Anthony J. Tuzzolino (1931-2008)

Tuzzolino, Anthony J. age 76, beloved husband of the late Nancy (nee Losito), loving father of Nancy and Sam; dear brother of Connie (Frank) McDonnell and the late Frank Tuzzolino; fond uncle of many nieces and nephews; loving son of the late Sam and Lucille Tuzzolino. Retired physicist who worked at the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research at the University of Chicago. Funeral Saturday, 9:30 am from Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home, 6150 N. Cicero Ave. to Queen of All Saints Basilica for Mass at 10:00 a.m. Entombment Queen of Heaven Mausoleum. Visitation Friday, 2 to 9 p.m. Donations to American Cancer Society would be appreciated. or 773-736-3833.

Sun Times, January 11, 2008.

Anthony Tuzzolino: 1931 - 2008
Space-age physicist taught at U. of C.
Helped design, build cosmic ray detectors

Chicago Tribune, February 01, 2008
By Trevor Jensen

Anthony Tuzzolino helped design and build more than 40 devices that were shot into space to deliver data on cosmic rays and other interplanetary phenomena.

Dr. Tuzzolino, 76, died of complications from lung cancer Wednesday, Jan. 9, at his north suburban home, said his daughter Nancy. Dr. Tuzzolino received a doctorate degree in physics from the University of Chicago in 1957 and went on to spend his entire career at the Hyde Park school, retiring in 2006 as a senior scientist with the school’s Enrico Fermi Institute.

Studying and later working with pioneering U. of C. scientist John Simpson,Dr. Tuzzolino helped develop cosmic ray detectors and cosmic dust sensors at the U. of C.’s Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research.

With Simpson, Dr. Tuzzolino built an instrument that was aboard the Pioneer 2 satellite in 1958. In the early 1970s, the scientists developed instruments that were aboard the Pioneer 10 space probe, the first craft to visit Jupiter. Detectors designed by Dr. Tuzzolino and his team were also the first to reach Mercury and Mars, according to the U. of C.

In a statement issued by the university, Ed Stone, who as a graduate student studied with Dr. Tuzzolino and later was director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, called his one-time professor “a pioneer of the space age.”

“Data from his detectors yielded numerous scientific discoveries and started many students on their careers in research,” Stone said in the statement

Dr. Tuzzolino’s parents were Italian immigrants who lived on the North Side His father worked a variety of jobs and for many years was a barber. Mr. Tuzzolino graduated from Lane Tech High School and went to U. of C. with the intention of becoming a medical doctor, his daughter said.

But he took a physics class and fell under Simpson’s influence, paving the way for his career in space science.

At home, Dr. Tuzzolino rarely spoke about his work, his daughter said. “He was really turned on by it, but he really didn’t expect anyone else to be turned on by it,” she said.

Mr. Tuzzolino’s wife, Nancy, died in 1997. He is also survived by a son, Sam; and a sister, Connie McDonnell.

See also this University of Chicago News Release.

A Symposium was held on May 12, 2006 to honor Tony Tuzzolino's retirement from LASR. A web page describes and links to pictures taken on that day.

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Page last updated: February 14, 2011