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 Isadore Rudnick (1917-1997): Acoustics in the Service of Physics
“I don’t consider myself an acoustician. I am a physicist who uses acousti- cal techniques and tools to understand physical systems.”
In the opinion of most physicists, Isadore Rudnick (Figure 1) was the world’s greatest physical acoustician during the second half of the 20th century. His enor- mous potential was obvious early in his career; he was the fourth recipient of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) Biennial Award (now the Lindsay Award) in 1948 that is presented to a member of the ASA who is younger than 35 years.
Department of Physics The Pennsylvania State University 104 Davey Lab, Box 231 University Park, Pennsylvania 16802 USA
Seth J. Putterman
Department of Physics University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) 430 Portola Plaza Los Angeles, California 90095 USA
Steven L. Garrett
24 Rue de l’Etoile 72000 Le Mans France
Julian D. Maynard
 Figure 1. Professor Rudnick in front of his blackboard, circa 1960.
 Izzy (as he was known to everyone except his graduate students) was an under- graduate student in the University of California (UC), Berkeley Physics Depart- ment when “Dick” Bolt (cofounder of Bolt, Beranek and Newman) was a teaching assistant there. Bolt said having Izzy in the class made his job as the grader for the course easy; all he had to do was assign Izzy’s problem set solutions full credit and then use Izzy’s solutions as an answer key to grade the other submissions.
Izzy’s contributions to physical acoustics were recognized by his receiving the ASA’s first Silver Medal in Physical Acoustics in 1975 and the Society’s Gold Medal in 1982.
He received similar recognition for his contributions to low-temperature physics, receiving the Fritz London Award in 1982 followed by his election to the National
12 | Acoustics Today | Winter 2017 | volume 13, issue 4 ©2017 Acoustical Society of America. All rights reserved.

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