Floyd Dunn

Acoustical Society of America

Gold Medal Award


Floyd Dunn

FLOYD DUNN, a former President of the Acoustical Society of America, was born in Kansas City, Missouri on 14 April 1924. Floyd, his younger brother, Marvin, and younger sister, Shirley, grew up during the depression. Floyd was an avid participant and fan of baseball and tennis in high school in Kansas City. Following high school graduation, Floyd worked days and went to the Kansas City junior college in the evenings for two years before joining the Army of the United State where he served during 1943–1946 in the European Theater. Following the war, Floyd entered the University of Illinois, Urbana. While a graduate student, he married Elsa. Floyd and Elsa have a daughter, Andi, a son, Roo, and three grandchildren.

At the University of Illinois, Floyd took his B.S. M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in 1949, 1951, and 1956, respectively. For his Ph.D. thesis research, which was carried out under the supervision of the late Professor William J. Fry, Floyd performed pioneering research in which he showed that even in the absence of damaging temperature levels, mammalian central nervous system tissue could be adversely affected. Following graduation, Floyd served as a Research Associate for one year at the University of Illinois and subsequently progressed from Assistant Professor to Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana. He retired in 1995 and accepted emeritus status. While at the University of Illinois, he held joint appointments as Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and as Professor of Bioengineering, in the Faculty of Bioengineering, both in the College of Engineering, and as Professor of Biophysics, in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He was Director of the Bioacoustics Research Laboratory from 1977 to 1995 and he was Chair of the Bioengineering Faculty from 1978 to 1982. He taught graduate and undergraduate courses in electrical engineering, acoustics, bioengineering, and biophysics. In 1996 Floyd and Else moved to Tucson, Arizona, where he is an adjunct professor of radiation oncology at the University of Arizona.

Floyd and Elsa have enjoyed their travels associated with Floyd's profession. He was a visiting professor in the Department of Microbiology at University College, Cardiff; a visiting senior scientist of the Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton, Surrey, England (University of London); a visiting professor at the University of Nanjing, Nanjing, China; and a visiting professor at Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.

Floyd received many prestigious awards and honors in recognition of his distinguished career, and the research he and his graduate students conducted. He is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering and he has been recognized by three professional associations by receiving significant awards including the ASA's Silver Medal in Bioresponse to Vibration (being the first recipient), the IEEE's Edison Medal and the AIUM's William J. Fry Memorial Award and the Joseph H. Holmes Basic Science Pioneer Award. He holds fellowships in several professional associations: Acoustical Society of America, American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Institute of Acoustics (UK), American Institute of Engineering in Medicine and Biology, and International Academy for Medical and Biological Engineering. He has also received the AIUM/WFUMB History of Medical Ultrasound "Pioneer Award," the University of Illinois Senior Scholar Award, and the Medal of Special Merit of the Acoustical Society of Japan. He was elected an honorary member of the Japan Society of Ultrasound in Medicine, he received the Career Achievement Award of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society and the University of Illinois Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Floyd, in collaboration with his students and colleagues, has devoted his unusually creative career to the science and engineering of acoustics, mainly bioacoustics, and its effect on living systems. His research in acoustics and fundamental accomplishments in biophysical ultrasound have had a direct benefit on the welfare of mankind. His research career has largely been devoted to topics in ultrasonic bioengineering and biophysics. He has made pioneering contributions in the safe and efficient use of high frequency sound in diagnostic and therapeutic medicine. Six major area of accomplishment can be identified, viz., absorption processes, nonlinear phenomena, applications in living systems, toxicity, measurement techniques, and acoustic microscopy.

In retirement, Floyd continues to serve the ASA as an Associate Editor of the Journal, having responsibility for the field of bioacoustics for which he has maintained high standards and has made JASA an important repository of research findings in this area.

In summary, for sustained leadership in biomedical ultrasound, Floyd Dunn stands alone. For nearly five decades, his full efforts have been devoted to the subject; he has maintained, a steady flow of productive research; he built one of the largest organizations devoted to the field; he has encouraged the development of the field nationally and internationally, behind the scenes and through leadership and participation in many different organizations. He was involved in the first major blossoming of biomedical ultrasound in the 50s. In the 60s, there were a few years when he almost single-handedly managed to keep the field alive. Now, of course, biomedical ultrasound is a major industry and basic research in the field receives a significant fraction of the NIH budget. No single scientist is more responsible for this success than Floyd Dunn. He will add his own special distinction to that select group of acousticians who have received our Society's highest award.

William D. O'Brien
Edwin L. Carstensen
Wesley L. Nyborg