NEWS | April 11, 2010

Dr. Earl Williams Receives ASME Award

By Dom Panciarelli

Dr. Earl Williams, Senior Scientist for Structural Acoustics in the Acoustics Division of the Naval Research Laboratory, was awarded the 2009 Per Bruel Gold Medal for Noise Control and Acoustics by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). The award was presented at the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, held in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

The award recognizes Williams pioneering work in the development and application of near-field acoustical holography, which has provided the ability to control sound radiation in a wide-variety of applications. The Per Bruel Gold Medal for Noise Control and Acoustics was established in honor of Dr. Per Bruel, who pioneered the development of sophisticated noise and vibration measuring and processing equipment. The medal recognizes eminent achievement and extraordinary merit in the field of noise control and acoustics, including useful applications of the principles of noise control and acoustics to the art and science of mechanical engineering.

Williams received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa., in 1967. He received his master's degree in applied physics at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., under Dr. Ted Hunt, in 1968, and his doctorate in acoustics at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa., in 1979, under Dr. Eugen Skudrzyk.

According to Dr. Douglas Todoroff, superintendent of the NRL Acoustics Division, Dr. Williams is an internationally recognized scientist whose pioneering research in the field of hear-field acoustical halography has impacted acoustics research and development throughout the world. His research was formally recognized by NRL as one of the most innovative technologies to emerge from the Laboratory in 75 years. Dr. Williams work has been a major contributor in changing and molding the thinking of navy researchers toward the quieting of the U.S. submarines and surface ships.

Dr. Williams recent work with spherical arrays has provided new and innovative methods to image and diagnose, in situ, noise sources inside aircraft and automobiles. His depth of knowledge in the field of structural acoustics, including sound radiation, is demonstrated in his acclaimed book, Fourier Acoustics, Sound Radiation and Nearfield Acoustical Holography (Academic Press, 1999); in addition to its use as a reference book, it is being used as a textbook in university graduate programs. In 2005, a Japanese translation was published by Springer Press, Tokyo, concluded Dr. Todoroff.

Williams has presented more than 70 invited and keynote lectures throughout the world, including the Rayleigh Lecture at ASME's 2003 Congress. He has over 100 publications to his credit and holds three patents.

Williams has been serving as associate editor of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America since 2001. He is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) and a member of IEEE. Williams' numerous honors include six NRL Alan Berman Research Publication awards between 1987 and 2008, ASME honorary Rayleigh Lecturer (2003), Pennsylvania State University's Kenneth T. Simowitz Memorial Award (1982), and the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of ASA's Pennsylvania State University Alumni Award (1990).