Acoustical Society of America
Biennial Award - 1966

David M. Green

It is indeed a pleasure to make some remarks about this year's biennial award winner, David Marvin Green. I had the good fortune to work with Dr. Green during the most exciting period of my research career, and he contributed substantially to the excitement.

My first meeting with Dave occurred when he was working for a second bachelor's degree so that he could enter graduate school in psychology at The University of Michigan. It was my understanding that he intended to pursue a career in clinical psychology. John Swets and I were performing an experiment in vision, and we had hired Dave as an observer. However, he asked far too many questions to be a good observer. The questions were searching and to the point, and demonstrated a lively interest in the goals of the research that we were pursuing. It would have been a shame to let one with Dave's keen curiosity pursue a career in clinical psychology. John and I invited Dave to join us in our work in the Electronic Defense Group at The University of Michigan. This invitation led to a collaboration among the three of us that has extended over a period of years. The association is certainly one of the most cherished of my life.

At one point during our association, Dave, John, and I worked together writing a technical report entitled "Some General Properties of the Hearing Mechanism." Writing this report was a strenuous effort for all of us, but in retrospect I have come to realize that I learned a great deal from this experience and that I have many pleasant memories. One in particular stands out. In writing the report, we divided the work. We circulated the rough drafts among the three of us. One day, Dave walked into an office in which Jon and I were talking. He was waving a section of the rough draft in his hand and said, "To whom the hell is this obvious?" When we saw the statement to which he was referring, we could not answer this question. It was not obvious.

Another time, Dave had solved a difficult problem in mathematics. When he presented it to me, I was unable to understand exactly how he had achieved his result. I asked him to repeat it. Still I could not understand, and again Dave repeated the presentation. This procedure went on several times, when finally a woman who had been watching all of the proceedings felt that the discussion was becoming too heated—she turned white and left the room, fearing that we would come to blows. Our discussion had been vigorous, but strictly academic. When Dave and I solved our communication problem some time later, we switched the topic to baseball. When our lady colleague returned, she was amazed that we were still friends.

I could mention many more incidents to describe the vigorous manner in which Dave pursues his work. He becomes completely absorbed in the subject that he is considering, pursuing the subject with a thoroughness rarely observed. This thoroughness is apparent in his writings, the majority of which have appeared in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. Most of these papers represent both experimental and theoretical contributions to psychoacoustics, and serve as an excellent demonstration of Dave's creative approach.

I will mention one of a different type: "Psychoacoustics and Detection Theory," an article that defines the contribution of detection theory to the understanding of psychoacoustics and the hearing process. The fact that Dave was invited by the Society to write the article illustrates that his stature as a leading psychoacoustician is of several years' standing. Further evidence exists in the fact that at an age when he is still young enough to be eligible for the biennial award, he has already achieved the rank of professor.

I cherish the years during which I worked with Dave at Michigan and the association has never seemed to diminish even though there has been a geographical separation. Dave spent a year at Massachusetts Institute of Technology before returning to Michigan to complete his doctorate. He then returned to MIT as a member of the faculty and from there moved to the University of Pennsylvania. Next year, he will go to La Jolla and the geographical distance will be greater—but today that is no problem.

As I have watched Dave's growth over the years, I have had equal pleasure and excitement in watching the growth of his and Clara's fine family. I remember well the afternoon I had the ride in the police car as we were searching the neighborhood for the Green's daughter who was playing quietly in a sand box at a neighbor's home across the street.

I am proud, as I know all of Dave's colleagues are, that he is receiving the Biennial Award this year. It is an event that I will long remember as one of the most pleasant of my life.