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Interview of Daniel Martin by John W. Kopec on 1994 June 4, Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics, College Park, MD USA, www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/4401
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Daniel Martin joined the Acoustical Soceity of America in 1941. His accomplishments during his fifty-five years of participation, dedication, contribution, and service to the society and acoustics are excellent examples of why Dan Martin is so highly respected by his peers, clients and friends. He was ASA President (84-85), President-Elect (83-84), Editor-in-Chief (85-), recipient of the society's distinguished service award (89), Executive Council Member (57-60), Chairman Medals and Awards Committee (62-64), First Chairman for the Musical Acoustics Technical Committee (60-61), and presently a Member of the Technical Committees for Architectural Acoustics and Engineering Acoustics. Dan Martin was also President of the Audio Engineering Society and a post audio chairman for the IRE, later called IEEE. Dan is also an acoustical consultant, muscian, songwriter, and a devoted family man. He graduated from Georgetown College and the Univeristy of Illinois. He then worked for the RCA Corporation, the Baldwin Piano and Organ Company, and U.S. Air Force projects, and at present for himself as an acoustical consultant. When reviewing his many challenges and accomplishemtns, it is most understandable why so many individuals had requested that the Daniel Martin story be permanently documented and made available. Dan Martin's verbal and written accounts of his various life long endeavors should serve as an inspiration to acousticians worldwide for many years to come.
My name is John W. Kopec. Today’s date is June 9, 1994. And we are at the McCormick Building of the MIT Campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the good ole’ USA. The time is approximately 9:15 am, and I’m about to interview Doctor Daniel W. Martin for the Acoustical Society of America. Dr. Martin represents the committees on Architectural Acoustics, Musical Acoustics, and Engineering Acoustics. Okay Dan, we’d like to start with your present status, so why don’t you tell me your present address, telephone number, and who is your present employer, and comment about your present business?
Alright. My present address, and has been for 43 years, is 7349 Clough Pike. That’s C-L-O-U-G-H Pike, Cincinnati, Ohio 45244. And my telephone number for both personal and business is 513-231-5278. I am currently, and have been for about eight or nine years, serving as the Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of the Acoustical Society. That occupies about two-thirds of my time. The remainder of my time is spent in consulting. I am a self employed private consultant in acoustics, specializing in Architectural Acoustics, noise control, musical acoustics, in its various aspects. I’ve been doing the editor-in-chief work for nearly nine years, and I’ve been involved in consultation, in one form or another, throughout my career. Even when I was employed by industry, they were using my consulting efforts as well.
The next section involves questions about the Acoustical Society of America. So, Dan, what year did you join the ASA? And what was your age and profession at the time? And what area of acoustics were you interested in?
My first meeting was in 1939 when I was a graduate student. I couldn’t afford to join yet, and I joined about two years later in 1941. At that time, I was 22 years of age. That year I got my doctorate at the University of Illinois, and so I was still a student, but I was also teaching acoustics. I finished up the course that Dr. Bolt was teaching at the time that he came from the University of Illinois to MIT. I was primarily interested in Musical Acoustics at that time, and hoped to make that my profession.
What was your reason for joining the ASA?
Well, I was strongly encouraged to join the Acoustical Society because my graduate professor, for the first three years of my graduate work, was F. R. Watson, one of the founders of the society. So, it was just assumed that I would join the Acoustical Society. And I was glad to do so.
Was there anyone besides Professor Watson that may have encouraged you to join the ASA?
It happened that Wallace Waterfall, one of the other founders of the Society, and a long-time officer of the Society, had been a student of Watson’s, and he came occasionally to visit us, from Chicago, he came down to Urbana/Champaign. And I’m sure that if Professor Watson had failed to ask me to join, Wallace would have done so.
There appears to be another set of questions that we’ve covered slightly in the introduction, but let’s cover them again in more detail in order that the person editing the tape has no problem in establishing the answer to these questions. What ASA Committees were, or are you a member of? And what positions in the ASA did you hold or presently hold?
This is best summarized in a previous document that I’ve provided to the committee, but I will remember some of these things. I have been on the executive council in the 1950s. I was chair of the Medals and Awards Committee in the 1960s for a while. And I’ve been on a variety of ad hoc and standing committees. I was the first chair of the Technical Committee on Musical Acoustics, and have also served — I’m currently serving on the Technical Committee for Architectural Acoustics. And I served briefly on the Technical Committee for Engineering Acoustics. I was president of the Society in — I believe it was 1983 or ‘84. And I’ve served as Editor in Chief of the Journal, now for nine years. There are other things I’m sure, but I can’t think of them at the moment.
After 55 years in the society, it’s amazing to me how much you do remember. Was there any particular ASA meeting, or meetings that really stands out, or where something special, humorous, different, or exciting, or whatever happened?
At my first meeting, which was the tenth anniversary meeting of the Society, in 1939, there was only one paper at a time, and many of the papers were about what had happened during the first ten years, both technically, and from the standpoint of the organization. So, I was fortunate to be able to attend that meeting, hear every paper. And I was able to learn about the history of the society from the people who had started the society. And the membership was relatively small then compared to what it is now, about one-twentieth of what it is now. And so it was possible to know almost everyone in the society, and we had a special event, a banquet event, where you got to meet them socially, and this was important to a society that was young, and starting to grow. There have been some humorous things happen over the past years. We had an unofficial comedian named Pat Norris, who livened up things when he felt they needed to be, in a slightly professional and very funny way. And I can remember the time when I was giving one of my first papers, and at the end of the — well, during the question session, a man later to become Editor of the Journal, Floyd Firestone, said, “I would think that you’d be surprised to get this result.” I think he thought I was wrong. And my answer was, “Well, I am surprised to get this result.” Professor Watson said that was an adequate answer. There have been other things over the years, so numerous that it’s difficult to recall specific cases.
Are there any ASA members that you met that have especially influenced your future?
I’m glad for this question, because it gives me the opportunity to mention another person who was not one of the founders. In fact, when I met him, he was quite a young man, and that is Richard Bolt. Dick Bolt succeeded Professor Watson as a professor of acoustics within the Physics Department at the University of Illinois, while I was doing my graduate work in my last year. And my thesis was done with his supervision. And he has been an inspiration to me throughout my career in acoustics, and I’m happy to say that I was able to reestablish connections with him at this meeting.
You picked one of those people that I’ve always heard many good things about. Through the years, although I didn’t really get to know Richard Bolt, very well, every time he saw me, he would say hi, and it always built up my ego. So, I can understand how you must have felt to be able to have him help you along the way. Is there anything you care to say about the ASA’s past, present, or future?
The beautiful thing to me about the society, is that it runs the range all the way from purely physical to almost purely personal. We have people in this society, we have talks and papers that we’ve published, and it runs such the gamut of human experience, within the specialized field of sound. And that’s what makes this a unique society. It also makes it sometimes a bit turbulent, because we have people with quite different viewpoints, and disciplines. And sometimes the people in psychology or in speech may look at things quite differently from those who are working in underwater sound or non-linear acoustics. But it keeps things interesting, and in the words of Professor Watson, (which he used to say frequently, in the early days of my career), “There’s always something new going on in acoustics.”
How right you are, Dan. Well, let’s see, besides the ASA, what other professional organizations do you belong to?
Well, I’ve had the privilege of serving as President of the Audio Engineering Society, and was chair of what — at that time — was the IRE Professional Group on Audio, which later became part of IEEE in the merger. And I have served editorial functions at one time or another in both of those organizations. Currently I’m a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Those are the principal national organizations that I’ve been connected with.
Alright, next on our agenda is your early years. When and where were you born? And before entering college mention some of the places you lived and tell us what were your parent’s occupations.
I was born in Georgetown, Kentucky, a small college town, on November 18, 1918. That was one week after the Armistice for World War I. When I was about five or six, my father had a serious illness and left his profession of teaching physics, and we moved to Northern Michigan, where I lived for the next nine years until I graduated from high school. And then I returned to Georgetown College where he had been teaching at that time, and so I went back to Kentucky. And I was there until I went to graduate school. My father, as I have said, was a physics professor. He ceased being a physics professor because of a health problem, and went back to that in his later years, much later. My mother had been an apprentice dress maker, and she was mostly domestic, although she did many things to help the family along during those years. And she was not a learned person, but she was well self educated.
Give us a brief description of what kind of person you were when you were a young man.
Well, as a child, I had the advantage or disadvantage — depending upon how you look at it — of having started to private school two years before I was old enough to go to public school. So I was always a couple of years younger than my associates in school. This turned out to be as advantage except perhaps in a social sense. But because of this — (and I didn’t skip any grades), I did graduate from high school at the age of 15. And during my high school days, I loved all the courses, but the ones I loved the most were the ones having to do with science, and with music, although I liked literature, and the rest.
Did you have any goals typical of what kids wanted to be back then, such as did you want to be a cowboy or a pilot or anything like that?
When I was quite small, I wanted to be a fireman. Then later I decided I would like to be a lawyer. But that was early. My vocational choice was really made by an unusual circumstance that happened during my sophomore year in high school. My Latin teacher was speaking to me during some makeup work that I was taking as a result of having been ill. She said, “Daniel, what do you want to do when you grow up?” And I said, “I just don’t know which way to go, because I would like to be in science, and I would like to be in music.” And she said, “Have you thought about combining them?” So from that point on, even though I didn’t know that there was an Acoustical Society, or that there was a field of acoustics, I decided that I would like to combine science and music.
In a sense, you already answered this question, but the last question in this section asks, — was there any particular people or some that really influenced — what you feel today — had influenced your future?
Yes. I had outstanding teachers in high school, and I wouldn’t take the time to name them all, but in college I had a math professor who reminded me quite a bit of my father, who had taught at the same institution, although they hadn’t been contemporaries. He was my guide, I would say, in college. And I had a double major in physics and math, so I had a lot of contact with him. My physics professor was a former student of my father, and he gave me the opportunity, soon, of being a lab assistant in physics. And that helped me economically as well as from an experience standpoint.
I already see you drifted into your undergraduate days so let’s continue. Where did you first go to college? And repeat, what was your major at that time?
I went to Georgetown College in the middle of the depression, when I could not go anywhere else, for economic reasons. Fortunately, the Logan family that had known me from very early years, took me in and said, “You can live with us and help us, and we’ll see that you get through college.” And then the college was very helpful, too. In any case, Georgetown College, which is a four year Baptist College, going back to 1829, was the institution. And, as I mentioned earlier, I majored in physics, and had a double major in math as well, and minored in chemistry.
So obviously, you didn’t change any of your original major, and actually you picked up an extra one and continued through with both of them.
As an undergraduate, did you belong to any special clubs, or any of the particular activities that go on at these colleges?
I was in so many that I developed a bad habit of not spending enough time on study, although it didn’t hurt too much, at that stage. I was trumpet soloist for the orchestra and the band. Organized a brass quartet. I was an Assistant Editor of the college paper. And sang in the Glee Club, and a special Radio Quartet. I was involved in more things than I should have been.
I don’t know, Dan, even now you still are involved in a lot of different things, so I think you’re still the same type of person, and you really haven’t changed since your undergraduate days. Was there any other person that — besides those you mentioned previously, that had strong influences in your life? Such as those you would consider as inspirational models, religious leaders, politicians, movie stars, etcetera?
Well, I’ve already mentioned Professor Hatfield, the math professor, and Professor Nash, the physics professor. I would say the people who inspired me most, otherwise, were the elderly couple with whom I lived throughout my days in college — undergraduate days. The Logan family, for whom I became a sort of foster son, would be in that category.
Great. Were there any idols, hero’s, or anything like that? I know when I was small, John Wayne was my movie idol.
I don’t think I had any movie star idols or sports heroes. I couldn’t be involved in sports to the extent I wanted because an earlier illness had made me incapable of being in contact sports. Oh, I did engage in handball. A close friend of mine — also majoring physics and math, he and I were the college champions in handball.
Well, then you were an athlete. Dan, as colleges go, there’s always rallies, protests, or causes that many students get involved in, did you?
That was not emphasized in those days as much as it is today, and I must say I’m not the protesting type.
I knew that, and I actually hesitated in asking that question.
But you responded just about the way I expected you to. Looking back, Dan, would you go to the same college, take the same type of major, and if not, where would you think you’d want to attend, or do, or whatever?
I would do the same, and gladly. The only thing that I might change, is that I would probably try to squeeze in some courses in psychology, because I have had so much experience in dealing with psychologist as colleagues, coauthors, and so forth. And now with a son who is a psychology department head, I wish I had taken some psychology courses along the way.
Very good. I agree with you, understanding the psychology of the society, especially the people, involved in our business, is something that many of us really need more knowledge of. Well, now we’re going to jump into your graduate level courses. Did you go on to graduate training for a masters degree? I know the answer to that is yes, so what led you to that choice of school and curriculum? How were you supported? And was there any specific project that you worked on? And what was your thesis on?
I will combine the graduate level master’s degree with the doctorate, because that’s the way it was in the graduate school where I went. I didn’t have to do a master’s thesis because I was already accepted for a doctorate program. I did this work at the University of Illinois. And the reason that I chose that, is that there weren’t very many places in those days, where you could go and get a doctorate in acoustics, or in physics with acoustics as your major. Watson had had such a program for a generation or more, and had a fine reputation, and so I thought the University of Illinois would be a good place to go, if I could go there. My father had sent students for graduate work to the University of Illinois, so he favored my choice there, too. I was economically unequipped to go to graduate school. I went to the University of Illinois on two things. A friend of mine who had already gone there, got me a meal job in a rooming house. My mother, who was working for a wealthy woman at the time, as a sort of companion and nurse, she borrowed $500.00. When I got to the University of Illinois, the first place I went was the Physics Department. They explained to me — the secretary did — she remembered my case. I had applied for a graduate assistantship, but had been turned down on the basis of age, because I was only 18. She said, “We just had a vacancy, someone has resigned to do something else. So stick around, and maybe you can get the job.” I did, and so I never had to do the meal job. We were getting the great salary of $70.00 a month, for ten months. And we were the best paid graduate assistants on the campus at that time. I saved money to go to graduate school in the summer.
Well, that’s fantastic. What was your doctorate thesis on?
My doctoral thesis was entitled A Physical Investigation of the Performance of Brass Musical Wind Instruments.
Being a trumpet player, I can see why you picked that subject.
Right. And I had excellent support in many ways. We didn’t have grants in those days. We did well to have enough money to subsist on. And Dr. R. W. Young, who was then working for the C. G. Conn Company and who was a member of the society since 1929, he met me and offered the use of instruments loaned by the Conn Company. This was in addition to the horn that I owned. And so that’s how I got the instruments to do the research on.
Okay, let’s proceed to the next group of questions. While you were a student, did you ever conduct any classes for the college or university? And if so, could you explain?
Well, from the start, in the four years that I was in that program, I was a graduate assistant in general physics. The course that I worked in was primarily for premed students and architects, in contrast to engineering students, although occasionally I would teach a class in Engineering Physics. During the latter part, during the last year of my work, after Dr. Bolt was called to MIT to do research in connection with the defense effort, (this happened during the year), I ended up teaching the rest of his course in acoustics. And then the second term I taught the course in Architectural Acoustics, that he would otherwise have taught.
Very good. Since we’re still recording, we’ll continue right into your past professional career. After college, what was your first place of employment, your first title, and what did you do there?
I was offered a job by the Radio Corporation of America, and the circumstances were that I was interviewed by a man who was a brother-in-law of one of Professor Watson’s students, John Volkmann. V-O-L-K-M-A-N-N. John had gotten a degree at the University of Illinois, and was looking for someone who would be helpful to him in the advanced development section in the Engineering Department at RCA. And so when his brother-in-law, Mr. Johnson I believe it was, brought my application in, John decided almost immediately to offer me a job. And I was glad to get one in those days in the middle of the depression.
Were there any special accomplishments, developments, or projects that you can remember during that period?
During my eight years at RCA, in Indianapolis and then in Camden, New Jersey, I worked primarily on military related projects in electro-acoustics. However, I also was engaged in some work on consultation for motion picture theater acoustics and, recording studio acoustics, because that was one of the specialties of Mr. Volkmann, and he liked to give me work in that to relieve his load. So I was a consultant almost from the beginning, although I had not intended to be. The sorts of things that I did in research and development had to do with such devices as throat microphones, sound powered telephones, insert type earphones. And I don’t mean for the type for hearing aids, but it’s more like the type that’s now used in commercial aircraft for the passengers. And I did a lot of work from the physiological standpoint, and psychological, in addition to just the electro-acoustical part, because we had to evaluate these things. In the latter part of my time at RCA, I was the technical coordinator for a large government contract, which had as its mission to replace the rather outdated, headsets, microphones, mask microphones, loudspeakers, and control equipment, amplification equipment in the Air Force Aircraft of all types. And the Navy was in on it, too. So this was a very satisfying project. I was required and able to take information in the form of reports from many World War II government projects, such laboratories as Leo Beranek’s laboratory, and Smitty Steven’s laboratory at Harvard, and make this information available and interpret it to my fellow engineers and research people. Just before I left RCA, we came out with a system which was delivered to Wright Patterson Air Force Base. I participated in extensive testing for that system, both physical tests and articulation tests under high noise conditions.
Okay, Dan, what we’re going to do right now is, change tapes since tape number one is just about complete. It should shut off maybe even as I speak. We’ll continue on with the same subject going to tape two. “This is the end of tape number one.” Continuation of the Dan W. Martin interview or Dr. Dan, as we like to call him. Tape two. Continuing with the interview of his early professional career, with the RCA Corporation. So Dan, more or less, how long were you there, and why did you leave, and what was your title when you left, and where did you go?
In 1949 an opportunity came along for me to go into the type of acoustical specialty that I had trained for and dreamed about. This came from what was then called The Baldwin Company, later known as the Baldwin Piano and Organ Company. And at the same time I was offered a job with the US Government, through efforts of R. W. Young, at what was then called the Navy Electronics Laboratory in San Diego. So, I had a difficult choice to make, but it wasn’t too difficult because I had been hoping for something in Musical Acoustics for quite a long time. RCA was willing to have me continue there. In fact, they promised me a raise, but I thought this was a great opportunity, once in a life time, so I took it. My title, as I was finishing there, was Technical Coordinator on a large government contract in the Government Sound Engineering Section of RCA. I went to Baldwin, and at first my title was Acoustical Consultant, and that was what they used me for. My first project there was to write the service manual for the first electronic organ that they had built and put on the market. They’d had it on the market for a year and didn’t have a service manual for it yet. And so I learned the organ business in a hurry, unexpectedly. But then I got into things more directly related to acoustics, and developed an acoustical research section, which started out with just a couple of people and eventually became a section of about ten or twelve people. Among the people in my section for a while, very productively, was Dix Ward, a later president of the Acoustical Society. He was a person who had majored in physics as an undergraduate and got his doctorate in psychology, or psycho-acoustics. Other people, of course, were there, but have not been so active in the Acoustical Society. We worked on a wide variety of projects. Some obviously musical, such as working on what we called Tone Cabinets, which was the electro-acoustics part of electronic organs. We worked on studies of organ pipe tone, very extensively, in fact, we did work on that for 25 years, resulting in what may have been the best electronic organ ever made, which is now discontinued, but not for poor reasons of technology. While I was doing this, the Korean War came along and I was afraid that we would get back into a World War II situation. So, with the agreement of my management, I went to Wright Field and got a contract there, and we served in our group as a sort of a supplementary group to the Communication & Navigation Laboratory at Wright Field until 1958. We did many interesting projects for the Air Force, the most spectacular of which, was the development, construction, and installation in a B-26 of what was probably the world’s largest amplification system at that time, nine-thousand watts of audio, with 270 driver units being driven. We were doing this for the purpose of transmitting voice from aircraft — moving aircraft to the ground. I won’t go into the details of that, (there are a couple of articles in the journal talking about some of the work that we did), and we won a prize in the IEEE for the paper that we published in their transactions on the overall system. Later I became research director for the company, and we were engaged in a number of non-musical things. I will not go into them in any detail, but within my department, which grew to about 125 people, we worked on such things as uniformly divided circular patterns, which was a sideline of some of our research on photoelectric organs. We developed photo-cell arrays. Special photo-cell arrays, for organ purposes, but this combination got us into the analog-to-digital shaft angle encoder business. And so there were many varied things. I got back into acoustics quite soon, because the company decided to go into the field of Educational Electro-pianos. My boss called me back and said, “Dan, I told you you’re going to have to get out of acoustics, but you’ve got to get back in, because you’re the one who can get us into that type of activity.” So, there were many things, including really sophisticated types of electronic organ as well as electro-piano that I worked on, which I would term Musical Acoustics.
That was most fascinating. I must say that when I always thought of Dan Martin working with Baldwin, I thought he was only involved in making musical instruments. I sure was wrong. Okay, Dan, I think after you left Baldwin, you went into professional consulting, or did you go anywhere else?
No. I retired from Baldwin and decided that I would pursue a continuing career as a consultant. And I joined the National Council of Acoustical Consultants and made it official, and have been engaged on a part time basis ever since with acoustical consulting. With projects mostly in church acoustics, auditorium acoustics, arenas, noise control in various ways and noise evaluation. And a little bit of musical acoustics, not a great deal.
Let me add here to this recording that one of my other hats is being the manager of the Riverbank Acoustical Laboratories, which often serves as a clearing house for possible acoustical consulting jobs. Especially since RiverBank has to remain totally independent. On a couple of occasions I recommended Mr. Dan Martin, and I can add here that one case for sure, a client called up and stated that he was never more satisfied in having Mr. Dan Martin perform the work for him. I just wanted that to be added to this recording.
And I never heard that before.
One of the things I have to keep in mind are those consultants that I can trust to reference to clients. So let’s just say that you’re on my “Good Reference List”.
Okay, Dan, this section is one of those I sort of got a kick out of reading before we started this interview, it deals with your Publications, and the questions to be asked are, did you ever write a book or have anything published? And if so, what were some of the titles? Which I realize that if you were to sit here and mention them all, we would probably use two more tapes. So what I will simply ask at this time is, was there any special paper, or any special publication, or anything that you’d like to add at this time regarding any of your publications?
I would like to mention that while I was a graduate student, Professor Watson — then the editor of the journal — said “Dan, you ought to get your name into the journal and publish something, and here is a little book that has just been published, that was done by Dr. R. W. Young, entitled From Frequency to Cents.” It’s a book of tables for conversion from frequency to cents, which are hundredths of a semitone in music. So, I reviewed it, and my first publication in the journal was a book review. My first article in the journal in 1941, I mention primarily because it was sufficiently unique that it’s still a reference on things of that type. It showed and gave data on the vibrations of the lips in a cornet mouthpiece. Fortuitously I was able to use Edgerton’s Flash Lamp, when it was almost brand new, for this purpose. And with the help of Dr. Bolt, who was then my research director, we got one of the first Hewlett & Packard wave analyzers that was on the market, their first product of that type, and we had to use it before there was even an instruction manual on how to use it. But both of these wonderful things, plus the fact that I built an outdoor measuring system on the roof of the Physics Building, these are the three things that made it possible for me to do my Doctoral Thesis. So, that article on Lip Vibrations on a Cornet Mouthpiece, was my first publication, and it still stands. You have a list of my publications both in the journal and other publications other than the Acoustical Journal, and my list of about 25 or 26 patents. So, I won’t go into any further detail on that. As far as books are concerned, I have one goal that I started as a graduate student, that I’ve never fulfilled. I intended to write a book on musical acoustics which could be used as a text book. And there are a number of good ones now. The necessity is not there. The desire is still there, but I’ll probably never get it done. I have done a one-hundred page chapter for the McGraw-Hill Handbook for Electronics and Electrical Engineers. And I’m now due to be turning in the third revision for that handbook.
One paper that I know of that you were indirectly involved with that’s not on your publications list, primarily because it was written by someone else was when I was doing the history of the Sabine’s at Riverbank. I came across some comments that you had provided to Hale Sabine, and I found them most intriguing. It turns out that you were very important in helping Hale Sabine write a paper on piano’s.
Well, Hale was a wonderful member of that illustrious Sabine family, and I knew him well, and recall him well.
We’ll jump from publications and get into the nitty-gritty family stuff. The questions regarding your personal life include —, what’s your marriage status? What’s your wife’s name, and what’s her occupation? Where and when did you meet? And when and where did you get married? And tell us all about your children.
Alright. I am married. Come to think of it, this is my 53rd anniversary.
Let that go on record. At least Dan can say to his wife that he did recall their anniversary, and it’s recorded on this tape.
My wife was named Martha Parker before our marriage. She was a Home Economics graduate at the University of Illinois, although she had intended to go into Chemistry, but she was dissuaded by a professor who didn’t think that women ought to be in science. So she went into Home Economics to my advantage, I would say. She was also, and still is, an excellent executive secretary type. And it was she who encouraged me before our marriage, to learn to dictate. She did my typing on my Doctoral Thesis, and in fact, she did the typing on our son’s Doctoral Thesis too. And she is still heavily engaged in secretarial type of work even in the sense of the Secretary of a company, because she has served as what’s called a stated clerk of one of the synods of the Presbyterian Denomination. And this is a function similar to that of a Secretary of a company. She is currently a full time professional volunteer in the Presbyterian Church of the USA. She is, at the moment, at their national meeting in Wichita. She did some teaching, too, in Home Economics earlier in her life before we were married. We were married in 1941. I got my Doctorate in the morning, and my MRS — Mrs. Martin — in the afternoon on June 9, 1941.
Our children came — three of them came rather rapidly. In 1942, ‘43, and ‘45.
That is rapid.
Yes. We had a fourth child, who lived only to the age three, about a decade later. The other three have really made us very happy and proud. Our oldest became a Chemistry Major at the College of Wooster, the same college where the famous physicist Compton family started. She has now retired, early retirement from the Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center at Wooster. The next member of that group, our son, decided to be a Physics Major — much to my surprise — and about the time he was finishing his Physics Major, he decided to go into Psychology as a double major, and this has turned out to be his career. He has served as Department Head in Psychology at New Mexico State. He took early retirement from that, and is now in the same capacity at North Carolina State. Our younger daughter, was a major in biology. Phi Beta Kappa. She married a Presbyterian Minister, and she has been his right arm ever since, but she now teaches as a substitute teacher on any subject in the high school where she is. At the same time, she teaches courses in computer, everyone from little children to adults taking it at night.
Well, I can see why you’re proud, because those are quite impressive careers that your children went into. The next question is — What is your favorite form of entertainment? I know that you’re going to say acoustics, acoustics, acoustics. But, maybe, just perhaps you have another that you would like to tell us about.
Well, I am still involved, to some extent in music. I was a paid soloist in churches for about 25 years. I went into voice after I got enough money that I could take voice lessons. I’ve sung in everything from dance bands (not rock but the big band-type), to opera and oratorio, and I don’t have much voice left, but I still sing.
I just don’t picture Dan Martin singing Achy Breaky Heart.
Listening to your voice, as it comes across this tape, makes me want to hear you sing sometime. We now have a rundown of a quick list of questions — name some of your favorite authors and books?
Most of my reading these days, is in connection with editorial work, and I scan books. I don’t have time to read them. I also scan the Patent Gazette that comes out once a week, in order to pick out the patents that are related to acoustics, that need to be reviewed for the journal. So, I use my eyes in reading many hours of the day. I’ve just bought a book to learn how to connect my computer up to Internet. I suppose that’s the next one that I will read with care.
So you’re mostly into the technical book area?
I noticed the next question is on movie stars, and movies which we related to earlier and where you stated that you really didn’t have any particular movie idol, but is there any particular movie that you have enjoyed in your life?
Well, I’ve seen some of the classics like Gone With the Wind and things like that. And I enjoy a good movie, but I don’t have time to go to the movies much, and there are a lot of them that I’d just rather not see.
That is most understandable, especially with some of the things I’ve seen on the screen lately. Okay, now I’ve got you trapped with this one, because you had mentioned you’re into music, you’re a trumpeter, was in a band and also a singer. What are your favorite music, singers and songs?
I suppose Perry Como was my favorite pop singer, although Sinatra was close behind, and they were both terrific singers in their day. Actually, I enjoy trios, female trios. I think that is a form of ensemble music that is hard to beat. My musical tastes have become very broad because, working for a company like Baldwin for 35 years, we made instruments for people all the way from pop music to playing at Carnegie Hall. And I had the experience of meeting and sometimes working, to some extent, with many artists people from Jose Iturbi, Andre Watts, to pop musicians but not in the rock class. I’ve even learned to enjoy some aspects of Country/Western music. I write a song occasionally. I have copyrighted about 12 or 15 songs. I am not a keyboard musician, but I write chords and melodies, and particularly enjoy writing the lyrics.
Well that’s fantastic. Any particular TV show that you sort of like?
I’m not a TV fan. I use it mostly to watch news and sports.
What is your favorite team and sport to watch?
Well, I’ve naturally come to be a great fan of the Cincinnati Reds, and Cincinnati Bengals, and I don’t go to many games, although at one time I went to most of the Bengals Games. And I follow them primarily.
Any famous art, or art piece, or artist that you like?
I’m not a visual arts person very much. I deal with architects a great deal, in my career and so I have come to appreciate the fact that they see more in the visual than I do. I’m more of an aural person, that’s A-U-R-A-L. Although, I’m sure you think I’m oral as well.
[laughs] Okay, most scientists have a famous quote, do you?
Yes, and it’s something that is much broader than science. I heard a sermon one time in which the pastor convinced me that if you set yourself a high goal and strive for it 100 percent, it doesn’t make too much difference whether you reach it or not, because the byproducts of setting the goal and working toward it. It’s turned out to be good advice.
What are your hobbies today? I think you already answered that, but have you got any other side hobbies or anything?
Well, I do a little tutoring. Quite a little bit, mostly of the same people over a period of time. But I’ve found that to be a very rewarding experience.
I will agree on that because I’ve been doing it with some young people myself. Well, Dan, we’re getting near the end of this list, but what are some of your future plans?
Well, so far my career has been full in activity and time, and I am not the type to think I’ll take off and travel around the world. I’ve had considerable world travel. We are going to the ICA in Trondheim, Norway next summer. I will go back there with my wife, and we’re going to stay at a resort hotel that we saw on a previous trip, and didn’t have time to stay there. So, we’re going to do that. I’ll probably do some more travel than I’ve been doing, but I want to maintain my contacts with acoustics in a professional sense, as long as I can. Something that I will do, if I get enough time, is to document some of the talks that I’ve given at the. Acoustical Society, but have never gotten into print. And so I will write a few articles, hopefully they will get published. And if time permits, I might even try to write that book that I intended to write, but never did.
I really hope you do because I remember the same kind of situation with Leo Beranek and we finally convinced him to write his book, and I hope we can have the same effect on Dr. Dan Martin, because everybody knows when Dr. Dan has something to say, it’s meaningful. Is there anything that with all these questions and things we’ve breezed through, that you would just like to add?
Well, I think we haven’t said anything about teaching at college level for example. In addition to the teaching that I did as a graduate student, I later had the experience of teaching math for Purdue Extension at Indianapolis as an evening teaching experience three nights a week, three hours a night, during World War II. This helped me remember some of the math that I had studied, and made it stick. Then at the University of Cincinnati I was an adjunct Associate Professor there for a decade, teaching for the College Conservatory of Music. I taught two things, Musical Acoustics, which I intended to teach and Psychology of Music, which I was unprepared to teach, but the Dean said he’d been in the same situation and he’d taught it without knowing it, so I did that, and learned a lot. And I also, for several years, taught the acoustical part of the environmental course for architects in the College of Design Art and Architecture.
Well — this has been one eye-opening kind of interview for me. I read a lot of the preliminary achievements made by you and I got to say that some additions that you added onto these tapes will be of great interest to people who listen to these tapes. This is the end of the interview, and we’re just about at the end of the second tape. Apparently Dan knows how to schedule his length of talk perfectly to fit two tapes. This is John Kopec, the Chairman of the Archives and History Committee. Hopefully the person that edits the tape will find everything in order, and this is the end of the interview. Thank you.