In Memoriam: Joseph W. Haus, Former Program Director and Professor of Electro-Optics in the School of Engineering

By Kelly Mofield, School of Engineering

Over a 35-year career, nearly 20 of which were spent at the University of Dayton, internationally recognized physicist and researcher, Joseph W. Haus, impacted both the field of electro-optics and photonics and the lives of students he mentored.

Haus died Friday, Jan. 11, after a brief illness. He was 70.

“The sudden passing of Joe Haus has shocked and saddened the entire School of Engineering family,” said Eddy Rojas, dean of the School. “He will always be remembered as a kind, generous and sensitive individual who was devoted to his family, his life’s work and his students.”

“Dr. Haus was a great physicist with a humble heart,” said Yiyi Guan, who received his doctorate under Dr. Haus in 2004. “As his student, I was inspired by his passions for science and innovation. His loving and caring for the students touched our hearts greatly, and has changed the lives of many. The world lost a bright star, but Dr. Haus lives in our hearts forever.”

Haus came to the University in 1999 to direct the electro-optics graduate program, now the Department of Electro-Optics and Photonics, after 15 years as an associate professor and professor of physics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

He earned bachelor's and master’s degrees in physics from John Carroll University in Cleveland and a doctorate in statistical physics from Catholic University of America. His research focused on nanophotonics (the behavior of light at the nanoscale), which plays a key role in fields ranging from laser communication to biochemistry to electronic displays and imaging.

In 2006, he wrote the proposal to establish the LADAR and Optical Communications Institute (LOCI) with a $3.2 million grant from the Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate and became its director.

A prolific researcher and international collaborator, Haus has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed articles, 150 conference proceedings and two books, including 2017’s Fundamentals of Nonlinear Optics textbook (second edition). He was a fellow of three prestigious international optics societies — OSA, SPIE and APS — and editor of several journals in the field.

Haus won awards for his teaching and mentored 20 master’s and 10 doctoral students through the electro-optics program.

“In Dr. Haus, one can find the qualities of a true mentor, scholar and scientist,” said Partha Banerjee, chair of the Department of Electro-Optics and Photonics. “He was also the epitome of humbleness, simplicity and austerity and will be greatly missed.”

Haus and his wife of 48 years, Jean, are the parents of six children — Alison, Michelle, Paul, Karin, Thomas and Monica.

Visitation will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception with a Mass following at 11 a.m. The family will hold a reception with light refreshments from noon to 3 p.m. in Kennedy Union ballroom. Students and members of the greater UD community are invited to attend. Tobias Funeral Home – Beavercreek Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

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