Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its motion, behavior through space and time, that studies the related entities of energy and force. Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, its main goal is to understand how the universe behaves. Physics is one of the oldest academic disciplines and, through its inclusion of astronomy the oldest. Over much of the past two millennia, chemistry and certain branches of mathematics, were a part of natural philosophy, but during the scientific revolution in the 17th century these natural sciences emerged as unique research endeavors in their own right. Physics intersects with many interdisciplinary areas of research, such as biophysics and quantum chemistry, the boundaries of physics which are not rigidly defined. New ideas in physics explain the fundamental mechanisms studied by other sciences and suggest new avenues of research in academic disciplines such as mathematics and philosophy. Advances in physics enable advances in new technologies.
For example, advances in the understanding of electromagnetism and nuclear physics led directly to the development of new products that have transformed modern-day society, such as television, domestic appliances, nuclear weapons. Astronomy is one of the oldest natural sciences. Early civilizations dating back to beyond 3000 BCE, such as the Sumerians, ancient Egyptians, the Indus Valley Civilization, had a predictive knowledge and a basic understanding of the motions of the Sun and stars; the stars and planets were worshipped, believed to represent gods. While the explanations for the observed positions of the stars were unscientific and lacking in evidence, these early observations laid the foundation for astronomy, as the stars were found to traverse great circles across the sky, which however did not explain the positions of the planets. According to Asger Aaboe, the origins of Western astronomy can be found in Mesopotamia, all Western efforts in the exact sciences are descended from late Babylonian astronomy.
Egyptian astronomers left monuments showing knowledge of the constellations and the motions of the celestial bodies, while Greek poet Homer wrote of various celestial objects in his Iliad and Odyssey. Natural philosophy has its origins in Greece during the Archaic period, when pre-Socratic philosophers like Thales rejected non-naturalistic explanations for natural phenomena and proclaimed that every event had a natural cause, they proposed ideas verified by reason and observation, many of their hypotheses proved successful in experiment. The Western Roman Empire fell in the fifth century, this resulted in a decline in intellectual pursuits in the western part of Europe. By contrast, the Eastern Roman Empire resisted the attacks from the barbarians, continued to advance various fields of learning, including physics. In the sixth century Isidore of Miletus created an important compilation of Archimedes' works that are copied in the Archimedes Palimpsest. In sixth century Europe John Philoponus, a Byzantine scholar, questioned Aristotle's teaching of physics and noting its flaws.
He introduced the theory of impetus. Aristotle's physics was not scrutinized until John Philoponus appeared, unlike Aristotle who based his physics on verbal argument, Philoponus relied on observation. On Aristotle's physics John Philoponus wrote: “But this is erroneous, our view may be corroborated by actual observation more than by any sort of verbal argument. For if you let fall from the same height two weights of which one is many times as heavy as the other, you will see that the ratio of the times required for the motion does not depend on the ratio of the weights, but that the difference in time is a small one, and so, if the difference in the weights is not considerable, that is, of one is, let us say, double the other, there will be no difference, or else an imperceptible difference, in time, though the difference in weight is by no means negligible, with one body weighing twice as much as the other”John Philoponus' criticism of Aristotelian principles of physics served as an inspiration for Galileo Galilei ten centuries during the Scientific Revolution.
Galileo cited Philoponus in his works when arguing that Aristotelian physics was flawed. In the 1300s Jean Buridan, a teacher in the faculty of arts at the University of Paris, developed the concept of impetus, it was a step toward the modern ideas of momentum. Islamic scholarship inherited Aristotelian physics from the Greeks and during the Islamic Golden Age developed it further placing emphasis on observation and a priori reasoning, developing early forms of the scientific method; the most notable innovations were in the field of optics and vision, which came from the works of many scientists like Ibn Sahl, Al-Kindi, Ibn al-Haytham, Al-Farisi and Avicenna. The most notable work was The Book of Optics, written by Ibn al-Haytham, in which he conclusively disproved the ancient Greek idea about vision, but came up with a new theory. In the book, he presented a study of the phenomenon of the camera obscura (his thousand-year-old
Richard M. Leonard
Richard Manning Leonard was an American rock climber and attorney. He served as president of the Sierra Club and the Save the Redwoods League, was active in the Wilderness Society and the American Alpine Club. Leonard was born in Elyria and graduated from the University of California and received his law degree from the University of California. On March 13, 1932, Leonard formed the Cragmont Climbing Club in Berkeley, California with Jules Eichorn, Bestor Robinson and several others. Leonard took a systematic, experimental approach to rock climbing safety and technology testing climber falls and belaying techniques under controlled conditions. Steve Roper called Leonard "the father of California rock climbing". In November, 1932, the Cragmont Climbing Club merged with the Sierra Club's new Rock Climbing Section. In 1934, along with Bestor Robinson and Jules Eichorn completed the first ascent of the Eichorn Pinnacle on Cathedral Peak, near Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. In 1934, Leonard and Robinson assembled the most advanced set of climbing gear in use in North America, much of which they had obtained from Germany, climbed Higher Cathedral Spire in Yosemite Valley.
This was the first major technical ascent in the famous scenic valley that became a mecca of rock climbing. During the Second World War Leonard served in the United States Army and was assigned to the Office of the Quartermaster general along with Bestor Robinson, where they worked on the development of improved equipment and clothing for the army's mountain divisions, they joined a skilled wartime team led by Robert Bates that included mountaineers William P. House, H. Adams Carter, Terris Moore, Bradford Washburn and Australian arctic explorer Hubert Wilkins. During the second half of the War, Leonard fought the Japanese in Burma, he was awarded the Bronze Star. On April 20, 1948, Leonard became a founding director and general counsel for Varian Associates, a pioneering scientific instrument company in what became known as Silicon Valley. Leonard served on the board of directors of the Sierra Club from 1938 to 1972, he served as president of the Sierra Club from 1953 to 1955. Schrepfer, Susan R..
"Richard M. Leonard mountaineer, environmentalist tape recorded interview". Sierra Club Oral history series. Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are professionals who invent, analyze and test machines, systems and materials to fulfill objectives and requirements while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation and cost. The word engineer is derived from the Latin words ingenium; the foundational qualifications of an engineer include a four-year bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline, or in some jurisdictions, a master's degree in an engineering discipline plus four to six years of peer-reviewed professional practice and passage of engineering board examinations. The work of engineers forms the link between scientific discoveries and their subsequent applications to human and business needs and quality of life. In 1961, the Conference of Engineering Societies of Western Europe and the United States of America defined "professional engineer" as follows: A professional engineer is competent by virtue of his/her fundamental education and training to apply the scientific method and outlook to the analysis and solution of engineering problems.
He/she is able to assume personal responsibility for the development and application of engineering science and knowledge, notably in research, construction, superintending, managing and in the education of the engineer. His/her work is predominantly intellectual and varied and not of a routine mental or physical character, it requires the exercise of original thought and judgement and the ability to supervise the technical and administrative work of others. His/her education will have been such as to make him/her capable of and continuously following progress in his/her branch of engineering science by consulting newly published works on a worldwide basis, assimilating such information and applying it independently. He/she is thus placed in a position to make contributions to the development of engineering science or its applications. His/her education and training will have been such that he/she will have acquired a broad and general appreciation of the engineering sciences as well as thorough insight into the special features of his/her own branch.
In due time he/she will be able to give authoritative technical advice and to assume responsibility for the direction of important tasks in his/her branch. Engineers develop new technological solutions. During the engineering design process, the responsibilities of the engineer may include defining problems and narrowing research, analyzing criteria and analyzing solutions, making decisions. Much of an engineer's time is spent on researching, locating and transferring information. Indeed, research suggests engineers spend 56% of their time engaged in various information behaviours, including 14% searching for information. Engineers must weigh different design choices on their merits and choose the solution that best matches the requirements and needs, their crucial and unique task is to identify and interpret the constraints on a design in order to produce a successful result. Engineers apply techniques of engineering analysis in production, or maintenance. Analytical engineers may supervise production in factories and elsewhere, determine the causes of a process failure, test output to maintain quality.
They estimate the time and cost required to complete projects. Supervisory engineers are responsible for entire projects. Engineering analysis involves the application of scientific analytic principles and processes to reveal the properties and state of the system, device or mechanism under study. Engineering analysis proceeds by separating the engineering design into the mechanisms of operation or failure, analyzing or estimating each component of the operation or failure mechanism in isolation, recombining the components, they may analyze risk. Many engineers use computers to produce and analyze designs, to simulate and test how a machine, structure, or system operates, to generate specifications for parts, to monitor the quality of products, to control the efficiency of processes. Most engineers specialize in one or more engineering disciplines. Numerous specialties are recognized by professional societies, each of the major branches of engineering has numerous subdivisions. Civil engineering, for example, includes structural and transportation engineering and materials engineering include ceramic and polymer engineering.
Mechanical engineering cuts across just about every discipline since its core essence is applied physics. Engineers may specialize in one industry, such as motor vehicles, or in one type of technology, such as turbines or semiconductor materials. Several recent studies have investigated. Research suggests that there are several key themes present in engineers' work: technical work, social work, computer-based work and information behaviours. Among other more detailed findings, a recent work sampling study found that engineers spend 62.92% of their time engaged in technical work, 40.37% in social work, 49.66% in computer-based work. Furthermore, there was considerable overlap between these different types of work, with engineers spending 24.96% of their time engaged in technical and social work, 37.97% in technical and non-social, 15.42% in non-technical and social, 21.66% in non-technical and non-social. Engineering is an information-intensive field, with research finding that engineers spend 55
China the People's Republic of China, is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering 9,600,000 square kilometers, it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. China emerged as one of the world's earliest civilizations, in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, or dynasties, beginning with the semi-legendary Xia dynasty in 21st century BCE. Since China has expanded, re-unified numerous times. In the 3rd century BCE, the Qin established the first Chinese empire; the succeeding Han dynasty, which ruled from 206 BC until 220 AD, saw some of the most advanced technology at that time, including papermaking and the compass, along with agricultural and medical improvements.
The invention of gunpowder and movable type in the Tang dynasty and Northern Song completed the Four Great Inventions. Tang culture spread in Asia, as the new Silk Route brought traders to as far as Mesopotamia and Horn of Africa. Dynastic rule ended in 1912 with the Xinhai Revolution; the Chinese Civil War resulted in a division of territory in 1949, when the Communist Party of China established the People's Republic of China, a unitary one-party sovereign state on Mainland China, while the Kuomintang-led government retreated to the island of Taiwan. The political status of Taiwan remains disputed. Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China's economy has been one of the world's fastest-growing with annual growth rates above 6 percent. According to the World Bank, China's GDP grew from $150 billion in 1978 to $12.24 trillion by 2017. Since 2010, China has been the world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP and since 2014, the largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity.
China is the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army and second-largest defense budget; the PRC is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as it replaced the ROC in 1971, as well as an active global partner of ASEAN Plus mechanism. China is a leading member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, WTO, APEC, BRICS, the BCIM, the G20. In recent times, scholars have argued that it will soon be a world superpower, rivaling the United States; the word "China" has been used in English since the 16th century. It is not a word used by the Chinese themselves, it has been traced through Portuguese and Persian back to the Sanskrit word Cīna, used in ancient India."China" appears in Richard Eden's 1555 translation of the 1516 journal of the Portuguese explorer Duarte Barbosa. Barbosa's usage was derived from Persian Chīn, in turn derived from Sanskrit Cīna.
Cīna was first used including the Mahābhārata and the Laws of Manu. In 1655, Martino Martini suggested that the word China is derived from the name of the Qin dynasty. Although this derivation is still given in various sources, it is complicated by the fact that the Sanskrit word appears in pre-Qin literature; the word may have referred to a state such as Yelang. The meaning transferred to China as a whole; the origin of the Sanskrit word is still a matter of debate, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The official name of the modern state is the "People's Republic of China"; the shorter form is "China" Zhōngguó, from zhōng and guó, a term which developed under the Western Zhou dynasty in reference to its royal demesne. It was applied to the area around Luoyi during the Eastern Zhou and to China's Central Plain before being used as an occasional synonym for the state under the Qing, it was used as a cultural concept to distinguish the Huaxia people from perceived "barbarians". The name Zhongguo is translated as "Middle Kingdom" in English.
Archaeological evidence suggests that early hominids inhabited China between 2.24 million and 250,000 years ago. The hominid fossils of Peking Man, a Homo erectus who used fire, were discovered in a cave at Zhoukoudian near Beijing; the fossilized teeth of Homo sapiens have been discovered in Fuyan Cave in Hunan. Chinese proto-writing existed in Jiahu around 7000 BCE, Damaidi around 6000 BCE, Dadiwan from 5800–5400 BCE, Banpo dating from the 5th millennium BCE; some scholars have suggested. According to Chinese tradition, the first dynasty was the Xia, which emerged around 2100 BCE; the dynasty was considered mythical by historians until scientific excavations found early Bronze Age sites at Erlitou, Henan in 1959. It remains unclear whether these sites are the remains of the Xia dynasty or of another culture from the same period; the succeeding Shang dynasty is the earliest to be confirmed by contemporary records. The Shang ruled the plain of the Yellow River in eastern China from the 17th to the 11th century BCE.
Their oracle bone script
Dennis Gabor. Gábor Dénes College in Budapest, Hungary, is named after him in honour of his works. Gabor was born into a Jewish family in Budapest, Hungary. In 1918, his family converted to Lutheranism. Dennis was the first-born son of Jakobovits Adél. Despite having a religious background, religion played a minor role in his life and he considered himself agnostic. In 1902, the family received permission to change their surname from Günszberg to Gábor, he served with the Hungarian artillery in northern Italy during World War I. He began his studies in engineering at the Technical University of Budapest in 1918 in Germany, at the Charlottenburg Technical University in Berlin, now known as the Technical University of Berlin. At the start of his career, he analysed the properties of high voltage electric transmission lines by using cathode-beam oscillographs, which led to his interest in electron optics. Studying the fundamental processes of the oscillograph, Gabor was led to other electron-beam devices such as electron microscopes and TV tubes.
He wrote his PhD thesis on Recording of Transients in Electric Circuits with the Cathode Ray Oscillograph in 1927, worked on plasma lamps. In 1933 Gabor fled from Nazi Germany, where he was considered Jewish, was invited to Britain to work at the development department of the British Thomson-Houston company in Rugby, Warwickshire. During his time in Rugby, he met Marjorie Louise Butler, they married in 1936, he became a British citizen in 1946, it was while working at British Thomson-Houston that he invented holography, in 1947. He experimented with a filtered mercury arc light source. However, the earliest hologram was only realised in 1964 following the 1960 invention of the laser, the first coherent light source. After this, holography became commercially available. Gabor's research focused on electron inputs and outputs, which led him to the invention of re-holography; the basic idea was that for perfect optical imaging, the total of all the information has to be used. In this manner a complete holo-spatial picture can be obtained.
Gabor published his theories of re-holography in a series of papers between 1946 and 1951. Gabor researched how human beings communicate and hear. Gabor's work in this and related areas was foundational in the development of time–frequency analysis. In 1948 Gabor moved from Rugby to Imperial College London, in 1958 became professor of Applied Physics until his retirement in 1967, his inaugural lecture on 3 March 1959,'Electronic Inventions and their Impact on Civilisation' provided inspiration for Norbert Wiener's treatment of self-reproducing machines in the penultimate chapter in the 1961 edition of his book Cybernetics. In 1963 Gabor published Inventing the Future which discussed the three major threats Gabor saw to modern society: war and the Age of Leisure; the book contained the now well-known expression that "the future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented." Reviewer Nigel Calder rephrased the concept as, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." Others such as Alan Kay, Peter Drucker, Forrest Shaklee who have used various forms of the quote have been incorrectly credited with coining it.
His next book, Innovations: scientific and social, published in 1970, expanded on some of the topics he had earlier touched upon, pointed to his interest in technological innovation as mechanism of both liberation and destruction. In 1971 he was the single recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics with the motivation "for his invention and development of the holographic method" and presented the history of the development of holography from 1948 in his Nobel lecture. While spending much of his retirement in Italy at Lavinio Rome, he remained connected with Imperial College as a senior research fellow and became staff scientist of CBS Laboratories, in Stamford, Connecticut. Goldmark in many new schemes of communication and display. One of Imperial College's new halls of residence in Prince's Gardens, Knightsbridge is named Gabor Hall in honour of Gabor's contribution to Imperial College, he developed an interest in social analysis and published The Mature Society: a view of the future in 1972.
He joined the Club of Rome and supervised a working group studying energy sources and technical change. The findings of this group was published in the report Beyond the Age of Waste in 1978, a report, an early warning of several issues that only received widespread attention. Following the rapid development of lasers and a wide variety of holographic applications, Gabor achieved acknowledged success and worldwide attention during his lifetime, he received numerous awards besides the Nobel Prize. Gabor died in a nursing home in South Kensington, London, on 9 February 1979. In 2006 a blue plaque was put up on No. 79 Queen's Gate in Kensington, where he lived from 1949 until the early 1960s. On 8 August 1936 he married Marjorie Louise Butler with, they did not have any children. Gabor won numerous awards including: The International Society for Optical Engineering presents its D
Charles H. Townes
Charles Hard Townes was an American physicist and inventor of the maser. Townes worked on the theory and application of the maser, for which he obtained the fundamental patent, other work in quantum electronics associated with both maser and laser devices, he shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics with Alexander Prokhorov. Townes was an adviser to the United States Government, meeting every US President from Harry Truman to Bill Clinton, he directed the US government Science and Technology Advisory Committee for the Apollo lunar landing program. After becoming a professor of the University of California at Berkeley in 1967, he began an astrophysical program that produced several important discoveries, for example, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Townes was religious and believed that science and religion are converging to provide a greater understanding of the nature and purpose of the universe. Of ethnic German as well as a great deal of ethnic Scottish, Welsh, Huguenot French and Scotch Irish ancestry, Townes was born in Greenville, South Carolina, the son of Henry Keith Townes, an attorney, Ellen Sumter Townes.
He earned his B. S. in Physics and B. A. in Modern Languages at Furman University, where he graduated in 1935. Townes completed work for the Master of Arts degree in physics at Duke University during 1937, began graduate school at the California Institute of Technology, from which he received a Ph. D. degree in 1939. During World War II, he worked on radar bombing systems at Bell Labs. In 1950, Townes was appointed Professor at Columbia University, he served as Executive Director of the Columbia Radiation Laboratory from 1950 to 1952. He was Chairman of the Physics Department from 1952 to 1955. In 1951, Townes conceived a new way to create intense, precise beams of coherent radiation, for which he invented the acronym maser; when the same principle was applied to higher frequencies, the term laser was used. During 1953, James P. Gordon, H. J. Zeiger built the first ammonia maser at Columbia University; this device used stimulated emission in a stream of energized ammonia molecules to produce amplification of microwaves at a frequency of about 24.0 gigahertz.
From 1959 to 1961, he was on leave of absence from Columbia University to serve as Vice President and Director of Research of the Institute for Defense Analyses in Washington, D. C. a nonprofit organization, which advised the U. S. government and was operated by eleven universities. Between 1961 and 1967, Townes served as both Provost and Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During 1967, he was appointed as a Professor of Physics at the University of California at Berkeley, where he remained for 50 years. Between 1966 and 1970, he was chairman of the NASA Science Advisory Committee for the Apollo lunar landing program. For his creation of the maser, Townes along with Nikolay Basov and Alexander Prokhorov received the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics. Townes developed the use of masers and lasers for astronomy, was part of a team that first discovered complex molecules in space, determined the mass of the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way galaxy. During 2002–2003, Townes served as a Karl Schwarzschild Lecturer in Germany and the Birla Lecturer and Schroedinger Lecturer in India.
This information is drawn from the authoritative oral history on Charles Townes done by the Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkeley and underwritten by the Sloan Foundation. Refer to other aspects of his life too; when Townes failed to be promoted to President of MIT during 1967, he accepted an offer from Clark Kerr to join the University of California at Berkeley and begin an astrophysical program. Townes soon began searching for molecules in space. At the time most astronomers thought that molecules could not exist in space because ultraviolet rays would destroy them. Townes discovered ammonia and water in dust clouds, which shielded them from damaging rays, by doing microwave spectroscopy on the sky; this created the topic of molecular/millimeter astronomy, which continues to find many complex molecules, some the precursors to life. The center of the Milky Way had long puzzled astronomers, thick dust obscures the view of it in visible light. During the mid to late 1970s, Townes together with Eric Wollman, John Lacy, Thomas Geballe and Fred Baas studied Sagittarius A, the H II region at the galactic center, at infrared wavelengths.
They observed ionized neon gas swirling around the center at such velocities that the mass at the center must be equal to that of 3 million suns. Such a large mass in such a small space implied that the central object contains a supermassive black hole. Sagittarius A* was one of the first black holes detected. Townes' last major technological creation was the Infrared Spatial Interferometer with Walt Fitelson, Ed Wishnow and others; the project combined three mobile infrared detectors aligned by lasers. If each telescope is 10 meters from the other, it creates an impression of a 30-meter lens. Observations of Betelgeuse, a red giant in the shoulder of the constellation Orion, found that it is increasing and decreasing in size at the rate of 1% per year, 15% over 15 years. ISI produces high angular and spatial resolution; the technology is playing an important role in the search for extrate
John R. Pierce
John Robinson Pierce, was an American engineer and author. He worked extensively in the fields of radio communication, microwave technology, computer music and science fiction; as a sideline to his professional career he wrote science fiction for many years under various names: John Pierce, John R. Pierce, J. J. Coupling. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, he earned his PhD from Caltech, died in Palo Alto, California from complications of Parkinson's Disease. Pierce wrote on electronics and information theory, developed jointly the concept of Pulse code modulation with his Bell Labs colleagues Barney Oliver and Claude Shannon, he supervised the Bell Labs team which built the first transistor, at the request of one of them, Walter Brattain, coined the term transistor. And at that time, it was supposed to be the dual of the vacuum tube; the vacuum tube had transconductance, so the transistor would have'transresistance.' And the name should fit in with the names such as varistor and thermistor. And... I suggested the name'transistor.' Pierce's early work at Bell Labs was on vacuum tubes of all sorts.
During World War II he discovered the work of Rudolf Kompfner in a British radar lab, where Kompfner had invented the traveling-wave tube. He recounted that "Rudy Kompfner invented the traveling-wave tube, but I discovered it." According to Kompfner's book, the statement "Rudi invented the traveling-wave tube, John discovered it" was due to Dr. Eugene G. Fubini, quoted in The New Yorker "Profile" on Pierce, September 21, 1963. Pierce is credited for saying "Nature abhors a vacuum tube", but Pierce attributed that quip to Myron Glass. Others say that quip was "commonly heard at the Bell Laboratories prior to the invention of the transistor." Other famous Pierce quips are "Funding artificial intelligence is real stupidity", "I thought of it the first time I saw it", "After growing wildly for years, the field of computing appears to be reaching its infancy." The National Inventors Hall of Fame has honored Bernard M. Oliver and Claude Shannon as the inventors of PCM, as described in'Communication System Employing Pulse Code Modulation,' U.
S. Patent 2,801,281 filed in 1946 and 1952, granted in 1956. Another patent by the same title was filed by John Pierce in 1945, issued in 1948: U. S. Patent 2,437,707; the three of them published "The Philosophy of PCM" in 1948. Pierce did significant research into satellites, including an important leadership role (as executive director of Bell's Research-Communications Principles Division in the development of the first commercial communications satellite, Telstar 1. In fact, although Arthur C. Clarke was the first to propose geostationary communications satellites, Pierce seems to have arrived at the idea independently and may have been the first to discuss unmanned communications satellites. Clarke himself characterized Pierce as "one of the two fathers of the communications satellite". See ECHO – America's First Communications Satellite for some details on his original contributions. After leaving Bell Laboratories, he joined Caltech as a professor of electrical engineering in 1971. Shortly thereafter, he took the position of Chief Engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
In 1980 he retired from Caltech and moved to his final position at Stanford's CCRMA. Here he was prominent in the research of computer music, as a Visiting Professor of Emeritus, it was at Stanford that he became an independent co-discoverer of the non-octave musical scale that he named the Bohlen–Pierce scale. Many of Pierce's technical books were written at a level intended to introduce a semi-technical audience to modern technical topics. Among them are Electrons and Messages. In 1960, Pierce was awarded the Stuart Ballantine Medal. In 1963, Pierce received the IEEE Edison Medal for "his pioneer work and leadership in satellite communications and for his stimulus and contributions to electron optics, travelling wave tube theory, the control of noise in electron streams." In 1975, he received the IEEE Medal of Honor for "his pioneering concrete proposals and the realization of satellite communication experiments, for contributions in theory and design of traveling wave tubes and in electron beam optics essential to this success."
In 1985, he was one of the first two recipients of the Japan Prize "for outstanding achievement in the field of electronics and communications technologies." Besides his technical books, Pierce wrote science fiction under the pseudonym J. J. Coupling, which refers to the total angular momenta of individual particles. John Pierce had an early interest in gliding and assisted in the development of the Long Beach Glider Club in Los Angeles, one of the earliest glider clubs in the United States. Pierce had been a resident of Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, California, of Palo Alto, California. At his death Pierce was survived by his wife. In his years, as a Visiting Professor at Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, he and his wife Brenda were known for holding dinner parties in their Palo Alto home, in which they would invite an eclectic mix of guests and lead lively discussi