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Interview of George Maling by Rich Peppin on 2018 December 12,Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics,College Park, MD USA,www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories/45345
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In this interview, Rich Peppin interviews George Maling of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA). Maling discusses his undergraduate education and Bowdoin College and MIT, his early involvement with the ASA, his work with the US Army Signal Corps, and subsequent career at IBM’s acoustics lab. Maling also describes the origins of and his work with the Institute of Noise Control Engineering.
Today is December 12th, 2018. We're at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C. The time is 2:30 p.m., and I'm about to interview George Maling for the Acoustical Society of America. Here we go. I'd ask your present employer, but you're retired completely?
More or less retired. I'm still doing work at the National Academy of Engineering.
Is that a paid—
Or a volunteer position? OK. Do you have a title at the National Academy?
No. I am a member.
How long have you been doing that? A long time?
I was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1998; I've been active doing studies since 2005.
Wow. And what do you do? Noise-related studies?
Yes. The first one led to a book published by the National Academies Press in 2010 called Technology for a Quieter America.
I had just a couple of Acoustical Society questions. Then we'll get to the history and other information. Do you remember when you joined ASA?
I think it was in 1953.
Wow [laughs]. That's a long time. Where were you working then?
In 1953? I was working as an intern at the Philco Corporation, in Philadelphia and was also a student at MIT.
And what kind of work were you doing at Philco?
They had an appliance research group. I worked on air conditioners, mostly fans and blowers for air conditioning equipment. Home air conditioners.
Home air conditioners. So big units compared to appliances.
Like Fedders would do now, or Carrier.
Yes. Wall air conditioners.
What were your reasons for joining ASA?
I guess it was mainly the influence of Leo Beranek. I had been studying acoustics. I transferred to MIT in the summer of '51. Leo was teaching a course on network theory. Nothing to do with acoustics. But a couple of years later, he had a course on acoustics. There were several of us in that course. So he was the one that got me interested in the field.
So he suggested joining ASA?
Yes. As you may recall, he published a book called Acoustics 1954. We worked on the text as class notes in 1953.
He made money on that book.
Oh, yes. That's for sure.
Were you a member of any ASA committees?
I was a member of the Technical Committee on Noise, but that was a little later. I think the committee structure, if I'm not mistaken, started around 1956.
Right from the get-go.
Pretty soon after it started. And then I was the chair of that committee, I believe, in the '60s. Sometime in the '60s.
Did you have any other positions besides the chair of noise [committee]?
I served on the executive council for, I think, three years. With Avril Brenig, I established the Standards News department of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. I also chaired the meetings committee for a few years. That was about it.
Who was the president, do you remember, at that time?
No, I don't. I just don't have it in my head. They changed every year.
Were there any ASA meetings that stood out for you?
Yes, the first one. I had been working in fan noise, and then went in the army. But I had done the work at Philco and I met up with Lewis Goodfriend, Lewis was working with Leo Beranek on a new publication. You may remember the magazine, Noise Control, that lasted for about six years. And so it was Lew that invited me to go to Penn State for my first meeting. I gave my first paper in 1955, while I was in the army. It was published in the first volume of Noise Control.
Did you serve overseas, in the army?
No. When I went in the army, I already had two bachelor's and a master's degree. So they gave me a MOS, a Military Occupational Specialty, of scientific and professional. So I stayed in the United States.
What other professional associations do you belong to besides ASA?
The IEEE. I've belonged to that for a long time. I'm a life fellow now.
Did it involve noise too? The IEEE?
Yes, it involved noise and signal processing. Then there was the Audio Engineering Society. I was a fellow of that organization and also the American Association for the Advancement of Science. So you've got three others.
And the Institute of Noise Control Engineering (INCE-USA).
And INCE-USA, yes, but that was 1971, '72.
Have you done any other oral history for any organization? Have you done this before?
No, I never have. No. But I did one for Uno Ingard. I was the questioner.
OK, good. Now we do past history. So this is kind of interesting stuff. So when and where were you born?
In Boston, Massachusetts. February 24th, 1931.
And before entering college, where did you live?
We lived in the Philadelphia area.
That's how you got to Philco?
Partly. My parents moved from Boston to New Jersey for a while for my father to work at a shipyard and then to the Philadelphia area to work at another shipyard.
Did he happen to work at Todd Shipyard in New Jersey?
What were your parents’ occupations?
My mother was a nurse and my father was a marine engineer.
Did you have any idea what you wanted to be when you grew up?
I was certainly not getting into acoustics. That came a lot later. So, no, I was interested in science and math.
Your parents encouraged you?
Oh, yes, very definitely.
Do have any brothers and sisters?
I have one brother, yes. A brother, Bill.
A couple of years younger.
Where does he live?
He's living in Akron, Ohio, right now.
You get to see him?
Once in a while. He's always loved doing drumming, regimental drumming. Even today, in his 80s, he drives from Akron to the East Coast, Connecticut, to practice drumming with a drum corps.
They have these drum teams with precision drumming. Is it like that?
No, this is a rudimental drumming with special rudiments. He plays with a fife and drum corps, that sort of thing. He likes that. I don't see him too much. Once in a while.
So before college did you have any hobbies?
I always liked photography. And I still do. So that was, I guess, the major hobby.
Did you like Nikon and things like that kind of cameras?
Not in those days. My father had an old Kodak. It was called a Duo Six-20. Lovely camera. I got to use that, and took pictures for our high school yearbook.
Did you have a dark room?
Oh, we had a darkroom.
Well, roll film. It was all roll film. I would develop it. I did work, one summer after high school, I worked for a commercial photographer just for the summer.
Were you in high school in Philly or in Boston?
In the Philadelphia area. It was the Glen-Nor High School in Glenolden, Pennsylvania.
Was it a special high school, or a co-ed, or just a regular school?
No, it was just an ordinary, regular high school.
So when you first went to college, where was it?
Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine.
Did you have a major?
Math and physics. I spent three years there. They had a program where you could go for three years, and if you did OK, you could transfer into MIT for two years. So you received bachelor's degrees from both schools in five years. It turned out to be six for me because I spent a graduate year as part of an intern program (VI-A). That’s how I had the Philco connection.
So after the third year at Bowdoin, you got a bachelor's degree from the college?
Well, it wasn't actually awarded until everything at MIT was finished, which was 1954.
And how did you pick Bowdoin? Because of the connection to MIT?
Well, they did have that co-op program. But my father was born in Maine, and I always liked Maine. And there was a 1875 Bowdoin graduate (George Croswell Cressey), my father's uncle. My father was named for him; so was I. So there was Bowdoin connection in the family. My father graduated from MIT.
Did you belong to any clubs or anything like that? Special activities, math club or something?
Well, at Bowdoin, mainly the Mask and Gown, a theatrical group. I was not an actor, but I did backstage work, and I did most of the electrical work for lighting performances. That sort of thing.
What about anything like a fraternity or anything?
I was in the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Bowdoin, at that time, had a very strong fraternity system. Today it doesn't exist.
You still go there at all to see the campus, when you're up there?
Well, we live about five minutes from the campus. So there's a lot of music, art and other activities on campus. Sports, etc.
Nice. Was there anything in your undergraduate stood out? A professor, or a course, or something that you really liked in undergraduate?
Well, I liked the physics department. There was one professor. His name was Dan Christie, and he was very good. He taught mostly vector analysis. He was a very precise guy. I liked him a lot.
Have you done anything like rallies or protests or any social activities in college?
Well, there was one incident. There was a tradition at Bowdoin.
First years were wearing beanies, freshman beanies, at the time. There was a tradition that if someone put a beanie on the top of the chapel spire, then all the freshman rules were off. I was part of a team that did that. My job was to go up to Augusta and purchase a helium balloon. Then some other students used the balloon and put the hat up on the steeple. It hadn't been done since 1898, when future Admiral MacMillan did it. At that time, there was a lightning arrester, and he climbed up the chapel spire. After that, the school said anyone who did that would be expelled.
[Laughs] Would you go to the same college if you had to do it again?
OK, so after you went to Bowdoin. At MIT, you got a bachelor's or a master's from MIT?
I was in a cooperative program at MIT. So I was actually only on campus every other term. I was there for three years, every other term. I was in a co-op program with Philco, and went there between terms at MIT.
And what did you receive? A master's?
An at end of the program there was a master's, actually two bachelor's and a master's.
And what was the master's in?
And that was what Leo was in, electrical engineering?
At the time he was teaching in the EE department, yes.
So how were you supported? By your work? I mean, financially supported.
Well, for those years my parents supported me; and I was making some money at Philco every other term. In those days, tuition was not too expensive. MIT, we had to pay three terms a year because there were after-hours courses at Philco, but it was $300.00 a term. [laughter]
It's funny to kids now. I don't know how they do it. So did you go for a doctorate at MIT?
Well, I spent two years in the army and decided I'd like to take some more acoustics courses. I talked to Leo Beranek about it. He was president of the Acoustical Society, in, I believe, 1956. He encouraged me to go back, and I did. That's where I met Uno Ingard; my intent was to just study for an electrical engineer degree. It was one beyond the master's.
Like a professional degree?
I didn't have to write another thesis. They accepted my master's thesis, so I was just going to spend the year. Then it was Uno Ingard who said, "If you'd like to join the physics department for a doctorate, it'll be fine." He said, "There are no course requirements in the physics department. So all you have to do is pass a couple of exams, write a thesis, and you're done!" Well, it was not that easy. So that's how the PhD happened.
What year was that?
I think it was in either '63 or '64. It overlapped just barely into another year. So 1963 is when it basically was finished.
Were you a graduate teaching assistant? Did you do any teaching?
No, I was a research assistant.
So it talks about the military here, I don't know if you want to talk about it at all. What branch were you in?
I was in the Signal Corps.
Which is what, the army?
Yes, the army. The Signal Corps. They gave me an opportunity to do radar siting. At that time, the nation's defense system had a DEW Line up north. Then there were Nike sites ringing cities, but nothing in between. So our job was to pick out radar sites that were between way up there and the Nike sites.
Now this was after Korea?
Yes. The Korean War. About the time I went into the army, the Korean War was essentially over.
Did you have to take basic training?
And what rank did you have?
Well, I was a draftee, so I was the lowest of the low. A private. I went all the way up to corporal over two years, but we actually didn't spend a lot of time on military bases. These radar siting’s were all over the country. So we were on the road most of the time.
And you did the actual hardware of the radar?
Well, we had an airplane with us and radar sets. We'd go out and test the sites.
That is interesting. Did you take any correspondence courses or anything like that?
So let's go down the past professional career.
So you graduated MIT and you were working at Philco. Then what?
From Philco, it was the army for two years and then back to MIT for the PhD. And I stayed on there for a couple of years as a postdoc. And while I was at MIT, in those two years, Bill Lang showed up as a—I'm not exactly sure what his title was. But we did share an office.
Yes, I shared an office with him, and then he got a job with IBM and went to Poughkeepsie, New York.
Yes. Poughkeepsie. He started the acoustics lab in Poughkeepsie. And then shortly after that, asked me if I'd like to join the lab.
And you were the only two at the time at IBM?
Yes. We were the only two.
And what kind of noise work were you doing? For the large mainframe computers?
Our work was primarily mainframe computers. We had some in other areas, but it was mainly mainframes. And at that time, mainly cooling systems. So we worked a lot with heat transfer people. We also had a technology assignment and a standards assignment. We did a lot of standards work, both internally and externally. We also supported university research. There were also special assignments for me from time to time. A few examples: Authorities in New Jersey threatened to close a printing plant that manufactured IBM cards because of excessive noise. Bill Lang and I assessed the situation and designed an enclosure that reduced the noise emission and accounted for human factors—a topic important to machine operators. In the mid-1960s, computer monitors were designed like television sets and emitted a high-frequency tone with a frequency of about 16 kHz. Prototype monitors were delivered to a customer on the West Coast, and operator complaints were such that the customer refused to take delivery of production units until the tone was reduced. The engineering group was convinced that the problem was with the flyback transformer, but nothing they did reduced the level of the tone. We assessed the problem in the acoustics lab and traced the problem to a ceramic capacitor. We changed the capacitor type and the problem disappeared. In another case, we showed the Typewriter Division how to model the acoustical circuit of an earpiece used for transcribing dictation. Two more examples: Analysis showed that a submarine sonar system being offered to the United States Navy would not meet its noise specification. A heat transfer engineer and I traveled to a company location in upstate New York and redesigned the cooling system with a new fan design. Within hours of completion of the report, I was flown to Washington to explain the new design to the Navy—which was accepted. That was my first ride on an IBM jet. IBM management in the United Kingdom threatened to close down a plant manufacturing computers if the noise specification was not met. I was sent over to a U.K. development lab to assess the situation and fix the problem, and was given full use of the acoustical facilities (but not the staff!). I traced the problem to a disk drive and fixed the problem using some locally-supplied damping material. The theme running through all of these special situations was high-level management attention to an immediate problem.
And why did IBM care about mainframe noise? Because people couldn't work near the mainframes?
Well, there was an interesting story about that. The acoustics lab was actually started at the request of the then president of IBM, Thomas J. Watson, Jr. He wrote a memo that said, basically, our customers are complaining about acoustics, about the noise of our products. I think we need an acoustics lab. End of message. And that's what triggered everything.
Were there any other acoustic labs that you knew of? Riverbank was there.
Well, Riverbank was there, yes. There were a couple more in New York. Mike Kodaras.
Kodaras Acoustical Labs..
Yes, I think he was in business at that time.
Right, in the sixties.
There weren't too many. And of course, there was Bolt Beranek and Newman, in Cambridge. And Lewis Goodfriend & Associates, they started at Stevens [Institute of Technology].
So there was a staff of two of you doing—you did all the work. All the work and it was very little computer stuff, right? I mean, you had sound level meters, probably?
Yes, we had sound level meters. So, there were sound level meters and level recorders and narrowband analyzers, that sort of thing. Brüel & Kjær, mostly. Russ Wise came on to the lab right around that time. We had an anechoic chamber and a reverberation room. Later, when mainframe computers became very large and power hungry, we added a second larger anechoic chamber.
When did Russ come?
He probably came on maybe a year or two after I started, around 1966. Then Bill had hired another person, Knut Nordby, to help. So, there were three of us plus Bill. We never got any larger than five.
Eventually you had a couple more. You had Matt [Matthew Nobile] and Dave Yeager was there, right? And a couple others?
Yes, that's right. Russ stayed on, Knut Nordby went over to Endicott, to IBM Endicott Laboratories to start a lab over there and build a new facility. And then Dave Yeager came on, and later on Matt Nobile.
But for sure, I mean, of all the labs, the Poughkeepsie lab was the most famous and well-known and trusted, really. From my experience, anyway.
Well, we were much more of a visible lab. We had a lot more visibility in the community. The other labs pretty much took care of their own products, made measurements, that sort of thing.
Did you test other products, competitors, or things like that?
Yes. Russ Wise spent a lot of time on competitive analysis. Not mainframes, but his work was more smaller equipment. There weren't that many mainframe manufacturers in those days.
Was DEC [Digital Equipment Corporation] one?
DEC was one, but they were building smaller equipment. There were other big ones. Control Data Corp, that was one. There were a couple of others.
And did it branch into, when the PCs came out, did it do any PC work?
We didn't do much in our lab, no. Most of the PC work came out of Florida. They started an acoustics lab down there to do PC work. Dave Yeager left our lab and went there to establish a new acoustics lab.
So, you were at IBM for a long time. You were there until what year?
I retired in 1992.
That long ago? That's insane. [laughter]
Was Bill there, or had he left?
Bill was there. But he had been promoted. He was no longer the manager of the acoustics lab. We retired on the same day.
Matt was still there at that time?
Matt was there. And there was another staff member, Anne Balant.
And did you stay in touch? Were you a consultant at a lab or anything like that when you left?
No, I left with a clean break. By 1993, they had laid off the remaining people in the acoustics lab because IBM was having a lot of product problems in that time. They did call up, ask, "If you'd like to help us out, we don't have anybody to do acoustics." I said, "No, I'm finished."
Was it a relief for you when you left? Like, "Thank God it's over with," that kind of thing?
Well, it was a good life. We got a lot done, but I was getting a little tired of the work. I finally went to my manager at the time and said, "I'd like to be promoted." He said, "No." I said, "See you later."
Now also during this time, from what I remember, you were really active in INCE. INCE started with you, you and Bill, is that right?
Yes. Well, the real beginning was with Bill Lang and Leo Beranek. They really kicked it off. And I was in there, in the mix, doing the work, and helping to get things organized. That was in 1971.
Now, I don't know if I remember correctly, I'm making this up, maybe. But was Jim Bosford somehow involved? I thought, and this might be just made up, he was going to start an organization called Institute of Noise Control Engineers. Maybe not.
No, not exactly. He had already formed the Institute on Noise Control Engineering, and was offering courses. So there were some serious discussions about our name, the Institute of Noise Control Engineering.
I knew him because I was working at Kodaras at the time.
I'm maybe not sure.
Well, I can explain. First of all, Jim was at Bethlehem Steel for a long time, and they had plenty of noise problems. So, Jim started a series of seminars, you might call them, but he called them institutes on noise control engineering. And that caused a lot of problems at the very beginning of INCE-USA. At the first event for INCE-USA in 1970, they decided to call it the Institute of Noise Control Engineering. Some wanted the Institute of Noise and Vibration Control Engineering. But that didn't come into the title.
Now who were the bigwigs there besides Bill, and Leo, and you?
Well, we put together a list of people that were active in the field. We came up with a list of about 80 people. Bill Lang had arranged to have a meeting at Arden House in Harriman, New York. It was a Columbia University conference center. We all met at Arden House. I missed the first meeting. I had some medical issues, and I was not able to attend.
Jim Seebold was probably involved?
Jim Seebold was from Chevron. He came on a little later. He was involved as treasurer, taking over from the late Ken Oliphant in 1975. Elmer Hixson was involved. There were a lot of people. Lew Goodfriend. Lew did a lot for us. You may remember Dan Flynn from the NBS or NIST. NBS at the time. He did a lot for us. Malcolm Crocker was also very active, and Malcolm was the first president of the first Inter-Noise Congress.
And there was a guy in Boston. Can't think of the name. He seemed to be pretty involved. I can't remember his name. Maybe I'll think of it.
So, there were all these guys. And so, who were the people doing the structure? Memberships, you'd decided to have members. Eventually it was board certified and all.
Who was doing that? Was there an association, somebody being paid to do that?
We had some people in Poughkeepsie who were contractors, and they would do the work. We would feed them information.
Then you had an office in Little River or Little Falls, New Jersey?
Not at IBM. It was a management office because that's when I was the exhibit manager. I dealt with someone in somewhere in New Jersey.
Well, there was Lewis Goodfriend & Associates. They were in New Jersey.
Right, but the management group.
I'm trying to think. For the first Inter-Noise meeting in 1972, Jack Mowry did the exhibition. He did it for one year. And then, you're right. There was a management company in New Jersey who did it for a few years.
And later we had a company, I believe from Washington, D.C., which also did it for quite a few years. They wanted to stop when we had our first meeting in Hawaii in 1984. They proposed to do tabletops in Hawaii rather than to have eight by ten booths. That's when Phil Schwartz took over. After Phil, you took over.
Wow, it's a long time. Many activities over the years. Anything else about INCE that you remember or you want to bring up?
Well, there is the NOISE-CON series of conferences which we began in 1973. International INCE came on after that.
How did that happen?
Well, we had the Inter-Noise meeting in '72. And then the question was, "What happens next year?" Our charter said we're going to be international, have international meetings. So, Bill Lang talked to Fritz Ingerslev at the Technical University of Denmark, and he did the second Inter-Noise meeting in Lyngby, Denmark. Right around that time, Bill Lang was personally arranging the meetings with his colleagues overseas. We discussed that and I said, you know, you really need an organization to do this. So, Bill, Fritz and others formed the International Institute of Noise Control Engineering. That was in 1974.
The first Inter-Noise was where, in Washington?
Here in Washington, yes. It was at the Shoreham Hotel.
I remember that very clearly. I don't think I went to it because I was a low-level person at Kodaras at the time.
I didn't know that.
OK. So, anything else with that professional stuff you want to bring up or you remember? We can come back to it.
I think we went along with the contractors in Poughkeepsie for a long time. When I retired from IBM in 1992, my colleagues decided that they wanted to have a managing director for INCE-USA. So, they offered me the job.
Oh, I was thinking about Bob Lotz. Was he involved?
Bob Lotz was involved a little later on.
So, you were the managing director?
Of INCE-USA, yes. Yes. I did that for about 10 years.
And during that time, somehow, I got elected president and you fed me all the information. I didn't do anything as president. You did everything for me.
You were president in 1997.
I'll take your word for it. [Laughter]
Yes. You were president during the Penn State meeting, right? 1997.
OK. Some other things now. Did you ever write any book or have you had a lot of publications, papers and stuff?
Mostly a lot of papers. Handbook articles, I did that. No book until the "Technology for a Quieter America" (TQA) report was published. I was the chair of the committee which did a consensus study for the National Academy of Engineering and produced the report. In 1972, I launched a newsletter, Noise/News in 1972 and was the editor for twenty years. In 1992, we decided to rename it and turn it into an international magazine, Noise/News International,noisenewsinternational.net. I was the managing editor. It is still published jointly with INCE-USA and the International Institute of Noise Control Engineering, both as a web page and in PDF. My interest in photography came in very handy as I was able to publish my own photos in the newsletter and magazine.
OK. It says name some titles, but I can get them. (National Academy of Engineering. 2010. Technology for a Quieter America. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/12928.)
All right, let's talk about family stuff. So presently you're married?
When did you get married?
And what was her maiden name? Don't tell him. [laughter] (Norah was present during the interview.—gm.)
Norah Jean Horsefield.
Where did you meet?
The first time was in her apartment in Cambridge. I had one of her roommates put a zipper on a sleeping bag for me. And when I picked it up, she wasn't there but Norah was.
And do you remember her roommate’s name?
And then Norah and I got together to do a bit of skiing. I always liked skiing Tuckerman's Ravine in New Hampshire.
So the wedding date was December 23rd?
Do you have children?
Yes, we have three.
Ellen Maling. She has her own company now doing management consulting in the non-profit sector. And Barbara Maling, she's in Kennebunk, and is a middle school principal. Our son Jeff is a mechanical engineer. He lives in Vermont. But these days, he is working for a semiconductor company in California.
You see them often?
Well, we see Ellen very frequently. Barbara, pretty frequently. Jeff, not quite so frequently.
Its a long trip.
These trips get tiring as we get older. Is there anything special about them? Well, you mentioned their professions. Anything else to note?
Ellen received an MBA in non-profit management from Brandeis University. Barbara is a Brown University graduate with an advanced degree in education from the University of Colorado. Jeff has bachelors and masters degrees from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and has done a lot of work on semiconductor manufacturing. He has about 30 patents in that field. So, he's been very busy. He goes out to California about once per month.
How far apart were they spaced, age-wise?
Ellen was born in 1962. Barbara, '64. And Jeff, '67.
OK. Yes, roughly two, three years. OK, we're getting there. So, these are personal interests. What's your favorite type of entertainment?
I'm not entertained very easily. I like to go to the theater. I would say live theater is the best. In Brunswick, there's the Maine State Music Theater in the summer, and we go there for all the shows. Bowdoin College has a theater department. And there are some performances in Portland and other places in Maine. There were a few trips to New York.
In my younger days, I did a lot of skiing, some in New Hampshire but later in life in California, Utah, and in Switzerland.
Do any reading or anything?
I don't read a lot. I do more writing than I do reading. History interests me; not fiction.
Do you write with a pencil or a typewriter?
Typewriter [laughter]. What's that? [laughter]
With a computer? Or do you handwrite?
No, a computer.
What kind of computer? Do you have a laptop?
The one I like the best is a Lenovo. It's a desktop computer.
Lenovo. That was like an IBM.
It was an IBM. It was originally IBM. IBM decided that PCs were a commodity and decided to get out of the business.
Interesting. I have a Surface from Microsoft, but I loved the Lenovo. I would get it again my next one, for sure.
They're nice. I do have a laptop, but I don't use it very much.
Right. How about cell phone? You use a cell phone and stuff like that?
Yes. A couple of cell phones.
Text and stuff? Emails?
Yes. I do some of that. I used [it] mostly just for telephone calls. Recently, I did get a smartphone. Learning how to use that [laughter]. It works. It's fine.
Anything with sports? You involved in sports at all?
To do or to watch? Or both?
You do it, huh?
No, downhill. We've skied a lot. Not now, but over the years we've skied in Europe quite a bit, around the United States quite a bit. That was my best sport.
Let's see what else. Any movies, anything like that? Or Netflix or any of that stuff?
I don't watch much of that.
I got hooked on Netflix. I don't watch TV anymore. OK. Do you have any hobbies or anything?
Well, I'm still doing photography. I like to do that.
And what do you use? A camera or a phone?
Oh, camera, yes.
It's digital now, I guess.
I don't know. I haven't had a camera since negatives.
No, these are all digital. I have three Leicas and a couple of Panasonic cameras. I've had quite a few cameras over the years. And I did a lot of photographs from the conferences that we held. I still take a few photos.
Is it mostly people or scenes?
People and scenes, yes.
Family photos. Other scenes.
What are your future plans? You have plans to do anything special now? Or just relax?
Well, I've been working at the National Academies, specifically the National Academy of Engineering. The latest is a series of seven workshops and seven reports that have been completed. And we probably will try to continue that as long as we can do it.
Is there any politics involved in that?
No. Not for us. The National Academies are advisors to the government in addition to being an honorific organizations. So, they provide good scientific advice to the government and try to stay out of politics. We're having a workshop on drone noise starting tomorrow—it is hosted by the NAE and is in cooperation with FAA and NASA. So, they've been very helpful in getting it organized.
Speaking of drones, I'm on this Montgomery County—which is the county north of here—airpark commission. And they have, you have to have a license or something to have a drone. Is that true?
Yes. The FAA has licenses.
Does that mean that, let's say I bought a drone from Amazon. I would have to voluntarily tell FAA that I bought a drone or Amazon tells them? Do you know how that works?
I don't know a lot about how it works, but I know if you go and fly the drone, then you need some sort of license.
I would imagine, though, like—and I talked on this committee a lot. We talk about drone noise, just a little bit. It's not a big issue. But apparently people just buy drones and they fly them. They don't know. On the website, which we have, a website, way down below it talks about the licensing, which I've never read yet. But it talks about the licensing, and I would imagine a lot of drones just fly.
Yes, they probably do. Yes. But, you know, if you're caught flying too high, you can get in trouble. Drone noise is not a huge issue right now, but it's going to be a huge issue.
If like Amazon or something like that takes over with the packaging and stuff like that?
Yes, their package deliveries and even bigger devices. There's a thing called UAM, urban air mobility. These are the people that want to run air taxis. Amazon will be represented at our meeting tomorrow. And an Uber representative. And a lot of other companies.
Are you chairing the meeting?
I'm chairing the meeting, but we've got a good organizing committee and they will chair the sessions. But I'm the one that represents the NAE; I'm the only NAE member that is doing it.
Alright, well, I did most the stuff. Is anything you want to add that we can put down or are you OK?
Well, I just mentioned the International Institute of Noise Control Engineering. I was quite active in that over the years, particularly as vice president for publications.
And you worked from here? The office of I-INCE is where?
The office of I-INCE? It doesn't really have a formal office. It's organized as what they call a Swiss Verein. It is an organization of organizations and was registered in Switzerland in, as I recall, 1974.
But all of your I-INCE work has been in the United States? At least, the organizational bit?
No. The meetings that are held overseas, the Inter-Noise overseas, are all run by the host country. I did a lot of standards work overseas, also.
ISO, not so much IEC, but ISO overseas and ANSI in the United States.
Would say it's mostly in sound power stuff?
Yes. So mostly in sound power.
Do you have any… I don't know if we can record this, but what's your feeling about the increase in handheld iPhone sound level meters? Have you seen them?
I think Norah had a sound level meter on her iPad at one time. I think it was an app downloaded for 99 cents.
I had one from…It's called Studio Six. Get this. It has FFT. It has loudness, third octave band analysis, Fast, Slow, LEQ. And with a condenser microphone, it's Class 1.
Wow, that is amazing.
Yes, it's just like how things are changing in our lifetime.
That all happened after my time. But in the 1960s, I was co-author of a couple of papers on digital signal processing published by the IEEE. The first was titled “What is the Fast Fourier Transform?” and was very early in the development of digital audio engineering. The second was titled, as I recall, “What is Digital Filtering.” So I am not surprised by modern developments in the field.
Well, me too. It's really interesting. And you know what I was doing—It's funny, when I was going exhibit stuff, a lot of the sound level manufacturers stopped. They're not doing—they don't exhibit as much anymore because they're getting competition from NTI, which we never had before. Crystal Instruments. All these different companies that are making these PC-based or phone-based meters. And I remember I was doing some work with…so I worked for Lew Goodfriend at Cedar Knolls Acoustical Labs and we had all the B&K stuff. Now, almost all the labs, from what I see, have National Instruments, boards with a PC. Really changing.
It's a big difference.
Well, all right. I guess we can conclude.
Thank you very much. Thank you, Norah, for spelling your maiden name.
And thank you Rich for being here and coming into the town. I appreciate it.