Warren Mason

Warren Mason
Warren Mason
Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Fields of study


Warren Perry Mason (IRE Associate, 1936 and Fellow, 1941) was born on September 28, 1900, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and in 1921 he was graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering. In June of the same year he joined the Technical Staff of the Bell Telephone Laboratories. Concurrent with his work there he attended Columbia University, with the M.A. Degree in Physics being conferred in 1924 and the Ph.D. Degree in Physics in 1928.

Early work at Bell Telephone Laboratories involved the development of acoustic filter theory, with application to such devices as mufflers and other quieting devices. To be more important, however, was the recognition that quartz crystals, being piezoelectric and of high mechanical Q, could be combined with electrical elements to provide wave filters with very selective frequency pass-bands. The importance of the work that followed can be judged from the fact that today all of the long distance carrier radio and submarine cable systems of the Bell System use quartz crystal filters to separate out the many conversations being transmitted simultaneously.

During the years 1935 to 1948 Dr. Mason headed a group on piezoelectric crystals. He invented the GT crystal, widely used for precise control of frequency standards, and others designed for similar use or for application to wave filters. The properties of other piezoelectric materials were also intensively studied. Among these were EDT (ethylene diamine tartrate) and ADP (ammonium dihydrogen phosphate). The latter found ready use in underwater sound devices and systems such as sonar.

During and after 1948 Dr. Mason, as Head of Mechanics Research Department, was engaged primarily in mechanics research. Among the many subjects of interest were: thermocompression bending, measurement of shear viscosity and elasticity at ultra-sonic frequencies, internal friction and fatigue of metals, and properties of the solid state. In 1962, he was in charge of the Applied Mechanics Research group of the Bell Telephone Laboratories, Murry Hill, New Jersey.

In addition to his many papers and talks before professional socieities, Dr. Mason has written four hooks covering in detail much of the work briefly mentioned above. He was the editor of the eight volume series of books entitled "Physical Acoustics".

Retirement at the age of 65 from Bell Telephone Laboratories on October 1 of 1965 did not ended Dr. Mason's active career, for he was engaged in consulting work and continued his studies of the solid state at Columbia University, where was is Visiting Professor of Civil Engineering. In recognition of his many accomplishments, Dr. Mason received the Arnold O. Beckman award of the Instrument Society of America in 1964, and in 1965 was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Citation by his Alma Mater, The University of Kansas. Also, in 1966 he was the recipient of the first C. B. Sawyer Memorial Award.

Dr. Mason has served well the offices and committees of the professional societies to which he belongs. A charter member of the Acoustical Society of America, he has served as Committee member, Councilman, President Elect and President. He has been Chairman of the IEEE Piezoelectric and Ferroelectric Crystals Committee and active as Editorial Reviewer. He was a Fellow not only of the above two Societies, hut also of the Physical Society and the Audio Engineering Society. In addition he was a Member of Sigma Xi and Tau Beta Pi, Honorary Fraternities.

For relaxation Dr. Mason turned to his hobbies--tennis squash and bridge.

Further Reading

Warren Mason Oral History