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Physics’ John Zasadzinski Renewed as Paul and Suzi Schutt Endowed Chair in Science

John Zasadzinski, Paul and Suzi Schutt Endowed Chair in Science and professor of physics, recently had his endowed chair renewed for another five-year term. The late Paul Schutt was an Illinois Tech alum, graduating with a degree in physics in 1955.

“To hold the title of Paul and Suzi Schutt Endowed Chair of Science has been a great honor and I am delighted to have been renewed for this position,” Zasadzinski said.

Zasadzinski, who was chair of the former Department of Biological, Chemical, and Physical Sciences from 2005–2010, has been a faculty member in the Department of Physics at Illinois Tech since 1982. During this time, he has been recognized for his excellence in teaching, voted by students as one of the top 10 teachers at Illinois Tech in 2009, and honored as the recipient of the Lewis College Junior Faculty teaching award.

“The Schutt family are strong proponents of STEM education at all levels,” Zasadzinski added. “I have tried to foster this by serving as research adviser to undergraduate and graduate students at IIT as well as to some local high school students. It has been especially gratifying to see some of the undergraduates use these research experiences to get National Science Foundation fellowships, receive prestigious internships, or enter top-notch graduate schools. These students will remember IIT as being important to their career.”

Two of Zasadzinski’s graduate students, Mattia Checchin and Martina Martinello, developed a breakthrough technology at Fermilab for particle accelerators using superconducting radiofrequency (SRF) cavities. This research has led to multiple invited talks at international conferences, awards, and other recognition.

One of his undergraduate students, Adam Denchfield, received a highly competitive internship at Argonne National Laboratory this summer. In all, Zasadzinski has been an undergraduate research adviser to 15 students in the past five years, and he won the Faculty Support for Undergraduate Research Award at the Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium in 2015.

Zasadzinski also has gained national and international visibility for his research. He is a fellow of the APS for his contributions to superconducting tunneling spectroscopy. His research group was among the first to observe two-band superconductivity in MgB2, and his studies of high temperature superconductors led to high-profile publications, including an article in Nature and eight others in Physical Review Letters.  Last year, Zasadzinski co-authored and edited the book Josephson Junctions: History, Devices and Applications (Pan Sanford). His published work has been cited over 3,900 times.

Zasadzinski earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Illinois Benedictine University in Lisle, IL, and a Ph.D. in physics from Iowa State University.