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 L.L.C.
George is the principal author of >373 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, 8 of these articles are on failure analysis topics, 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 has made 11 webinars for Struers Inc., 2 for Industrial Heating and 2 for Struers A/S. He is the author of nine ASTM standards and holds six patents. His micrographs have been within or on the covers of >161 books, magazines, newsletters, brochures or calendars. He has won 35 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 79 one-week courses for ASM’s Metals Engineering Institute (MEI), 117 courses for Buehler and 31 for other societies. He has 23 blogs on Industrial Heating magazine and on their web site and Vac Aero’s web site has published 42 of his articles.
George has been active with the International Metallographic Society, IMS, since 1974 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; he served as Vice Chairman of the Handbook Committee and is now the Chairman; and, he is a member of the Events Committee and the International Committee. He has been an MEI instructor since 1977 (79 one-week 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 405 lectures (nine honorary lectures) in 39 countries; spoken 85 times at 52 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, was elected to their board in 2009, and in 2011 became Vice President of ΑΣΜ. In 2012 he gave the honorary Alpha Sigma Mu lecture. The September 2009 issue of Practical Metallography was dedicated to George’s 65th birthday. He was the editor for the April 2013 all USA issue of Practical Metallography during its 50th anniversary year. In 2012, he was named an honorary fellow of the International Federation of Heat Treaters and Surface Engineers and was made an honorary member of the Polish Society for Stereology.
George has a long history of failure analysis work and was a major contributor to the ASM Handbook series volumes on Metallography and Microstructures, Fractography, Failure Analysis, and Materials Characterization. He is a court certified expert on failure analysis and has been involved in numerous cases. In 1993, he was requested by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to review the microscopy studies on the lower head of the Three-Mile Island Unit 2 nuclear reactor which suffered a catastrophic accident in March 1979. The studies were performed by personnel at Argonne National Laboratory and at Idaho Falls National Engineering Laboratory. The review was prompted by disputes as to how hot, how close to melt down, the lower head got during the incident. George critiqued the work, obtained a set of specimens, and showed how the exposure temperatures could be determined with much higher precision using quantitative metallography and selective etching. More recently, he has worked with a FEMA board member and several faculty members at Worcester Polytechnic Institute to examine structural steel beams from building 7 and from buildings 1 and 2 of the World Trade Center after the 9/11/01 attack to determine why building 7 collapsed, as it was not impacted but only caught on fire from falling debris, and why the structural steel beams were so heavily attacked to perforation. George has also studied a number of failures involving semi-submersible oil exploration rigs and permanently installed drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, pressure vessel failures, and soldered pipe joint failures. He studied a lampshade frame, covered by human skin and believed to have been made at the Buchenwald concentration camp, for Hoggard Films to determine when it was made. The 60-minute documentary made for National Geographic TV was broadcast on 29 September 2012.
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 Microanalysis Society, the State Microscopy Society of Illinois, the Midwest Microscopy & Microanalysis Society, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Materialkunde (German Materials Society), and is a Fellow member of 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.