University of Texas
Michael Aloysius Gorman
November 10, 1948–December 17, 2010



Michael A. Gorman

Michael Aloysius Gorman was born November 10, 1948 in St. Louis, MO to Aloysius T. (1916–1987) and Elizabeth Wroble Gorman. His siblings and their spouse are Maureen (Michael) Bartell, Ken (Darlene) and Kevin (Julie) Gorman.







Michael's father, Aloysius Thomas Gorman, enlisted in WWII in June of 1942 and served until January 1946. He had graduated in accounting from St. Louis University in 1938. His senior photo from the yearbook, Archive, is below:

Michael attended St. Louis University High School, Boston College and the University of Chicago.

Here is Michael at Boston College in 1968.

Michael loved sports, Below is a picture of him at a St. Louis Cardinal game.


From January 2011, University of Houston, Breakthrough, magazine of College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

The sudden death of University of Houston physics professor Michael Gorman stunned friends and colleagues, who lauded Gorman as an outstanding scientist, teacher and friend.

Gorman collapsed suddenly the morning of December 17 near his office in the Science and Research 1 Building and was later pronounced dead. He was 62.

“Dr. Gorman was a very conscientious, excellent teacher and faculty member, a strong supporter to his department in all respects,” said John Bear, former dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Physics professor Gemunu Gunaratne, a friend and colleague of Gorman’s for more than two decades, described Gorman as a wise and helpful mentor to younger physics faculty. In fact, when Gunaratne was hired, Gorman informally advised him on the ins-and-outs of the tenure process, Gunaratne said. “Michael was very good about taking a new faculty member under his wing and helping to guide them towards tenure,” Gunaratne said. “He could be brutally honest, and we appreciated that.” Gorman also had an energetic, animated teaching style that made him popular among undergraduates, Gunaratne added. “Mike was a very funny, dynamic person,” he said.

The devoted scientist and teacher showed no signs of slowing down. Just days before his death, he chatted with Gunaratne for an hour, excitedly sharing some new research developments. Gorman had also taken an interested in alternative energy and energy policy and planned to teach a new energy course in the fall.

Gorman’s funeral was held in St. Louis, where he was born. An on-campus memorial service was held Jan. 16 at the A.D. Bruce Religion Center.

He joined the UH faculty in 1981 and was promoted to full professor in 1999. He was a leading researcher in the experimental study of flame and chaotic dynamics. Gorman was also active in campus affairs, previously serving as associate chair of the physics department and as a member of the faculty senate.
Gorman received a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago, as well as undergraduate and master’s degrees from Boston College and Purdue University, respectively.

“He was a very well-liked teacher, colleague and friend, and we’ll miss him very much,” said Larry Pinsky, chair of the physics department.

Michael was also a visiting assistant professor of physics at the University of Texas at Austin, 1980–1981.

Associate Professor, University of Houston 1987–present, Department of Physics
Assistant Professor, University of Houston 1981–1987, Department of Physics
Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Texas-Austin Fall 1980, Department of Physics
Postdoctoral Position (with Harry Swinney) University of Texas-Austin 1978–1980, Department of Physics
City College of New York 1976–1978, Department of Physics

PhD University of Chicago (with Stuart Solin) 1972–1976, Department of Physics
MS Purdue University 1970–1972, Department of Physics
BS Boston College 1966–1970, Department of Physics

August 94 Gordon Conference, Oscillations and Dynamical Instabilities in Chemical Systems
February 95 University of Toronto, Department of Chemistry
March 95 University of Southern Mississippi, Department of Chemistry
December 95 Nonlinear Chemical Dynamics Symposium, American Chemical Society Southwest Section Meeting


Experimental Observation of Ordered States in Cellular Flames, M. Gorman, M. el-Hamdi and K. A. Robbins, Comb. Sci. and Technol. 98, 37-45 (1994).

Chaotic Dynamics Near the Extinction Limit of a Pulsating Mode of a Premixed Flame on a Porous Plug Burner, M. Gorman. E. el-Hamdi and K. A. Robbins. Comb. Sci. and Technol. 98, 47-56 (1994).

Rotating and Modulated Rotating States in Cellular Flames, M. Gorman, C. F. Hamill, M. el-Hamdi and K. A. Robbins, Comb. Sci. and Technol. 98, 25-35 (1994).

Four Types of Chaotic Dynamics in Cellular Flames, M. Gorman, M. el-Hamdi and K. A. Robbins, Comb. Sci. and Technol. 98, 79-93 (1994).

Hopping Motion in Ordered States in Cellular Flames, M. Gorman, M. el-Hamdi and K. A. Robbins. Comb. Sci. and Technol. 98, 71-78 (1994).

Deterministic Chaos in Laminar Premixed Flames: E xperimental Classification of Chaotic Dynamics. M. el-Hamdi, M. Gorman and K. A. Robbins, in Proceedings of the International Conference on Pulsating Combustion, Comb. Sci. and Technol. 94, 87-1 01 (1 993).

Classification of High-Dimensional Chaotic Dynamics Using Power Spectra, M. Gorman in Second Annual Conference on Nonlinear Dynamical Analysis of the EEG, edited by B. Jansen and M. Brandt, (World Scientific, 1993), 3.

Dynamics of Twelve Representative Modes of Premixed Flames on Flat Circular Burners, K. A. Robbins, M. el-Hamdi and M. Gorman, University of Houston Technical Report Number 1, (November, 1992).

Spatiotemporal Chaotic Dynamics of Premixed Flames, M. Gorman, M. el-Hamdi, Proc. First Experimental Chaos Conference (World Scientific Publishing, 1992), 4n.

Michael A. Gorman


Gorman, Michael A. PhD, Friday, December 17, 2010.

Dear son of the late Aloysius and Elizabeth Gorman; dear brother of Maureen (Michael) Bartell, Ken (Darlene) and Kevin (Julie) Gorman; dear uncle, great-uncle, nephew, cousin, friend, colleague and teacher to many. Professor Gorman was a graduate of Saint Louis University High School, Boston College and University of Chicago. He held teaching and research positions at New York City College, University of Texas at Austin and for the last 25 years the University of Houston. Services: Memorial Mass at Annunciation Catholic Church (Elm and Glendale) Thursday, December 30, 10:30 a.m. Family will receive friends thirty minutes prior to Mass. Private interment. Memorial service will be held at the University of Houston Chapel at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Loyola Academy, 3851 Washington Blvd., St. Louis, MO. 63108 or St. Louis University High School appreciated.

Excerpted From: Night thoughts of a theoretical physicist
Michael Berry
H. H. Wills Physics Laboratory, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TL
(an unpublished tribute to John Ziman on his 75th birthday, April 2000)

“And now descending from the sublime to the mundane, science brings economic benefits. Some people, narrow of vision, call this ‘the real world’. There have been reports6 on physics-based industries showing how profitable they are, relative to others. I will not describe that in detail, but instead will give a small example from my own experience, to show the surprising ways such benefits might accrue. In one of his lovely films, David Attenborough showed insects floating on a sunlit pond, and pointed out their curious shadows: unlike more familiar shadows, these underwater ones have bright edges. The reason is that surface tension bends the water near where the insects float, and the light is sharply focused by these curved surfaces. This prompted a systematic study7 of bright shadows, including the similar ones cast on the bottoms of rivers by little whirlpools on the surface. In these shadows, the light focuses onto a ring. That was in 1983. The paper was noticed by Michael Gorman, a physicist at Houston.It inspired him to make a plastic lens of unusual shape, whose function is to mimic whirlpools with their ring focusing. He surprised me by announcing that he had patented this construction with the hope of profiting from it. For example, angioplastic surgeons were interested in shining a powerful laser through a tiny version of the lens, at the end of an optical fibre, and with the ring focus bore holes through blocked arteries. (At my time of life, this application is close to my heart.)”




Michael A. Gorman Photo Album

(Thanks to Margaret Eck for a number of the photos.)

Aloysius Thomas Gorman, Michael's father.

Elizabeth Wroble Gorman

Aloysius T. and Loretta Gorman

Gorman Family, Front row: L to R: Al Gorman, Marie Gorman (Al' sister)
Second Row: Emerson and Evie Gorman, grandparents of Michael Gorman.

Michael and his father, Aloysius Gorman
Gorman Family Picnic, Michael in back row, center, to the right of man in red tee shirt.
Michael at Boston College, 1970, Sub Turri Yearbook, second row, left end.