John J. Spokas, PhD

John J. Spokas, PhD



Emeritus – Physics

A 1952 physics graduate of St. Procopius College, Dr. Spokas continued his education at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, receiving M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. He completed his doctoral research under the supervision of nuclear magnetic resonance pioneer Charles P. Slichter in 1957. Following graduation, Dr. Spokas accepted a research position with RCA Laboratories in Princeton, NJ, working on investigations of solid-state materials using nuclear magnetic resonance techniques. In 1961, he returned to St. Procopius College to teach physics while also pursuing his research interests in the Materials Sciences Division of nearby Argonne National Laboratory. In 1970, Dr. Spokas became Research Professor and Director of the Physical Sciences Laboratory at St. Procopius with funding from the Atomic Energy Commission and its successor Department of Energy. The Physical Sciences Laboratory developed materials and instrumentation widely used for detection and characterization of ionizing radiation including the Spokas ionization chambers that were commercialized by Exradin, Inc., a company he co-founded. Spokas chambers are widely used by medical physicists for radiation dosimetry in cancer therapy. He continued in this position until 1986 when the laboratory was closed, and he returned to the classroom as Professor of Physics. He continued to teach until his retirement in 2001, at which time he was named Professor Emeritus.

The long-time Professor of Physics and researcher died on February 1, 2023.