Professor Richard Hornreich (or Dick as he was known to his friends and colleagues) was a leading theorist of solid state physics, statistical mechanics and liquid crystals in the Weizmann Institute of Science Electronics Department, which subsequently became the Department of Physics of Complex Systems.

Hornreich grew up in the Bronx section of New York City. He received the BSc and MSc degrees in 1959 and the EE degree in 1961 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), all in Electrical Engineering. After two years in USA industry, he became a doctoral student at the Weizmann Institute of Science, where he received the PhD in Physics in 1967. He then returned to the USA joining an industrial research laboratory as a specialist in the design and development of a novel magneto acoustic computer memory system. In 1970 he joined the academic staff of Weizmann Institute of Science.

Hornreich’s research interests covered a wide range of topics in condensed matter physics with many ground-breaking contributions. These included his work on magnetic systems and phase transitions, where the elegant theory of the Lifshitz point was developed, and has been successfully exploited in nematic and smectic liquid crystals. He played a prominent role in the pioneering developments of the cholesteric phase and the blue phase models of liquid crystals. He made significant contributions in critical phenomena, melting in reduced dimensionality, the existence of photonic band gaps in structures of specific symmetry, and boundary layer order transitions in nematogenic systems.

He established collegial research efforts with many scientists (most notably Shmuel (Mula) Shtrikman), co-authored about two hundred scientific presentations, and directed numerous students. His awards included the Beldon Prize Medal, Miphal Hapais Prize and the Leedy Memorial Award. He served in several administrative capacities including Dean of the Feinberg Graduate School (1984-1989), Chairman of the Electronics Department (1990-1993), and Chairman of the of the Council of Professors Committee (1991-1993).

Despite his many achievements, Hornreich remained always unassuming, gentle and considerate. He was an esteemed mentor to many students and colleagues. Besides his scientific work, he participated in many community activities. He is survived by his wife Geraldine, son Harry, and daughters Eileen and Deborah.