Sep. 14, 1914 — Oct. 10, 2016
A sound scientist
With a master's degree in physics and communications engineering from Harvard, Leo Beranek was an acoustics engineer in demand. Between being a professor at Harvard and then MIT, Beranek developed noise-reduction techniques and technologies for Boeing, Boston Symphony Hall and the United Nations, keeping sound at manageable levels.
But his most significant assignment came from the Defense Department. During World War II, Beranek worked in Harvard's Electroacoustic Lab, where he enabled high-altitude radio communications with bomber airplanes. It was neither his last nor his most notable government contract. In 1969, his consulting company, Bolt Beranek & Newman (BBN, now part of Raytheon), was hired to build one of the first computer networks: the ARPANET, which later became the internet. It was BBN that sent the first email in 1972.
Dr. Beranek later founded Boston TV station WCVB, was a supporter of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and in 2002 earned the National Medal of Science. His accomplishments and contributions will echo throughout the eras. He was 102.