During a particularly severe winter storm, John Stull became Alfred University’s interim physics professor. At the time, the current professor, Dr. Natasha Renner, had been snowed into her home. As she was unable to teach at A.U. for a week, John (who was then attending graduate school for ceramic engineering) was enlisted to teach engineers physics. After the experience, he taught physics and astronomy at Alfred University for nearly thirty-four years.
“[Students who graduate from Alfred and pursue a higher education] always have this feeling of coming from a backwoods school. But we need to remember that this is the best college of ceramics in the Universe.” –John Stull
As the application of physics was something Dr. Stull worked with and taught often, he was able to employ his expertise at a convention in 1962. His invention, the “Stull-Ealing linear air track,” improved and cheapened the design of air-troughs. The track, which simulates low-friction, is used in physics instruction and has been marketed worldwide. By donating some of his air-track proceeds to Alfred University, John funded the construction of the observatory that now bears his name.