Shor, noted Scripps geophysicist, dies


George G. Shor, Jr., professor emeritus of geophysics at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, died July 3, at his home in La Jolla, from complications following several strokes. He was 86 years old.

Shor’s career included helping develop the nation’s consortium of research ships operated by oceanographic institutions and participating in the creation of the California Sea Grant program.

Shor was born June 8, 1923, in New York, NY. He received his bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1944. He joined the Naval Reserve and served in World War II as an electronics officer and communications officer, with duty in the Pacific theater on a ship that transported troops. He remained in the Naval Reserve until his retirement as commander in 1983.

In the fall of 1946, he returned to Caltech for graduate work in geophysics

and received a masters of science degree in 1948 and went to work for He Seismic Explorations, Inc. (SEI), based in Houston.

In 1951, Shor returned to Caltech for his Ph.D. in seismology and geology.

His adviser was the noted earthquake expert Charles Richter. Shor received his Ph.D. in 1954.

In 1953, Shor began work at Scripps Institution of Oceanography as an assistant research geophysicist at the Marine Physical Laboratory, and he continued with that unit until his retirement in 1991.

Shor planned and served as chief scientist on many research expeditions at sea, where he carried out studies of the structure beneath the seafloor, using refraction and reflection techniques, from explosives to air guns.

From 1968 until his 1991 retirement he served as an associate director of the institution, primarily for seagoing operations and management of the institution’s fleet of research ships. He participated in the establishment of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS), which coordinates operations of the research ships operated by oceanographic institutions.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Scripps historian Elizabeth (Betty) Noble Shor of La Jolla, Calif.; son Alexander of Honolulu, daughter Carolyn Large of Dixon, Calif.; son Donald of Dixon, and seven grandchildren.

The family suggests donations to Scripps Institution of Oceanography for its valuable oceanographic research collections or to Friends of the International Center at UC San Diego for scholarships. Gifts can be sent to Edwina Riblet, Scripps Development Office, 9500 Gilman Drive, 0210, La Jolla, CA, 92093-0210; or e-mail

or call (858) 534-7793;

Plans for a memorial service are pending.