Oral History Transcript — David Lubman
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David Lubman; October 15, 1998
ABSTRACT: Interview with David Lubman on early interests, education, training, accomplishments, how he got started in acoustics, and family.
Peppin:Today is the 15th of October 1998. We are at the Marriott Hotel in Norfolk Virginia. I am Rich Peppin and I am going to be interviewing Dave Lubman, for the Technical Committee on Noise. Tell me your present address.
14301 Middletown Lane, Westminster , CA 92683.
Peppin:Whatís your present telephone number?
Peppin:Whoís your present employer?
Lubman:Self-employed, Iím a consultant.
Peppin:You do private consulting?
Lubman:Private consulting for businesses, attorneys, individuals.
Peppin:How long have you been on your own?
Lubman:Full time since September of 1994. At that time I took early retirement from my employer, the Hughes Aircraft Co.
Peppin:So that was just 4 years ago?
It must have been 1993, because it was 5 years ago, in September 1993.
Peppin:It seems like youíve been a consultant forever.
Lubman:Well I was a part-time consultant, even during the time I was full time employed in aerospace.
Peppin:What kind of consulting do you do now?
Lubman:Pretty much whatever comes along, in terms of what pays the bill. The largest percentage seems to be forensic consulting and the biggest part of forensic consulting has been, until recently, building acoustics, construction defect cases. The other part of forensic consulting has been in noise cases, lawsuits involving noise. Occasionally or usually they are civil cases, occasionally they are criminal cases.
Peppin:I guess California is pretty popular for that so it helps build business.
Lubman:Yes, and itís ironic. California is a very litigious state and I loathe litigiousness. And yet here I am profiting from it.
Peppin:Before we get into work related things letís talk about ASA. Do you remember when you joined ASA?
Lubman:I think I do. I think I joined it prior to giving my first paper at an ASA Meeting. If memory serves correctly the first meeting was in the Fall of 1963. I gave a paper at an ASA Meeting at the University of Michigan.
Peppin:How old were you then?
Lubman:I have to count backward from 1963.
Peppin:35 years ago.
Lubman:I was 29 years old.
Peppin:What were you doing while writing the paper? Were you employed or a student?
Lubman:I was employed. I was working. It was my first of two terms of employment with Hughes Aircraft Co and the work was in underwater acoustics and the subject was predicting the far field radiation for sonar transducer for measurements made in the near field.
Peppin:So thatís what you were doing at Hughes. Had you been working at Hughes for a while when you did this or was this pretty new?
Lubman:I had been working at Hughes for three years but the subject was fairly new. I think I had been doing that for not more then about a year.
Peppin:Were you nervous?
Lubman:Very nervous. I remember too that when I put my glass slides (in those days we used glass slides) and the first time I saw the projection was when I was giving my paper. And apparently there was some chemical process going on and there were bubbles developing and the colors were disappearing even as I was speaking. I also remember that the speaker before me had been severely chastised by the session chairman for saying things that were, in his opinion, technically dubious. I also remember that the chairman was Aubrey Price, so I was plenty scared.
Peppin:So you joined in í63 and you joined just about when you gave that paper at the meeting, more or less.
Lubman:Yes. I had known about the Acoustical Society for many years but felt that it didnít make any sense for me to join unless I could go to meetings and this was the first time I ever had an opportunity.
Peppin:Did Hughes ask you?
In those days I think our Navy sponsors encouraged us to give papers and so if I wanted to give that Hughes would go along with it. Hughes Aircraft Co. was a good place to work in those days for a young scientist.
Peppin:This was still in California?
Peppin:Do you remember why you joined the ASA? Was it professional, or to go to meetings?
Lubman:Iím sure it was for professional reasons. I had worked in acoustics as a research technician years before this and so I knew from the professionals, for whom I worked, about the Acoustical Society. That always seemed to be for people who were scientists in that field and they seemed so far above me.
Peppin:Did you have any sort of mentor to say ďCome on, you ought to join. Iíll bring you in here.Ē Or did you just go on your own, in the sense of going to the meeting, you saw it interesting as opposed to someone saying, maybe Bruce Lindsay saying, ďHey Dave, youíre giving a paper. Why donít you join, Iíll show you the ropes.Ē
Lubman:I donít remember having a mentor in the Acoustical Society itself but I do remember feeling some encouragement from the individuals who funded us, the individuals in the Office of Naval Research. And there was one man in particular, his name I am struggling to remember now who has since passed away. He was a physically short man but he was just filled with good will and zeal for science. And was always anxious to spend the Navyís money in ways that would also advance the education of young scientists.
Peppin:Thatís pretty nice. OK what ASA Committees were you or are you a member of?
Lubman:When the ASA committees were just getting started I hardly even knew what they meant. But I put my name down on two. I didnít realize that people were not supposed to join two; they were supposed to join one or the other. The two I put my name on were noise and architectural acoustics.
Peppin:And how about others things besides those committees for ASA? Oh, you held everything; weíll get to that.
Lubman:I used to attend meetings on underwater acoustics. And I also made a habit, especially in my earlier years, of whatever my main interest was for being at the meeting, I would select something I would call a ďminor.Ē And I would try to ďminorĒ in that subject and go to meetings like physiological and psychological acoustics where I had little idea of what they were talking about.
Peppin:Yes, [laughter]. So what positions do you hold in the Society now?
Lubman:Now that I have completed a term as an Executive Council member I think I am a member of the committee on architectural acoustics; some administrative committees like the membership committee; serving as a co-chair of an ANSI Standards Writing Group, S12- 43, I think. It is with Lou Sutherland.
Peppin:On classrooms? Thatís pretty new.
Lubman:And Iím a pretty inactive member on an ANSI Writing Group on sound quality. Partly, for reasons that I mentioned at todayís meeting, that most of the activity they have occurs around the Detroit area.
Peppin:You were on the Executive Council and before that were you President of the Society?
Lubman:Never served as President. One would normally work their way up by being on the Executive Council first and then perhaps the Vice-President.
Peppin:So how did you get on the Executive Council, just by people nominating you?
Lubman:Yes, I certainly didnít lobby for it. My name was suggested by the Nominating Committee. This happened twice. I was so flattered that they even considered me, I said yes. The first time they ran me I didnít get elected. As a matter of fact I remember that Larry Crum ran opposite me and he was elected. But I was so proud even to have been chosen.
Peppin:Before that, had you held any positions? Were you chair of Noise?
Lubman:I had chaired a technical committee. I served three years as the Chair of the Technical Committee on Noise. I also had some positions in ancillary organizations like INCE.
Peppin:Yes, thatís where we met. I think we met at Harriman, NY.
Lubman:Yes, oh yes.
Peppin:So you were also on the Technical Council as being chair of Architectural Acoustics. So you were chair of Architectural Acoustics.
Lubman:I do remember there must have been something like a mentor at the time, once I got into the Acoustical Society. The one person who I think was most instrumental in my becoming active was Bill Cavanaugh who was very encouraging. Otherwise I am sure I would have felt much too shy ever to do any such thing.
Peppin:Yeah, heís an encouraging guy. Heís really valuable.
Peppin:Do you remember any ASA meetings that stood out for any reason? Technically amazing or humorous or disaster struck or anything that you can remember.
Lubman:I do remember for the first few years I went, every time I would go to an Acoustical Society meeting I would come back like I was struck by lightning. I would hear, although I canít remember the specifics now, some things that would excite me to the point where I couldnít sleep. There were new ideas that were in my field, perhaps they were not, but it was a source of such intellectual excitement. It became an important part of my life. I needed to go twice a year to get my fix.
Peppin:[Laughter] So much for a suggestion in Tech Council every nine months. You mentioned Bill Cavanaugh; can you think of other ASA members who particularly influenced you?
Lubman:I do remember a long friendship with Curt Holmer. He influenced me; we influenced each other. We influenced each otherís work. But the fact that he took my work seriously was nice and Iím sure if I stopped to think about it for a while I can think of many other people. I remember now the first meeting. It was one of the first meetings I went to and it was the same man from the Office of Naval Research. When he saw my interest in the acoustics of sonar testings he said, ďYou should go to the next meeting of the Acoustical Society and you should meet Dr. Richard Waterhouse.Ē
Peppin:Did you meet him?
Lubman:: I did meet him and indeed it turned out that he was doing the kind of research that was beginning to answer the questions that I had begun to ask.
Peppin:Did you meet Curt when he was at NIST or with NBS, the old NBS?
Lubman:I met him before that. I seem to remember meeting him at a Boston meeting of the Acoustical Society so that was so much earlier. I was one of the people who helped him get his job, at I think at NBS and before that at BBN.
Peppin:Oh right. Now I remember he was at BBN.
Lubman:I think he was then working for the Lord Corporation.
Peppin:Itís a shame. For the record we should mention that he died relatively recently, a couple of years ago.
Lubman:Yes, about that. Of course, it was a shattering experience for many of us.
Peppin:Yes, sad. Can you think of anything you would like to talk about as far as ASA goes. Its past, present or future. How you see the Association going or has it been evolving in any way?
Lubman:The ASA is an important institution in my professional life. It was important in forming my professional life. Without the ASA I doubt very much that I would have had what few accomplishments in my field as I have had. The presence of ASA, and itís encouraging members, its openness and commitment to science and its advancement of science, to increase and diffuse the knowledge of acoustics and so on, was absolutely indispensable. Without that I think that there would be a great gap in my professional and emotional life.
Peppin:And how do you see it in the future? Do you see it changing a lot, or being roughly the same — the same nurturing kind of association?
Lubman:I see it changing a lot and I just now have some fears for it — that acoustics appears to have dropped out of public consciousness. We see it in the indifference of architects and in the indifference of funding agencies. We see it in the indifference of city planners and politicians. And Iíve come to the point of view that even though science is the first and foremost of what we need to do and need to practice that we wonít be allowed to do it unless we have the public support. And so loathe as I am to admit it, I feel that we need some major marketing efforts in order to sell acoustics to the public.
Peppin:Some politics, some marketing, political say so. Try to influence maybe politics or government or do you think this is only a private industry affair?
Lubman:Well, in my own personal view now I would like to see us sell the public and make the public as interested in acoustics as they are in say astronomy, or the space program. When the politicians see that the public is interested in acoustics they will vote differently, just as they vote to support astronomy and space travel.
Peppin:So it sounds like that takes a relatively major effort by ASA and maybe other associations. But we are talking like sort of changing opinion from blasť to proactive.
Lubman:Yes, to be very proactive. And I have concerns that may not concern other people but I would like things to be pure. When I am acting as a scientist my commitment is to the truth but when I am acting as a marketing person, which is something I am not very skillful at, then I find myself shading the truth and that is a concern for me. I hope that in trying to save the future of the Acoustical Society that we donít be corrupted by the effort to do so.
Peppin:I think that we can market what we think is important. The real idea is the education, the education, not marketing, somehow makes it attractive enough. Make them feel the need attractive enough without much shading, itís hard though.
Lubman:To give you an example of what I mean specifically, in the issue of classroom acoustics, the people who are most vulnerable to poor acoustics are the disabled; people with auditory disabilities and language disabilities. There is a lot of compassion fatigue in the American population; I understand that, I feel that too. And so I feel that if we promote the importance of classroom acoustics for the disabled that will run into this compassion fatigue where people will say, ďYes itís really too bad for them but I really have to vote my own pocketbook, my child is not hearing impaired or language impaired.Ē
Peppin:Similar to the ADA and accessibility for physically handicapped.
Lubman:Yes, there is a reluctance. I find it more politically appropriate message is to say that good acoustics helps everyone, itís good for everyone. But thatís slightly shades the truth and that makes me nervous.
Peppin:I see what you are saying now. In order to sell it you maybe have to give it maybe a different slant.
Lubman:Yes. Another thing I am personally trying to change the culture and help to make the Acoustical Society grow and be reborn again is to show the connection between acoustics and other fields that have not traditionally been considered. One of these things that I started at this meeting will continue a year from now is to connect acoustics with the study of history. It is my fantasy, I donít know if it will really happen, that it will bring in people who have never known about acoustical science before who will be very interested in this. Young people too of course. But also it will be very interesting to us to meet scholars of ancient history and archeologists, and Iíve always loved to do that when I organize special sessions for the Acoustical Society. I would take special delight in organizing joint sessions putting together two groups of people who felt that they had little or nothing in common. I remember at one point one of the old timers, whose name I wonít mention, although I remember it, was outraged when he found that I had put together a preposterous thing, he thought. Two technical committees that couldnít possibly have anything in common. A joint meeting of architectural acoustics and underwater acoustics. Years later, whatís his name, a fellow at BBN, heís retired now, smiled at me and said, ďYou are right Dave, the ocean is a big amphitheater.Ē
Peppin:[Laughter] Thatís cute, so the session was successful.
Lubman:It was and we published things on it in Technical Notes and Research Briefs. It turned out to be pretty important, I think.
Peppin:Speaking of publications, I think you have couple of books from the Society?
Lubman:Iím co-senior editor of one of the books with Red Wetherill, ďAcoustics of Worship Spaces.Ē This is a series of books, the idea for which and the inspiration for which really came from Bill Cavanaugh. Bill was keen on Architectural Acoustics publishing these books. It was an ingenious idea and he had it and I had the good fortune to serve as chair of architectural acoustics while he was promoting that idea. I probably would have gone along with it, even if I didnít believe in it, because of his magnetism. But it was a delight and with that momentum we then went on to one on worship spaces and then one on spaces for drama. Now I am proposing that we do one on learning spaces.
Peppin:Thatís a great idea. Iíll talk to you about that after, I have some ideas. Maybe we can do something together, maybe informally.
Peppin:OK letís move on here now. What other organizations do you belong to besides ASA?
Lubman:The Institute of Noise Control of Engineering, the National Council of Acoustical Consultants. I belong to and believe in, but have not been active in for a long time, the ASTM. What have I left out? The IEEE, although I have not been very active with them. Then, of course, I get journals. I am a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, so I get science magazines that pile up in the corner until I shovel them up.
Peppin:In INCE you had some positions, were you an officer?
Lubman:Yes, twice I served as a member of the Board of Directors. And I do remember, also, playing a role in developing the INCE noise control fundamentals examination. I served as chair of the first committee that put the noise control fundamentals exam together.
Peppin:OK, so now we have to go to some personal things about you. Where were you born?
Lubman:I was born in Chicago Illinois, in the city on August 3, 1934, at the Lutheran Deaconess Hospital.
Peppin:Is that downtown?
Lubman:No, thatís in the area that was made famous by the author Studs Turkel. In fact, my uncles used to run with him, I understand.
Peppin:How long did you live there?
I lived there until I had the good sense and the good fortune to leave in 1960. I served a brief stint in the Air Force first in 1953 but then after the Air Force I went back to Chicago and continued my education which had been appallingly interrupted. I had dropped out of high school and, when I got a job, at what was then the Armor Research Foundation; now itís the IIT Research Institute. That really changed my life and through them I went back to school and eventually got a Bachelorís degree in electrical engineering in June of 1960 from IIT
Peppin:Did you always live in the Chicago area until you went to college, except for that?
Lubman:Except for that stint in the Air Force, I always lived in Chicago, in the inner city.
Peppin:What made you drop out of school?
Lubman:There were all kinds of problems in my family, in my neighborhood. So I was a very rebellious child and from that I have grown into a very rebellious adult. Iím not even sure I can claim the term adult [laughter].
Peppin:You were sort of, you wanted to do things on your own, and you quit school. What did you do when you quit? Did you leave the house?
Well before I quit school I actually was moved to a foster home for abused children and that was also very important. That I did on my 14th birthday.
Peppin:So that was pretty traumatic.
Lubman:Oh actually that was my salvation. To get out at that time and living in a foster home for a year was a nice transition, but I was still so rebellious so that I didnít make the transition to a good student. So I may have been recognized as a bright kid but I couldnít pass anything. I flunked algebra every time I took it; I flunked English every time I took it. Finally I decided I had had enough of school.
Peppin:So you were in a foster home but you were going to school still. And then it was just lousy, you hated it, you didnít do well?
Lubman:Yes, I understand my rebelliousness. Probably my rebelliousness at home was necessary for me to survive psychically.
Lubman:Yes with my mother. But it was inappropriate that I extend this to the entire world. So at 15, I quit school. Once I quit school, I could no longer live in the foster home so I lived in a boarding house and got a job as a radio and TV repairman.
Peppin:Did you know that field?
Lubman:I had been an electronic buff for a number of years and was even interested in amateur radio. So with that I was able to earn a living but I had to continue with one day a week of continuation school until I was 16.
Peppin:Then you quit for good?
Lubman:Well, at least for a few years until I realized the awful mistake I had made.
Peppin:Because work was so bad or you werenít getting any money?
Lubman:I worked in TV and radio repair places. I worked at the factory of the Admiral Radio Co. and I remember the exact moment, one morning, I was going to work on a city bus and an old guy who looked just like me but maybe 50 years later in a leather jacket with white hair holding his lunch bucket with one hand and the strap of the streetcar in the other. And in a flash I saw my future and I realized that I couldnít bear that and that somehow I would have had to make some heroic effort to change that.
Peppin:And was that to go to the Air Force?
Lubman:Yes, that looked like this would be a good opportunity to change my life. So an amateur radio friend of mine, Richard Bueto, was joining the Air Force. All of us were, in those days, in the early 1950s, in danger of being drafted into the Korean War. And so I would much rather be in the Air Force (because I loved airplanes) than be a grunt so I did and that turned out to be useful too.
Peppin:Did you serve in Korea?
No it turned out that I was only in for about a year. I got a medical discharge because of asthma. But they were wonderful to me and it was wonderful for me and I learned how to survive in an area where you had to obey orders or else.
Peppin:Oh yeah, this rebellious kid is going into a military service, I forgot the connection there.
Lubman:At a certain point we had to go through what the Air Force called career counseling after taking tests of our abilities. The career counselor, a sergeant, who had been a psychologist asked, ďWhat is it you want to do,Ē and I said electronics. He said, ďWell we can send you to electronic school. How many years of high school math and physics do you have?Ē And I said none and he explained to me that if I said I had no high school math or physics that he would not be allowed to send me to electronic school. He said, ďI see your test scores and I see that you are capable of that but I havenít written anything down yet so I am asking you the question again. How many years of math have you had? And knowing what I just told you Iíll mark down your answer.Ē So I lied and I told them I had the minimum requirement which was 2 or 3 years of high school math. But the truth was that I was still counting on my fingers.
Peppin:Now, also you officially hadnít graduated high school?
Lubman:No I had not graduated. In fact I had hardly any high school credits at all. But in the Air Force once they sent me to Keyster Air Force Base to electronic fundamental school I caught on that there was a way of getting a GED high school diploma, simply by taking tests. That was very useful. I did that and I got a GED high school diploma and then I learned that in the second phase of the electronic class I would be confronted with trigonometry (something I could not even spell) and also that second phase was stretched out because one day a week would be KP duty. I loathed KP duty and so I thought maybe this idea of taking tests to get credit could be applied to the second phase. So I took a proficiency test to see if I could get out of the second phase and thus not be faced with my ignorance of trigonometry and also avoid a week of KP. It worked.
Peppin:When you were young, did you have any sense of what you wanted to do, except that you knew electronics. You were good at it? Was that originally what you thought you would do before you saw that guy?
Lubman:No, I wasnít very good with mechanical things and I got into electronics only to improve my skills in an area where I knew I was deficient
Peppin:Thatís pretty good. Most people go for the comfortable way.
Lubman:From the time I was five I was reading books on astronomy. And at six or seven I was reading books on biology and oceanography. I really wanted to be a scientist and when I found out that scientists could look through a microscope; that a pathologist could look through a microscope. I told everybody I wanted to be a pathologist. I didnít know that pathologists had to cut up dead people. I thought they just get to look through microscopes.
Peppin:Did you have any hobbies at all?
Lubman:Well of course there were scientific hobbies. And like almost all young kids in bad neighborhoods I played lots of street baseball. It was hard to imagine being anything beyond being a major league baseball star, but that didnít work out well for me because it turned out that I was very near-sighted and I wouldnít see the ball until it hit me in the head.
Peppin:Yeah I know street games. We miss them in these days; we donít have many street games like we remember them.
Lubman:Thatís right, I remember getting up and could hardly wait to put on my holey socks so I could run outside and play and get into a game.
Peppin:Did you have a lot of friends? I guess you had friends in the street?
Lubman:Yes, thatís right, kids in the neighborhood. But very few of the kids were actually interested in science, so I was anomalous in that way.
Peppin:So you had to sort of separate them from fun and not for the intellectual. Probably you were on your own on that part and no one to talk to.
Lubman:Yes that was a problem. I remember that another one of the sciences that was very big to me there was a series of books, the Stars for Sam, was the first one in the 1930s. The Earth for Sam, which was really about paleontology. When I read about dinosaurs, the idea that the earth had a prehistory this boggled me, more than I can tell you. I remember walking in the night looking up at the night sky and seeing where those stars were and looking down at the ground and imaging the bones of dinosaurs and it seemed to me that there were wonders around me and it looked to me at the time as if I was the only person I knew who was excited by this.
Peppin:Do you have any influential people when you were young?
Lubman:I do remember some things but they were, it always seemed like I had left the Earth and gone to another planet. That in order to pursue my interest in science I found that at the age of seven or so, I was a skinny kid and I could sneak onto a streetcar and not have to come up with the four cents that would otherwise be required to go to the end of the line on Roosevelt Road. Then walk the half mile or mile or so to the Field Museum. Nobody had told me about museums and I would walk around the place like I was in heaven. I would come back week after week on weekends and drool over the dinosaur bones. Apparently someone was watching me and I didnít know this. One day someone opened the door in the wall, I didnít even know there were doors in the wall, and said ďHey kid, you like dinosaurs? And I said ďYeah.Ē And he said, ďCome here I want to show you something.Ē And that man, whose name I donít remember, was a paleontologist and he brought me in and showed me what was going on in the back — how they were preparing exhibits. These people were to me like deities. These were only names in books and I remember one day he disappeared and he told me I wouldnít see him for a few months. He was going on a field trip and when he came back he said he discovered a new duck billed dinosaur and I remember almost swooned.
Peppin:So you came out of the service. You were in the service and went to electronic school and finished it.
Lubman:Yes, well even thatís unusual. I finished the electronic fundamentals. I did very well and that was important to me because that showed that, at least with the Sword of Damocles over my head or KP, that I could do extremely well. Then I was put into electronic countermeasures advance school. Before I had gone through very many phases in that school I found out that I had to get a medical discharge because of asthma. I wanted very much to have a diploma from that school because other than that I was really academically naked. So I asked for and received permission to sit in the instructorsí lounge and study manuals and take the tests. I did that and apparently I am the first person ever to have completed an advance school by proficiency through the school. So I guess that told me maybe I could do something with my mind.
Peppin:So you are out of there. You feel encouraged, what happened then?
Lubman:Back to Chicago. I didnít want to go back to being a TV and radio repairman. I hoped that I would have turned in my masking gun forever and through the Illinois State Employment Service I got a job with the Armor Research Foundation, a research lab. I remember the man who hired me and he certainly changed my life too. An affable man named Dr. Howard C. Hardy. They were about to replace their technician and they needed someone and I knew so little about this that when he was introduced as Doctor Hardy I assumed that he was an MD, who knew from PhDs.
Peppin:Now you had your GED by then?
Lubman:By then I had a GED thatís right. But of course I knew nothing. I had never met a physical scientist. It turned out to be the acoustics section of the physics department and so for the first few days I just dusted benches. There was a lot of dust in downtown Chicago. Then I would carry boxes around, like tape recorders. Then after a while they would let me take off the covers and then after a while they would show me where to plug in the cables. Before long I was taking measurements and printing out results. Not long after that I was like, ďHey wait a minute, this is wrong.Ē [laughter]
Peppin:Iím trying to recap. So you joined IIT, which was Armor Research, at the time as a technician and you learned a lot about it and all of a sudden you see that you have some capability, more than cleaning tape recorders.
Lubman:And setting the tension on those old magnetic recorders. But the people there, the scientists there, they were so wonderful. They were so good to me. I was probably their mascot. They were delighted with me because I was like a sponge. I knew absolutely nothing and I was interested in everything. I found that I had stumbled into a most wonderful world that really excited me. Some of the people who helped me when I later took classes would include Henry Karplus, probably him most of all. Some of the names Iím having trouble remembering at the moment. Gosh, the guy who wrote the standard for the impedance tube. Iím not sure heís alive, he moved to New Jersey and ran the....
Peppin:That wasnít Huntley, was it? Ralph Huntley?
Lubman:Ralph Huntley was more of a problem because he was a sort of patrician — very aloof. When he would talk I would feel very much my minority status and my ignorance. I remember once he was laughing derisively because I claimed I understood how a whetstone bridge worked, by intuition, because I didnít have the algebra. He found that to be very amusing. But there were others, Frank Titzer. He was so wonderful. I still quote him but he would laugh and say, ďOne thing I learned — never repeat an acoustical experiment.Ē
Peppin:But so you were probably a very valuable technician because you were smart, you were helping the people then, how did that happen, then what happened?
Lubman:Well, with their encouragement I went back to school. I went back to evening high school, Central YMCA, evening high school in Chicago. I took one year of courses, all in the wrong order. I took geometry and chemistry first, then I took algebra and physics. Armed with that, I went and got myself admitted to Illinois Tech. At first they told me they couldnít possibly let me in with so few credits so they allowed me, after a long argument, to take evening courses. I could see that one of the big problems was going to be math a
nd English so I immediately took math and English courses. When I finished a year of college math and a year and a half of college English, I went back again and they repeated the argument that they could not let me in without high school English. I said why, I got Aís in college English, why would you send me back to high school. I had already shown my ability to get good marks in math. So they relented and they would allow me to be admitted as a day student. Good I said, now I want a scholarship.
Peppin:At this time you were just a single guy, living off campus?
Lubman:Living in a wretched place on the Northwest side of Chicago without air conditioning. I would take the streetcar and the subways and hour and a half, back and forth each way to Illinois Tech.
Peppin:Where was that, downtown?
Lubman:Yes, about 32nd & State Street. About 4 miles south of the main division line.
Peppin:Did you feel that your salary was reasonable were you living, without struggle?
Lubman:Well, by my standards, I never lived better. But when other people with more middle class status would come look at this they would think this was pathetic. I remember once I had one of the physicists from the Armor Research Foundation come and look at this and he was appalled that I was living under those conditions. But it never occurred to me, I wasnít aware that I was suffering. It was wonderful for me. I had a full time job. I would take maybe 10 credits a semester and I was getting somewhere. Didnít have much of a romantic life but I met a girl and right around the time I was getting a full time scholarship at IIT. She decided to jump the gun and said ďLetís get married,Ē and so we did. She worked as a secretary except that she would get fired every week or two [laughter]. But between the scholarship and her work I was able to get through.
Peppin:A young married man, just starting. So you got your Bachelorís degree at IIT?
Lubman:A Bachelorís Degree in Electrical Engineering. Although I had some reluctance because I could see that the physics was much more interesting than the electrical engineering. But I could also see that the electrical engineers were making more money.
Peppin:In college, so you were working full time, no you got a scholarship, so you quit IIT, I mean Armor?
Lubman:Yes, thatís right. And I only worked part-time after that. I was going to school full time. Essentially my last two years or two and a half years of college were under those conditions.
Did you have people at IIT who were pretty famous? Huntley and those guys were at Armor Research...
Lubman:Yes, they were really on the campus, but the coupling between the research institute and the university was very marginal at best.
Peppin:So what happened then? You got your Bachelorís in Electrical Engineering.
Lubman:Yes, and then some of my friends at the research foundation advised me that if I wanted to go to graduate school and didnít have any money then one way to do this would be to go to this Hughes Aircraft Company and get a Hughes Master Scholarship. So I did that.
Peppin:Did you have good grades in college?
Lubman:I had really good grades until I got married. Then with the marriage, it was not so much fun and my grades immediately suffered. But I still graduated with something like a 3.2 or 3.3 out of 4 and I believe I made all the major honorary societies.
Peppin:So was there much time between graduation and going to Hughes?
Lubman:Right, and I graduated and immediately bought a used car, from my brother in law, who was a used car salesman. I never had a car before and pointed it out West.
Peppin:Exciting, yeah. In college itself were you involved in any causes or protests?
Lubman:Well, this was rather before those days of protest but there was a little bit of that. I remember trying to be active on the campus newspaper and it was a very conservative campus. I seem to remember that they banned Playboy magazine from being sold on the campus, which really made us interested to read it. But politically and socially the campus wasnít that interesting to me. But what I did do was I used to hang around the campus of the University of Chicago. Now that interested me. Of course they had no engineering school but I used to hang around there and I would come back night after night because they had improvisational drama group that I never heard of before, this is the group that became known as the Second City. Mike Nichols, Elaine May, Shelly Berman, these are all people I knew. Shelly Berman asked me to write a comedy routine. Elaine May used to serve drinks and I had a kind of thing for her. But like other dumb adolescents or young males, to get her attention I would embarrass her. She would ask for the first and last lines and I would repeat the first and last line. And then she would hear everybody laughing and she would realize the double entendre. Fool that I am she just never called on me anymore.
Peppin:So you traveled cross county, always exciting. I remember that and you end up in LA, the Los Angeles area, right?
Lubman:Actually the Orange County area, itís just southeast of Los Angeles.
Peppin:So you had been married just a couple of years then and you set up home and this was a job?
Lubman:Yes, this was a job. My wife had real misgivings, because from the time she knew me — I was going to school. Iím always busy going to school and she began to think I wasnít serious and that I would always make her work and I would be a professional student and that we would really never start a family. That really was not my intention and so I planned the arrival of my first child to be the way an engineer would work it out, slide rules in those days, to come exactly two weeks after I would have finished my Masterís degree.
Peppin:While you were at Hughes you got your Masterís simultaneously?
Lubman:Yes, it was a Masterís Fellowship so I would work about roughly 60% or 3/4 time.
Peppin:I see so it took a couple of years, 2 years or 3 years. So you plan to have a child, you didnít know the sex, I guess, then you had a child.
Lubman:I didnít know what hubris that was but by some miracle it came and had medical problems. But the child survived and is now an adult.
Lubman:Yes, heís a man now and his name is Steven Carl Lubman. I warned him — he was a very rebellious, disobedient child.
Peppin:Something like his father?
Lubman:Yes, I warned him not to make the mistake I did and become an electrical engineer and go to work in aerospace for Hughes Aircraft Co. So he became an electrical engineer and went to work in aerospace at Hughes Aircraft. Thatís where he is now.
Peppin:Wow, thatís kind of nice. So Stephen was born and then what, do you go back to school?
Lubman:By that time I completed the Masterís degree and there were options to go on for a doctorate but my wife was very much against it because I guess she thought, ďHere he is again.Ē
Peppin:So this is the Masterís at Hughes Technical School?
Lubman:No actually it was at the University of California. It was a wonderful program and we would have to drive to USC 3 or 4 times a week. USC — the University of Spoiled Children. But it was pretty darned wonderful; it was a wonderful program. Theyíve cut it way back now, but without that it would have been harder for me to get a Masterís degree. But I regret that decision. I should have just thrown down the gauntlet and said, ďDammit, Iím going to get a PhD,Ē because that limited my options very seriously, considering the kind of thing I like to do and that I have talent for.
Peppin:So you stopped with a Masterís for a while. Were you still at Hughes?
Lubman:Yes, thatís right. By this time I am full time at Hughes Aircraft and I am now involved in their program for sonar and the main product for sonar in those days — they developed what turned out to be SASS, the surveillance towed-array sonar system that would be pulled behind, in those days, a destroyer.
Peppin:So youíre raising a family and youíre working full time at Hughes. What changed then, you went back to school somehow or how did that happen?
Lubman:I continued taking courses.
Lubman:No, because USC was now unaffordable once I graduated so I took courses at UCLA and UC Irvine in mathematics. I took one course in acoustics with Dave Blackstock.
Peppin:The guy we met downstairs?
Lubman:The guy we met downstairs. And then a traumatic event happened that set the stage eventually for the death of my wife and our planned second child. There was a...she lost the pregnancy. The child lived for a while, died on Christmas Eve. And because the child only lived for a week it wasnít, it wasnít covered by medical insurance and because it was [unintelligible word] membrane disease. I already approved the heroic and expensive efforts that would be necessary to try to save his life, what else was I to do? And I would do the same thing again. But when the child died my wife was severely depressed and we were left with what seemed to me to be staggering debt, medical debt. I never had been in so much debt in my life. I had just purchased a house and now I was in a real dilemma and in order to get out of it I changed jobs. I left Hughes Aircraft Co. and took another job with the LTV Research Center in Anaheim so I wouldnít have to move. And through a private deal I was able to arrange to work extra hours and it was a promotion too, it was my first promotion to senior scientist.
Peppin:So your salary went up?
Lubman:It went up a lot to begin with then I was able to make more money on the side under the conditions that it would only be used to pay off the medical debt and I was very grateful for that. But that got me out of underwater acoustics and back into air acoustics because they were involved in a lot of classified programs. But the big thing there that I was involved with at LTV was large reverberation chambers that would be used for pre-launch testing of space craft. I didnít mention that the work I had done in test tanks before began to involve into a more serious theory and I began to understand the work of Richard Waterhouse and built on it and extended it quite a bit. Also I became very enamored of the work of Manfred Schroeder. Schroeder and Waterhouse did not understand each other they didnít pay attention to each otherís work. I studied the work of both enough until I could unify the two. And I think that was one of my big accomplishments.
Peppin:Thatís sort of where I got to know your work. Roughly at that time when you started to work on the reverberation room. It wasnít then but after when I got introduced, so you still had a Masterís Degree?
Lubman:Yes, a Masterís Degree. I got my Masterís in June of 1962.
Peppin:And in a way you were still struggling. You had all these debts to pay off; you had a new job that paid a lot more but you had your burdens there.
Lubman:Yes, but this time when I got the job at LTV in 1967, a few yearsí time had passed. They were good to me there and for some reason, apparently I was a star. I was applying the work I had done in underwater acoustics to air acoustics, and apparently it was just what they needed. They would do a lot of modeling and when they would ask how a certain experiment was going to work out I would make predictions. Then when would do the test and it would work out so well, so often that they began to think I walked on water.
Peppin:A golden boy?
Lubman:Yes, yes. And it was nice because I had been a bad boy and I had been a golden haired boy and believe me itís much nicer to be a golden haired boy. But I learned I could adjust to either one and I Ďve actually have become rather fond of being the bad boy.
Peppin:So, then what?
Lubman:Then from LTV I could see that was going to grind me to death because of the all the extra work and that they really had no commitment to research, but just do whatever would come, whatever the next government contract would be. And this would essentially kill me. If I really wanted to continue to do the kind of research that really inspired me then I would have to go someplace else. So I fancied that going to Bolt, Beranek and Newman would do that. Richard Lyon had known of my work and had asked me before to join BBN but I was not about to move to Boston and leave the palm trees. So when he asked me again and I said I would do it, but only if I could stay in L.A. And he said yes, ďI would rather have you in L.A. then not at all.Ē So I submitted my resignation to LTV as a senior scientist and took a job as a senior scientist at BBN and moved to this place they called the San Fernando Valley.
Peppin:Wow, and still with a Masterís Degree?
Lubman:Yes still with a Masterís Degree.
Peppin:Did you know anything about BBN at the time?
Lubman:Well of course I heard about them, since I was a technician in the 1950s in Chicago. They would talk about these other guys and I knew their names and I guess, by that time, I had met some of the people at meetings. So I think I could say yes, I knew many of them.
Peppin:So did you know Rich Lyon, at the time he offered you the job?
Lubman:Yes, yes during the early í60s, through 1968, we were working to develop a sound power standard for reverberation rooms and I thought it would be great fun to extend my work. I imagined my work as trying to develop a statistical theory for the distribution of sound in rooms — large rooms. Since I now thought I had a statistical theory, thanks to the pioneering work of Richard Waterhouse and Manfred Schroeder I could now apply this statistical theory to the practical problems of actually estimating sound power by doing things like finding spatial averages. So that was a practical application of theory and so through that work I met Peter Baade and some other people at Carrier Corporation, Charles Ebbing.
Peppin:This is while you are at BBN or LTV?
Lubman:Actually it began at Hughes Aircraft, so it was a little odd. The Navy was really good to be forbearing in this way because why were they paying me to do this work that no longer seemed to applying to water tanks.
Peppin:Did you, by the way, when you had your Masterís Degree, did you write a thesis or anything?
Lubman:Not really. I wrote something on the [Isocki Dailed], which I think they probably never even read. There was really no research orientation at the Masterís level.
Peppin:So you went to BBN. You were now a senior scientist then, working on say that was in sound power, determination of reverberation.
Lubman:I was doing that sort of on the side. At BB&N, people really have to pay their way so they have to find customers to pay the way. The Office of Naval Research had been funding my work when I was at Hughes Aircraft Co. I didnít realize, at the time how lucky I was that I had been apparently singled out for support as an individual. I was so dumb that I didnít realize, again, how special I was. But when I left Hughes to go to LTV that wasnít Navy stuff so the Navy was out of the picture. When I came to BBN I was back in the fold again and so I was able to get some small contacts from the Navy but barely enough to pay part of what was needed and then I would do anything else that was came along.
Peppin:Let me ask one question. Go back a bit to your early childhood. Did you grow up in any religious family?
Lubman:My parents were Jewish but they really were escaping from orthodoxy, so they were really not observant. I was unusual in the neighborhood, that I was one of the few kids who wasnít sent to Hebrew school. I thought I got away with murder, because I remember my friends being picked off from street baseball, to go study. Then we wouldnít see them for long periods of time. They werenít really religious, that was their background.
Peppin:All right, so you are working as a regular consultant at BBN, in the San Fernando Valley. Is that El Segundo, or is that something else?
Lubman:No, actually itís not. The Valley is actually over the Santa Monica mountains.
Peppin:How did you finally decide to get another degree?
Lubman:Well, I didnít decide to get another degree, I never got a PHD.
Peppin:Really, you kidding? You know, itís funny, I listen to you and I see a lot of Curt Holmerís background in you in a lot of ways because I thought he was a brilliant guy too. And he, in a way, did some really good work, before. It seemed like it, I would have thought for sure.
Lubman:Yeah, we found each other and Curt and I did help to inspire each otherís work.
Peppin:Did you do any teaching?
Lubman:Yes, I did. Starting in about 1963 I got a part time teaching job, teaching the course that I hated the most, math. I probably had some inner purpose for doing this, but I remember vowing to myself that I would be so patient to my students that as soon as my students began being stupid, I would quit. That would mean that I had stayed too long and so I taught math, part time, at Chapman College and that helped me. I remember with my first check I bought an FM tuner because I loved classical music and I was able to put it my car.
Peppin:All right, so how did you get from BBN back to Hughes? Were you there a long time a BBN?
Lubman:Oh no, it was very short and it ended very suddenly. It ended at a time when it looked like it would be very difficult to find a job somewhere else. So I decided to try to make it as an individual consultant for a while and I think I left BBN in 1969. I struggled as an individual consultant until 1976 and in between my wifeís illness, which grew worse and worse.
Lubman:Yes, finally ending in her death in 1974. During that time I had some support from the Navy and I didnít do that much individual consulting. I kept a lot of the fantasy that I was going to get research contracts and that never really happened. So whatever I could get, thanks to the Office of Naval Research, but it was also, then a little bit of individual consulting. If I had it to do over again, I would do much more, the way Iím doing now. But at the time I was really interested in the research in reverberation and so those years from 1970 to 1974 I was exceptionally productive in terms of published papers. I was really moving up but that ended with the trauma of my wifeís death.
Peppin:It must have been a very hard time, up to her death, and after too, but that part must have been some time of your life.
Lubman:Yes, it was terrible but essentially I could escape to the abstract of work so in some ways it was a blessing. But I do remember that shortly after my wifeís death I remember lying on a couch and not being able to get up. I actually lacked the physical strength to get up from the shock of what had happened. Somebody, I donít know who it was, brought me the mail and it included a publication, perhaps one of my best publications in JASA, in 1974. And I said, ďOh gee, thereís my name,Ē and I opened to the page and I was incapable of reading the abstract or understanding what it was about. It was really impossible to believe that I had ever written that.
Peppin:Partially Iím reading from the questions here, but in general Iím just extemporaneously trying to get a good flow of whatís going on. Itís your oral history and itís nice.
Lubman:Thank you for doing this. I never thought anyone would want to do it for me but I can see that it should be done for other people.
Peppin:Iím trying to do this for Mones Hawley and Bill Galloway, and Lew Goodfriend. Marty Alexander is going to do Lew Goodfriend.
Lubman:Is he close with Lew?
Peppin:Yeah, they work together and I think he is part owner of Goodfriendís.
Peppin:I think. I just have a little bit more I want to go through first the history. You were saying you couldnít believe you wrote that abstract and then so your wife died while you were a consultant.
Lubman:She died during that time and so I was left with a 12 year old boy to raise and now I was very depressed. I was really too depressed to work. This was a very bad time for me economically.
Peppin:So did you keep your job or quit? Oh, you were a consultant; you had no job, no benefits.
Lubman:I was slowly coming out of the depression, but not fast enough. It was good for me that I had someone to take care of, so I was a good Jewish mother to my kid. Then I did get one good break, but in the end I decided that the sensible thing to do would just be to retrace my steps. So I went back so I went back to Hughes Aircraft Co., but in between there was a wonderful opportunity to serve as a guest worker at National Research Council in Canada. So I did that over the summer and that was wonderful for me. And I think maybe Wing Chu learned a lot from that too because he was sort of assigned to find out what kind of BS I was spreading around; if there was anything to this. He is a very smart guy and with my help and his smarts he figured it out and now heís been carrying on the paper I may have written.
Lubman:Then I went back to Hughes Aircraft. But Iíd been gone since 1967 and between 1967 and 1976 the culture at Hughes Aircraft had changed utterly.
Peppin:I remember your complaining about it.
Lubman:Oh yes, it was awful — a terrible mistake. But I was afraid, really afraid, because I didnít know where else I could get a job and I needed to raise my kid.
Peppin:So it was money?
Lubman:Yes. As long as I could keep from getting fired and so I struggled with that. I didnít last long in what had been the underwater acoustics area. Itís too bad too, because I came there will all kinds of good ideas, many were really very good. But they werenít interested and so I left there and went to electronic warfare.
Peppin:That was the name of the company?
Lubman:No that was part of Hughes Aircraft. But they would do things in electronic warfare.
Peppin:I remember when you did that.
Lubman:And I spent most of the rest of the time in electronic warfare and a little bit later in communication. But I was like that cartoon character in the Wizard of Id, the Mole. ďScoop, scoopĒ always digging out of the prison. And every time there was an opportunity to do acoustics, I would do that. They would try to catch me by the nape of the neck and throw me back in my dungeon.
Peppin:So after a while you couldnít stand it.
Lubman:Well what caused me to leave was the first opportunity was getting, qualifying for early retirement. So when they had special early retirement plans, they would add a few years so I jumped at the chance. So within a month of my qualifying I jumped out. That was over 5 years ago. I donít think we miss each other.
Peppin:So since that time your consulting business has grown?
Lubman:Yes, there was plenty of work there. And although I was maybe too depressed or discouraged to try to get research contracts, and so I just didnít try but the forensic consulting was easy. It was available. But itís ironic that we donít do more design work, itís a statement about America or at least California, that we can make more money litigating, then we can building.
Peppin:I found it interesting that after this thing, that you might be interested in working at Hewlett Packard. I donít have anything else about say, your professional history, but do you have anything else about your professional history that you can think of adding. You can always add it later.
Iíll probably do it later. One of the ways in which I seem to be unusual from other engineers, even though when I took the graduate record examination, I got the highest grade in my school for engineering, which surprised everybody, me most of all. The other engineers knew I really wasnít one of them, they knew I was different. That I read and so that I was interested in ideas, classical music, and so on and that always somehow set me apart, maybe in the way that you described yourself in the art background of your mother.
Peppin:How about besides street games, what about sports?
Lubman:I was very bad because I had asthma, all my life. I also had a nose that bled easily, but I was always too pugnacious to back off of any fight. I knew what would happen, so at the first punch in the nose someone would have to carry home bleeding, but I would never back off.
Peppin:So you didnít have any hockey, or basketball or any of that that you would say. You played street games, like we all did, but nothing of passion. What about now, do you like sports now, as an observer?
Lubman:No, as a matter of fact, I sort of hate sports.
Lubman:I see this obsession with sports and it seems to me that itís a corruption to the point of being evil. So I feel like a crank, because that makes me like a big deviant. But that gets back to my origins.
Peppin:So they say, ďHow do you like the Reds today.Ē Who gives a shit!
Peppin:All right, so how about hobbies, any hobbies?
Lubman:Well, yes, the classical music was really wonderful. I found when I was in this period of depression, I couldnít read, for some reason. I donít know how come, but I couldnít read. So I couldnít study and keep up the papers in my field but for some reason I could close my eyes and listen to music. So I found myself becoming a classical music junkie and I would go to concerts night after night. And that was wonderful for me then.
Peppin:What kind of music?
Peppin:Like the Romantic, Baroque? Or are you talking about the whole range of music?
Lubman:My musical taste, at this time, broadened greatly, going back in time and forward in time to Baroque and pre-Baroque and modern and even...
Peppin:Even like Gunther Schuler, that early contemporary.
Lubman:Yes, he did that more modern stuff. I would try very hard. I was delighted that my musical taste couldÖ Now, being a single guy, when I moved to Orange County I joined a social club and I organized classical musicales. Part of it was a ruse to meet women, looking for a woman who was a wonderful musician and would meet my, letís say romantic fantasies. (It might be a woman who types this.) In fact I still do this. In 9 days, the impresario will put on a classical musicale.
Peppin:Do you play anything?
Lubman:No, but I seem to understand the mentality and the soul of musicians enough, so I can create the conditions where they are willing to play.
Peppin:Did you ever hear my idea about what I call anti-noise. It was played, take John Cageís four minute 33 seconds
Peppin:Yes, but turn it up loud.
Lubman:I like it. I do also hike with the Sierra Club, but being as asthmatic, Iím always in the back.
Peppin:How about the books, authors?
Lubman:Well, ever since the depression, I donít read as much. But I still try and struggle. In recent years, like many older people faced with their own mortality, Iíve become interested in religion. Sort of rediscovering my Jewishness. But actually that began at USC where I met a wonderful college priest named Michael Hamilton who now I think, the last I heard was the Cannon of the Episcopalian Church at the National Cathedral. He was wonderful. And through him I got to study the new testament and challenged him, And he said, ďDavid, your challenges, they are traditional Jewish challenges. You must have read this before somewhere.Ē I said no, I donít know where this comes from. And to this day I study religion, mostly Judaism but I also attempt, wherever there is a good scholar, I donít care. Whatever the combination.
Peppin:Itís interesting, because my sort of interest was when I first read Portnoyís Complaint. Did you read that book?
Peppin:It was not my bible, but my autobiography, except that he was successful. I said ďOh geeze,Ē but I heard he has a new book. His new book is supposed to be wonderful.
Peppin:I have to read it, Iím going to try it.
Lubman:I should mention also that I love going to art galleries. The world is such a candy store is what I keep saying. Whenever I look at something like that I find that I could spend the rest of my life doing it. I regret that I canít.
Peppin:What kind of art?
Lubman:Then, again, Iím open to any kind of art. At first I used to loathe the stuffy, Victorian art, but I didnít come to understand that. I took 3 courses in architecture and it turned out to be art design in architecture. After seeing slide after slide I began to understand the modern movement and so on. But most people like the impressionists. I like the modernists, most of all, but Iím learning many others. So in addition to organizing classical musicales, I would also organize art events. One of them I gave a hideous name to, called the Art Gobble & Hobble. We would get together, gobble our lunch and then hobble through an art exhibit. I still do it, in fact I should do one next month.
Peppin:Thatís great. Letís see, how about future plans.
Lubman:Well, The Acoustical Society is really part of my life and I suppose, part of my soul. Not everybody is happy with that, probably some people prefer that I would just turn into a shrub. But Iím planning a future special session on what started out to be acoustical archeology — now more generalized to be the uses of scientific acoustics for the study of history.
Peppin:When is that going to be?
Lubman: That will be a year from now. I am purposely picking a small meeting. I hate these big meetings. I hate these big meetings.
Lubman:I have a feeling that this is a longer than usual interview.
Peppin:No, no. Actually itís not too long. This will be almost finished. Iíll put the other one on, just to finish up. But so, anyway you want to do history, architectural acoustics. Do you think youíll be working for many more years?
Lubman:Oh, I see what you mean. No I donít think so. But I think I will probably need to work for as long as I can. I will also want to work as long as I can, but part of the fun now is I can fund my own research with my Visa card. So the work I do can pay for this fun stuff.
Peppin:So financially, youíve gotten out of all the humps and everything and youíre OK?
Lubman:Well Iíll make it but I wonít say that Iíll make it gloriously unless I continue working. Iíve not been that interested in money; itís part of the problem. If I were, most of us would be...you would have gone into law.
Lubman:One of the things I forgot to mention before is, one of the things that was a wonderful forming experience for me, was my term as the Chair of Architectural Acoustics Tech Committee. All kinds of wonderful things happened there of great interest, one of them involved concert halls. I began to realize that there are issues involving music critics. There are real issues involved between concert hall designers and music critics. They are sort of like the mongoose and the cobra. They needed each other and when I found out how concert halls were done and promoted I began to realize that part of the problem was in our own community. Part of the problem was also in the music critic community and that we had become enemies; we are fighting each other. It seemed pointless, because we are, after all, both after the same thing — we wanted great music in our communities. The people I knew, who designed concert halls, were passionately committed. They wanted to make the most wonderful concert halls that had ever been built before. And when I saw the hurt that was inflicted on acousticians by vicious reviews, whether deserved or not, I began to realize that thatís not a way to get good scientists to do good concert halls. That you are going to get flimflam artists, if you do it that way and so, attendant on the marketing disaster of one hall in San Francisco, during my term of office I resolved to do something about that. Part of that was to have a great meeting in Chicago in 1982. I think, where we invited one of the most vituperative critics of architectural acoustics, Harold Schungler. It was one of the great moments of my life. This would not have been possible outside of the Acoustical Society. This was one of the wonderful things, experiences we get by volunteering. It was beyond my belief again, that I would send him a little note, like a little love note, to his room, asking him to join me for dinner and to a concert, the Chicago Symphony, to hear George Schulton, doing the Modern Ninth, the best seats in the house. And to sit with him, and to discuss it afterwards with the other great music critics, in Chicago, beyond belief. Later we talked into the night and I convinced him that we needed to do a joint project together to show that music critics and acousticians could cooperate. And although I didnít actually do that, until many years later, because of many things that intervened. The objective was to do a listening experiment, or a series of listening experiments with a large number of music critics in the same concert hall so we could compare their assessments with that of musicians, in the audience, ordinary unwashed listeners.
Peppin:Like a big round robin, in a way.
Lubman:Yes, because we need each other. How do we know how to build concert halls. We are doing it for the music. What business does the music critics have telling us how to build concert halls. All they know about is music. We need each other. So this could be a way in which we could cooperate professionally and find out about one another, and more important learn to trust one another.
Peppin:Thatís good, that was a great experience.
Peppin:And how did it work? Did it work out good at the end?
Lubman:Boy, are these people tough to deal with. Sort of like sticking your hands into a cage filled with cobras. Some bite viciously but itís a little bit like herding cats. They are so individual and everyone has a different opinion. But it turned out, the experiment, statistically significant results. And although I gave this as a paper at an ASA meeting, I really need to write it up and present the results properly because I think itís reasonably good science and will be a forming moment for the future of concert halls.
Peppin:It will also make it, sort of popular science, in a way. That is, non-acousticians can appreciate the results. Thatís kind of nice.
Lubman:Yes, yes indeed, Iím glad you mention that Rich because one of the things in the back of my mind, was that looking for new sponsors for our work, people that pay the bill, that I could imagine one day, putting on a concert, which is really an acoustical experiment in which the audience each pay $50 or $100 to be part of this test. They would pay for the symphony orchestra to do all kinds of assessments and we publish the results. We get a certificate, or something, to the people to show that they are part of this great enterprise. After all, audiences are part of this too.
Peppin:That would be a wonderful idea, to have the audience as part, just terrific, itís a great idea. Iíll talk to you about some of that too. OK, I think we are just about done. I wanted to ask just a personal question. Do you have any pets?
Lubman:Yes, I have a lady friend and she has cats. When I was a kid I only had dogs so I distrusted cats, but I am learning now to love them.
Peppin:Is this the woman we met down in Mexico?
Lubman:Yes, thatís right, Brenda Kaiser. She understands cats and through her I am learning to understand cats.
Peppin:OK, I guess we are finished. Itís almost 5:40 p.m. Anything else you want to add, although you can add it later.
Lubman:I can add it later. But the one thing I am thinking about, that I am proud of as Chair for Architectural Acoustics at the time, I really recommend it to anybody else who has ambitions in this area. I had the opportunity to appoint the first woman to the Technical Committee on Architectural Acoustics. It was Anna Nabelek.
Peppin:Oh yeah, I remember.
Lubman:I sought her out because I realized that architectural acoustics needed to be informed by people who understood about hearing in rooms, particularly, people with hearing difficulties. Anna, and her husband Igor Nabelek were perfect because they were electro-acousticians. They could talk to us; they could talk to the psychological acoustics community and that was an important change. A [unintelligible word] a change, as well.
Peppin:A nice accomplishment, wonderful. OK letís stop now.