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9 August 2016

Longtime magnet designer retires

Denis Markiewicz, pictured with the 32 tesla all-superconducting magnet, retires this week after 25 years at the lab. Denis Markiewicz, pictured with the 32 tesla all-superconducting magnet, retires this week after 25 years at the lab. Stephen Bilenky

This week at the lab, the staff bids farewell to a scientist who joined the lab even before there was a building to work in.

William Denis Markiewicz, who goes by his middle name, has worked a quarter century in the MagLab’s Magnet Science & Technology department, a career book-ended by two flagship magnets that he designed.

Markiewicz was recruited by the brand new lab to oversee design and construction of the world-record 900 MHz Ultra-Wide Bore NMR spectrometer magnet.

Markiewicz vividly remembers those heady first years.

"I thought that I would be part of something brand new, and part of all of the excitement and high expectations that come with the start of something new," he said. "And I was not disappointed."

Now 11 years old, the famed 900 MHz magnet enabled nearly 70 publications on health-related discoveries in its first decade — and is still going strong.

Markiewicz departs the lab just as another magnet he designed, the 32 tesla all-superconducting magnet, is in its final stages of testing. Projected to smash magnet records and enable exciting new science in the years ahead, it uses novel high-temperature superconductors that generate stronger magnetic fields than conventional low-temperature superconductors.

The 32 tesla magnet program, said Markiewicz, "is an example of a very large and capable team at the MagLab working together to produce something that is very unique. There is no other facility now that is capable of doing this."

Among other highlights of his career, Markiewicz received the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers‘ Award for Continuing and Significant Contributions in the Field of Large Scale Applications of Superconductivity in 2015, and Florida State University's Distinguished Scholar Award in 2008.


Text by Kristen Coyne. Photo by Stephen Bilenky.

Last modified on 30 September 2016