Acoustical Society of America
Gold Medal Award - 1985

Laurence Batchelder

LAURENCE BATCHELDER was born in Cambridge, MA on 26 October 1906. He received his A.B. and M.S. in physics in 1928 and 1929 from Harvard University, where he was a student of George Washington Pierce and a contemporary of Ted Hunt and John Ide. In 1929 he married Nancy Thayer. Nancy and Larry's only son, David, was stricken with an incurable disease, and lived until his death at 25 with a courage that inspired many.

Also in 1929, Larry joined the Submarine Signal Company, which later merged with a Raytheon Manufacturing Company (now Raytheon Company). Larry continued with Raytheon's Submarine Signal Division until his retirement in 1970. Larry has made major technical contributions pertaining to the development of passive sonar arrays. His early inventions in beamforming electrically by means of compensators and his design guidance in the technology transfer of the 755 receiver-amplifier for general purpose sonar application were operationally useful to the U.S. Navy during World War II. As a member of the U.S. Navy Technical Mission in Europe in 1945, his technical report on "Sonar in the Germany Navy" received commendation from the U.S. Navy. His work also concerned bearing deviation indicators, nearfield commendation from the U.S. Navy. His work also concerned bearing deviation indicators, nearfield transducer calibration, air-towed sonar (from blimps and helicopters), mine-hunting and mine-detection, and explosive echo ranging.

Larry became a patent reviewer for the Journal in 1949 and, since then, has produced an almost uncountable set of incisive and clear reviews from the "legalese" of patent documents. However, his greatest legacy may be his enormous imprint on the generation of new and improved acoustical standards. Even an exhaustive list of his numerous activities from the time he became actively involved in standards work until the present could not do justice to the very great influence he has had at both the national and international levels. The reliance placed on his sound judgment is only partially revealed by the list of standards positions (see below) that he has held.

Among Larry Batchelder's many awards and honors are: Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science; founding member of the Marine Technology Society; and member of the New York Academy of Sciences. Among his responsibilities for standards, he has been Technical Advisor for ISO/TC 43; Chairman, Subcommittee Y10.15 (letter symbols for acoustics); Vice-Chairman, IEEE Professional Group on Ultrasonic Engineering Administrative Committee; Chief U.S. delegate of IEC/TC29; Chairman, IEC/TC29; Head, U.S. delegation to ISO/TC43; and Chairman, ISO/TC108. His positions within the Acoustical Society of America have included; editorial consultant for Sound; Technical Committee on Engineering Acoustics; member and Chairman, Medals and Awards Committee; Chairman ASACOS; and President. He received the Society's Distinguished Service Citation in 1972 and is a member of two Regional Chapters (Narragansett and Greater Boston), having been awarded an Honorary Lifetime Membership at Narragansett in 1968. He served as Chairman of local arrangements for the 51st Meeting of the Society held in conjunction with the Second International Congress on Acoustics and as General Chairman of the Society's 71st Meeting.

Let us conclude by quoting words of several well-known members of this Society..."He has at one time or another occupied all of the key jobs in American standards related to acoustics...he has been a pioneer in acoustical standards development and through his personal effort, the recognized position of the Acoustical Society of America in the standards world has been achieved."

..."Much of Larry's research has indeed been off-stage, since he was working in fields that were highly classified by the U.S. Navy and held to be `company private' by his employer. That he managed to be as well-known internationally as he has been is no small tribute to this innate abilities in acoustics, as well as to his personal charm...he has been the Ambassador-at-Large of the Acoustical Society of America. Whether the visitor be Russian or French, Swedish or Japanese, the foreign acoustician has an immediate friend in Larry Batchelder. The number of foreigners who passed through the Batchelder home in Cambridge must be comparable to the number of foreign members of the Society."

Stanley L. Ehrlich