Renowned acoustic architect Leo Beranek presented his collection of professional books to Rensselaer during a visit to the campus on April 1. Beranek, now 95 years old, said he was pleased to know his books would find a welcoming home at Rensselaer.
“I wanted to find a place that could use the collection,” Beranek said. “I found that this would supplement what you have. Some of the older books are very difficult to find and the addition will make the collection more complete than a modern library would have.” Beranek’s gift acknowledges the top status of Rensselaer’s graduate program in architectural acoustics and offers students access to the rare books he has accumulated in a lifetime of work within the field, said Ning Xiang, director of the graduate program in architectural acoustics at Rensselaer.
“The significance of this is that Dr. Beranek recognizes that the graduate program in architectural acoustics at Rensselaer is one of the best programs in the nation,” Xiang said. “At the same time, it points to his expectation that the Rensselaer graduate program will educate the next generation of top architectural acousticians.”
Beranek, past president of Bolt Beranek and Newman, was involved in producing the ARPANET communications system the forerunner of today’s Internet and, in addition to widespread professional recognition, was in 2003 awarded the President’s National Medal of Science, the highest honor bestowed on scientists in this country. Specializing in the acoustics of concert halls and opera houses, Beranek has been involved in the design of performance venues around the world, including Philharmonic Hall in New York City, the New National Theater Opera House in Tokyo, the Benjamin Franklin Hall in Berlin, and the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver.
After Beranek formally handed the collection over to Rensselaer, he was greeted by students and faculty as he signed copies of his books, Concert Halls and Opera Houses and Riding the Waves.
Angela Ostrowski, a graduate student in acoustic architecture, was among the students who brought her copy of Riding the Waves to be signed.
“Once you start reading anything about acoustics, his is one of the first names that come up,” Ostrowski said. “Most of the measurement parameters we have, he pioneered.”
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