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Riding the Waves:A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry

Cover Image Copyright Year: 2008
Author(s): Beranek, L.
Publisher: MIT Press
Content Type : Books & eBooks
Topics: Communication, Networking & Broadcasting ;  Components, Circuits, Devices & Systems ;  Computing & Processing (Hardware/Software) ;  Engineering Profession ;  General Topics for Engineers (Math, Science & Engineering)
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Abstract

Leo Beranek, an Iowa farm boy who became a Renaissance man--scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, musician, television executive, philanthropist, and author--has lived life in constant motion. His seventy-year career, through the most tumultuous and transformative years of the last century, has always been propelled by the sheer exhilaration of trying something new. In Riding The Waves, Leo Beranek tells his story. Beranek's life changed direction on a summer day in 1935 when he stopped to help a motorist with a flat tire. The driver just happened to be a former Harvard professor of engineering, who guided the young Beranek toward a full scholarship at Harvard's graduate school of engineering. Beranek went on to be one of the world's leading experts on acoustics. He became Director of Harvard's Electro-Acoustic Laboratory, where he invented the Hush-A-Phone--a telephone accessory that began the chain of regulatory challenges and lawsuits that led ultimately to the breakup of the Bell Telephone monopoly in the 1980s. Beranek moved to MIT to be a professor and Technical Director of its Acoustics Laboratory, then left academia to found the acoustical consulting firm Bolt, Beranek and Newman. Known for his work in noise control and concert acoustics, Beranek devised the world's largest muffler to quiet jet noise and served as acoustical consultant for concert halls around the world (including the Tanglewood Music Shed, the storied summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra). As president of BBN, he assembled the software group that invented both the ARPANET, the forerunner of the Internet, and e-mail. In the 1970s, Beranek risked his life savings to secure the license to operate a television station; he turned Channel 5 in Boston into one of the country&# 39;s best, then sold it to Metromedia in 1982 for the highest price ever paid up to that time for a broadcast station. "One central lesson I've learned is the value of risk-taking and of moving on when risks turn into busts or odds look better elsewhere," Beranek writes. Riding The Waves is a testament to the boldness, diligence, and intelligence behind Beranek's lifetime of extraordinary achievement. Leo Beranek is a pioneer in acoustical research, known for his work in noise control and the acoustics of concert halls, and the author of twelve books on these topics. The many awards he has received include the Presidential National Medal of Science, presented in 2003.

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      Frontmatter

      Beranek, L.
      Riding the Waves:A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry

      Page(s): i - xi
      Copyright Year: 2008

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Half title, Title, Copyright, Contents, Prologue View full abstract»

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      Iowa and Beyond: From Bumblebees to Ivy

      Beranek, L.
      Riding the Waves:A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry

      Page(s): 1 - 23
      Copyright Year: 2008

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: School, Family, Farm Life, Friendships, A Tragedy, Then Winds of Change, Passageways to the Future, Exercise in Self-Sufficiency, The Outside World Beckons, College High Jinks, Radio Electronics—A Hobby Becomes a Vocation, A Momentous Encounter, Wrapping Up at Cornell View full abstract»

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      Harvard: Shaping the Future

      Beranek, L.
      Riding the Waves:A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry

      Page(s): 25 - 45
      Copyright Year: 2008

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Feeling My Way, Proving Myself, An Inaugural Research Project, Balancing the Personal and the Academic, The Big Storm, At Harvard, the Second Year, At Last, a Project of My Own, New Opportunities, The Real Test, Transitions View full abstract»

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      Wartime: Communications and Kamikazes

      Beranek, L.
      Riding the Waves:A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry

      Page(s): 47 - 75
      Copyright Year: 2008

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: A New Federal Project, A Budgetary Surprise, Harvard's Reaction, Assembling a Staff, Off to the West Coast, The Work Starts, “Eureka!” Moments, Lunching with Eleanor Roosevelt—Twice, Full Steam Ahead, Another Priority Request, From Airplane Communications to Navy Ships, Neutralizing the Kamikazes, The Systems Research Laboratory, The War Ends View full abstract»

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      MIT, Teaching, Writing, AT&T, and Traveling

      Beranek, L.
      Riding the Waves:A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry

      Page(s): 77 - 101
      Copyright Year: 2008

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Getting Started, Outside Ventures, The Academic Circuit, New Directions, The Acoustical Society of America, Housing and Home Life, Teaching and Consulting, Research and Industry Ties: The Bell System, Work, Play, and a Mix of Each, The International Circuit—Professional Connections View full abstract»

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      Bolt Beranek & Newman, the United Nations, Big Noise, and the Internet

      Beranek, L.
      Riding the Waves:A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry

      Page(s): 103 - 124
      Copyright Year: 2008

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Partners in Business, A Key Opportunity, A Reputation in Ascendance, Where to Go with BBN: Options and Challenges in the Digital Age, A Foreign Subsidiary, Back to School, Origins of the Internet, Experiments in Management View full abstract»

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      Muffling the Jet Age

      Beranek, L.
      Riding the Waves:A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry

      Page(s): 125 - 139
      Copyright Year: 2008

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: The First Boeing Tests, A New Assessment Scale: Perceived Noise Level in Decibels, French and British Aircraft, Boeing Again, and Now Pan American, A Final Decision on Noise Standards, The Reports, The Jet Age Begins View full abstract»

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      Music, Acoustics, and Architecture

      Beranek, L.
      Riding the Waves:A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry

      Page(s): 141 - 163
      Copyright Year: 2008

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Acoustical Detective Work, Fresh Momentum, Opportunity of a Lifetime: The Lincoln Center Project, Seeking Perfection with Field Surveys, Tackling the Tanglewood Music Shed, Tell It in a Book, Boston's Symphony Hall: A Model Precedent, Design under Way: Philharmonic Hall, Opening Night Debacle, A Vendetta, on the Heels of a Misunderstanding, A Fresh Start View full abstract»

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      America's Best TV Station

      Beranek, L.
      Riding the Waves:A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry

      Page(s): 165 - 192
      Copyright Year: 2008

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Emergent Strategies, License Application and the First Round of Hearings, The Decision: Bad News, Legal Appeal, We Win!, A New Relationship with Bolt Beranek & Newman, Developing a Solid Base for Boston Broadcasters, The Ever- Present, Plodding Legal System, Technical Hurdles, Spreading Myself a Bit Thin, Focus on Boston Broadcasters, The Battle Grows Ugly and Very Public, We Are Granted a Construction Permit, Network, Staff, and Union Issues, Confusion and Conflict, Staying Calm with the Roof Falling In?, Our First Transmission, A Happy Ending?, A Final Skirmish, A Gut-Wrenching Day, On the Air'Officially View full abstract»

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      Family, Nonprofits, and Variety

      Beranek, L.
      Riding the Waves:A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry

      Page(s): 193 - 211
      Copyright Year: 2008

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: On the Domestic Front, Ventures in the Arts and Nonprofit Management, Family, Old and New, global Wanderings, Harvard, Again, Vision, Innovation, and the Unpredictable Cycles of Entrepreneurship, A Healthy Life View full abstract»

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      Art + Physics = Beautiful Music

      Beranek, L.
      Riding the Waves:A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry

      Page(s): 213 - 228
      Copyright Year: 2008

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Opera House, Concert Hall, Other Halls, Halls Outside the City View full abstract»

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      Epilogue

      Beranek, L.
      Riding the Waves:A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry

      Page(s): 229 - 230
      Copyright Year: 2008

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Leo Beranek, an Iowa farm boy who became a Renaissance man--scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, musician, television executive, philanthropist, and author--has lived life in constant motion. His seventy-year career, through the most tumultuous and transformative years of the last century, has always been propelled by the sheer exhilaration of trying something new. In Riding The Waves, Leo Beranek tells his story. Beranek's life changed direction on a summer day in 1935 when he stopped to help a motorist with a flat tire. The driver just happened to be a former Harvard professor of engineering, who guided the young Beranek toward a full scholarship at Harvard's graduate school of engineering. Beranek went on to be one of the world's leading experts on acoustics. He became Director of Harvard's Electro-Acoustic Laboratory, where he invented the Hush-A-Phone--a telephone accessory that began the chain of regulatory challenges and lawsuits that led ultimately to the breakup of the Bell Telephone monopoly in the 1980s. Beranek moved to MIT to be a professor and Technical Director of its Acoustics Laboratory, then left academia to found the acoustical consulting firm Bolt, Beranek and Newman. Known for his work in noise control and concert acoustics, Beranek devised the world's largest muffler to quiet jet noise and served as acoustical consultant for concert halls around the world (including the Tanglewood Music Shed, the storied summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra). As president of BBN, he assembled the software group that invented both the ARPANET, the forerunner of the Internet, and e-mail. In the 1970s, Beranek risked his life savings to secure the license to operate a television station; he turned Channel 5 in Boston into one of the country&# 39;s best, then sold it to Metromedia in 1982 for the highest price ever paid up to that time for a broadcast station. "One central lesson I've learned is the value of risk-taking and of moving on when risks turn into busts or odds look better elsewhere," Beranek writes. Riding The Waves is a testament to the boldness, diligence, and intelligence behind Beranek's lifetime of extraordinary achievement. Leo Beranek is a pioneer in acoustical research, known for his work in noise control and the acoustics of concert halls, and the author of twelve books on these topics. The many awards he has received include the Presidential National Medal of Science, presented in 2003. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Acknowledgments

      Beranek, L.
      Riding the Waves:A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry

      Page(s): 231
      Copyright Year: 2008

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Leo Beranek, an Iowa farm boy who became a Renaissance man--scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, musician, television executive, philanthropist, and author--has lived life in constant motion. His seventy-year career, through the most tumultuous and transformative years of the last century, has always been propelled by the sheer exhilaration of trying something new. In Riding The Waves, Leo Beranek tells his story. Beranek's life changed direction on a summer day in 1935 when he stopped to help a motorist with a flat tire. The driver just happened to be a former Harvard professor of engineering, who guided the young Beranek toward a full scholarship at Harvard's graduate school of engineering. Beranek went on to be one of the world's leading experts on acoustics. He became Director of Harvard's Electro-Acoustic Laboratory, where he invented the Hush-A-Phone--a telephone accessory that began the chain of regulatory challenges and lawsuits that led ultimately to the breakup of the Bell Telephone monopoly in the 1980s. Beranek moved to MIT to be a professor and Technical Director of its Acoustics Laboratory, then left academia to found the acoustical consulting firm Bolt, Beranek and Newman. Known for his work in noise control and concert acoustics, Beranek devised the world's largest muffler to quiet jet noise and served as acoustical consultant for concert halls around the world (including the Tanglewood Music Shed, the storied summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra). As president of BBN, he assembled the software group that invented both the ARPANET, the forerunner of the Internet, and e-mail. In the 1970s, Beranek risked his life savings to secure the license to operate a television station; he turned Channel 5 in Boston into one of the country&# 39;s best, then sold it to Metromedia in 1982 for the highest price ever paid up to that time for a broadcast station. "One central lesson I've learned is the value of risk-taking and of moving on when risks turn into busts or odds look better elsewhere," Beranek writes. Riding The Waves is a testament to the boldness, diligence, and intelligence behind Beranek's lifetime of extraordinary achievement. Leo Beranek is a pioneer in acoustical research, known for his work in noise control and the acoustics of concert halls, and the author of twelve books on these topics. The many awards he has received include the Presidential National Medal of Science, presented in 2003. View full abstract»

    • Full text access may be available. Click article title to sign in or learn about subscription options.

      Degrees, Awards, and Honors

      Beranek, L.
      Riding the Waves:A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry

      Page(s): 233 - 235
      Copyright Year: 2008

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      Leo Beranek, an Iowa farm boy who became a Renaissance man--scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, musician, television executive, philanthropist, and author--has lived life in constant motion. His seventy-year career, through the most tumultuous and transformative years of the last century, has always been propelled by the sheer exhilaration of trying something new. In Riding The Waves, Leo Beranek tells his story. Beranek's life changed direction on a summer day in 1935 when he stopped to help a motorist with a flat tire. The driver just happened to be a former Harvard professor of engineering, who guided the young Beranek toward a full scholarship at Harvard's graduate school of engineering. Beranek went on to be one of the world's leading experts on acoustics. He became Director of Harvard's Electro-Acoustic Laboratory, where he invented the Hush-A-Phone--a telephone accessory that began the chain of regulatory challenges and lawsuits that led ultimately to the breakup of the Bell Telephone monopoly in the 1980s. Beranek moved to MIT to be a professor and Technical Director of its Acoustics Laboratory, then left academia to found the acoustical consulting firm Bolt, Beranek and Newman. Known for his work in noise control and concert acoustics, Beranek devised the world's largest muffler to quiet jet noise and served as acoustical consultant for concert halls around the world (including the Tanglewood Music Shed, the storied summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra). As president of BBN, he assembled the software group that invented both the ARPANET, the forerunner of the Internet, and e-mail. In the 1970s, Beranek risked his life savings to secure the license to operate a television station; he turned Channel 5 in Boston into one of the country&# 39;s best, then sold it to Metromedia in 1982 for the highest price ever paid up to that time for a broadcast station. "One central lesson I've learned is the value of risk-taking and of moving on when risks turn into busts or odds look better elsewhere," Beranek writes. Riding The Waves is a testament to the boldness, diligence, and intelligence behind Beranek's lifetime of extraordinary achievement. Leo Beranek is a pioneer in acoustical research, known for his work in noise control and the acoustics of concert halls, and the author of twelve books on these topics. The many awards he has received include the Presidential National Medal of Science, presented in 2003. View full abstract»