Wave propagation

Wave propagation

Interviewed by
Jon Phillips
Interview date
Location
Video conference
Abstract

In this interview, AIP Oral Historian Jon Phillips interviews Dr. Earl Blodgett, Professor of Physics at the University of Wisconsin River Falls and Historian for Sigma Pi Sigma and the Society of Physics Students. Blodgett discusses his undergraduate education at the University of Wisconsin River Falls and graduate education at Washington University St. Louis in detail, including his work on acoustics with James Miller at Washington. He describes his return to River Falls as a teaching professor, and the development of physics pedagogy there, as well as his longstanding activity with both the American Association of Physics Teachers and the Society of Physics Students, for which he has served as both President and Historian. The interview includes extensive discussion of both the administrative and pedagogical dimensions and trends within undergraduate physics education in the United States over the course of Blodgett’s full career.

Interviewed by
David Zierler
Interview date
Location
Video conference
Abstract

Interview with Allan Pierce, Professor Emeritus at Boston University and President of the Cape Cod Institute for Science and Engineering. Pierce recounts his childhood in Kansas and New Mexico, where his father worked on building aircraft during World War II. He remembers tinkering with a chemistry set as a child and building his own little radio. Pierce describes his undergraduate studies in physics at New Mexico State University and winning an NSF Fellowship to attend MIT for free for his graduate studies. Upon completing his PhD, Pierce recalls working for RAND Corporation on defense-related issues at the height of the Cold War, as well as his burgeoning interest in acoustics. Pierce describes his career trajectory that took him to Avco Space Systems Division, the Mechanical Engineering Department at MIT, and Georgia Tech. He recounts his research in a variety of fields such as helicopter noise, sonic booms, wind turbines, and underwater acoustics. Pierce talks about the genesis of his famed acoustics textbook and speaks in detail about several topics in the book, such as the wave theory of sound, plane waves, and room acoustics. Pierce describes moving to Penn State, then Boston University, and finally the formation of the Cape Code Institute. He also reflects on his time as Editor in Chief of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. The interview concludes with Pierce reflecting on his unique historical perspective and appreciation for acoustics, and how he has seen the ASA change over the years.