35 Facts About Leo Beranek


Leo Leroy Beranek was an American acoustics expert, former MIT professor, and a founder and former president of Bolt, Beranek and Newman.


Leo Beranek authored Acoustics, considered a classic textbook in this field, and its updated and extended version published in 2012 under the title Acoustics: Sound Fields and Transducers.


Leo Beranek was an expert in the design and evaluation of concert halls and opera houses, and authored the classic textbook Music, Acoustics, and Architecture, revised and extended in 2004 under the title Concert Halls and Opera Houses: Music, Acoustics, and Architecture.


Leo Beranek's father Edward Fred Beranek was a farmer whose ancestors came from Bohemia and his mother Beatrice Stahle, previously a schoolteacher, had become a farmwife.


Leo Beranek first started school in a one-room schoolhouse in Tipton, Iowa.


In 1924 Leo Beranek's father brought home a battery-powered radio containing a single vacuum tube.


In junior high school Leo Beranek earned his first independent money by selling silk stockings and fabric.


Leo Beranek's father remarried and moved the family to the nearby town of Mount Vernon, Iowa, where he became co-owner of a hardware store.


At his father's suggestion, Leo Beranek learned radio repair via a correspondence course, and apprenticed to an older repairman.


The younger Leo Beranek quickly learned the trade, and was able to buy a Model T automobile.


Leo Beranek earned some spare cash by playing trap drums in a 6-person dance band.


Leo Beranek continued to excel in his studies, including a typing class where he was the top performer.


Leo Beranek applied for and was accepted at nearby Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa.


The bank failed the next day, and Leo Beranek lost the remaining $100.


Leo Beranek moved into two rooms above a bakery, shared with three other students to save money.


Leo Beranek continued to repair radios and played in a dance band, but falling income forced him to consider dropping down to a single class during the next academic year.


Leo Beranek attended concert performances by the Chicago Symphony and Detroit Symphony daily, was dazzled by the displays of industrial products and technology, and fascinated by the international pavilions.


Leo Beranek lived on a shoestring, spending a total of $12 for four days, but felt compelled to make a return trip the following summer.


In college Leo Beranek became friends with a fellow student who had an amateur radio setup, inspiring him to study Morse Code and to earn his own amateur radio license.


Leo Beranek found a position at the fledgling Collins Radio Company of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he studied German in his spare time.


Leo Beranek was able to save enough money to attend the Spring 1935 semester at Cornell College, then returned to Collins Radio for the summer.


When Leo Beranek mentioned plans for graduate school, Browning encouraged him to apply to Harvard University, a possibility he had regarded as financially out of reach.


Leo Beranek was very busy in his final year at Cornell, running a radio repair and sales business and then transitioning to house wiring for electricity, while carrying a full course load.


Leo Beranek managed three major wiring jobs for Cornell, including designing and installing a master antenna system in a new men's dormitory then under construction.


Leo Beranek graduated from Cornell College in summer 1936 with a Bachelor of Arts.


Leo Beranek continued studies at Harvard University, where he received a doctorate in 1940.


In 1945 Leo Beranek became involved with a small company called Hush-A-Phone, which marketed a cup that fit over the mouthpiece of a telephone receiver in order to prevent the person speaking from being overheard.


Leo Beranek joined the staff at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as professor of communications engineering from 1947 to 1958.


Leo Beranek continued to serve as chief scientist of BBN through 1971, as he led Boston Broadcasters, Inc which took control of television station WCVB-TV.


Leo Beranek participated in the design of numerous concert halls and opera houses, and traveled worldwide to conduct research and enjoy musical performances.


From 1983 to 1986, Leo Beranek was chairman of the board of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where he remained a Life Trustee.


Leo Beranek served on the MIT Council for the Arts, "an international volunteer group of alumni and friends established to support the arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology".


Leo Beranek turned 100 in September 2014, an occasion marked by a special celebration at Boston Symphony Hall.


Leo Beranek died on October 10,2016 at the age of 102.


Leo Beranek appeared on the television game show To Tell the Truth in 1962, around the time of the opening of Philharmonic Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.