Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA 02139
Thomas and Gerd Perkins Professor of Electrical Engineering
Director, VI-A Internship Program
Markus Zahn was born in Bergen-Belsen, Germany on December 3, 1946. He came to the United States with his parents in 1949 and became a naturalized US citizen in 1955. He received the BSEE and MSEE degrees in 1968 as part of the VI-A Internship Program where he worked as an intern at Raytheon Co., the Electrical Engineers degree in 1969, and the Sc.D. degree in 1970, all from the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1970-1980 he was a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He spent the 1972 summer as a Guest Worker at the National Bureau of Standards and spent his 1976-77 sabbatical year in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. He joined the MIT faculty in 1980 and is now Professor of Electrical Engineering working in the Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems and in the MIT High Voltage Research Laboratory. He is also the Director of the MIT Course VI-A Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Internship Program, a cooperative work/study program with Industry.
For the 1992-93 academic year he was on sabbatical at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Laboratoire D'Electrostatique et de Materiaux Dielectriques and at l'Universite Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France and also briefly a Visiting Professor for July, 1993 at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel; and at Universite de Poitiers, Laboratoire de Physique et Mecaniques des Fluides, Poitiers, France for parts of the 1996 and 2001 summers. For the 1999-2000 academic year he was on sabbatical leave at the Department of Electrical Engineering of the Kyushu Institute of Technology, Kitakyushu, Japan (1 month); at the Ecole Centrale de Lyon CNRS Centre de Genie Electrique de Lyon (CEGELY) in Lyon, France (3 months) and at the Ecole Superieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielle (ESPCI) in Paris, France (3 months). For this last appointment he was a Paris Sciences Scholar for 2000 and received the ESPCI medal.
He is the author of ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD THEORY: A Problem Solving Approach (Wiley, 1979; Krieger, 1987; including translations in Spanish and Polish) and has co-developed a set of educational videotapes on Demonstrations of Electromagnetic Fields and Energy. He is co-inventor on patents for elimination of parasitic currents in batteries; a fluid stabilization method using magnetic fluids so that a less viscous fluid can stably push a more viscous fluid; an instrument for measurement of charge entrained in fluids; a process for magnetic media milling; a magnetometer and dielectrometer for detection, identification and discrimination of metallic and non-metallic buried objects such as landmines; the optimization, calibration, and display of dielectrometry signals; for field assisted ion mobility spectrometry; and pending patents on a detection array for buried objects such as landmines and a method for magnetically assisted assembly of integrated circuit wafers. His fields of research and interest include electro-optical field and charge mapping measurements; high-voltage charge transport and breakdown phenomena in dielectrics; flow electrification phenomena in electric power apparatus; development of capacitive and inductive sensors for measuring profiles of dielectric, conduction, and magnetic properties of media as well as related physical properties such as moisture profiles; electrohydrodynamic and electrokinetic interactions with charged and polarizable fluids; ferrohydrodynamic interactions with magnetizable fluids; continuum electromechanics of electrofluidized and magnetically stabilized beds; magnetic diffusion phenomena and forces in MAGLEV systems; and magnetic field devices for micro and nanoelectromechanical system (MEMS/NEMS) applications. He is also developing web based demonstrations and animations for the enriched teaching of electromagnetism.
Professor Zahn is the Thomas and Gerd Perkins Professor of Electrical Engineering for the period of Sept. 1, 2000-August 30, 2005. He has served on the MIT Faculty Committee on the Library System since Sept. 1999 and is the Committee Chairman for 2001-2004. He has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching, including the MIT Graduate Student Council Teaching Award in 1989 and the MIT Frank E. Perkins award for excellence in graduate student advising in 1999. He has been very active in IEEE Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society activities and conferences, presently serving as an Associate Editor of the Transactions and Chairman of the Liquid Dielectrics Committee.
He is a Fellow of the IEEE for "contributions to the understanding of the effects of space charge and flow electrification on the conduction and breakdown properties of dielectrics", and was the 1998 J.B. Whitehead Memorial Lecturer of the Conference on Electrical Insulation and Dielectric Phenomena with a published lecture entitled: "Optical, Electrical, and Electromechanical Measurement Methodologies of Field, Charge, and Polarization in Dielectrics" [IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation, Vol. 5, No. 5, October, 1998, pp.627-650]. He serves on the Academic Advisory Board of the W.M. Keck Laboratory for Electro-Hydrodynamics of Suspensions at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and was a member of the National Academies Naval Studies Board Committee for Mine Warfare Assessment in 2000-2001. He is also a co-author of the committee report "Naval Mine Warfare, Operational and Technical Challenges for Naval Forces," National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 2001. Prof. Zahn 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.
Prof. Zahn with MIT EECS student Cory Lorenz ('03) were one of the winners of the November, 2002 American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics Gallery of Fluid Motion with video entitled "Hele-Shaw Ferrodydrodynamics for Rotating and Axial Magnetic Fields."
Professor Zahn lives in Lexington, Massachusetts with his wife Linda. They have 4 grown children and two grand-daughters. Professor Zahn collects US postage stamps, hikes and bicycles, enjoys international travel, and because of his sabbaticals in France continues French language studies.