Colladon was an important physicist working in Switzerland and France. His experiments on the compression of air and liquids, the speed of sound in acoustic signals, and atmospheric electricity brought him academic success and made him a sought-after consulting engineer for gas factories and tunnel construction.
Peter Paul Kellogg was professor of ornithology and biological acoustics at Cornell University. Together with Arthur Allen and Albert Brand, he developed new techniques and instruments for recording animal (particularly bird) vocalizations. As director of the Cornell Library of Natural Sounds in the 1950s, he continued to play a role in consolidating bioacoustics as a new discipline and promoting popular understanding of acoustics in the natural world.
Georg von Békésy was a Hungarian-American biophysicist who worked on physiology of hearing.
After studying chemistry in Bern, in 1923 Békésy was awarded a PhD in physics at the University of Budapest. He entered the service of the Hungarian Post Office, where he worked at the research laboratory on problems of long-distance telephone transmission.
Leo Leroy Beranek was born on September 15, 1914, in Solon, Iowa, and died on October 10, 2016, in Westwood, Massachusetts. Beranek was an acoustics expert and a founder of the company Bolt, Beranek and Newman.
Hallowell Davis was born on August 31, 1896, in New York City and died on August 22, 1992, in St. Louis, Missouri. He was a physiologist and otolaryngologist, and his research contributed to the development of electroencephalography (EEG). Davis was also a pioneer in the physiology of hearing, the inner ear, and the auditory nerve’s electrical responses.
Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand Helmholtz, later von Helmholtz, was born in Potsdam in 1821, the son of Caroline Penne and high school principal August Ferdinand Julius Helmholtz. He became interested in natural science at a young age, but followed his father’s wishes and studied medicine at the Berlin military academy. He graduated in 1842.
Harvey Fletcher was born on September 11, 1884, in Provo, Utah, where he also died on July 23, 1981. He was a physicist, engineer, and educator who is recognized for his contributions to acoustics, electrical engineering, speech, medicine, music, sound pictures, and atomic physics.
Eduard Sievers was a linguist with a focus on Germanic languages, and was one of the Leipzig “neogrammarians.” Using statistical methods and experimentation, he aimed to formulate laws for the melodic and rhythmic elements of language. He also became well known for “Sievers’ Law,” a phonetic law for Indo-European languages.
Sabine was a pioneer of architectural acoustics. He defined the reverberation time and empirically developed its formula, which helped him to predict and optimize the acoustics of large auditoriums such as the Fogg Lecture Hall at Harvard and the Symphony Hall in Boston.
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