Robert Beyer

Notice: We are in the process of migrating Oral History Interview metadata to this new version of our website.

During this migration, the following fields associated with interviews may be incomplete: Institutions, Additional Persons, and Subjects. Our Browse Subjects feature is also affected by this migration.

We encourage researchers to utilize the full-text search on this page to navigate our oral histories or to use our catalog to locate oral history interviews by keyword.

Please contact [email protected] with any feedback.

Image not available
Interviewed by
Lawrence A. Crum
Interview date
Houston, Texas
Usage Information and Disclaimer
Disclaimer text

This transcript may not be quoted, reproduced or redistributed in whole or in part by any means except with the written permission of the American Institute of Physics.

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.

Please bear in mind that: 1) This material is a transcript of the spoken word rather than a literary product; 2) An interview must be read with the awareness that different people's memories about an event will often differ, and that memories can change with time for many reasons including subsequent experiences, interactions with others, and one's feelings about an event. Disclaimer: This transcript was scanned from a typescript, introducing occasional spelling errors. The original typescript is available.

Preferred citation

In footnotes or endnotes please cite AIP interviews like this:

Interview of Robert Beyer by Lawrence A. Crum on 1991 November 11,
Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics,
College Park, MD USA,

For multiple citations, "AIP" is the preferred abbreviation for the location.



Early life and education, high school education affected by rheumatic fever; undergraduate work at Hofstra University (1939-1942); graduate work at Cornell University (1942-1945); Brown University professor (1945-??), hired by Bruce Lindsay; beginning of his research focus on acoustics; beginning of his career with the Acoustical Society of America (ASA).



It seems to me that very much of my life has been following up on randomly-obtained opportunities. I don’t know how much of my earlier background you want but if I give you some of that this might suggest some reasons for what happened thereafter. When I was in elementary school I was always regarded as a bright kid, also as a fat kid, and I was never much in athletics. But I had a good friend who was the athletic hero who tended to protect me. And I have thanks for that action on his part which lasted certainly through the eighth grade when we parted our ways and I never was in school with him again. I started to go to high school in New York City. I had won a scholarship at a Catholic high school, a Jesuit high school in Manhattan, and I use to commute everyday from Long Island, about twenty-five miles away. I had been advanced one-half year in school so I started the ninth grade in high school in February rather than in the normal September. In late March I became ill. It turned out to be rheumatic fever and I didn’t have any schooling at all for the next year and a half. I sort of lay fallow, listening to the radio, logging in radio stations on the short wave or listening to the radio amateurs on the short wave and doing nothing of any great consequence.

Finally, when I was about 14 1/2, in September of 1934, my parents made some effort to get me some education and they hired a woman to come to the house. She was a high school teacher and she came after school and gave me two hours of instruction, one on Tuesday and one on Thursday, that kind of thing. We set out that that was the way I was going to go to school. We didn’t even have the money to pay her even $1.00 but that was a big expense. So my grandfather — we lived in a village, as I said, about twenty-five miles out of Manhattan on Long Island — my grandfather went down to the superintendent of schools who lived a few blocks away and talked to him He suggested there was a process by which they could appeal to the courts. If my aunt, who was my foster mother, would go down before the judge, the judge could issue an order directing the county and the state to supply the funds to teach me at home. So she did that and it worked. There was no change in my process — I had the same teacher — but the family was greatly relieved of the $2 or $4 a week, whichever it was, that was paid by the state and not by ourselves. Well, I continued through the first year that way and did quite well in whatever tests I had. I remember that I did very well on the math test and my teacher who was actually a history teacher or an English teacher, I forget which, showed it to a friend in the math department. And so in the second year the math teacher came down and I also had a third teacher who taught me biology.

The math teacher was so enthusiastic about me that she gave me both intermediate algebra and plane geometry. And when it came to mid-year and to right before Christmas, she said that I had finished almost all of the plane geometry, which was a year course, that I could take the New York State Regents in January if I wanted to. So I did. Accident #1. If I wanted to. The opportunity came and I took. I had a good mark on that and I passed the intermediate algebra. So the second semester of my sophomore year I took advanced algebra and solid geometry. In June I got a good mark in the solid geometry. I kind of bombed the advanced algebra. I got stuck on one problem and couldn’t figure out how to do it and ended up with a mark in the low 80’s of which I was grossly ashamed. Then I went on to the third year. By that time it had become a routine. My aunt would go to the court and the judge would issue the directive and everything would be fine. Well, she went to the court that time and then the judge did a terrible thing. He said to her, “You know, we’re spending the government’s money. What guarantee do we have that he’s going to live to make any use of this?” That send her into a nervous decline, as you can well imagine. Tears and all that. What guarantee does any of us have that tomorrow will come for us? At any rate, I’ll jump ahead. In the beginning of the fourth year, the fourth time she went down there, she brought her brother with her because she knew her brother and this judge had served together in the same regiment in World War I. And when her brother showed up the judge spent the whole time instructing everybody in the court about how my uncle was the biggest hero in the old AEF, which was a lot of you-know-what but it completely distracted him from the issue at hand.

It, I must confess, gave me an early lesson about not what you know but who you know is often the way forward. Again, you might say that was another accident. In the third year I broadened out a bit. I had a few other things. I had French, I guess. No more math because I had taken all the math in high school except one oddball course; I forget what that was. Oh, I guess I took trigonometry and I hadn’t taken solid geometry. That’s what it was. I took English and I took history and so forth. The fourth year it was decided that 1 was well enough to go to school and so I started going. The school was about a mile away and I would walk down there in decent weather. In bad weather I could take a bus. It went right past our door; didn’t quite go to the school. I wasn’t eligible to ride on the free buses; I didn’t live that far away. Well, I did that for about three weeks and then I had a heart disturbance in class which in retrospect was not really a significant disturbance but everybody, including the doctor, treated it as if it were the beginning of doom and after having me in bed for a couple of weeks I resumed being taught at home. That’s the year I was taking physics and so the one departure from the earlier procedure was that I would go down one day a week for the physics lab. That was basically my connection with high school classroom instruction before I graduated from high school. I graduated from high school and what good was I? I had had a lot of courses, my health was uncertain, it was not clear that I could attend regular class, and, besides, the family had no money.

Well, the solution to the problem was to temporize. I went back to the high school for half a day for one semester and took three courses. I took a German course and chemistry and then the second half-year I went all day; I think that was the only French course I could take, something like that. At any rate, I had a very easy time. I was already graduated. I just piled up some more high school points and got used to the business of going in and out every day. At the end of that year the problem of what to do about college had solved itself because during the time I was in high school there opened up a new college about six miles from where I lived –- Hofstra — and I applied there and was easily accepted. One instance along the way — my high school physics teacher, when I told him about my lacking money, he said, “Well, what you should do is beg, borrow, or otherwise obtain the funds to go through one year in college” because if I once got into a college, no college would let me go. He was a young fellow, not exactly a man of the world of broad experience and had gone only to small colleges, but I suspect he was absolutely right. Hofstra gave me some financial help. I got a position in the school under the National Youth Administration. At that time Lyndon Johnson, I think, was one of the heads of that organization and I always talk about the days when me and Lyndon were in the NYA together. They were paying me $150 a year for my work.

The first year I worked in the library; other years I graded papers or served in a lab or something like that. The tuition left, I think, $100 for me to raise every semester. It wasn’t easy to raise it but we managed to do it and college went on. The next irregularity in this matter — I incidentally thought I was a chemist and I went to college to study chemistry and the local newspaper, a weekly sheet, for the ten or twelve kids who were going to college they asked them what they were going to do and I said that I was going to study theoretical chemistry and get a job studying atoms and molecules. Well, I guess I’d never heard of sub-atomic particles. At any rate, that’s what I said I was going to do. So when I started college I took chemistry in my first year and I certainly didn’t take any physics. Here was another accident. I started taking the German class and a math class. I thought the math class would put me into calculus but it didn’t it stick me into more of advanced algebra, which I had had quite a bit of. In fact when I took advanced algebra the first time the teacher actually gave me a little introductory calculus; I had differentiation and polar coordinates which usually in those days was thought of as part of calculus. Everything that was happening was very boring.

The same sort of thing was happening in the German class; I had not taken any German at the end of my high school career but I used to spend an hour sitting in the morning in the room of the assistant principal who was an elderly woman who taught German but also taught fourth year Latin. I had had her in fourth year Latin the year before and she said, “Well, if you take German next year one year won’t do you any good; you have to have two years before colleges will count it. So what you could do is take the book and read it over the summertime and then when you come back you can go in second year German.” Once again, if you want to, and I wanted and so I did that. I read the book carefully and I showed up for the German class and I was doing as well as anybody else in it so I had this so-called two years of German although it really was only one and I was put in an appropriate college course. Well, there was a man in my class who was a senior. I have no idea what his name was but after about three weeks he said to me, “You don’t belong in that class. You know more than that class does at that level. You should get them to put you in a more advanced class.” I said, “Well, that’s the way I feel about all my subjects.” He said, “Now wait a minute.” So he cut me back down to size. Anyway, I went and talked to the teacher in German and at the same time I went and talked to my math teacher. And as a result I was kicked upstairs in both instances.

I was told I could take the calculus course, which was a sophomore course and they fished around for the German class. There were so few German classes that they didn’t know quite what to do and I ended up in a course in scientific German which was not particularly worthwhile but at least it was more of a solid course than the earlier elementary grammar course that I had been taking before. They hadn’t discovered conversational German, of course, or conversational anything else in foreign languages at that time. The math class was, in my opinion, the best course that I took in college. I had an enthusiastic teacher, relatively young. He had been to Harvard, he had an undergraduate and Master’s degree from Harvard, and he socked it to us. I was coming into the class three weeks late so I had to work very hard but I caught up and did quite well in that class. At the end of the first semester I was going to have a switch. A different teacher was going to take over the course. He was a young man, he was the head of the department, owning a Ph.D. from Yale and therefore outranked a Master’s from Harvard. He occasionally took the class so he knew me and he tried at the end of that first semester to get me to take a course in differential equations, I guess, and the only way I could do that would be to take an extra course. In those days we took five classes, and I was going to take this extra course. But I had to get the permission of the appropriate college committee.

The chairman of it was my chemistry professor, but they ruled against me. They said it was too much work for me to do. I was furious — still a little peeved about it, but what the heck? They said it was too much work so I was not allowed to take it. Near the end of that year the math teacher from Yale tried to convince me to switch to being a math major. I said no, you can’t do that but I’ll come halfway. I said I’m going to switch to physics. I have no idea why I said that. I had not taken any college physics. I was, I think, enjoying the college chemistry reasonably well, although the second semester of elementary chemistry in college tends to be a little bit tiresome. But that’s what I said. And so I made efforts to take a physics course the following year. And that’s what I also did. When the semester came to an end the chemistry professor whom I mentioned before came up to me and he said, Well — now he recognized that I was a pretty good student which he didn’t know the semester before. He said there would be no objection if I wanted to take a sixth course next year, provided I didn’t try to graduate from college in less than four years. Remember, I only wanted to take that math class; incidentally, differential equations was only offered every other year so that meant I had to wait one more year before I would see it. But again opportunity beckoned, if they were going to allow me to take six courses then I’d take six courses. So I took six courses throughout my second year and my third year. I departed from chemistry rather reluctantly, I think, because in my sophomore year I took qualitative and quantitative analysis and in my junior year I took physical chemistry so I kept up chemistry fairly steadily. At the end of my sophomore year, therefore, all I had really for physics officially was elementary physics. However, there was an in between course in mechanics that was offered by the math department, in fact given by the fellow from Harvard. There were only two teachers so you either got one or the other. This could be taken either as a physics course or a math course and it went for a year, so I had that.

In the third year I took two physics courses. One was in optics, a fairly solid course given by the same individual who taught me elementary physics, who ran the department. And then there was a new man, a pretty good man — we had two-men departments in most situations — the number two man in the department had been pretty good. This was now 1941, going on toward ‘42, and he took a job, I think, in national defense work and left. So, incidentally, did both of the math teachers; they both departed from the scene and we got a whole new math department. But the second course in physics that I took was two semesters, separate courses. The first one was a course in heat and the second course in sound. With one possible exception, they were the two worst courses that I took in college. It’s rather remarkable that I ended up with a career in acoustics considering my first connection with it The heat course used an ancient book by an English collegiate or upper level secondary school book writer by the name of Edsa?? Actually he did a paper, he was the first experimentalist — I learned this long afterwards — to detect the presence of difference tones, tar — tones, ???? in the air. He was, therefore, a very early worker in nonlinear acoustics. But this was a book on heat and it was a nuts and bolts approach. He spent an incredible amount of time going into great detail on how thermometers were made, how you corrected for errors in the thermometer, errors of all sorts including corrections for the part of the mercury that sticks out of the liquid in which you are measuring the temperature. I mean, that was nuts and bolts. Later on he has lots of descriptions on ways to measure thermoconductivity.

These were ways worked out in the painful days of the second half of the 19th century and were very, very 19th century oriented. Furthermore, our teacher who was a cheerful, bumbling soul, would, as far I could see, he had long yellow sheets of paper and he would write down the course, text material, copying it largely from the book on long sheets of paper, on these long yellow sheets, legal pads. Then before class, he would come into the classroom and he would write all this on the board till the board was covered with his writing. And then when we came in he would read what he wrote. That was not exactly a stimulating lecture. He also had a bad tendency when the course came to an end of not coming to an end and just keep on talking and talking. And those of us who had another class, we had a ten minute break between classes, would run out when they feared they couldn’t wait any longer. And he would happily cheerily smile and nod away. Well, we were not dumb. As the semester went on we developed a practice of getting even. We sat around out in front of the building until about 10 minutes after the class should have started and we’d say, “Well, is it time to go in now? Well, let’s wait a few minutes more.” And then we would go in and he would cheerily greet us when we came in and then he would pay us back by running 10 minutes over at the other end. Well, that was the more uplifting of the two courses.

That was heat, where I learned some things. But the course in sound was zilch. He used a book, if I may say so, that was very, very slight even though it was written by a distinguished acoustician and the first editor of JASA, Floyd Watson, a very small book called Sound. About 150 or maybe not even that many pages. It was a very simple descriptive thing for popular use of it but nothing of any significance worth looking at. It was nothing that you wouldn’t now see in an elementary physics textbook. There was a boy who sat next to me in this class, who was an Austrian Jew who had the good fortune to get out as soon as Hitler came into Austria. He applied for immigration in ‘38 and got out before the war. His parents didn’t apply until about six months later and didn’t get out until during the war when they escaped through Italy before Italy came in and his grandparents never got out. His grandmother was killed by the Nazis in Budapest. But at any rate he was a very bright lad and he sat next to me. We settled on what we would do in this class. We had we thought a pretty good series for the calculation of pi and we calculated alternate terms longhand. It kept us busy, kept us out of harm’s way. We didn’t pay much attention to the lectures, we got our A’s in the class, there was no problem. I think I still have the notebook from this class, my notes from this acoustics class. On the first page it says y is equal to — parenthesis x over lambda minus t over capped t close parenthesis times 2 pi — close another parenthesis — and that’s the end of the game. That was the end of the notes.

I wrote down the equation for the most simple of simple harmonic motion wave and that was the only note I took in the entire course. In December of that year was Pearl Harbor. In the second semester, therefore, it was my sixth semester in college and the fourth semester in which I had taken an extra course and I had the jump of getting out of more elementary stuff by getting advanced in both the German and the math. And I was now told by the chemistry professor that for patriotic reasons the university withdrew its objection if I wanted to get out of college in less than four years. Now you see why I said life is a succession of accidents. They offered it to me. I didn’t have to take it but they offered, I took it. All the physics was elementary physics. The optics class and these two trivial courses in heat and whatever. But by counting that mechanics class as a math course I had taken just enough courses to qualify as a major in mathematics. And SO I switched my major once again to being a math major. And I started writing letters to graduate schools. There was not a very swift reaction on my part; I remember that Pearl Harbor was in December and my first letters didn’t go out until April.

What happened was that I had really decided that I was going to stick it out, I was going to stay for the fourth year. That sufficed for January through March but this boy that I mentioned, this Jewish lad, Louis Bauer, had entered college with advanced standing, having gone through an Austrian gymnasium or ? He had gotten advanced credits in both science and math and therefore he was far enough along that he could graduate if he took two courses in the summertime. That was do-able so he applied to graduate schools and as time went by he got an offer from Brown. And he accepted and he went off to Brown in the summer, took two courses in the graduate school at Brown but they were assigned to Hofstra to complete his college education and he was able to graduate that way. Well now, there he was, running past me and I was doing nothing. S

o I forbore and then a real tipover, after he had accepted Brown, this was still in April, he got an offer from Cornell. Again, I had a very simple mind, maybe still do, don’t laugh. He got this offer from Cornell and turned it down, and I thought there is a perfectly good offer going to waste. The upshot was I wrote a letter to Cornell and I essentially said I know you’ve got this one vacancy there going to waste and here I am, I don’t want to go to waste, take me. Then after that I sobered up a little bit and I wrote to about ten other schools and time went by and the first thing you know I got a letter back from Cornell — no, I got a telegram from Cornell — the department chairman was out of town but from the secretary saying fill out this material, get the letters and so on, and the appointment indeed came. And I went off to Cornell in September. I had to go to summer school at Hofstra. I took three courses in the humanities, two history courses and an English course. And there I was, knowing almost no college physics really, a smidgling of mathematics, three-quarters of a chemistry education, and a lot of conceit.

Okay, this is the start of Chapter 2, the adventures of R. T. Beyer. When we last left our hero he was setting off to graduate school, I guess, and off I went to Cornell in the fall of 1942 and for the next three years almost nothing happened of an acoustic nature. I went through the usual routine of courses and did a lot of teaching, took a thesis activity first under a man who was in cosmic rays but he left for Los Alamos and it turned into an electronics project for the radiation lab at MIT and I did work in that and got my Ph.D. thesis in what was really I suppose low-grade electrical engineering or maybe it might of been thought of incipient solid state, I was working with nonlinear magnetic devices and I guess that nonlinearity was there but I had no connection with it. Toward the end of my first year there I was slowly starving to death on my salary and there was a demonstration lecture going to be given in the electrical engineering department which promised after the talk free cider and doughnuts and I went for the cider and doughnuts and I ate as many doughnuts as I could eat on one occasion in order to catch up for my low-budget meals.

The lecture was, oddly enough, a demonstration lecture in ultrasonics. It was given by a Dr. Harry Sak (?) who was a visiting, actually he was a refugee, French Swiss who had found his way to Belgium and been a professor at the Free University of Belgium before the war but I believe he was Jewish and he got himself out as quickly as he could. He had been a student of Debuy’s (?) and had worked for Debuy in Germany earlier and so he hot-tailed it to Cornell and Debuy found some work for him. Oddly enough, he became my research director but there was absolutely nothing acoustical in the work which we were doing. He had suspended that for the duration of the war. Well, the time came for me to look for a job and I wrote to a number of places and I got a letter back from Brown signed by Bruce Lindsay saying that they had nothing available but that he would keep my letter on tap in case anything showed up. I thought he was just being routinely polite but about two months later I was working in my teaching lab, I was actually putting distilled water in a bank of batteries which we used in the lab instruction, when the department chairman came in and said that he had gotten a call from Lindsay and there was suddenly an opening at Brown and would I call him back. And then the chair said that Lindsay had asked questions about me and got terribly excited when he found that I was working for Sak because he thought he had found somebody in ultrasonics.

Well, it was one of the many disappointments that Bruce had in his life and he didn’t get any ultrasonics from me. Anyway, I called him up and I went around and then they made me a job offer and I accepted and off I went to Brown in the summer of 1945. The war was grinding to an end. It ended in Germany and it was only a month and a half away from the end in Japan. Nevertheless, there were a lot of Naval students still around to be taught and the University was going all year round with three semesters. So I had to teach right away in the first semester. As far as research was concerned, the man who had left had left to take a position with the Public Health Service in order to avoid the draft and he had been working in ultrasonics, making some measurements in the region around 5-10 megahertz in liquids, in water. And he had a very primitive homemade oscillator and nothing else. I had to find the equipment. It was scattered about, had been buried, because when he left everything got shut up into the attic helter-skelter. And I had to fish it out and I had to learn something about ultrasonics because that was going to be my field. After all, I had taken his place in the teaching so I would take it in the lab. I didn’t have a field of my own so I took what was available.

Lindsay had written a set of notes called Advanced Acoustics, which was fairly extensive in the first part and then got thinner and thinner as it went through. It was a mimeographed set and there was a set of about 50-100 problems. So I got hold of that and I read through that and I worked out all those problems. That was my real acoustical education. Sometime along about November of that year Lindsay showed up at the lab where I was still trying to put this foolish apparatus together and the dean of the graduate school was with him and there was also a young man with him whose name actually was Smith and he had been a graduate student in applied mathematics but he had decided he didn’t want that, he wanted physics and Lindsay wondered whether he might be my graduate student.

Now that was before the days of contracts and that sort of thing. If you wanted to be a graduate student you taught, and you taught and you taught. So he was engaged in teaching but he became my research worker, Myron Smith. And we got the oscillator working. It was an ancient technique using radiation pressure to measure the intensity of sound, you lowered a square plate into the water and you weighed the plate with an analytical (?) balance to measure its mass and then you turned on the sound beam and the pressure exerted a little bit of force on the plate so the apparent weight was less and the difference was proportional to the intensity. Lots of things wrong with that method. Lots. It was extremely primitive. But it was good for two or three papers.

We did a paper on measurements in ethyl acetate which was an exciting liquid at that time. There had been some work done by a Russian, B(?), in the 30’s which suggested that the absorption coefficient was not proportional to the square of the frequency. So I made these measurements and I was able to confirm that. I also went to lower temperatures and I was able to delineate what looked like a relaxation peak. Of course, in later years it became obvious that virtually all these measurements were absolutely foolish because there was so much beam spreading that I was getting completely erroneous data from the instrument but I didn’t know that and whoever edited JASA in those days didn’t know that so the paper got published. That was in ‘46 or so. In ‘48 we did another paper, I guess we measured the sound absorption in water as a function of temperature. It’s incredible when you realize that the sound absorption in water had not been definitively, that means accurately, measured at that time.

While I was working, an Englishman published some results, Pinkerton, who was later John Lamb’s advisor at Imperial College, and his measurements were more accurate than mine and more extensive. Nevertheless, we published ours. He only went to higher temperatures (unclear) and we went to lower or vice versa, I forget which. Anyway, we had a few numbers that were new and the rest of our numbers agreed with him so we were off to some sort of a start. Well, that was my original connection with acoustics. At that time Lindsay was building up a very large group in acoustical measurements. The war having ended, the Navy students disappeared, universities didn’t know where the next buck was coming from, and the ONR stepped in and started to offer contract support. And Lindsay got contract support—he got two contracts, one which was in the general field of physical acoustics, you might say, and the other one was problems with underwater sound relative to undersea warfare.

The second one was a classified contract. That, of course, is a no-no nowadays. But it was not a no-no then; we were all patriotic in those days. I worked a little on each and I gradually had more and more students. I had two or three students who came in, working with this radiation method that we tried to develop with some our own ultragenerator and detector and the next ten years was involved in that sort of thing. We gradually got a set of papers out. I don’t think any of them was particularly valuable. I don’t think the field of acoustics would have been set back if all the papers that appeared in that ten-year interval disappeared but they were useful for us at the time. Something else came up, however. I was very much interested in observing the literature.

I remember talking to a young colleague in biology and he asked me, “How many papers do you really have to read to be (?) in physical acoustics?” And I said about a dozen, about twenty. And he was staggered. He said in his field you had to read at least two hundred. Well, that indicated one of two things. Either I was wholly ignorant, which was quite possibly the case, or else, or I like to believe, that at that time it was a very young field so there wasn’t much work that had been done. If I asked the question I had been asked nowadays, probably the answer would be a couple of hundred. There was another man in the department, Jordan Markham, who had done his undergraduate work at Brown, had been a graduate student at Brown, then was interrupted by the war, went away then came back and finished and was continuing to work with us and he was a theorist. And the two of us decided that we would do a review paper on ultrasonics. We labored away in 1949 on this, 1950 I guess it was, and we brought Lindsay into it to review what we were doing and he wrote one section. Anyway, we published it in The Reviews of Modern Physics, which was a triumphant, we thought, because all our other work had pretty much in the JASA, and physicists then as now rather ignored the field of acoustics. In working on this paper, I did as much literature search as I could and I had gotten interested in preparing a file card system by a primitive mechanical sorting device that was put out by an outfit called McBee called Keysort, in which you had a 5x8 card which had double sets of holes around the side and you had a keypunch.

So if you made up a classification mild strength of the truth, Walter. Anyway, I said if that’s what you always do, okay, put my name on the ballot. So I ran for associate editor, as associate editor of the Journal I ran for editor-in-chief against Firestone and about four other candidates. At the same time, from a different part of the Society, the nominations committee had nominated me for a member of the Council. Well, when the pictures came up there was my picture there twice for running for office. Believe me, it helps. My name was on the ballot twice, in two different categories. I have a strong feeling a number of people who voted for anyone but Beyer for editor said, well, this poor guy’s running for two things; I’ll vote for him for one, don’t know who he is but I’ll vote for him. At any rate, I got elected to the Council. I was surprised in a different direction. I got more votes for the editorship than anybody else except Firestone. Firestone was reelected, took office, and then resigned.

By the time the resignation came in, I was a member of the Council and as a member of the Council I was there when we decided who would be the next editor. I know we had number of applications and one of them was Lew G? who had written a letter offering himself as a possible editor. We sitting there and Lindsay was president-elect that year and I’m sure unless my ancient memory is playing tricks that somebody — Dick Cook was vice president and I seem to hear that it was his voice that said Well, what about Bruce Lindsay here? at which point Bruce said, Well, if you put my name on the ballot I will absent myself and he got up and left the room. We had the ballot and guess who got elected. Bruce came back and we congratulated him on having got the job so I was there when Bruce started as editor and I surely was around when he finished. My connections with him are probably worth another chapter and this tape is going to come to an end before I get to that. That is the way I got going as a political figure in the Acoustical Society. I was named vice-president in 1960 and I remember when whoever it was from the nominating committee approached me I said, Well, heck, next year I’m going to be spending the year abroad, I won’t be able to do anything on this and they said that didn’t bother them and so I ran for vice president and I got elected and indeed I did nothing. The first meeting of the Society took place in November and that very day. That’s enough to give you some background on my getting in and now you can pick up those pieces and build your questions perhaps on what I’ve said so far. Away with you.