Tribute to Prof. Jack H. Judy

We are sad to announce that Prof. Jack H. Judy passed away peacefully in his sleep Sunday, March 24, 2019 in the Haven Hospice center in Gainesville, Florida surrounded by his wife Bette and sons Jack and Michael.

Dr. Judy made many significant contributions to understanding the fundamental limitations of thin film media and developing ways to improve media performance. He was a pioneer in the observation of zig-zag domain walls at the edge of longitudinally recorded bits that cause transition noise and he showed they are partly caused by microstructure. Further work in media led to CoCr alloy structures and the use of C-N overcoats. He contributed to the demonstration of extraordinary properties in Co/Pd multilayers grown on indium-tin-oxide for use as perpendicular recording media. He also contributed to the understanding of thin films and magnetic materials for GMR recording sensors and magnetic random access memories.

Prof. Jack H. Judy

He consistently emphasized the sharing of knowledge and the education of students and fellow scientists. He authored more than 180 papers and directly supervised more than 50 students. Many of his students became leaders in the magnetics industry and in academia. He founded the Center for Micromagnetics and Information Technology (MINT) at the University of Minnesota. He was also one of the original founders of The Magnetic Recording Conference.

Dr. Judy received B.S.E.E and M.S.E.E. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the PhD degree from the University of Minnesota, where he was a professor since 1969. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Minnesota, he worked at the IBM Storage Systems Division in Boulder Colorado.

He received many external honors, including having been named a fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and receiving the Technical Achievement Award of the National Storage Industrial Consortium and the IEEE Magnetics Society 2008 Achievement Award for “contributions to the understanding and improvement of thin films for magnetic recording.”

Beginning as a student member of the Magnetics Society, Dr. Judy contributed his time and energy to the Society in many capacities. He served as chair of the Twin Cities section, as a Distinguished Lecturer, participated in the organizing of TMRC and PMRC conferences, and served on the Society’s Administrative Committee and the Distinguished Lecturer and Education committees. He was a Life Fellow of the IEEE.

Jack was our mentor and dear friend. We feel very fortunate to know him and work with him. The University of Minnesota is also proud to have had Jack as a professor and leader on magnetic recording technology and magnetic materials. He helped Minnesota become one of the few leaders on magnetic recording and magnetic materials research worldwide. 

(contributed by Jian-Ping Wang and Randall Victora, ECE Department, University of Minnesota)