George Edward Alcorn, Jr. was born in 1940. He received a four-year academic scholarship to Occidental College in Los Angeles, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physics. He received his degree with honors while earning eight letters in basketball and football. George Alcorn earned a Master of Science in Nuclear Physics in 1963 from Howard University, after nine months of study. During the summers of 1962 and 1963, George Alcorn worked as a research engineer for the Space Division of North America Rockwell. He was involved with the computer analysis of launch trajectories and orbital mechanics for Rockwell missiles, including the Titan I and II, Saturn IV, and the Nova.
In 1967 George Alcorn earned a Ph.D. in Atomic and Molecular Physics from Howard University. Between 1965-67 Alcorn conducted research on negative ion formation under a NASA-sponsored grant. Dr. Alcorn holds eight patents in the United States and Europe on semiconductor technology, one of which is a method of fabricating an imaging X-ray spectrometer. His area of research includes: adaptation of chemical ionization mass spectrometers for the detection of amino acids and development of other experimental methods for planetary life detection; classified research involved with missile reentry and missile defense; design and building of space instrumentation, atmospheric contaminant sensors, magnetic mass spectrometers, mass analyzers; and development of new concepts of magnet design and the invention of a new type of x-ray spectrometer.