile and pushy, founded the “Society for the Advancement of Physics” (which we abandoned years later after the influence of not-so-serious-for-science voices dominated the scene). And he urged me to become his co-author of a book we ironically titled “Requiem für die spezielle Relativität” (published 1997 in German). Financially, the book was a flop. Not so scientifically – it arouse a loud and controversial echo in the press and among physicists on both sides, pro and con. That was George’s cup of tea. He seemed to enjoy good solid arguments and did not avoid juicy disputes. It was fun to write the book, my part being mainly the linguistic aspect; George supplied most of the scientific material, and what material! And it was fun to hear the echo – usually a good sign that you have hit where it hurts. George also organized 2 international workshops titled “Physics as a Science” in Cologne. The first one in late August 1997 was overshadowed by the suicide of the Bulgarian dissident Stefan Marinov in July who had been invited to participate. The participants came from Austria, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, and mostly the USA (the latter were our first contact with the then NPA). The second Cologne workshop followed in 2000; another one in Lanzarote in Summer 2002. At that time, nobody knew that it was to be George’s last major contribution to dissident activities. In December 2002, he suffered a severe stroke, followed by a second stroke years later from which he never recovered.
George has a large collection of papers on various different fields to his credit, a rich legacy that documents his universal interest not only in physics. He was a wiz in math, too, who was able to fight defenders of faulty theories in their own field. His international correspondence fills 7 thick letter files! Quite a few dissidents will remember well him from various meetings (including early conferences of NPA), with his vivid style in presenting a talk and his not always exactly diplomatic contributions to discussions. To him, scientific strictness meant more than hollow politeness. He was a scientist at heart gifted with infectious enthusiasm and a sometimes hurting kind of honesty and courage that mainstream physics needs so badly.
Peter Marquardt (Cologne, Oct. 2016)
Dr. George Galeczki Publications
His profile page: http://www.naturalphilosophy.org/site/member/?memberid=112