3aPAb10. Recollections of acoustics at Brown University in the early fifties.

Session: Wednesday Morning, May 15

Time: 10:45

Author: S. A. Elder
Location: Phys. Dept., US Naval Acad., Annapolis, MD 21402


When I arrived at Brown in 1950, Bob Beyer, a young assistant professor, was already becoming well known as an acoustician. Within a year he was promoted to associate professor and took over the ``References'' section of JASA at the death of Arthur Tabor Jones. Having previously translated works in German, soon he had taught himself Russian and become known as the editor of JETP, the Russian translation journal. I took an ultrasonics course from him, about the time the milestone article on acoustic absorption by Markham, Beyer, and Lindsay came out in Reviews of Modern Physics. In those days Brown Physics was a powerhouse of expertise in acoustics, with three out of every four faculty members specializing in that field. In 1952 distinguished acousticians from around the world gathered at Brown for an ONR ultrasonics symposium. As the field of nonlinear acoustics began to evolve, Beyer, along with Lindsay, Nyborg, Westervelt, and their students, was busy exploring high amplitude effects such as anomalous absorption, acoustic streaming, and, later, scattering of sound by sound. All this took place in an ancient relic of a building called Wilson Hall, with an attic full of dusty apparatus left from a departed 19th century department chairman, and a basement full of great, mosquito-infested ultrasonic water tanks.

from ASA 131st Meeting, Indianapolis, May 1996