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Leo Leroy Beranek (born September 15, 1914) is an acoustics expert, former MIT professor and a founder and former president of Bolt, Beranek and Newman (now BBN Technologies).

A student of piano at an early age, Beranek, growing up in Mount Vernon, Iowa, went on to study at Cornell College while working as a radio and small appliance repairman. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and went on to study at Harvard University, where he received a doctorate in 1940. During World War II, he managed Harvard's electro-acoustics laboratory, which designed communications and noise reduction systems for World War II aircraft, while at the same time developing other military technologies. Beranek remained on staff at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as professor of communications engineering from 1947 to 1958. In 1948, he helped found Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN), serving as the company's president from 1952 to 1971.

His 1954 (reprinted in 1986) book, Acoustics, is considered the classic textbook in this field. His seminal 1962 book, Music Acoustics and Architecture, developed from his analysis of 55 concert halls throughout the world, became a classic; the 2004 edition of the text expanded the study to 100 halls. Beranek has participated in the design of numerous concert halls and opera houses.


  • Beranek received the Gold Medal of the Audio Engineering Society in 1971.
  • He was awarded the Gold Medal from the Acoustical Society of America in 1975 for leadership in developing, in the United States and abroad, the desire and the capability for achieving good acoustics in communications, workplaces, concert halls, and communities.
  • He was awarded the 2002 National Medal of Science in Engineering.


  • Leo Beranek personal website
  • Leo Beranek, electrical engineer, an oral history. Conducted in 1996 by Janet Abbate, IEEE History Center, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, U.S.A.
  • Beranek, Leo. Concert Halls and Opera Houses: Music, Acoustics, and Architecture. Springer, NY: Springer, 2nd edition, 2004. ISBN 0-387-95524-0


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