In Memory of Markus Zahn


In Memoriam Markus Zahn

Markus Zahn, the Emeritus Massachusetts Institute of Technology Thomas and Gerd Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, died at the age of 75 years in Mission Viejo, California, United States, on March 12, 2022.

Markus received a bachelor of science degree in engineering, master’s degree, and doctor of science degree (DSc) in 1970 from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He spent eight years as a professor at the University of Florida, returning to MIT in 1980. Markus’s research in electrodynamics encompassed his broad interests and spanned numerous fields ranging from the theoretical to the practical, including applying a magnetic process for oil clean up and advancing battery technology. Garnering recognition for his contributions to the field of electrical engineering, he became a Fellow of the IEEE in 1993 for “contributions to the understanding of the effects of space charge and flow electrification on the conduction and breakdown properties of dielectrics,” was the 1998 J. B. Whitehead Memorial Lecturer of the Conference on Electrical Insulation and Dielectric Phenomena, and was awarded the Paris Sciences Scholar ESPCI Medal in 2000.

Markus was very active in the dielectrics and electrical insulation community. He served on the Conference on Electrical Insulation and Dielectric Phenomena (CEIDP) board from 1978 to 1980 and 1998 to 2000, and he held several CEIDP organizing positions. He was a member of the IEEE Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society (DEIS) Administrative Committee (AdCom) from 1989 to 1994, chaired the DEIS Technical Committee on Liquid Dielectrics from 1985 to 2006, was a member of the DEIS Technical Committee on Space Charge from 1995 to 2005, and served as an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Electrical Insulation/Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation (TDEI) for 40 years.

He was a member of the MIT Humanitarian Demining Group and successfully completed the Deminers Orientation Course at the Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate Countermine Division at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, in 1998.

Markus, with MIT EECS student Cory Lorenz (’03), was one of the winners of the November 2002 American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics Gallery of Fluid Motion with video titled “Hele-Shaw Ferrodydrodynamics for Rotating and Axial Magnetic Fields.”

At home, Markus collected stamps and enjoyed bicycling, baseball, good food, and time with his family. Markus and Linda shared a love of travel and were able to visit much of the world. Markus is survived by Linda, his wife of 52 years; his daughter Laura Zahn (Alex Richter); his son Daniel Zahn (Marie O’Neill); his son Jeffrey Zahn (Lisa Muchnicki), and his daughter Amy Terrell (David Terrell). He leaves seven grand- children, Sophia Zahn, Audrey Zahn, Nicholas Zahn, Elliot Richter, Juliana Zahn, Ryan Terrell, and Logan Terrell; niece Emily Halpern; and nephew Simon Halpern. Markus will be sorely missed by all who loved him.

Abderrahmane Beroual and Frank Hegeler