Isadore Rudnick

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ORAL HISTORIES
Interviewed by
Steven L. Garrett
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This transcript is based on a tape-recorded interview deposited at the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics. The AIP's interviews have generally been transcribed from tape, edited by the interviewer for clarity, and then further edited by the interviewee. If this interview is important to you, you should consult earlier versions of the transcript or listen to the original tape. For many interviews, the AIP retains substantial files with further information about the interviewee and the interview itself. Please contact us for information about accessing these materials.

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In footnotes or endnotes please cite AIP interviews like this:

Interview of Isadore Rudnick by Steven L. Garrett on 1990 July 3, Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics, College Park, MD USA, www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/38089

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This interview with Isadore Rudnick covers topics such as: his family background and childhood; going to school at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); Richard Bolt; Ph.D. advisor Vern Knudsen; Leo Delsasso; Bob Leonard; Norm Watson; acoustics; working at Duke University during World War II; working with Robert Bruce Lindsay; Bob Beyer; working at Penn State University; high-frequency sound; working at UCLA; low-temperature physics; his student Kenneth Shapiro; superconductivitiy; Peter Kapitsa; member of the National Academy of Sciences; Acoustical Society of America.

Transcript

Garrett:

These are your high school annuals, right?

Rudnick:

Yeah. This is what I wrote in my own…

Garrett:

[Laughs] Okay, let me read your note to yourself in your own annual. “You’re a better guy than you think you are. You’ll go far and do big things with your ability. The whole damn trouble is you’re too comfortably modest. You have a right to be proud of yourself. You’ve done a lot for your school and everyone about you. And when you become a real big shot, don’t forget to remember me. Think of me often, for all you do or will ever do is because of me. To a swell guy from that guy who has known you for a long time, Izzy Rudnick.” [Laughter] Well, this is the opening of the Rudnick interview tape.

Rudnick:

Well, I forgot, during the time I was really working in physics, that I was a comedian [chuckles] and I would do things like this. I thought I was funny when, for instance, on my card for…the card to get in…Oh, hell. I have trouble remembering this. I got a job at Christmas time. Okay, we’re getting way off. [Laughs] Anyway, if you go through this, you’ll find there are a lot of people who mention my sense of humor.

Garrett:

So we can list you as a cut-up in school? We’ll list you as a joker?

Rudnick:

Yeah, but they weren’t stupid jokes. They were jokes that were… it was in fun that you did them.

Garrett:

Well, let me start with this. They have a skills and question list, and there are certain forms that you get to fill out when the transcripts come through, but we won’t worry about that, having to do with the release of the transcript and the tapes. We’ll switch to a better tape recorder tomorrow. Charles is sending down a real good tape recorder. They want to start out with your youth and your family. Now, I know you have a brother, or you had a brother.

Rudnick:

I have two brothers and a sister.

Garrett:

Where do you fit in the distribution?

Rudnick:

I’m the youngest.

Garrett:

None of the three then went on to be scientists?

Rudnick:

No. But they like what they choose. My oldest brother, Ben, became a lawyer, and that was his profession also. There’s about a two years between us, so Ben, my oldest brother, is about two and a half years older than Sam, my next brother. Bess was another two years younger and then there was me.

Garrett:

You said that Ben was a lawyer. Sam?

Rudnick:

Sam was an intellectual.

Garrett:

You’re going to have to define that.

Rudnick:

All right, I will. [Chuckles] Ben went to a university, Southern… There’s a place that specializes in degrees in law. It’s Southern something.

Garrett:

Here in California?

Rudnick:

Here in California, yeah. I’m sure it’s [???] if you look. Maybe Millie can… Millie? MILLIE

Rudnick:

Yes, Izzy?

Rudnick:

What do they call it? Southern…? The law school that… MILLIE

Rudnick:

He went to… what’s it called? The one in Los Angeles.

Rudnick:

Yeah. MILLIE

Rudnick:

Oh, dear. I can’t remember the name. Southwestern?

Rudnick:

Southwestern. He went to a law school. So did Debbie. She went there, and Carl. [Debbie is the Rudnick’s daughter, Carl is her husband.]

Garrett:

Debbie and Carl, for the tape, are your daughter and son-in-law.

Rudnick:

Yeah. And they came across that — Well, Debbie put Carl through law school, then Carl put Debbie through law school.

Garrett:

Okay. Well, we’re two generations ahead. We’ll go back to that.

Rudnick:

All right, but it was a [???] there. That’s kind of neat.

Garrett:

Right. And Debbie and Carl have been out of law school for 20 years now.

Rudnick:

Yeah. They still have their law degree.

Garrett:

Well, you said your brother Sam was an intellectual.

Rudnick:

An intellectual, yeah. He was the intellectual of the family. People in the family… well, of my brothers and sister, Sam had the greatest impact on me.

Garrett:

He was five years older than you.

Rudnick:

Two and a half. It may seem strange, but they think it’s subtle. You don’t mind? [Chuckles]

Garrett:

No. I’m sure that these interviews are going to be used at some point to try to determine what it is that turns somebody to science. I can tell, having read the questions through several times — you know, I try to see what is a pattern.

Rudnick:

Well, I can tell you that he had a big influence on me. He had been frustrated by the difficulty that you don’t make any money as an intellectual. One of the things that he always told me was, “Do something in engineering or physics or chemistry.” [Chuckles]

Garrett:

Actually, I’m going to probe here, this may have been true 50 or 60 years ago, but nowadays, people are told if they want to do something to make money, it would be medicine or law or finance.

Rudnick:

Yeah. No, he never mentioned those. Well, this kind of approach was well understood. My mother had a profound sense of humor. The best example of this, which is true… there are people who may claim that it’s not true, but she once asked me, “What’s physics?” And I told her what physics was. She didn’t talk English until she had been here 15, 20 years.

Garrett:

What was she speaking before that?

Rudnick:

Yiddish. She came from Poland, but she had no use for Poland. It was a smattering of English. She could tell the best jokes in Yiddish you could imagine.

Garrett:

Let me back up. Your mother came from Poland. Did she marry your father in Poland and come over, or did you she meet him over here?

Rudnick:

No. The way she came here was… my father had been drafted into the Polish Army, and he served out his year, or maybe a year and a half. He was to be allowed to leave, and he could see it wasn’t happening. Now, what concerned him was his family. Joe and Charles were… See now I’m way ahead of my time. Ben and Sam, who were a pair at a time…

Garrett:

They were born in Poland?

Rudnick:

They were born in Poland, yeah. And he could see that he wasn’t going to be able to get through Russia to Poland and pick up the family. He should’ve been allowed to leave the army. He went from Russia to Poland, and he stopped by and told that he was going on to America and that he would send from there for them. So when he came, he came alone. He came alone, but he had a younger brother who was there who had preceded him.

Garrett:

What was your father’s name?

Rudnick:

Joe Rudnick, yeah. Joseph. Well, he made his way across. The one who had helped him was his younger brother. Joe was the oldest one in the Rudnick family. He took over at [???] By that time, Ben…

Garrett:

Ben and Sam?

Rudnick:

No. Well, he had one thing. Ben and Sam came here, and they spoke Polish, actually, when they came. They all came to New York.

Garrett:

With your mother.

Rudnick:

With my mother, yeah. My mother was already there. He had sent money to the family of Rudnick. You have the two that go together, and Joe and Charles.

Garrett:

Charles was your father’s younger brother?

Rudnick:

No, no. Charles was —

Garrett:

No, I know about the current Charles. Joe and Charles are your sons, but your father’s name was also Joe.

Rudnick:

That’s right.

Garrett:

So when they came to New York is when you were born? You were born in New York.

Rudnick:

I was born in New York, yeah. The Bronx. I couldn’t even give you the street. My father did very well in New York, eventually owning a garment factory.

Garrett:

He had no formal education?

Rudnick:

No, but he was an academic in [???]. He was informed. He knew what was going on. He had bookshelves of a series of English books. He was highly respected. One of his reasons for leaving Poland, it wasn’t just getting his family here. He wouldn’t choose the word, but he was an atheist. He did not subscribe to the Jewish religion. In fact, one of the things he was [???] was escaping the bigotry. He felt a big disbelief in the ceremony. So, we were raised Jewish, but he was far from that position. On the other hand, he very much could not get something that’s almost [???]. [Chuckles] Like for every topic. He went from New York to Los Angeles, but he heard this was the real place to be.

Garrett:

This was after Bess was born?

Rudnick:

Oh, yeah. Longer. Bessie was born after I was born.

Garrett:

Oh, that’s right.

Rudnick:

We came here by an interesting route that was popular at that time. To get from New York to Los Angeles, you took a boat to New Orleans, and then you’d get off the boat and get on a train to make the rest of the way to Los Angeles.

Garrett:

What year did your family move from New York to Los Angeles?

Rudnick:

I was three years old when we got here. [Inaudible; chuckles]

Garrett:

That makes sense.

Rudnick:

My early days were spent in Boyle Heights. Boyle Heights is a neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles. You know Boyle Heights?

Garrett:

It’s downtown LA, above the library.

Rudnick:

Yeah. That’s where I grew up.

Garrett:

You went to elementary school there?

Rudnick:

Yeah, Malhorst(?).

Garrett:

In my instructions, they ask if there were any teachers — elementary, secondary, or otherwise — who had a particularly strong influence on you or got you to work in science at that point. Do you have any recollection in those days of…?

Rudnick:

No, I don’t [inaudible] timescale [chuckles]. I was always academically strong, although I would not recognize the word at the time. But when I went to school, the grades were not “A,” “B,” “C.” It was “1,” “2,” “3,” and I routinely got 1’s. My mother used to brag about it. “He gets all these 1’s.” At that time, I was just out of junior high. At that time, I would, only in retrospect. You saw that significant part. I’ll show it to you. I was athletic manager of my class. Now, why was I athletic manager? I don’t know. [Laughs] Excepted they trusted me. I think that’s what it is. That’s the only way I can understand it. This is the Athletic Manager in junior high school.

Garrett:

This says, “Holland Beck Junior High School, Los Angeles, California.” It’s to certify that you were the athletic manager. This is 1929 to 1930. So, we can expect then that this method — you at least had a good rapport with your fellow students.

Rudnick:

Yeah, I think so. Here’s the Board of Public Education — Well, you read it.

Garrett:

This, I don’t understand. This says, “The Board of Public Education, School District of Philadelphia, 8th grade certificate.”

Rudnick:

Yeah. That’s all right. During the depth of the Depression, my father went to Philadelphia, and I went to the school in Philadelphia. In particular, this place was where we used to get our basketball players. Do you remember what that was?

Garrett:

You mean UCLA?

Rudnick:

No, no. The other one in Philadelphia.

Garrett:

Who used to get their basketball players from Philadelphia?

Rudnick:

Everybody. [Laughs] This was a good place to get them. The young black people.

Garrett:

Young and tall black people.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

So your father had to go back to Philadelphia during the Depression.

Rudnick:

Yes, he did. We spent a year there before my father went to business with his younger brother, but that was very unsuccessful because his younger brother’s wife was a nuisance. [Chuckles]

Garrett:

Okay, time out. I won’t follow this up, but that’s not part of my assignment. I’ll maybe later ask you about it.

Rudnick:

No, she wasn’t. You can go to this one, it’s a state record of academic…

Garrett:

Let me ask you one other question before we get too far away. Your mother had no formal education. She spent her life raising the four of you.

Rudnick:

That’s right. Her reputation was that she was the best cook on the street. Actually, it’s true. She was the best cook, and my friends used to ask me if I’d go in and ask if they could come and have dinner with me.

Garrett:

I know this is not part of my job, but what types of things were her specialties?

Rudnick:

Chicken soup was big. You know the Matzo ball soup.

Garrett:

Puffy, not hard.

Rudnick:

Yeah. They’ve got to be puffy. [Laughter] And Gefilte fish. Oh, God, could she make Gefilte fish. [Laughter]

Garrett:

Okay. So at least I, the interviewer, know now her cooking style.

Rudnick:

We used to groan when my father would say, “Let’s go down to Brooklyn Avenue and have dinner.” [Laughter]

Garrett:

You wanted to stay and eat Mom’s cooking. Good for you. You were lucky. Well, I have in front of me the Aldevron Society, Roosevelt High School, which looks to me like a scholarship. “Highest qualities of scholarship and character.” So, when you were in high school, you were clearly still outstanding academically.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

Did anybody in particular interest you in high school? Were you a scientist by that time?

Rudnick:

No, I can tell what the situation was. Roosevelt was not that high. In fact, I did take a course in physics. I had a course in physics. It was taught by the track coach. Third track coach.

Garrett:

You mean the lowest-ranking track coach?

Rudnick:

Yeah. [Laughter]

Garrett:

And his punishment was teaching physics.

Rudnick:

My best friend was a real sharp guy.

Garrett:

His name?

Rudnick:

Kadish [?].

Garrett:

Oh, I saw his name in your book. Kadish. First name? He signed it “Kadish.” There was no first name.

Rudnick:

Yeah. He had the name of a… what was his…? There was a tough guy in fiction that had the name, so my friend Kadish got it as a nickname.

Garrett:

Was he a tough guy?

Rudnick:

He was a real smart guy. He was, I felt, the smartest guy at Roosevelt. I got passed up on most of the awards, like this. Japanese girls used to try this.

Garrett:

Really?

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

In the ‘30s in Los Angeles.

Rudnick:

Yeah. On the other hand, the teacher who taught mathematics and geometry, she used to get her answers from me. [Laughs] I forgot how, but she did get them. She was a nice lady. [Inaudible] very well.

Garrett:

I’d just like to add that when Dick Bolt was your teaching assistant at Berkeley, I believe, he did the same thing, according to his recollection. He used to use your homework for the answers.

Rudnick:

Yeah. What he says is true. [Laughter] But the real trouble with the whole thing was that there were a lot of mistakes in my homework. [Laughter]

Garrett:

Now, we may want to cut that from the transcript. For transcriptive purposes, Dick Bolt is one of the founders of Bolt, Beranek and Newman. He was the chair of the Presidential Commission on the gaps in the Nixon tapes. I know that, but whoever’s transcribing probably doesn’t. We’re back to Kadish, you mentioned —

Rudnick:

Moshe Kadish. His wife wants people to call him “Morrie.” I call him “Moshe.” [Laughs] I still do. I think it’s stupid for her to be… she doesn’t like it.

Garrett:

So you’re still in contact with Kadish?

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

What did he go on to be, if he was the smartest guy in your class?

Rudnick:

Well, he would tell you I’m the smartest guy. [Laughs] No, we were very, very close friends back then.

Garrett:

Does Mildred have his phone number?

Rudnick:

In New York, yeah. Moshe Kadish? Sure.

Garrett:

Well, I’ll mark this, and I’ll just hit Millie for everything I need to get, okay?

Rudnick:

All right.

Garrett:

I’ll make, in my notes, an “M” with a circle, and that will be followed up.

Rudnick:

He was the kind of guy who deprecated academic things because he felt that being academic meant you were trying to make yourself an elite person. So, he — Well, maybe I should go back a bit. No, I went through all those. I’ve neglected the places I went to in Philadelphia. I told you that. When I went to Philadelphia, the outstanding thing about me was that I was the Yo-Yo King of our block. By far, they had never seen this one where you threw it down and it keeps going. [Laughs]

Garrett:

It stops, right? You use a loop instead of the string.

Rudnick:

Right. Yeah.

Garrett:

So you introduced the loop trick to Philadelphia.

Rudnick:

I brought that with me to Philadelphia, right. Anyway, that’s what I was famous for. And I wouldn’t tell them how to. [Laughs] But I got very angry. We went from Boyle Heights to West Adams. The Jews in Los Angeles regarded West Adams as very old.

Garrett:

Incidentally, your father in Los Angeles was also in government business?

Rudnick:

Well, I think maybe we should take care of Philadelphia.

Garrett:

Okay.

Rudnick:

In Philadelphia, I got the first kind of treatment that used to upset me. Boyle Heights was regarded as a terrible place where you didn’t get a good education. I got along very well. Then, when I went to Boyle Heights, it was mainly Jews and quite a few Mexicans, really clever ones. Anyway, the standard thing that — this happened in grammar school, but they started discussing whether it was better to set me back for a semester or whatever because I was coming from Boyle Heights. I didn’t like that one bit. And then there was a repetition of it. They saw their mistake, I remember, because almost the first week or two, we had to go from the grammar school to the junior high school.

Garrett:

I saw something with “Junior High School.” Yeah, that was this Holland Beck.

Rudnick:

Yeah, but I was out of Holland Beck by that time. By that time I was in West Adams. But that would be quite possible. So I went to that school, and it turned out that there were two people who were put in the higher group. I and some Irish kid had gotten in the higher group, but it was supposed to be academics, too. We could do fast work. And also…no, that was Philadelphia. I was at Roosevelt and went to Philadelphia for a year, came back, and then went to West Adams.

Garrett:

This shows that you spent 8th grade in Philadelphia.

Rudnick:

When I came in the 8th grade, they thought I was a WASP. That’s what they said. [Laughs] Because I came from Los Angeles and I was tanned and they weren’t. I remember that. Anyway, so when we went from grammar school to one higher, I knew that I was doing well. That’s all. It never really bothered me. But in retrospect, the fact that this Irishman and I got into a certain class, we were regarded as being better than the rest.

Garrett:

The rest of those from Boyle Heights.

Rudnick:

No, no, no. At that time, I was Boyle Heights. I had come here and went to grammar school. In grammar school, we went to the junior high school, and that’s where we got to the separation.

Garrett:

Okay. So, at least, when you hit 7th grade, they recognized that you were a good student, and they put you in higher classroom.

Rudnick:

They never said anything.

Garrett:

No. They must have recognized you.

Rudnick:

Yeah. I would say they recognized me. Okay, so where are we now?

Garrett:

We bounced around. I haven’t finished up with Roosevelt High School. You said you had a physics teacher there who was the third-string track coach.

Rudnick:

Oh, yes. [Laughs] I wish I could remember the name. Moshe and I used to hustle him. This guy had a teaching technique in which he would start a sentence but leave off the last word, and then pause. You were urged to put in the missing word, I think.

Garrett:

Fill in the blank.

Rudnick:

Moshe and I used to have a game in which we kept track of how many words [inaudible; laughs], and sometimes there were ridiculous things, but this guy would just repeat them because he didn’t know what the hell he was doing. It was only later that I realized what had happened. He was teaching physics because he was in physical education.

Garrett:

They both started with “P”? [Laughter]

Rudnick:

That’s a joke, but it happened to a friend I had. After he graduated from high school, he was put on the track team. He was as awkward as you could be. Anyway, so there was an explanation for it. It was a very good one.

Garrett:

It clearly wasn’t your experience with your high school physics teacher that turned you. [Laughs]

Rudnick:

No. It was terrible.

Garrett:

Turned you away from being a Physicist.

Rudnick:

The fact is that it, if anything, repelled me. It just spoiled it for a long period. There was one guy who knew what he was doing, a guy who was crippled. He was a nice guy. We always [???] him a great deal.

I can tell you how I got into Physics. After I got out of Roosevelt, I was going to go to the city college here. UCLA, before it came on its present place, was on Vermont Street.

Garrett:

It was in downtown LA.

Rudnick:

Yes. You’ll read about the past of UCLA and see that there was a period when they were at Vermont. They were just waiting there until UCLA started. Anyway, I was going to go to Vermont. It was a city school. If you get there, you go there for nothing. Didn’t have to pay. Millie wanted to do that. I wasn’t very wild about it. My brother, Sam, had been emphasizing the fact that I should be doing something that wasn’t writing — that really had some substance. He came around one day and said that a friend of his, who was also an intellectual and wasn’t — Well, he had a friend who was not an intellectual who actually worked for the Department of Water Power. I don’t know why I remember that. He does and he’s still around. And he said, “If you want to go to the space on this, all right.” The way to go from here to Berkeley was to go from here to Berkeley — you just got in the car and you drove. So I would go up there for nothing. Sam took care of whatever cost there was, although I heard later that he didn’t pay the full amount because it was really…

Garrett:

Was Sam a student at Berkeley?

Rudnick:

No. Sam never was a student. Anyway, I got on there, and I went with this guy, and he helped me get a place to live. That time, you could get a room for $8 or $10 a room for a month, or something like that. There were old ladies who had these two-story buildings near campus. By that time, I had used up all my funds. I got a called FHA as a freshman, and you got $15 a month. It’s a more [???] period when I did that. I worked in a machine shop, separating bolts and things.

Garrett:

Sorting.

Rudnick:

Yeah, sorting. Right. And I got to be very good at that. [Chuckles] I really did. I felt really useful. I got to be good at it. I could pick through anything. But before I got that far, I would have to give what my major was. I got quickly by, and I decided that the one course that I didn’t get anything out of was the physics course at UCLA. And I knew that there was something hidden there. [Laughs] I needed that secret — that’s the way I felt, and I was going to find out what it is.

Garrett:

So you had taken some courses at Vermont before you headed up to Berkeley.

Rudnick:

Well, I had taken those with the coach.

Garrett:

I thought that was Roosevelt.

Rudnick:

That was Roosevelt, yeah. I went from Roosevelt directly to Berkeley. Well, I was going to go from there to Vermont and…

Garrett:

Right, but you went to straight to Berkeley. You declared a Physics major because you knew there was something in the course, but you had none of it. I got that straight, right?

Rudnick:

Yeah. [Laughs] What’s the matter?

Garrett:

No, this is important. I just want to make sure I got it straight.

Rudnick:

Don’t you forget that Bolt was talking about using my solutions. It was precisely that period in my early physics courses. “Bolt” is Richard Bolt, one of the founders of Bolt, Beranek and Newman.

Garrett:

So something must have struck at that point if you were able to solve physics problems.

Rudnick:

No, I was able to solve physics problems. It wasn’t very thrilling, but we talked about [???], but it wasn’t really anything that excited me. I was washing dishes at that time, and I got money to keep going. No, we’re skipping a reasonably long period.

Garrett:

I know we left something out of high school because I believe that at that time, you went to see a movie every day.

Rudnick:

Oh, yeah. I left something out. When we went to West Adams, the logical place for me to go to school was at LA High. We lived very close to the surface of the trolley line. Despite the convenience for me to get on the trolley, cross down into Los Angeles — if I was going to LA High, and I started out considering going to LA High. I went in, and there was a woman who was handling my induction into the high school. She pulled that monkey business about setting me back another year because I came from Boyle Heights. [Chuckles] Honestly, this is the way it went. And I said, “God damn it, I’m not doing it.” There’s just no way I’m going to be set back a year for no good reason other than the fact that I had come from Boyle Heights. So, I used to get on that trolley, which was very close to our house, and I’d go clear across down. I’d go to the center of town, so there were always movies. [Laughs] I saw a lot of movies doing this. I think that’s what you’re hearing about.

Garrett:

Yeah, I think so.

Rudnick:

I wasn’t that much of an aficionado, but here I was, going down Broadway. Go down Broadway, make a turn right, go up toward Boyle Heights. Anyway, that’s when I got to see the movies. And I enjoyed the movies.

Garrett:

Just entertainment.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

I’m curious because two of your sons are in the film business. So it was contagious.

Rudnick:

No, I enjoyed the movies. I didn’t go there because the movies were there; I went there because that’s what I had to do to get to school.

Garrett:

Let’s get back to Berkeley.

Rudnick:

In Berkeley, it turned out that I and another guy that I worked with later were the only students who went to LA High to Berkeley. He went there because he was a football player. He was a Russian. They had an interesting Russian who settled somewhere close to Roosevelt High. Anyway, we were the only ones there. In the following year, Moshe Kadish came, and then he and I got an apartment.

Garrett:

Berkeley, even then, was a top school. Were there any courses — you said electricity and magnetism, you did not find particularly interesting. You were able to solve the problems, but you didn’t find it too stimulating. Was there anything there that caught your interest?

Rudnick:

This FHA business allowed me to work with people in the laboratory who were working on their Ph.D.s, actually.

Garrett:

So, this HFA allowed you to support the work that graduate students were doing?

Rudnick:

I was doing whatever they asked me to do, and I was doing decent.

Garrett:

So your job during the Depression, what they were funding you to do to give you enough money to live on, was to help the grad students.

Rudnick:

Yeah. In fact, I can tell you that — See, there were all kinds of things which occurred which had an effect on me. One particular one was when I showed up for that automobile ride to Berkeley. Then I got a job washing dishes, and I still didn’t have enough money to really get started at paying the rent for the places we were in, for getting clothes. I had to buy a slide rule. [Chuckles]

I’ll be right back. [Break]

I think I said something which casts a light on what occurred. At the time, when Kadish got his degree, he decided to be a graduate student in engineering. He was going in engineering for the reasons I mentioned, that he did not like the idea of being a dilettante. Joe talked to him and acknowledges kind of that he didn’t have any use for it. So, he went to engineering. Why did I bring up Moshe?

Garrett:

We were talking about your job as a helper for grad students.

Rudnick:

Oh, all right. This was the pivotal sects for me for getting into those things. Well, I was working with this guy that I helping because I was on this FHA. The guy I was working with was really a very good guy. I was very much impressed with him. He was doing cosmic rays.

Garrett:

That’s the student you were helping.

Rudnick:

Yeah. The guy was working on his Ph.D. I was appalled that this guy, who I really had such a high opinion of, couldn’t find a job. All he could find was… he’d get a job with the USA group that studied weather. What he got, task-wise, was he was to translate French books on the weather to American. [Chuckles] That’s all he could find. So that was his job. I decided right there that somehow I’m going to find a way to get a decent job, but in order to do something in support for this guy who… Anyway, I was talking to Moshe Kadish about it, and he said he heard that down in Los Angeles, people were making money. What do they call them? Films where they have voice on them, movies. They called them “talkies”.

Garrett:

Right. Where the people were making money by making films in Los Angeles.

Rudnick:

Talkies, yeah. Developing things for them. He mentioned it to me, and I decided I’d go down and have a look and see what’s going on. Well, I came down to Los Angeles. I used to periodically go strictly to Los Angeles and get home.

Garrett:

Get a good meal.

Rudnick:

[Laughs] Yeah. They used to have the old ladies who had these [???] places. You’d get food from them for [???] stomach. I’d get home to my mother’s cooking. Anyway, I came down and I got an appointment to talk to Vern Knudsen.

Garrett:

Okay. Based on this tip from Kadish who said that there were jobs in the film industry.

Rudnick:

Yes.

Garrett:

How did you get hooked up with Vern Knudsen? And how did you know to go ask Vern Knudsen?

Rudnick:

Well, I worked there and I found out that Vern Knudsen works there.

Garrett:

You went where?

Rudnick:

During one of the trips down there, I learned that Vern Knudsen was at the head of it, and I went in and I talked to him.

Garrett:

At the head of advances in sound in motion pictures, or just in acoustics in general.

Rudnick:

Yeah. It was in the university.

Garrett:

Okay. So at this point, you seem him.

Rudnick:

I remember he was disappointed because I didn’t have such a hot record. So, I had to go back to Berkeley for another semester. I did that, and then I got straight A’s. [Chuckles] I was able to manage that. Anyway, it was enough to draw some attention in my direction, I think. In any case, I came down about the same time that Bob’s mother came down. There weren’t many people. There were still lots of [inaudible].

Garrett:

Delsasso?

Rudnick:

Delsasso was here, yeah.

Garrett:

So you went back to Berkeley, you got A’s for that semester, and then you graduated?

Rudnick:

Let’s see… I was just taking courses. When we first came down there, there weren’t any advanced courses to take. Vern Knudsen gave the courses.

Garrett:

Okay, but I’m confused. You came down at Kadish’s recommendation, you located Vern Knudsen as an expert in acoustics, he was unimpressed with your academic record, you returned to Berkeley, got straight A’s and came back down. Now, you were, at that time, still a student at Berkeley. Did you transfer to UCLA?

Rudnick:

Yes.

Garrett:

Okay. And then you transferred. At the time you transferred, there was Knudsen.

Rudnick:

Delsasso. Norm Watson was teaching hearing aids.

Garrett:

Delsasso. Watson who I don’t know. I’ve heard his name. Norm Watson.

Rudnick:

He was interested in the hearing process, and so I had [inaudible].

Garrett:

Vern Knudsen and —

Rudnick:

Vern Knudsen, his Ph.D. thesis is about hearing.

Garrett:

Okay. So, without getting a degree in Berkeley, you transferred down to UCLA, you entered the program there. While you were there, Knudsen was there, Delsasso was there, Watson was there, and Bob Leonard was there. Okay. I wanted to get this straight because I know Leonard plays an important role subsequently. Okay. So then you started taking advanced courses in acoustics from these guys.

Rudnick:

No.

Garrett:

No?

Rudnick:

Yeah, I would’ve been taking courses from these guys in addition to courses — before that, it was Vern Knudsen. That’s when I began learning about it. And I was very much impressed with it.

Garrett:

You were still an Undergraduate.

Rudnick:

I was still an undergraduate. He was reluctant to take me on because I didn’t have any background. He knew what he wanted to be. He learned acoustics in San Diego, so he came up to San Diego. Dick Bolt didn’t really know what he wanted to be. He was in architecture, but there was no pushing him. Bob had a pretty good grasp of the situation. When I was taking the courses, they wouldn’t do the first-year courses, actually. Dick Bolt, he was my…

Garrett:

Your only solution.

Rudnick:

Yeah. Anyway, it was a direct result of the Depression I had to take acoustics. Nothing more than that.

Garrett:

You say that Leonard was reluctant to work with you because he had some agenda or something.

Rudnick:

Well, you saw his size and my size. [Chuckles] Shortly after that, he felt better about me when he saw I took two steps at a time. He figured that could make up for my size. But after that, we got along very, very well.

Garrett:

What was Leonard working on at that time?

Rudnick:

At that time, Bob Leonard had set for himself the task of finding out why the attenuation in seawater was greater than fresh water. ONR immediately came back there. I think Bob Leonard got one of the first got the first ONR.

Garrett:

Yes, that would have to be true. ONR is only 40 years old. It is back about 40 years ago.

Rudnick:

I got on that contract, I would say, within a month of his getting the contract. After that, he was the big guy in that those were his contracts.

Garrett:

Principal investigator.

Rudnick:

Principal investigator, yeah. But it soon became clear that I would have to take part of that because he was manic-depressive.

Garrett:

I see. You were still an undergraduate then?

Rudnick:

I was probably — See I took his courses [???]. And then I took courses from Bob Leonard and a guy who gave a course in electronics. I had been in the regular, required courses and also the acoustics courses, and there were a lot — there was a lot of stuff in acoustics.

Garrett:

That would make sense based on the fact that there were so many acousticians on the faculty. Was this simultaneous with “Sound in Air” that Knudsen had done? Was that prior to your arrival?

Rudnick:

No, I would say it’s about — I came there at the same time Bob Leonard did. Bob spoke to Dick Bolt within a couple of days.

Garrett:

But Leonard was there as a faculty member.

Rudnick:

Yeah. But during the war, Bob Leonard gave courses to lieutenants, people like that.

Garrett:

I’m going to have to fix the dates so that I don’t get confused. What was the year that you transferred from Berkeley down to UCLA? This is the time we’re talking about now. [Shuffles through papers] This is Roosevelt High. This is Los Angeles.

Rudnick:

Yeah. I went from Roosevelt to Berkeley.

Garrett:

Right, so that would be ‘34. You spent a couple years at Berkeley?

Rudnick:

Yes.

Garrett:

So this would be about 1936? Because you just mentioned something about during the war, and I didn’t think that had happened at this point.

Rudnick:

Well, try that. I think that would be…

Garrett:

Okay. We could check this, but you’re saying that at that time, Knudsen had done his work on the absorption of sound in air.

Rudnick:

Yeah. The water content is very important. That was during a hot spell that this was found — a big in change in the amplitude of the sound.

Garrett:

In the reverberation rooms.

Rudnick:

Right. I think they did it in the reverberation room.

Garrett:

I recall you telling me story about how the reverberation times were too short, so they painted the walls and did all kinds of things to try and…

Rudnick:

And Bob Leonard used to take a pail of water and throw it on floor. That decreases the losses, and this was his way of just saying that. [Laughter] He wanted to take care of the problem of the excess attenuation.

Garrett:

Well, anyway, Knudsen tracked it down to be the relaxation of air and the water molecules in the air.

Rudnick:

Yeah. Well, actually, it was a guy named —

Garrett:

Go ahead. You were telling me that after Knudsen discovered this excess attenuation, it was a German who had the explanation.

Rudnick:

Yeah. It was good physics. We can get the guy’s name… let’s see if I have it.

Garrett:

Well, this will show up. I have Knudsen’s collected papers, so it must be here. His collaborator’s name was Shaw.

Rudnick:

My collected papers would have it, too. This was a guy who was here on a kind of sabbatical, and he pointed out what the origin of attenuation is. Bob Leonard was working on problems of that type, and also problems of attenuation of sound in water.

Garrett:

Those two things were obviously connected because there’s some molecular effect.

Rudnick:

The work that Bob Leonard did, which prompted ONR to press a contract on him, was that he took some pure water, put it in a huge container — well, he used different sizes, actually.

Garrett:

These were glass spheres?

Rudnick:

Glass spheres. He had a real talent for building experiments just the right way. He was my hero. I always said that I only came on the page when I developed my intuition, and that I got from Bob Leonard. He would say things instead of writing down equations. He just knew it.

Garrett:

You said an interesting thing. You said that ONR pressed a contract on him for studying this.

Rudnick:

The attenuation of sound in water? [Laughs] Bob wanted to do it by taking a sphere. He put pure water in it, but he made a bunch of false starts. He took some seawater and put it in, and that didn’t work because there were things that grew in there. [Laughs] Took care of it.

Garrett:

Biologicals were a problem.

Rudnick:

Right. Then he killed the germs in there. He did all kinds of things. He knew how to do experiments. He found that if he probed the regions near the inside of the sphere, there were interesting things that happened that he could associate with bubbles or an air space or a space free of water that’s at the wall. And then he took steps to degas the water, and it turned out that this was extremely hard. Nobody was doing that, try to make measurements in the ocean, forget about it [chuckles].

Garrett:

So he recognized that gas was causing irreducibility in the results — the properties of the trapped gases, not the liquid.

Rudnick:

Right. Either before or during that period, he got to be a real expert doing things in a spherical container. People started redoing his experiments. Nobody did it as well as he did. That’s what I used to say, and that was true. He knew why he was doing what he did. Everybody else was just because he had done it. [Laughs]

Garrett:

In part of these instructions in the interview, they ask things about funding institutions and support of research. When you said that ONR effectively forced a contract on him. In the present times, one solicits research funding. So, ONR somehow became aware of his work and actively sought funding.

Rudnick:

Yes. There’s no question they did.

Garrett:

And because he had accepted this contract and he had a manic-depressive personality, you had to participate in making these measurements? Take responsibility for the research contract?

Rudnick:

Very shortly, he and I would take turns doing the paperwork. That’s what we always talked about, tried to dodge doing it. When did I discover that he was manic-depressive? Just a short while, actually. After I got to know him, I noticed that there were strange things he did, his fluctuation in mood. I got him to talk to a guy on the street, Frank Tillman [?].

Garrett:

You mentioned it to me once before. He was a psychologist?

Rudnick:

No, he was, I would say, an M.D. They named him in charge of psychology during Warren’s period as a Governor.

Garrett:

A real one.

Rudnick:

Real one, yeah. And he refused to take the next guy, working for the next guy. With Warren he got along well, but the next guy was kind of a [???].

Garrett:

He was a lush?

Rudnick:

No, he was just intellectually, he wasn’t…

Garrett:

Was that at Brown? Senior Follower Award? Or was it somebody who…?

Rudnick:

No, he would have gotten along with him. But anyway, he started advising Leonard. He recognized him. He recognized the problem with Bob. The Psychologist [inaudible]. He was at that time, [inaudible] do now. So where are we now?

Garrett:

Bob Leonard is making spheres. You were helping him with the paperwork on the ONR contract. But it was my recollection that Bryan Wilson [also known as O.B. Wilson] was doing that as his Ph.D. thesis. Is that correct?

Rudnick:

That’s right.

Garrett:

Okay. So you were Undergraduate at that time. O.B. Wilson was working with Leonard on measuring; I guess it was magnesium sulfate.

Rudnick:

No, I was not an undergraduate at that time. I was taking students by that time. I could have taken him.

Garrett:

Okay, then I’ve got something out of sync here because in 1936, when you went there, you were an undergraduate, and Leonard and Bolt were there along with Delsasso and Knudsen.

Rudnick:

Yes.

Garrett:

Knudsen was working on this excess absorption in air, and Leonard was working on excess absorption in seawater.

Rudnick:

Yes.

Garrett:

Are we still before World War II? I would suspect not.

Rudnick:

I can tell you exactly when I got involved in World War II. I got my Ph.D. from Vern Knudsen, who said he had a job for me. I got my Ph.D., and at that time, I started working in more research. I did some work with [inaudible]. He was the first guy I —

Garrett:

It was at UCLA then?

Rudnick:

No, this was at [inaudible].

Garrett:

At Duke.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

Well, I need to know what you did. You got your Ph.D. before the war with Knudsen. What was your —

Rudnick:

Now, I could have taken any one of those guys [inaudible].

Garrett:

Okay, but I’m just trying to get… What was the date? Do you remember the date when you received your Ph.D.?

Rudnick:

Oh, I could probably get it exactly from my curriculum vitae.

Garrett:

When you went to Duke, you already had your Ph.D.

Rudnick:

I had my Ph.D.

Garrett:

And the thesis topic?

Rudnick:

Was a horrible thesis. [Chuckles]

Garrett:

I will note that. We better get that on tape. You just said it was a horrible thesis, so somehow you had to have chosen this topic or chosen to work Knudsen and he had chosen the topic.

Rudnick:

Knudsen had chosen it.

Garrett:

The topic?

Rudnick:

But then was never around.

Garrett:

What was the topic?

Rudnick:

The topic was… he didn’t give a topic. He didn’t know how. [Chuckles] He didn’t know how to conduct research.

Garrett:

Knudsen did not know how to conduct research.

Rudnick:

That’s right.

Garrett:

He was not a great thesis adviser. Not even a good thesis adviser.

Rudnick:

He was up to his neck, actually, in work. He was best at doing the kind of work he did.

Garrett:

Architectural design.

Rudnick:

No, not architectural design, but administrative work. That’s what he did. Administrative work.

Garrett:

But he had you as a graduate student.

Rudnick:

Yeah. He just never showed up. [Chuckles]

Garrett:

So he never showed up.

Rudnick:

Rarely. He was up to his neck. They were wanting him to do something about the work on the ocean. He wanted me to do some work on the things which happened in the atmosphere when the sound goes through it.

Garrett:

Refractive effects?

Rudnick:

Yeah. I did something like that, but I could have done it better if I worked it out on paper.

Garrett:

So your thesis was an experiment on…?

Rudnick:

An experiment that you started with low temperatures down here that rise, and the sound will go through it, look at the shape of the sound that came out. That kind of thing.

Garrett:

You wanted to do ray tracing and velocity gradients.

Rudnick:

Yeah, something like that.

Garrett:

And that was your thesis?

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

Too bad you had to sign up with Leonard. But apparently, it didn’t have a bad effect.

Rudnick:

No. Well, the problem with Bob Leonard was the attenuation of sound in seawater. He got really excited about it. There have been all kinds of speculation about why attenuation changes. The kind of thing he did is he would add salt, add products, how magnesium sulfate affect localizing magnesium with something else. It was those two.

Garrett:

Right. I remember the magnesium sulfate, but I don’t remember the electromagnetic component was critical.

Rudnick:

Oh, you took two things, magnesium oxide or something and the sulfite something else in. We did this with a number of things that we found, but only magnesium sulfate was present.

Garrett:

You received your Ph.D., and at that point, Knudsen said he had work for you. Right?

Rudnick:

Right. The work for me was to do that, help out. The problem I had was improving location of the enemy.

Garrett:

Acoustic localization of sound sources.

Rudnick:

Right.

Garrett:

Probably large artillery.

Rudnick:

No, the fact is that that was really learned in the First World War. They would have huge, long baselines spotted with sources and receivers. That would get to the long-range things. We were concerned, could we do that in short distances in order to stop the Japanese in landing? Like Leonard.

Garrett:

Oh, from the water.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

Was this work done at UCLA? Or was it by this time you moved to Duke?

Rudnick:

No, we were at Duke. It was not done at UCLA.

Garrett:

So you received your degree and then went to Duke during the war.

Rudnick:

Right, with a stop at Brown University, but that was just a way for Bruce Lindsay to get free. He had finished.

Garrett:

Went to Brown. Joined R. B. Lindsay. Was Bob Beyer also there, then?

Rudnick:

Who was Bob?

Garrett:

He was another guy from Brown of that era.

Rudnick:

Oh, yeah. Yeah, Bob was here.

Garrett:

Okay. And then they all went to Duke?

Rudnick:

Bob Beyer went to Florida State. I went to Duke.

Garrett:

And Lindsay?

Rudnick:

Lindsay went. He hated it. [Laughs]

Garrett:

He hated North Carolina.

Rudnick:

Yeah. Well, people say different things. Bell Labs had said they were the ones who handled that.

Garrett:

So it was a failed project.

Rudnick:

Actually, it turned out that that whole project was a [???]. The best thing that came out of it, as far as I was concerned, is I was able to develop a — I did an experiment, sound property issued over a core speed. You could understand if you knew the Sommerfeld. The solution problem of attenuation of electromagnetic waves over a conductive earth was exactly the same thing. It was actually the easiest thing I ever had to do. Had to have the people and the acoustics stuff that was wonderful. Ten years later, it became a big thing. [Chuckles]

Garrett:

And that was Leonard, too, where you brought the Sommerfeld equation to porous media.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

Was Lindsay involved in that?

Rudnick:

No. By that time, Lindsay had gone. He just spent the year with us.

Garrett:

Can I ask how you were aware of this solution of Sommerfelds for electromagnetic waves propagating over a conductive medium? Something you picked up while you were at school, or…?

Rudnick:

No, at Berkeley, I suppose. We had done an experiment in which we had a source that went up a very high… Isn’t that a book from… the green book that has some stuff that came…

Garrett:

You’re not referring to the Penn State final report?

Rudnick:

Yeah, that’s it.

Garrett:

Oh, okay. My copy is black. Mine’s not green. Your copy was green. Mine came from here.

Rudnick:

I just did the easy thing, which was to take the electromagnetic solution and translate it. Nobody would use it because they thought it was too difficult. There wasn’t anything difficult about it.

Garrett:

Substitute some kind of [???] depth in the medium for the [???] in the conductor?

Rudnick:

No, I worked with the equations and things. We had some results. In the acoustic case, it’s [???] up there, picking it up at the ground are pores. At first did the whole thing [???] with us. You know, what the hell was going on. We were supposed to be, but studying would help it. The kind of thing that I did lightly. [Chuckles] It was clear that what we were looking at was not that. Doing different things. And Bob Leonard loved that because he had been measuring what sound does when he went — You know the two lawns that we have? One in front of Royce Hall and the other at the other end of the…

Garrett:

Mm-hmm [yes].

Rudnick:

Bob used to measure the attenuation of the sound. He had to run over there, and he thought that, “Oh, it’ll be all right.” But he was getting some of these effects that had to do with the porosity of the ground. So this made a big impression on him. That’s one of the reasons that I would recall that I solved that problem.

Garrett:

One of the reasons you returned to UCLA.

Rudnick:

Yeah. They gave me an offer, but…

Garrett:

In between Duke and UCLA was also Penn State.

Rudnick:

I went to Penn State because Shelby had stopped by the lab at Penn State. No, that wasn’t at Penn State. It would be Durham. He liked the work that I did, and he offered me this job at Penn State.

Garrett:

But what was the job?

Rudnick:

A starting professor. I think I started, actually, that he fixed up instructors. But I had to quite the job of the acceleration partly because UCLA wanted me. The first offer I got from UCLA, they had only solved the…

Garrett:

So at Penn State, you were a regular faculty member in the physics department.

Rudnick:

Yes.

Garrett:

Teaching physics courses.

Rudnick:

Yes.

Garrett:

And doing research.

Rudnick:

Yes.

Garrett:

What was your research at Penn State? I think the siren work had come about at that time.

Rudnick:

Yeah, the siren. That was with Clayton Allen.

Garrett:

And then who supported that?

Rudnick:

There was support from Signal Corps. Then we got this monkey business about going [???].

Garrett:

Right. Then Penn State was your first introduction to high-end opposing [?] acoustics, which recurs throughout your career at all kinds of points. At Penn State, you were labeled as a “rat killer.” Right?

Rudnick:

Yes. [Chuckles]

Garrett:

Is that where you also got the name “Mudnick”?

Rudnick:

I don’t know.

Garrett:

Or is that later? Percent of propagation through mud?

Rudnick:

Oh, yeah. Well, that was kind of interesting.

Garrett:

Was that Penn State?

Rudnick:

Penn State.

Garrett:

Okay. Sonic laundering was done at Penn State.

Rudnick:

Right. [Chuckles]

Garrett:

You thought all these things were going to escape the interview, huh?

Rudnick:

[Chuckles] No.

Garrett:

Tell me about the Penn State era.

Rudnick:

We went to Penn State, and at first it was horrible. We couldn’t find a place to live. Penn State had the reputation that they were — One of the first things that happened was that we couldn’t find a place to live. We ended up on the second floor of a place that had cockroaches coming from the restrooms below. Millie and my mother brought the kids to Charleston.

Garrett:

They were born in North Carolina?

Rudnick:

Yeah. Three months. Charles was definitely [???]. Then, Joe was born at Duke. Charles, I think he was also born at Duke — the hospital at Duke. I grew this mustache when Joe was a baby. Millie had to go to the hospital to have an operation. She refused to allow a girl [inaudible]. She said, “I had to do it.”

Garrett:

You said she came with your mother to Penn State.

Rudnick:

Yeah. My mother continued on to New York. Took the train there. Anyway, our first place was…When I went to this meeting, [inaudible] for most things.

Garrett:

Maybe you should find another place to make the recording so that the television background sound doesn’t pollute it.

Rudnick:

All right.

Garrett:

Okay, let’s stop this. [Break; location change]

We’re resuming the interview out on the patio. When we stopped, it was high-amplitude sound.

Rudnick:

Also, we should talk about high-frequency sound.

Garrett:

Is that also Penn State era?

Rudnick:

It’s Penn State era, yeah. What happened was we worked on sound sources, and it didn’t have to do with those sirens. We started working on high frequencies because there was a proposal to use high frequencies in acoustic frequencies to talk to people in the Army. Use high frequencies to get…

Garrett:

So this is information, like radio? For communications?

Rudnick:

Yeah, except it was to be acoustic in order to send things. The signal was too low. That was the point.

Garrett:

Okay. But they were ultrasonic. They were higher than highest.

Rudnick:

Right. There was a period where we did the highest frequency of anyone. We felt that these would measure the amplitude of the sound. Originally, Schilling had got into this problem, going into the jungles and transmitting signals to people from the jungle. That’s how we got to the high-amplitude sound.

Garrett:

Was this tied into war research? That people would be communicating in jungles?

Rudnick:

Yeah. They started that during the war, and when I came along, I picked it up. That was an exciting time, actually. Did you ever see…? He was the one who recommended me for the Biennial Award.

Garrett:

That you received in 1948.

Rudnick:

Right. Actually, interesting things came out of that. We pushed the frequency to the highest value, where we got…

Garrett:

At that time, it was in megahertz? Using “P” as electric crystals?

Rudnick:

Yeah, we were using “P” as electric crystals. You just wanted a signal. I’m trying to remember whether quartz was rangeable. But I know the reputation I have at Penn State.

Garrett:

So in addition to high-amplitude work, you guys were doing ultrasound.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

Is that where the laundering came in, making ultrasonic cleaners?

Rudnick:

Right.

Garrett:

Was that group the first to build an ultrasonic cleaner?

Rudnick:

No. The ultrasonic cleaners… I don’t know. They had a home economics group at Penn State. [Laughs]

Garrett:

Right, along with their hotel curriculum.

Rudnick:

That’s how come we had to — They had swatches of dirty cloth.

Garrett:

Standardized?

Rudnick:

Yeah. [Chuckles] Right. Then it turned out wherever you had the cavitation, you had clean laundry.

Garrett:

It was the smallest of places where the cavitation occurred.

Rudnick:

Right. Yeah.

Garrett:

So it was very clean, just not very uniform.

Rudnick:

Well, no. If you just keep it up and move everything around, then… [Chuckles] Anyway, that was fun.

Garrett:

Oh, was it that time you also produced the sirens being the highest-efficiency sound sources that were known at that time?

Rudnick:

Yeah. Bob Leonard and I built the most powerful sirens that had ever been built.

Garrett:

So this was back at UCLA. This was after you left.

Rudnick:

That’s when I came back, yeah.

Garrett:

Your work on the distortion in horns and in the attenuation of high-amplitude sound was done after you left Penn State and returned to UCLA?

Rudnick:

What does it say? Oh, the losses in power and the…

Garrett:

Right.

I was asking that you had done a lot of high-amplitude sound at Penn State. Did you do the work in the formation of shock in the throes of exponential horns and the attenuation of high-amplitude sound waves at Penn State, or after you went back to UCLA? I’m just trying to get a feel for where this research breaks down. At some point, the Penn State work was stopped because you produced the final report. I guess Schilling was the principal.

Rudnick:

He had to do that. The deadline for the final report…

Garrett:

Which was about 1948, right? It was about the time that that was produced?

Rudnick:

And the book was green.

Garrett:

What you called the green one.

Rudnick:

Yes. That was done in the last 60 days, or something like that. The last 30 days.

Garrett:

Because that included an amazing amount of acoustics in terms of sirens, reciprocity, calibration, whistles, novel sound sources, microphones, etc. So that was the summary of the work that had been done during the war at Penn State, supported by at that time what was called Signal Corps. They had responsibility for the report, which, for the transcriber’s benefit, is no longer available.

Rudnick:

I never did get a copy of it. [Chuckles]

Garrett:

I tried to get it.

Rudnick:

I still want a copy. How do I get it? Anyway, we got out of [inaudible].

Garrett:

Well, just out of Penn State.

Rudnick:

Out of Penn State. No, we didn’t get out. We got out as soon as they gave us a…?

Garrett:

A position at UCLA?

Rudnick:

Yes.

Garrett:

At this point, we could probably start the UCLA era, right?

Rudnick:

Yeah. That’s where the low-temperature one showed up.

Garrett:

Right. The initial work at UCLA, though, was not low-temperature work. Herman Medwin, I think, was your third graduate student. He was doing streaming. Prior to that, you had Lieberman, or…?

Rudnick:

No. The earliest one went to Bolt, Beranek and Newman.

Garrett:

I see. So these are the copies of the theses from the UCLA era.

Rudnick:

Yeah, Angona just died. He was the first one at UCLA.

Garrett:

He was your first UCLA student.

Rudnick:

Yeah. What he did was he did some laboratory measurements of the Sommerfeld.

Garrett:

So he did follow-up work on the Sommerfeld.

Rudnick:

And Wilson did work about Leonard’s.

Garrett:

Wilson was doing the magnesium sulfate work. Attenuation in water. And Leonard was his adviser.

Rudnick:

Right.

Garrett:

Okay. Then it looks like Angona.

Rudnick:

Yeah. Angona and…

Garrett:

There’s a “Galloway” next to it and a “Beese” [?].

Rudnick:

Yeah. Galloway was, I think, my second one.

Garrett:

And these were supported by the Office of Naval Research. In fact, Galloway, it looks like it must have been Leonard’s project because his name shows up on the thesis. “Experimental Study of Acoustically Induced Cavitation.”

Rudnick:

No, actually, he was the last one.

Garrett:

He was doing cavitation in spheres?

Rudnick:

Yeah. A threshold.

Garrett:

And that’s when you had observed the largest cavitation threshold ever seen in water. Is that correct?

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

It’s something like atmospheres?

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

Using a spherical resonator.

Rudnick:

Right. Nobody could reproduce afterward. I’m absolutely certain that Galloway’s results are correct. I stayed with it. The thing which was keeping people from getting good values was that they didn’t properly get rid of the bubbles, the Degas the water.

Garrett:

Wasn’t Greenspan able to reproduce that same cavitation threshold as yours later?

Rudnick:

I think so, but actually, most of that work was done on other liquids.

Garrett:

Why were you interested in cavitation? Why were you interested in setting the record for the tensile strength of water?

Rudnick:

The Navy was interested. [Laughs]

Garrett:

Right. That makes sense.

Rudnick:

This was the greatest cavitation threshold they could even find. Well, that’s what we found. And everybody was so God damned angry about it.

Garrett:

Why were people angry?

Rudnick:

Well, because, in my opinion, people had not done it, and here, we came in… They only blamed it on him. They would never blame it on me. [Laughs] I always believed his results. And I felt sorry for him. The fact was that they weren’t getting rid of the air.

Garrett:

Angona was gas mixtures.

Rudnick:

Angona was a guy who was sent back by one of the oil firms. He worked with Bob Leonard and did a very careful measurement of the attenuation in carbon dioxide. That was a great interest at that time. That’s what people were doing, a lot of measurements of that type in mixtures. Talking about Angona, they gave him his salary for three years’ work here in the oil company?

Garrett:

Why were they interested in…?

Rudnick:

They were interested in oil wells. [Laughs]

Garrett:

Right, right, I understand that. So, they were just trying to train him? Or the attenuation in carbon dioxide, and there’s propagation? Gas mixtures mattered to them.

Rudnick:

Well, why don’t you take that one down and see what it says?

Garrett:

It says here “The excess translation of the energy to molecules to acquire a quantum state of energy rephrases them to a higher eternal energy state.” He was looking at the molecular absorption and relaxation times, but he doesn’t say why.

Rudnick:

Well, I know in CO2, what they were trying to do was to get the best results. They had already shown what the attenuation was in the other one. Here, we get an actual value.

Garrett:

He was followed by Beese?

Rudnick:

Beese worked on the water problems.

Garrett:

On magnesium sulfate. So he was a follow-on.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

He was followed by Medwin, according to that. Right?

Rudnick:

Medwin, he was my first student.

Garrett:

Right, and he had worked on streaming.

Rudnick:

Galloway says he was. So, yeah.

Garrett:

And then Medwin worked on streaming. Was that interest in that generated by Eckert’s…?

Rudnick:

Eckert, yeah. But he worked with me on the experiment.

Garrett:

I see. He was followed by Willett [?]?

Rudnick:

Yeah. Willett was an oddball.

Garrett:

So we ignore him?

Rudnick:

Yeah, if you want to. He wasn’t my student.

Garrett:

Bob Leonard’s?

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

Chandler? I don’t recognize his name. I now have Lieberman. That was a follow-on to Galloway.

Rudnick:

Yeah. He was very good, but he had to make money.

Garrett:

And he was studying nucleation in…?

Rudnick:

Yes, in an ice [?] experiment. [Inaudible], as I recall.

Garrett:

Okay. Filson, this is the first of low temperature in his reports.

Rudnick:

He was hired by Bell Labs and filed his family in the car to drive across the country.

Garrett:

He said his thesis was dated January 1959, and that’s the first appearance of low temperature in any of this work, this ultrasonic attenuation in metals of low temperature.

Rudnick:

Also, I think people who had done it, and also, he…

Garrett:

Blend [?] and Brewster are also…

Rudnick:

Yeah, well, those two… Stern would tell you that they were working on metals, velocity of the metal.

Garrett:

Right. This one, 1963, is entitled, “Superconducting Energy Gap in Tantalum, Vanadium, and Niobium” by Levy. At least in the period from ‘59 and before through ‘63, there was a lot of low temperature.

Rudnick:

There was a lot of low temperature and…What do you got?

Garrett:

Dick Stern’s thesis, which is August ‘64. “Ultrasonic Attenuation in Sodium.” That was another low temp. So at some point, you left doing…

Rudnick:

But there’s a lot of metals. Natale did it in gold and silver, I believe.

Garrett:

Potassium and gold, 1967. And there were these two by Brewster and Blend, which were also…

Rudnick:

Blend was not my student, and Blend worked on electrics. He worked with Bob Leonard. He started to publish.

Garrett:

This was all early in mid-‘60s. At some point, we have Kenneth Shapiro, which was the fourth sound thesis. That was 1964. So certainly, at that time, you —

Rudnick:

That was a gift. [Chuckles]

Garrett:

Well, I think we have to explore this.

Rudnick:

What do you want to know?

Garrett:

In the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, you were doing ultrasonic attenuation and superconductors, so you decided to go into low-temperature physics. ‘64 is the thesis by Shapiro, where you discover the fourth sound in superfluid helium.

Rudnick:

It was a deliberate attempt. Shapiro, Bob couldn’t stand him anymore. [Laughs] He asked me if I’d take him, so I did. He had been working on something else, so I gave him the choice of the fourth sound or the something else that he was working on. That was Shapiro. Shapiro immediately got an offer. There was a guy that was working head-tail for this fourth sound.

Garrett:

Oh, this must’ve been…

Rudnick:

John Pellam. The other one was…

Garrett:

I would suspect Atkins would also have been involved.

Rudnick:

Yes. So, we scooped them. [Laughs]

Garrett:

Let’s go sit down again because now the whole low temperature era has now occurred. You haven’t explained how you got into ultrasonic attenuation and superconductors, and you haven’t explained how you got into superfluid helium, etc. [Break] — that Ken Shapiro needed a thesis. That’s not adequate for me. You need to explain it.

Rudnick:

Yeah. He got an offer of a teaching job with Atkins? [Change location]

Garrett:

Up until this point, you were working in high-amplitude sound and sound propagation over porous media, and ultrasound. At some point, you decided to —

Rudnick:

Worked with the sound [?].

Garrett:

Right. At some point, you decided to look at superconductors.

Rudnick:

Yeah. One of my reasons for getting — You know, superconductivity is the same as — [Deal with cat’s interest in the tape recorder] The equations are exactly the same as you also will find in electrical conductivity.

Garrett:

But the ultrasonic attenuation in superconductors and their metals were described by the same equations.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

So it was normal electrons that were responsible.

Rudnick:

I don’t know what the explanation of it. The equations are exactly the same. We discovered it just by doing it with helium, and then recognizing that it was the same as it was in an electrical conductor.

Garrett:

But there must’ve been some point where you decided to buy dewars, buy helium, buy vacuum pumps.

Rudnick:

What happened was that Kinsey got money for a helium liquifier, so we said, “What should we do with it?” [Laughter]

Garrett:

Okay. Well, what drove Kinsey to buy a liquifier, then?

Rudnick:

He had the money. There was some money left.

Garrett:

Oh, okay. “So, what are we going to do with this money?” Kinsey decides to buy a liquifier. Now you’ve got low temperatures. “What are we going to do with the low temperatures?”

Rudnick:

Right. That was it.

Garrett:

Yeah. So, superconductors were the natural thing.

Rudnick:

Yeah, superconductors were the natural thing. And that’s what was done. We worked on all metals.

Garrett:

At low temperatures.

Rudnick:

Yes.

Garrett:

At what point did you decide to stop using helium as a refrigerant and study its properties as a quantum fluid? I know at some point in there, there’s a sabbatical or a Fulbright.

Rudnick:

There was a point where I got a Guggenheim and the Fulbright, all at once. I applied for both of them, and I got both of them. [Laughs] But I had to give back the money. I went to Denmark. That was the first sabbatical we took. What I said was that I wanted to get into low-temperature physics. We went to Denmark, and one of our reasons for going to Denmark was that Dave Saxon was going to Denmark. He had something. I was going to get his, and I didn’t get it. [Chuckles] The house that he was occupying while he was in Denmark. And I also went to an LT3 or something in Holland. [Note: LT is a biennial low temperature physics conference.]

Garrett:

At Leiden?

Rudnick:

At Leiden. Right. It was Leiden. Then I got nothing out of it. But anyway, that was the start of getting into it with helium.

Garrett:

So, you started low-temperature physics while you were on sabbatical in Denmark?

Rudnick:

No. Actually, I knew people in Denmark who had worked on low temperatures, so I did get a start there. And there was another sabbatical that took me to Israel with the whole family. There, we got to talking about helium. Mike Revzen at Technion, we got started talking about helium. In fact, in an outgrowth of that, each of them came back at separate times to UCLA.

Garrett:

I know Revzen was at UCLA. I don’t know who the other person was. It wasn’t Alexander because he was at Technion.

Rudnick:

We met Alexander during those trips. Millie… I’ll ask her. Remember this guy?

Garrett:

It was Revzen and Ron.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Millie Rudnick:

Did he have a shaved head, Ron? I know Revzen. I don’t remember meeting this guy.

Rudnick:

I think he does.

Garrett:

Yeah, I think I know who you’re talking about, then.

Rudnick:

He’s a very active guy.

Garrett:

So, there you were at the Technion discussing superfluids.

Rudnick:

We didn’t get very far, and then they came. We had this helium liquifier and went to work. There was a long period when we were looking at the… Oh, yeah. I think there was discussion of the temperature effects of metal. Anyway, if you look at Moises’s papers, he talks about the superconductors. Metals in there somewhere. They go from getting very low temperatures to get the superconductors.

Garrett:

Let me ask the question another way. Clearly, the first great discovery to come out of your laboratory in superfluid helium was the discovery of fourth sound.

Rudnick:

Yes.

Garrett:

What was it that put you up against two guys who already had a reputation in that area, John Pellam and Professor Atkins? How did you pick the fourth sound experiment? I know from a conversation that we must have had ten or more years ago that you became aware that Pellam was going in the wrong direction by making the pores larger. It was clear to you that making the pores smaller was the key to observing it, but I don’t know how it got to that stage.

Rudnick:

The one thing I remember is that Pellam was way off base. Way, way off base. [Laughs] The other guy, Atkins, I said, “If I had to do the way Atkins is doing it, I’m not going to do it.” [Laughs]

Garrett:

He had also looked at third sound in a way that was much more difficult than what you ultimately ended up doing. He had an optical technique for warming the helium and then measuring the thickness. It was a difficult technique. But Pellam had already done these beautiful experiments using Rayleigh disks to show that these superfluid, normal fluid components carry momentum.

Rudnick:

I don’t know what you’re referring to. There was a lot of nonsense with the ranking Russian.

Garrett:

Well, the ranking Russian then would have been Kapitsa on sound in porous media; superfluid sound.

Rudnick:

Yeah. Kapitsa was guilty of the same error as Feynman. [Laughter]

Garrett:

Yeah, well, now we’ve got two Nobel Prize winners who did it wrong.

Rudnick:

No, about something entirely different. Feynman, who gives a three-hour lecture on — He says if you take something for water sprinklers for the lawn, he raises the question of when you get the same flow, if you push the water back…

Garrett:

If you suck the water in.

Rudnick:

Yeah. If you push it in, it was up to you. So if we just get a reversal of the flow. Well, it’s all bullshit. [Laughs] You know that, don’t you?

Garrett:

No.

Rudnick:

Okay. I will explain it to you and show you the trap that they fell in, with what Feynman would do. [Break]

Rudnick:

Different in the two pieces, and swirling through. You’d have water going up through the middle, let’s say. If you have the water coming back again, consider the difference when it’s going up and when it’s coming down. And then, the water is going straight up.

Garrett:

Right. When it’s coming out, it’s coming out in a jet.

Rudnick:

When it’s going back in, it comes from the wrong direction.

Garrett:

So they’re not the reverse. But what was Kapitsa’s mistake?

Rudnick:

Same thing. [Laughs]

Garrett:

Oh, on the same problem?

Rudnick:

Except he was doing it going up. He was attributing the difference in velocity to the difference in the normal and the superfluid parts.

Garrett:

So, Kapitsa had attributed the difference in the behavior to the superfluid/normal-fluid component. It was simply an artifact of the different flow fields and had nothing whatsoever to do with the quantum nature of the fluid.

Rudnick:

Right.

Garrett:

Now, it’s certainly not the only time people have attributed certain things to superfluid behavior that had their basis in classical fluid dynamics; it was just simply unknown to them. One example you gave me in grad school was this superfluid Helmholtz resonator. I believe it was done by Hess and someone else where the effects they observed in…

Rudnick:

[Inaudible].

Garrett:

Oh, okay. Good. We’ll forget it.

Rudnick:

[Laughs] That’s a good error there, Kapitsa and Feynman.

Garrett:

Yeah, both of them had won the Nobel Prize, although Feynman won it for his quantum electrodynamics and Kapitsa won it for superfluid. Anyway, I want to get back to this fourth sound experiment that Pellam had been approaching incorrectly and you had done with Shapiro using packed powders.

Rudnick:

The guy who was doing it for Pellam thought he was… See, what he was actually seeing was two completely different things. When he submitted it for publication, this guy — What the hell was his name?

Garrett:

He worked for Pellam?

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

And then went on to Michigan?

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

Zimmerman? Was he Dick Packard’s adviser?

Rudnick:

No. This was the guy who was working on his Ph.D. with Pellam.

Garrett:

The only Pellam student I actually am aware of was Craig Van De Grift, who went to the Bureau of Standards.

Rudnick:

Oh. This guy went to the University of Michigan.

Garrett:

It was Pellam and Hanson who did the Rayleigh disk and Van De Grift who had done density. Heat expansion coefficients.

Rudnick:

I told him it was wrong. When he thought he was working on the first sound, he was working on the second sound. He refused to believe it, and I had to write him another letter.

Garrett:

So what did you ultimately have to do? Do the experiment?

Rudnick:

No, until finally, he understood what I was arguing. Well, I was telling him. [Laughs] He wrote a letter to the referee saying he would like to thank the referee, but I had insisted that my name was not to be admitted on this.

Garrett:

Well anyway, Shapiro did the experiment and succeeded in measuring the speed of fourth sound.

Rudnick:

No, he didn’t. He was demoralized… He didn’t do the experiment.

Garrett:

Ken Shapiro did not do the fourth sound?

Rudnick:

It was his experiment.

Garrett:

How could it have been his experiment if he didn’t do the experiment?

Rudnick:

This was his experiment, but he didn’t do it. He got demoralized by it. Pellam told him that he had the wrong information.

Garrett:

So, Shapiro was in contact with Pellam also.

Rudnick:

Yeah. Yeah, definitely.

Garrett:

So, Ken Shapiro did not do the experiment? That Pellam discouraged him? Told him he was going up a blind alley?

Rudnick:

It was done in his… I remember that I used a bunch of porous disks.

Garrett:

Filter paper?

Rudnick:

Filter paper, yeah. And then I decided I would just make it myself, because if I have to argue with him about it.

Garrett:

This is interesting. So, against his wishes, you went and built a stack of them.

Rudnick:

I’m stupid this way. Do you know that environment?

Garrett:

Of course.

Rudnick:

You know how wrong he is.

Garrett:

He’s wrong a lot of the time.

Rudnick:

You know that there is no such thing as [???].

Garrett:

Oh, we discussed this at Penn State, his interpretation of [inaudible].

Rudnick:

Right. Well, there just is no such thing. Do we have to go on? [Laughs]

Garrett:

No. It’s worth discussing it when we get to the soliton work. I was just trying to finish up the Ken Shapiro story. You said that you were wrong about… or that you were not good at this, not good at something to do with Ken Shapiro. Brought up the Butterma’s(?).

Rudnick:

That what?

Garrett:

We were talking about Ken Shapiro, and you said that he had been demoralized by Pellam. That you went into the laboratory and took a stack of filter papers and jammed it, I assume, in the resonator, and did the experiment. Is that right?

Rudnick:

No, I didn’t necessarily do it, but I built it and said, “We’re going to try this.” I forgot what the experiment’s about, but I remember having done it myself because I… Well, the other thing about Shapiro, Bob Leonard had given up on him [inaudible].

Garrett:

Right. That’s how you said that he ended up being your student. It had nothing to do with it.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

So, was Leonard involved in that experiment? In fourth sound?

Rudnick:

No.

Garrett:

He was doing something else.

Rudnick:

Bob never did any…

Garrett:

Superfluid helium?

Rudnick:

Yeah. He said he [inaudible] low temperature and high temperature. No low-temperature experiments at all. Not a single one. Haven’t you noticed that?

Garrett:

Well, I don’t know of any low-temperature experiments he had done.

Rudnick:

The only one he was working on was the one he couldn’t do.

Garrett:

Was that Jim Imai’s experiment?

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

So, the fourth sound experiment, you observed in this packed system. You observed it, and that was Shapiro’s thesis.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

And discovered the fourth sound.

Rudnick:

Shapiro left immediately in an offer of working with Atkins.

Garrett:

So he took a job right after he got his degree with Atkins.

Rudnick:

No, he got an offer. He offered the job by Atkins and he refused and he never did another [inaudible].

Garrett:

He went on to a job, I believe, at TRW or in industry, or something like that.

Rudnick:

Yeah. So, he never did any more work on the problem.

Garrett:

Shapiro.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

But you subsequently wrote a long review article with Atkins on third sound.

Rudnick:

Atkins wrote that article.

Garrett:

Oh. But your name is on it.

Rudnick:

Right. He had such a terrible way of doing third sound, and he was the one who said that he would like to do this section.

Garrett:

Oh, yeah. It must’ve been one of Brewer’s collections.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

Progress in Low Temperature Physics.

Rudnick:

Right. He was the one who said that he would like to collaborate with me, and told me he wanted to write the whole thing. It’s there. It’s in the book. It was a pleasure for me. [Laughs] Well, I think he felt that he could never publish; he’s kind of an exception [???] solution.

Garrett:

In addition to fourth sound and third sound, you also did ultrasound and phase transitions in superfluid helium. You did work with Barmatz, I guess it was. Was looking very, very close to the lambda point.

Rudnick:

Right.

Garrett:

What got you interested in doing that experiment?

Rudnick:

The Barmatz experiment was the experiment that…

Garrett:

But Shapiro’s was the first sound near the lambda point?

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

And only got sidetracked because of this question of people being unable to find the fourth sound?

Rudnick:

Yeah, but that’s what Ken Shapiro was supposed to do. I suggested that Barmatz pick it up, and he did. [Laughs]

Garrett:

Yeah, that was very, very pretty work.

Rudnick:

I don’t even remember what it is.

Garrett:

Well, he got within a microkelvin of the lambda transition to verify the thermodynamic scaling loss of the phase transition.

Rudnick:

Yeah. But that’s the [inaudible]. He used the equipment, and [inaudible]. [Inaudible; plane passing (sitting outside)]. The other requirements, Ken Shapiro, the requirements made some [???]. Really, what I used to say was [inaudible]. That’s what happened. He just got…

Garrett:

That would make sense for that experiment. He then went on to Bell Labs and did interesting work in acoustics, and then went to JPL and did interesting work in acoustics. Yeah, I suspect trying to get within a micro-degree of a phase transition requires a certain amount of patience. [Rudnick laughs] Lately, that work is now legendary, right? All of the sound mode work went on to the Doppler shifts of sound mode work, measuring critical velocities using Doppler shift of fourth sound with Kojima; using Doppler shift of third sound with Ken Telschow; I guess Heiserman looking at the vorticity in the packed powder. There’s a whole series of experiments that exploited the new sound modes. Heiserman and Maynard to do the thermodynamics from the measurement of the first, second, and fourth sound. So I guess it was in the late ‘60s.

Rudnick:

No, that was my idea.

Garrett:

Well, those were the students, right?

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

All I’m saying is that once you had worked at the first sound, the fourth sound, and the third sound, then a whole generation of experiments were done to understand the superfluidity based on the probes that have been developed for this superfluid state to look at very thin films, the flow, and restricted geometries. So that was a natural outgrowth. Even the questionable work with Garrett in the coupling of sound modes. That work is well documented, and you received a London Award for that work. RUDNICK: For what?

Garrett:

I assume for the low-temperature superfluid work. The fourth sound. Persistent currents in the Kosterlitz-Thouless transitions, etc. But then this comes this latest era of solitons, which is after my era, so it looks to me like it came out of nowhere.

Rudnick:

So, what, how did the whole thing start?

Garrett:

Yes. Where did these trough experiments come from?

Rudnick:

I think where it started… the experiment was supposed to be done by Mark Killigan [?]. The first time I was surprised at [inaudible]. It was probably the only sound property. I remember we were in [inaudible]. We were interested in the chaos. It’s something I had to drive home [inaudible]. We were using a [???] and we were moving it up and down.

Garrett:

On a shaker table.

Rudnick:

Shaker table, yeah. Shaking them up and down, and looking for [inaudible].

Garrett:

Is this because of Joe’s interest in this area?

Rudnick:

Yeah. Yeah, I remember now. I just remembered the effects of it. They were finding sub-harmonics [inaudible] water.

Garrett:

These are the people in Santa Barbara?

Rudnick:

Yeah. Well, the meeting was in Santa Barbara. We just got our paper at the last minute. They accepted it. I can remember looking at the results of [inaudible] and looking at the sub-harmonics of it, and they got certain sub-harmonics. We did it. And I started calling up Joe, and I started telling him what these sub-harmonics were. They got bigger and bigger and bigger. I said, “What do you think of this?” [Laughs] I think it was on the telephone. Kept calling him up and saying it. The frequency is completely different, and everybody was getting… I can’t remember what it was, but it was so different.

Garrett:

I would suspect that if you’re using a circular Petri dish, then certain sub-harmonics would be suppressed because they were not resonances, which, for Bessel function, are not regular sub-harmonics. So you must have gone to a trough rather than a Petri dish.

Rudnick:

That’s what I remember, but the huge change was the…

Garrett:

By “huge change,” you mean large amplitudes? Or the variety of sub-harmonics?

Rudnick:

Yeah, eventually, we must have gone to one where it was straight instead of a Petri dish. A straight trough.

Garrett:

Linear drop.

Rudnick:

Yeah. And then we would begin to see the solitons.

Garrett:

So it was looking at the sub-harmonics. That would make sense. And when you got to the straight drop, you started to find these localized solitons.

Rudnick:

Right.

Garrett:

And that’s what started that.

Rudnick:

Yeah. The first one of the things which we got stopped by was to point out that a Petri dish does not give you a linear… it gives you the [???] Bessel functions, and that you have to go to something that was straightened-out.

Garrett:

I can now see that evolution because Keolian originally was working on…

Rudnick:

Sub-harmonics.

Garrett:

No, before that. Even before that, he was working on viscoelastic theory of sound of 3He, and then he started to work on sub-harmonics. So it must’ve been then, going to the trough, where he was able to discover these sub-harmonics that people said wouldn’t exist, etc. Ultimately, the study of the soliton became Wu’s thesis, and Keolian worked on the sub-harmonics. The quasi-periodicity.

Rudnick:

I can remember trying to explain what was doing that. [Chuckles] I remember that it’s because Baker didn’t show up early enough, and it went from one person to the other, and the last person, I can’t remember the name.

Garrett:

Oh, excuse me. Thought it was a bug.

Rudnick:

She loves people. She’s a very good cat and she doesn’t scratch kids.

Garrett:

I know. Wendy’s done time with her. Wendy’s harassed her. [“Wendy” is the interviewer’s daughter, Wendy Garrett.]

Rudnick:

So, where are we now?

Garrett:

Well, you were saying that Baker somehow didn’t show up at the right time. Baker’s thesis was on porous media.

Rudnick:

Yep, it was on porous media. I remember that he would…

Garrett:

So that takes us to now, where you have two students working on the same kind of soliton phenomenon superfluids. What was your most recent study?

Rudnick:

Now, the experiment is [inaudible] superfluid solitons.

Garrett:

That’s the experiment that you’re looking at now.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

Let me stop and get the list. I must have left the AIP list in your bedroom of what I’m supposed to be asking. This was the easy part, you know, how did your career evolve and what were the different experiments that you had from place to place. [Break]

Rudnick:

I can remember where this whole thing with solitons started now.

Garrett:

Okay, good.

Rudnick:

It was at the Santa Barbara place. [Inaudible] and then he corrected me. The only shape which would yield harmonic frequencies [inaudible]. [Laughs] I remember saying it to the guys who were working on it. Chaos, you know. The frequency [inaudible] dropped.

Garrett:

Did it make sense to them at the time that you told them this that that wasn’t —

Rudnick:

No.

Garrett:

It didn’t click.

Rudnick:

No.

Garrett:

I remember a story — you may or may not remember it, so I don’t know whether it’ll go down on the transcription. But Russell Donnelly was here when I was a Graduate student, and he was doing some experiments on turbulence and trying to probe it with second sound. You tried to explain to him that he was operating it at a frequency of second sound when there were higher-order modes excited in his guide. [Laughter] The results were garbage because —

Rudnick:

I did it to more people.

Garrett:

Right, then I’ll ever know. Well, you want to make a list before we go on to the more mundane things on here of the effect that a lack of understanding in basic, fundamental physical acoustics has caused in trying to understand physics and systems that were dictated by these acoustical principles that people were absolutely ignorant of? You’d like to add any other names to the list besides…?

Rudnick:

You know, there’s a guy… he’s a good physicist now. He’s also a member of the Acoustical Society. He just didn’t know what modes…

Garrett:

Modes of a bar?

Rudnick:

It was, essentially, modes of a bar, I think. This guy said he wasn’t aware of the fact that there were all kinds of modes. He gave a talk somewhere on low temperatures. I asked him about the modes of the bar and what the hell that was about. [Laughs]

Garrett:

Do you remember who it was?

Rudnick:

Yeah. He was the guy who worked with Mike Moldover. [Note: Moldover is a physicist at NIST.].

Garrett:

Who works with Moldover? Jim Mehl. [Jim Mehl was a physics professor at University of Delaware.]

Rudnick:

Mehl, yeah. As a result of embarrassment, he got — [Laughter]

Garrett:

Straightened out his life, huh?

Rudnick:

Yeah. Just didn’t know what I was talking about. This was a bunch of modes of the metal bar. The modes of whatever it is that’s in there.

Garrett:

Saw a wave guide?

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

Let me work on the questions I have here. Section Six and Section Seven are the last sections in the interview’s guide. These are… they call them sides, but they look more, to me, to be administrative. Let me just read. “Have you served on any grant review boards or any committees which influenced the ways funds were given out for research? How were you chosen? How did the boards function?” Were you ever involved in grant review boards? Grant review process?

So, did you want to talk about anything in the grant review process or advisory panels? The questions are: Have you served on grant review boards?

Rudnick:

Essentially, people send another review. You get the article and you’re asked to…

Garrett:

You mean in refereeing of manuscripts.

Rudnick:

Right.

Garrett:

Okay. This question I interpret as being funding of research. Let me read it again. “Have you served on any grant review boards or any committees which influenced the ways funds were given out for research?”

Rudnick:

Oh, because someone sent in a proposal, and I’m questioned about that. I respond.

Garrett:

But no formal panels or something for funding, or future of funding, or how?

Rudnick:

No, there have been one or two, but they’re scarce. I was going to think of… Say it again? Oh, the review board.

Garrett:

Right, specifically for funding.

Rudnick:

Well, we’d do it for the postgraduates.

Garrett:

Right, but that panel was the panel that you served on for the Naval Postgraduate School was to oversee or to evaluate the entire program.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

Physics. And specifically for funding programs. That, I would say, would be answer to question number two: Have you served on advisory bodies? On the Board of Advisors. That one I’m aware of because my job was a consequence of that ten years ago, when you were asked to review the program in the physics department in the Naval Postgraduate School. Were there other similar advisory boards that you served on?

Rudnick:

I don’t know. There were all kinds of new members of the National Academy.

Garrett:

Okay, fine. So as a member of the National Academy of Science, you’re called upon to decide on other people’s membership.

Rudnick:

Right.

Garrett:

But there were no National Academy of Science boards or things of that nature that you had to serve on?

Rudnick:

In addition? Yes, there are.

Garrett:

Okay. Anything you want to say about them?

Rudnick:

What do you mean?

Garrett:

Well, the question was, “Have you ever served on any advisory bodies?” For example, there were panels. I assume they want me to follow up. What kind? Do you have any feelings about them? Were they worthwhile? Or were there panels that you thought were particularly interesting?

Rudnick:

Well, they’re necessary. The way you get new members of the National Academy of Science is you propose people and take further action. You start over with new people and now we three, ten…

Garrett:

Those are the ones you just recall having been an external evaluator in the physics programs at the Naval Postgraduate School? Or determining qualifications for people for election in the National Academy?

Rudnick:

Or about the membership. Acoustical Society. You know, like trying to get [inaudible].

Garrett:

Right, but I wouldn’t call that an advisory panel. I think for how I understand that question. I know they have a question here. “Have you ever held office in a professional society?” I know you were the president of the Acoustical Society. Had to report back in the ‘60s, right?

Rudnick:

What about it? I held every office there in the Acoustical Society.

Garrett:

Okay, let’s get that for the record. [Laughs] You held every office and you won every award in the Acoustical Society.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

Do you have any comments about the offices you held in the Acoustical Society? Other than your general comment that these were things that had to be done? And that you attempted to do your share?

Rudnick:

I’m not sure what they…

Garrett:

It’s a very vague question. I mean, from my standpoint. Have you ever been an editor or were on an editorial board? Were you an editor of JASA at any point?

Rudnick:

“JASA” is the abbreviation for what?

Garrett:

Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. I’m sorry.

Rudnick:

Oh, okay. Which group did this?

Garrett:

These questions?

Rudnick:

No. There are groups of people… I don’t know. People asked me for some advice. [Laughs] I just don’t know.

Garrett:

Okay. We’ll pass on these. Did you ever think of changing out of acoustics? Leaving acoustics for some other field?

Rudnick:

Well, to me, acoustics is not acoustics — it’s physics. I know that there were more God damned errors made by physicists who think if they have to use acoustics, they won’t have any problems because it’s so simple.

Garrett:

I was in a faculty meeting with you when we were both on the faculty at UCLA. After I got my degree, I believe it was Ferdinand Coroniti who stood up and said, “Why do we have to study acoustics? I can learn it on a weekend.” [Laughter] “Why do our graduate students have to be exposed to the acoustics?” I think was his comment. “I can go home and learn it on a weekend. It’s simple.”

Rudnick:

You don’t know the argument I have. Do you remember when I came down to the meeting and I gave this talk, when I came to visit you in Sussex.

Garrett:

I remember discussion viscoelasticity with you in Sussex, but I don’t remember if that was your talk.

Rudnick:

They wanted to know what the hell the shear modulus was doing in something that had to do with the [inaudible]. There was no way I could get them to understand.

Garrett:

I think that might have been Leggett and Berman [?], actually.

Rudnick:

Yeah, it was Leggett and Berman.

Garrett:

Theorists.

Rudnick:

Yeah. I told them I could not get it over to them.

Garrett:

Yes, I remember that. I think that was a lunch, actually. Well, they obviously didn’t have the weekend to learn acoustics. [Laughter] Their weekends were busy. Well, I think that’s an interesting answer to the question, that it was always doing physics and that you were using acoustics. It wasn’t a question of changing out of acoustics; it was just a question of doing physics. They ask if you ever thought of going into applied research rather than the basic research that you were doing. Some of the stuff at Penn State was obviously applied, but the work —

Rudnick:

Well, I’ve always done some applied research at the same time I’m doing it.

Garrett:

Is this through your consulting?

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

With, like, Bodine Sound Drive? And Jet Propulsion Laboratory with levitation?

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

So, in your career, primarily the applied work was going on in parallel to the peer work, but was being done as consulting rather than graduate student advising.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

Do you have any other comments on that? Did you enjoy doing that as much as you enjoyed doing the basic research in superfluid hydrodynamics?

Rudnick:

I think it’s good because you can do wider…

Garrett:

I know that worked in the rest of your teaching because when I was your student, these examples from Bodine Sound Drive and for the JPL groups would get into the lecture material. That was basically my experience with your wide work. They follow that question up with, “Did you ever have an offer for a job from industry, or funding from industry?”

Rudnick:

Yeah, for the consulting.

Garrett:

They would try to hire you away from the University?

Rudnick:

Oh, no. I never isolated myself for this. And I never had any trouble doing any consulting without necessarily saying anything to the university and needing their permission, necessarily.

Garrett:

You were not required to obtain permission from the administration in doing any of this consulting?

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

This is a good question. Did you ever consider migrating to another country?

Rudnick:

Oh, for a short time. [Laughter]

Garrett:

Does that mean you only considered it for a short time, or you only migrated for a short time?

Rudnick:

Millie and I and some of the kids kept up such migrating. They got a great deal on going with us to Israel.

Garrett:

So, just the sabbaticals outside of the country.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

Just to keep in this order, although it doesn’t seem a reasonable order, they ask about your wife, about Mildred having a separate career other than raising your five children, and then, when they were grown up, working for the LA Zoo. Did she have a separate career?

Rudnick:

No, she doesn’t.

Garrett:

Where did you meet?

Rudnick:

Who?

Garrett:

You and Mildred?

Rudnick:

Is that a question?

Garrett:

Yeah. It says right here. “What was your wife’s background education? When did you meet?” There’s nothing more personal. [Laughs] What did you do on your first date?

Rudnick:

Millie would like to answer that.

Garrett:

Well, I can ask her. I can ask her if she’s still awake.

Rudnick:

No, I wouldn’t want to have to wake her up. We met at a party celebrating the end of an activity.

Garrett:

College? High school?

Rudnick:

Actually, I was at UCLA, and she was not at the college. But all that changed very shortly.

Garrett:

When you were married and started raising kids.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

They ask a question about writing: “Have you written many popular articles or books?”

Rudnick:

Me, no, because I don’t write books. [Chuckles]

Garrett:

Right, but what I was going to say was that you have made a popular film. Although that’s not in the interview, I would consider that to be their comment here. Let me give you the follow-on questions. “What is the attitude of your colleagues towards popularizations?” You made a film that was basically a piece of discussing superfluid helium.

Rudnick:

Yeah. That film, which we did in the hotel in Los Angeles.

Garrett:

The Anaheim Acoustical Society.

Rudnick:

No, that was another one. This is the one where we did all these 13 or so illustrations.

Garrett:

With Keolian and Baker?

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

That was a video. That was for video demonstrations. I was referring to the helium film with its popularizations. And used now for close to 15 years, I would suspect. It must’ve been made about ‘76 or thereabouts.

Rudnick:

Tell me I won first place on it. [Laughter]

Garrett:

That’s correct. It was an excellent film. It wasn’t just a film; it won first prize in the San Francisco Film Festival for science and technical films.

Rudnick:

Yeah.

Garrett:

Well, this is their last question. What have we left out? Is there something of interest that we’ve missed?

Rudnick:

[Inaudible].

Garrett:

That could be because you’re tired. We’ve been doing this for four and a half hours.

Rudnick:

What you don’t or don’t miss doesn’t depend necessarily on the topics that you’re talking about. People will remember to mention or will forget…

Garrett:

Well, if nothing else, we exposed the role of coincidence. Your entire career in low-temperature physics was based on E. Lee Kinsey having too much money.

Rudnick:

Me going into low-temperature physics?

Garrett:

Yeah. You used it to blow it on something like a helium liquifier. Imagine what would have happened if you were to blow it on something like a cyclotron. [Laughs]

Rudnick:

I would be at Lawrence Radiation Lab. He got the money because he knew [inaudible].

Garrett:

Well, this will get shipped off to AIP. They’re going to type the transcript up. They will send it back to me to edit and to fill in things, like when we said “Steve,” and the lady who’s transcribing it didn’t know we meant Steve Baker or Robert Keolian. That stuff will come to me to clarify based on my notes. I’m supposed to write it now.

Rudnick:

[Inaudible] what position in… our proposal in superfluid solitons.

Garrett:

That’s the experiment you’re working on now.

Rudnick:

Yeah. So you’re not going to mention that, are you?

Garrett:

Just to mention that that’s what — Well, in the overview of your career, there was the acoustics and then low-temperature physics. And then at this latest part, is now nonlinear dynamics — solitons and sub-harmonic oscillations, chaos, quasi-periodicity.

Rudnick:

Well, this superfluid soliton isn’t anything. I don’t know anyone who recognizes the possibility of this thing. Really, the best thing to do is just not to mention it.

Garrett:

Well, for the history, I was just trying to identify how three different research areas developed and how they got started. It’s clear that the soliton era is your current research era that’s currently in progress. The tape’s still running. You can say something.

Rudnick:

That’s enough.

Garrett:

Okay.