Profile: John Rollino

Director, Undergraduate Physics

Department of Physics

Research: Interests: Low temperature thermodynamics, microcomputer-based physics laboratory.

Professor John Rollino

October 11, 1944- October 30, 2016

Dr. John Rollino, Director of the Undergraduate Physics Program at Rutgers Newark, a master teacher, beloved colleague and friend, died suddenly at his home in Bloomfield on Sunday night, October 30, 2016, at the age of 72.  He is survived by his wife Florence of nearly 47 years, his sons John and Daniel, daughter-in-law Michele and grandchildren Ava and Caleigh.

John was a gifted and skilled experimental scientist.  He was born and raised in Brooklyn New York and attended St. Francis High School and St. Francis College of Brooklyn. In 1969, after only 3 years he completed his PhD studies in Physical Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Since that time, his professional career was dedicated to teaching, and sharing his passion for science with generations of students.

From MIT he returned to St. Francis College where he became Assistant Professor of Physics and Chemistry, and director of the laboratories. In 1984 he moved to Uppsala College in East Orange New Jersey, where he was a Professor of Physics and Chemistry as well as Chair of their Division of Natural Science and Mathematics, until 1995, when declining enrollments and financial difficulties forced Uppsala to close.

Uppsala’s demise led to Rutgers’ gain as John Rollino joined The Rutgers Newark Physics department; first to participate in its transition from using stop watches and meter sticks to an electronic sensor and microcomputer based teaching laboratory, becoming co-PI on a successful NSF grant funding that effort.

Following that project, he went on to manage our introductory laboratory classes and teach undergraduate physics courses, becoming Director of our Undergraduate Program.  He loved the laboratory course, and recognized that hands on learning would lead to deeper understanding of physical concepts.  To that end, he was constantly improving experiments and devising innovative experiments and demonstrations using new technologies.

This semester he was enthusiastically working with a Departmental team to redesign our laboratory space and to introduce a new generation of modern physics experiments.  He was also interacting with Rutgers’ Technology Transfer group on having his copyrighted laboratory manual put on-line for possible use at other institutions.

What was most important about John Rollino, however, was his gifted teaching that inspired thousands of students, enriching their lives and careers through the knowledge and appreciation of physics, the scientific method, and the interconnectivity of the natural sciences and mathematics.  His lectures were a joy to attend and included humor, practical examples, history and etymology alongside the important mathematical and physical concepts he was explaining. 

John deeply cared about our students and our community inside and outside of his labs and classrooms.  He was a mentor and advisor for many students and an advocate for all students through his dedicated work on numerous college committees including Scholastic Standards, Student Affairs, and Courses of Study.  He was a general advisor for incoming students for many years, and he always volunteered to represent the Physics Department at Open Houses and recruitment events.  He frequently was a volunteer Marshal at Commencements proudly carrying the College staff.   He also worked with high school students, acting as a judge for the Rutgers Academic Challenge, and for numerous science fairs.  And he served as a consultant to the State Department of Higher Education on mathematics and science issues.

John Rollino with his varied interests and stories was a marvelous person to know.  He and Florence loved music and were regular attendees at the NJPAC.  He was an environmentalist and served on the Crew of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.  He was a history buff and participated in archeological digs. He made his own wine under the label Chateau Rollino.  We at Rutgers Newark were privileged to have had him with us for the past 20+ years


  • Courses Taught

    General Physics

    University Physics

    Introductory Physics Laboratory

    Modern Physics


  • Education

    BS,   St. Francis College 1966

    PhD., Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1969