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solo that was played through an electrical resistor to convert the sound to heat that drove the superfluid (Rudnick and Packard, 1978). Also preserved for posterity in his Collected Works is a set of acoustics demonstrations that were present- ed during a plenary session at the 100th meeting of the ASA that was held in Los Angeles.
Izzy’s influence as a teacher extended far beyond UCLA. In the hearts and minds of many of the ASA members, it was his presence at meetings, usually accompanied by his best friend Martin “Moe” Greenspan, that were his most cher- ished contributions. Whether in technical sessions, commit- tee meetings, or just “hanging around” in a hallway or hotel lobby, Moe and Izzy were famous for making insightful (and usually humorous) remarks that could provide a new inter- pretation to research results or place years of work into the proper historical context. When they were seated anywhere during an ASA meeting, a crowd of investigators and stu- dents would form to seek their advice.
Unfortunately, Izzy’s last decade was spent in a struggle against a debilitating progressive dementia. Although he had planned to write a textbook on acoustics with his son, Joe, who was also a physics professor at UCLA, that project started too late. The task of producing an acoustics textbook based on his unique understanding of sound and vibration fell to one of his former students (Garrett, 2017).
The Centenary
Izzy was born 100 years ago. This career retrospective was written by the last generation of academics that had the honor of work- ing directly with Izzy, day after day, at the blackboard and in the laboratory, as a faculty colleague (Putterman), as a postdoctoral researcher (Maynard), and as a graduate student (Garrett). All three of us are in or very near our 70s. Our careers as researchers, teachers, and consultants are coming to their conclusions after influencing hundreds of our own students in classrooms and laboratories, along with dozens more through the advising of graduate students, postdocs, and faculty colleagues.
Through his inspiring example, Izzy was the single most in- fluential person in our intellectual development. He taught us what to demand of an “answer” (i.e., an intuitively satisfying explanation of the physical processes that leads to a mathemati- cally executable result, including a quantitative estimate of the result’s uncertainty), what questions should be asked, and how such questions must be formulated. By his example, he taught us how to design an experiment, from its conception to its in- terpretation, so that the result would be clear and compelling.
After that, he taught us that it was our responsibility to distill the essence of our research into a demonstration device that would capture the interest and imagination of a wider audi- ence than just the readers of textbooks and archival journals. As he often said, “Today’s research is tomorrow’s homework.”
If his influence had any deficiency, it would be in the area of signal processing; when Izzy designed an experiment, the desired effect would be so clear that the signals could be re- ceived in the fillings of your dental cavities. Maybe that last claim was a bit of an exaggeration, but thinking carefully about an experiment, optimizing the environment (he loved resonators!), paying careful attention to (and frequently inventing) the appropriate transduction mechanism, and documenting an end-to-end absolute calibration of the en- tire “signal chain” were all paramount to making significant contributions to the advancement of scientific understand- ing that was the legacy of our forefathers, from Galileo Gali- lei to Isadore Rudnick.
Steven Garrett received his PhD under the supervision of Izzy Rudnick and Seth Putterman in 1977. He continued research in quantum fluids at the Uni- versity of Sussex, UK, as the Hunt Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, followed by two years at the University
of California, Berkeley as a Fellow of the Miller Institute. Dr. Garrett joined the faculty of the Naval Postgraduate School in 1982 and became the United Technologies Professor of Acoustics in the Graduate Program in Acoustics at Penn State in 1995. He retired from Penn State in 2016 and is now a freelance physicist.
Jay Maynard received degrees in phys- ics at the University of Virginia and Princeton. He joined The Pennsylvania State University in 1977 and is currently Distinguished Professor Emeritus. His acoustics research has been featured in The New York Times Science Section and
has appeared in Nature, Physics Today, Reviews of Modern Physics, and Nova TV. Professor Maynard is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, Fellow of the Acousti- cal Society of America (ASA) and the American Physical So- ciety, and recipient of the ASA Silver Medal. Now he aspires to new heights by running the race up Mt. Washington, NH.
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