John Rosendahl

The Celebration of Life of John Rosendahl was held on Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. at UC Irvine's Rowland Hall, Room 101.

The event showcased videos and pictures of Rosendahl's life including performances of physics demonstrations.  Family members, colleagues, and friends had the opportunity to share memories. An informal reception followed in Reines Hall with music by Jim and Mary Kelley.

John Rosendahl, Instructional Programs Director in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, died in the early morning hours on Saturday, September 1, 2012.  Rosendahl joined UC Irvine’s Department of Physics and Astronomy in 1987. He had a passion for teaching and created memorable lecture-demonstrations that were seen by more than 50,000 UCI students, as well as taking physics assemblies to younger students at various school districts.

He received the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education in 1995. That same year, he developed and taught the Seminar in Teaching Physics, which is designed to help graduate students become more successful teachers and learn the communication skills needed for professional development.  This is now a required course for all first-year teaching assistants.

A Lasting Legacy
An annual event on the UCI campus, John Rosendahl’s Adventures in Physics, will provide K-12 students and the general public opportunities to increase their awareness of physics with exciting demonstrations and engaging hands-on activities from the Physics Assemblies program along with presentations on research breakthroughs taking place in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

To support the annual John Rosendahl’s Adventures in Physics, please click on the link below. Go to Tribute Information and select In Memory of, then insert John Rosendahl’s Adventures in Physics in the Name field.

You can also contact Marijana Lekousis, at or (949) 824-8111, or by mailing the UCI School of Physical Sciences Pledge Form. Your contributions will help provide transportation for students from low-income communities, and defray event expenses.



Elaine and Bob Falkenstein

We are posting below a letter that we had previously sent to Linda and Kai in fond remembrance of John.

Dear Linda and Kai,

The card we sent to you doesn’t do justice to the emotions we feel with the loss of John, and we felt compelled to write you with our thoughts.

Over the years we became closer with John, mostly through our friendship with him at both the gym and many days climbing with him outdoors. Although both venues were memorable and fun, the outdoor experiences with John were the most special.

We all know what a graceful and accomplished climber he was, but in addition he always sought to share his skills and love of the sport with others. We were major beneficiaries of this aspect of John’s character. We became better climbers, but more than that, we became so much more appreciative of the whole outdoor experience, especially when out climbing with him.

No matter when we spent time with John, he always found the creative word-quips and puns in our conversations which resulted in even more fun. He and Elaine also shared a love of books and spent plenty of time discussing past and current reads.

One place that we never were able to share with John was his beloved Mammoth area. That was intended as a future trip for us. Although we know his favorite area was Clark Canyon, the climb that we targeted with John was to be Cathedral Peak in Tuolumne… not a particularly difficult climb, but a climb that we knew would be a wonderful and memorable experience with John.

During our times with him, John often spoke of you both, and most recently expressed such pride in Kai for his academic accomplishments and for the fine young man he has become.

We’ve always believed that the measure of a person can be found in the quality of those who are counted among his friends. John was truly blessed with wonderful friends and family and they all are better for having known him.

You are both in our hearts as we remember John and in our own way share your loss. He will surely be missed by so many.


Elaine and Bob

Mindy Johnson
friend & former staff member

Linda and Kai,
I remember when John came to the Physics Stock Room at UCI. He was such a breath of fresh air! When he found out I had studied Linguistics, he would always try a new riddle/pun/word puzzle out on me (usually stumping me!!). He took my husband Bill and me on a rock climbing trip to Mt. Roubidoux in Riverside, which ended with Bill falling and breaking the talus in his right foot!! Everything worked out fine in the end; Bill and I still laugh about it.
The three of you also came to our wedding in San Diego (Kai, I think you were promised a day at the beach afterwards). It meant a lot to both of us to have you all there.
What a privilege it was to know him. He truly enriched our lives.
Love, Mindy Johnson and Bill Wright