An individual who has attained eminence in acoustics or who has rendered outstanding service to acoustics may be elected to Honorary Fellowship in the Acoustical Society of America.

(Biot in apartment at 300 Central Park West, New York, September 1964)


Thomas A. Edison 1929
Harvey Fletcher 1949
Vern O. Knudsen 1954
Paul E. Sabine 1954
Frederick A. Saunders 1954
Floyd R. Watson 1954
Harvey C. Hayes 1960
Walter G. Cady 1971
Elfyn J. Richards 1980
Maurice A. Biot 1983


... for fifty-five years of extensive and widely diversified research, which includes acoustics, aeronautics, applied mathematics, chemistry, geophysics, thermodynamics, vibrations, and viscoelasticity.


MAURICE ANTHONY BIOT was born on 25 May 1905, in Antwerp, Belgium. He received from Louvain University a bachelor's degree in philosophy (1927), as well as degrees in mining engineering (1929) and electrical engineering (1930). In 1931 he was awarded a D.Sc. He was granted a Ph.D. in Aeronautical Science from the California Institute of Technology in 1932, by which time he had produced his first three invention patents, and about a dozen publications. There followed successive faculty appointments: at Harvard (1934-35), Louvain (1935-37), Columbia (1937-46), and Brown (1946-52). In these years he published about 40 papers and produced 20 or more consultant reports.

After 1952 Professor Biot worked, largely alone, as a consultant for various government agencies and industrial laboratories. A long series of consultant reports was one result. Another has been the continuing appearance of published papers; the present total is around 170.

A listing of Biot's professional output and of awards made to him, through 1979, can be found in the Journal of Mathematical and Physical Sciences for February 1980. (That entire issue was dedicated to Professor Biot in the year of his seventy-fifth birthday.) Listed for both the United States and Belgium are memberships or fellowships in learned societies (including the National Academy of Engineering), as well as medals and awards. Among the latter are the Timoshenko Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Th. von Karman Medal of the American Society of Civil Engineers. There are also six invention patents, about two dozen technical reports not published in the general literature, over 160 papers (mainly research but some of tutorial nature), and three books. The first book was a text, Mathematical Methods in Engineering (co-author, Th. von Karman), McGraw-Hill, 1940; it was later translated into nine foreign languages. Next came a treatise, Mechanics of Incremental Deformations, Wiley, 1965, followed by a monograph, Variational Principles in Heat Transfer, Oxford U.P., 1970.

Biot's research topics and fields range very widely. Listed in alphabetical order, they include acoustics, aerodynamics and aeronautics, applied mathematics, chemistry, electromagnetism, engineering, geophysics, nonlinear systems, physics, thermodynamics (including irreversible aspects), vibrations, and viscoelasticity. He has published articles in many journals, but nearly a third of the total are found in only four journals: Journal of Applied Physics (16 entries in 25 years), Journal of Aeronautical Sciences/Aerospace Sciences (15 entries in 23 years), Annales de la Societe' Scientifque de Bruxelles (12 entries in 9 years-during his first years of publication, before he moved to the United States); Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (9 entries in 35 years).

Professor Biot is being awarded Honorary Fellowship in the Acoustical Society of America. Therefore, we shall devote more specific attention to acoustics.

Biot has had nine research articles (three with co-authors) in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, over a time span of 35 years. All are good solid research efforts; probably four of them have had especially great influence on the acoustical work of other people. It would be easy to select twenty more articles by him which could be described as sound, shock, and vibration. Most if not all of these papers could equally well have fitted our Journal. Another ten articles, or more, would be found quite useful toward the solution of acoustic problems. Certainly he has contributed greatly to the field of acoustics.

Biot, however, has never for long restricted himself to any single topic. For example, in the 1930's he studied wave propagation in prestressed solids, formulated for them an elegant general system of linear field equations, applied these in geophysics, seismology, and engineering, and ultimately found a method for dealing with the early stages of folding in geological structures.




   Alex Cheng
Designed by:
   Jackie Cheng

Founded 1996