Dr. Zlatko Tesanovic, Hopkins physics professor

Dr. Zlatko Tesanovic, a Johns Hopkins University physics professor who advised his visiting academic colleagues where they should eat in Baltimore, died of an apparent heart attack July 26 at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., after collapsing at Reagan National Airport. The Canton resident was 55.

Born in Sarajevo in what was then Yugoslavia, he earned his undergraduate degree in physics in 1979 from the University of Sarajevo. He then received a Fulbright Fellowship and attended the University of Minnesota, where he earned a doctorate in physics in 1985. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

The National Science Foundation awarded him a post-doctoral fellowship that enabled him to conduct research at Harvard University for two years.

He joined the Johns Hopkins' Department of Physics and Astronomy in July 1987. According to a biographical sketch prepared by the university, he delayed his arrival to conduct research at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. At Hopkins, he was promoted to associate professor in 1990 and to full professor with tenure in 1994.

Hopkins colleagues said Dr. Zlatko was an accomplished theoretical condensed matter physicist whose work primarily concerned high temperature superconductors and related materials. They said he worked on the theory and phenomenology of iron- and copper-based high temperature superconductors.

Dr. Tesanovic received many academic honors, including a David and Lucile Packard Foundation fellowship. He published more than 125 scientific papers. He received grants from the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, Hopkins colleagues said.

"He was a brilliant guy who was very eloquent and could put ideas into words in interesting and unique ways," said Daniel H. Reich, a professor in Hopkins' Department of Physics and Astronomy. "He was a real leader in the department and was always trying to attract good graduate students and faculty."

Dr. Tesanovic's duties included teaching graduate students. He regularly conducted a course in quantum mechanics. Friends said he was known for teaching in brightly colored Hawaiian print shirts.

"He held his students to high standards," said Dr. Reich, who lives in Baltimore. "His students regarded him as a very good teacher."

Friends at Hopkins said he was an academic leader in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and recently served as secretary of its Academic Council, the body that considers faculty governance and aspects of attaining tenure.

"He was a character, a funny man," said Dr. Reich. "He had a sharp wit and he called things as he saw them."

Dr. Reich said that Dr. Tesanovic embraced Baltimore and became something of an expert on its restaurants.

"He loved good food and was always able to get a table for friends when a restaurant was crowded," said Dr. Reich. "We never quite knew how he did it."

He also said that Dr. Tesanovic was a cultured man who read widely and was interested in politics. He followed sports and had a fascination with basketball.

"He was a loving and kind husband and father," said his wife, Ina Sarcevic, a professor of physics at the University of Arizona.

Family members said he also enjoyed cooking at home and often improvised his own recipes.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Arizona Inn in Tucson. Plans for another memorial service on the Homewood campus are incomplete.

In addition to his wife of 35 years, survivors include a daughter, Rachel Sarcevic-Tesanovic, a Johns Hopkins undergraduate; and a sister, Mirjana Tesanovic of Banja Luka, Bosnia.


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