Michael Horne

Michael Horne of Dorchester died on January 19, 2019, a day after his 76th birthday. He was born and raised in Gulfport, Mississippi and attended the University of Mississippi, where he met his wife, Carole.  After receiving his B.S. in 1965, he studied at Boston University with Abner Shimony, where he completed his Ph.D. in Physics in 1970.

That fall he joined the faculty of Stonehill College where he taught until his death. He loved teaching, especially courses for non-Physics majors. One such course was Quantum Mechanics and Relativity, where he took joy in revealing the beauty and simplicity of physics to this broader community. When he received Stonehill’s Distinguished Faculty Award in 2001, the title of his address to the College was “Quantum Mechanics for Everyone.”

From his dissertation on, he was interested in the foundations of physics, especially of quantum mechanics. He first became known for his work in developing the CHSH (Clauser, Horne, Shimony,  Holt) Inequality,  an empirically testable form of a theorem by the Scottish physicist, John Bell.  Bell’s work countered arguments by Albert Einstein and others that “hidden variables” were required to explain the apparently strange predictions of quantum mechanics.  Throughout his career he collaborated with leading physicists in America and Europe–especially at Boston University, M.I.T (in Clifford Shull’s lab), CCNY (with Daniel Greenberger), and the University of Vienna (with Anton Zeilinger)– exploring the mysteries of quantum entanglement and challenging Einstein’s contention that what happens to one object could not be linked with what happens to another object at a distance. The term GHZ (Greenberger, Horne, Zeilinger) is now a standard designation for the fundamental entangled state of three quantum particles that is often cited in quantum mechanics textbooks. This research was described in the widely-praised book, The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn by Louisa Gilder.

Mike had a lifelong passion for music, especially jazz, and from his high school days he played jazz drums. He also loved cooking, movies, especially classic movies, and traveling. He is survived by his wife, Carole Horne, his sister Miriam Northrop of Memphis; his brother-in-law Paul Robinson, the widower of his sister Patsy Robinson, of Culman, AL; his sisters and brother-in-law Lynda (Hank) Thompson of Birmingham; Jennifer McKeown (Alice Defler); Larry McKeown (Paula Bright); Kate McKeown (Michael Bills), all of Boulder, CO; along with many nieces and nephews. There will be a private gathering at a later date. Donations in his memory can be made to The Jazz Foundation of America’s program, The Cause, helping jazz musicians in need of services:  https://jazzfoundation.org/the-cause/.