Since 1974 John Asmus has been a Research Physicist with the Institute for Pure and Applied Physical Sciences at UCSD. He earned his PhD from the California Institute of Technology (physics and quantum electronics) and was a co-founder of the Center for Art/Science Studies at UCSD. He has published 125 articles in professional journals (lasers, laser applications, plasma pinch technology, and art conservation) and holds 25 patents. During the past thirty years, Dr. Asmus introduced the use of holography, lasers, ultrasonic imaging, digital image processing, and nuclear magnetic resonance to art-conservation practice. He has applied these tools to the problems of divestment, analysis, interpretation, and presentation associated with diverse art-conservation activities including the Qin-Dynasty Terra Cotta Warriors of Xi'an, the Ice-Age paintings of Lascaux, and the discovery of the hidden Mona Lisa "pendant". He has also been instrumental in the founding of professional art-conservation societies. He was awarded the Rolex Laureate for Enterprise in 1990 and in listed in Who's Who in the World. He holds adjunct positions with the Universities of Liverpool and Crete and is on G-7, EU, and Acropolis advisory boards as well as editorial boards for the publishers Springer-Verlag and Elsevier. Prior to UCSD, he held positions at the US Naval Ordnance Laboratory, General Atomic, and the Institute for Defense Analyses as well as Vice President/Board Member of SAIC.
My research in lasers and plasma physics has led to the introduction of holography, lasers, ultrasonic imaging, digital image processing, and magnetic resonance imaging to the practice of art conservation. These technologies have been applied to the problems of divestment, analysis, interpretation, and presentation associated with diverse art-conservation activities. The most notable accomplishments emerging from these programs have been the polychrome recovery of the Emperor Qin Terra Cotta Army of Xi'an, the digital enhancement of Leonardo's Mona Lisa, and the restoration of the Whitney Museum's DeFeo masterpiece, The Rose. I have also been instrumental in the founding of international professional societies such as Lasers for the Conservation of Artworks (LACONA) and Associazone Italiana Prove Non Distruttive.
- Asmus, John F. "Plasma Pinchlamp Surface Preparation." Photometric Engineering of Sources and Systems 3140: 102-109 (1997).
- Asmus, John F. "Paul Gauguin and the Origin of Art Nouveau," Applications of Digital Image Processing XX 3164: 504-511 (1997).
- Asmus, John F. "Laser Restoration of the Medieval Sculpture of the Cremona Cathedral." ICALEO 1999 Proceedings, Vol. 87f, pp. 11-20 (1999).
- Asmus, John F. "Art in the Service of Science," Proceedings in Physics 100, Eds. K. Dickmann, C. Fotakis, and J. Asmus, pp. 1-8, Springer, Berlin (2005).
- Asmus, John F. "Serendipity, Punctuated," Proceedings in Physics 116, Eds. J Nimmrichter, W. Kautek, and M. Schreiner, pp. 1-9, Springer, Berlin (2007).