George received his BS in Metallurgical Engineering from Drexel in 1967 – the last class as Drexel Institute of Technology and received their Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2005. At Drexel he was twice editor-in-chief of the Drexel Technical Journal, including the three years in a row when it was named the number one college technical journal by the Engineering Colleges Magazines Association. He was a member of Blue Key National Honorary Leadership Society and in 1967 he was listed in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity named him their outstanding senior in 1967. After graduation, George joined Bethlehem Steel Corporation in Bethlehem, PA. He received an MS degree in Metallurgy and Materials Science from Lehigh University in 1974. After six years in the Bethlehem Plant metallurgy department he was transferred to the Homer Research Laboratories as a research engineer; nine years followed in the Metallurgical Service and Investigations group with involvement in all areas of microscopy, failure analysis work and alloy development. In 1983, George joined Carpenter Technology Corporation as supervisor of Metal Physics Research in their research center. He was responsible for all areas of microscopy and mechanical testing. From 1996 to 2009, George worked at Buehler Ltd. as Director of Research and Technology. He edited their newsletter, Tech-Notes, produced their annual microstructure calendar and was responsible for education, laboratory service, and new directions, e.g., EBSD and SEM imaging. In 2010, George became a consultant to Struers Inc, Struers A/S, Latrobe Steel and Scot Forge, plus president of Vander Voort Consulting.
George is the principal author of more than 280 publications, including the book Metallography: Principles and Practice (McGraw-Hill, 1984, ASM Intl., 1999, 752 pgs.) and Buehler’s Guide to Materials Preparation. He has edited eighteen books. He is the author of 29 articles in various editions of the ASM Metals Handbook series, was editor for the 2004 revision of Vol. 9, Metallography and Microstructures, and made eleven of the fourteen videotapes in the ASM video course Principles of Metallography. He is the author of nine ASTM standards and holds six patents. His micrographs have been within or on the covers of 137 books, magazines, newsletters, brochures or calendars. He has won 34 awards for his work in metallography contests including the Jacquet-Lucas Grand Prize. He taught physical metallurgy at Pennsylvania State University (Allentown branch) for nine years, a graduate course on microscopy at Lehigh University, and was a visiting lecturer at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand in 2003. He has taught 72 one-week courses for ASM’s Metals Engineering Institute (MEI), 110 courses for Buehler and 28 for other societies.
George has been active with the International Metallographic Society, IMS, since 1973 serving on the board of directors, as membership chairman, secretary, vice president and president (1981-1983). He was general chairman of their 12th annual meeting in 1979, and their 32nd, 36th and 38th meetings in 1999, 2003 and 2005. He was series editor of Microstructural Science from 1983 to 1989 and he has chaired nine of their symposia. He was associate editor of Materials Characterization (1991-2004) and is a member of the editorial boards of La Metallurgia Italiana, Praktische Metallographie/Practical Metallography and the Intl. Journal of Microstructure and Materials Properties. George received the IMS President’s Award in 1987 and the IMS Henry Clifton Sorby Award in 2004.
George is a member of the American Society for Testing and Materials, ASTM (now ASTM International), since 1979, as a member of committees E-4 on Metallography and E-28 on Mechanical Testing. He was chairman of E.04.14 on Quantitative Metallography (1982-1998) where he developed and wrote 9 standards for both manual and automated quantitative metallographic measurements. He served as second and first vice-chairman of E-4 and a four-year term as chairman of E-4. He chaired two international symposia for ASTM E-4. He received the ASTM Award of Merit in 1987 and is a fellow of ASTM. In 1990, he received the Anthony DeBellis Memorial Award from ASTM E-28 for his work on microindentation hardness testing. In 1994, he received the L.L. Wyman Memorial Award from E-4. In 2006, he received the J.R. Vilella Award for his revision of Vol. 9 of the ASM Handbook, Metallography and Microstructures (2004 edition). Since 1989, George has been the USA representative to the International Standards Organization, ISO, sub-committee on tests other than chemical and mechanical (SC 7 of TC 17). He revised two ISO standards and wrote one new standard.
George is a member of the American Society for Metals (now ASM International) since 1966 (Life Member); and served on the executive committee of the Lehigh Valley Chapter (secretary, 1971-1974). A past member of the MEI and the Academy Committees, he chaired the Technical Books Committee and was secretary and vice chairman of Publications Council; now he is on the Handbook Committee, the Events Committee and the International Committee. He has been an MEI instructor since 1977 (72 courses taught). He was made a Fellow of ASM in 1990; received the Bradley Stoughton Award of the Lehigh Valley Chapter in 1993. In November 2001, he was elected to a three-year term as a trustee of ASM International. He has given 356 lectures (six honorary lectures) in 39 countries; spoken 81 times at 51 ASM Chapters, and at 74 universities. He received the Roland Mitsche prize of the Montanuniversität Leoben, in Leoben, Austria, for his contributions to metallography. In 2008, he was named a Distinguished Life Member of Alpha Sigma Mu honorary scholastic society for materials science majors (and was elected to their board in 2009, and is in-coming vice president). The September 2009 issue of Practical Metallography was dedicated to George’s 65th birthday.
George is well-recognized for his work in failure analysis, both through publications and investigations. He has published 16 articles on failure analysis in journals, 8 by-lined articles in the ASM Handbook series and has edited 8 books related to failure analysis. He has also published 44 papers on quantitative metallography on subjects such as inclusion and grain size measurement, clustering, banding, and phase measurement. In 1993, he was hired by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to assess the metallographic study performed at Argonne National Laboratory and Idaho Falls National Engineering Laboratory on the lower head of the Unit 2 nuclear reactor at the Three Mile Island site that failed in 1979. George’s recommendations led to his measurements that quantified the precise degree of thermal exposure experienced at different head locations under the debris pile. George also examined heavily eroded structural steel from the World Trade Center for FEMA after the 9/11 attack to determine the reasons for the severe deterioration, particularly for Building 7 which was not impacted by the terrorists. George has worked on a number of cases involving semi-submersible and fixed oil drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, locomotive axles that broke and caused derailments, collapsed Loran Towers, etc. He is a court-certified expert witness in microstructural aspects of failures.
George is also a member of TMS of AIME, the International Society for Stereology, The Polish Society for Stereology, the Microscopy Society of America, the Microbeam Analysis Society, State Microscopy Society of Illinois, Midwest Microscopy & Microanalysis Society, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Materialkunde, and the Royal Microscopical Society (UK). He has two children. When he has some spare time, George enjoys foreign travel, food and wine, watercolor painting, photography, hiking and backpacking. His wife, Dr. Elena (Manilova) Vander Voort, is a physical metallurgist and electron microscopy expert on high-temperature alloys with 28 years service at the Pulzonuv Central Boiler and Turbine Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia, in the failure analysis and life extension department.