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DR IRA DYER


1925 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
DR IRA DYER Obituary
DYER, Dr. Ira (91) of Marblehead, Massachusetts - professor, sailor, opera buff and beloved husband - died at his home on October 9, 2016. A physicist, Ira's career in acoustics spanned over six decades. His research had profound impact in the fields of aeroacoustics, structural acoustics, and underwater acoustics. Ira served as Department Head of Ocean Engineering at MIT for 10 years, president of the Acoustical Society of America and on numerous committees, and advisory boards for many government agencies and research companies. Parents Frieda and Charles Dyer were forced to flee Russia, and arrived in the United States with a young daughter and almost nothing else. Ira was born in Brooklyn, New York. He attended Brooklyn Tech and served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Following the war he attended MIT under the GI bill and received his Ph.D in 1954. In 1949 Ira married his sweetheart, Betty Schanberg of Clinton, Massachusetts, and was happily married for 68 years. They have two children, Samuel Dyer (Barbara) and Debora Dyer Mayer (John), and three grandchildren - Ethan Dyer and Charley and Owen Mayer. Sailing was among his great pleasures, and he would mentor one and all as they took the helm of his boat. He inspired many, including his grandsons Ethan and Owen, to pursue careers in science. After his graduate studies, Ira joined Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc. (BBN). Ira helped create an ultrasonic scanner that paved the way for the ultrasonic scanners currently used in cardiology and pregnancy evaluation. He led investigations of sound and vibration in complex structures including ships, submarines, aircraft, and spacecraft. During the mid-1950s, Ira helped design the US Navy X-1 Submarine including an innovative engine mounting system that significantly quieted the vehicle. These isolation concepts led the way for the US Navy to develop ultra-quiet submarines, providing significant advantages for U.S. submarine operations. For many years Ira played a leadership role in anti-submarine warfare systems for the Navy keeping our nation safe during the Cold War. In 1971 Ira accepted the positions of Head of the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering and the Director of the Sea Grant Program at MIT. He led the Department into new areas in ocean engineering. Later he was named the Weber-Shaughness Professor of Ocean Engineering. Under Ira's leadership, the Sea Grant Program, created to stimulate research and wise use of the oceans, became a model program. Ira also nurtured new subjects in ocean acoustics in conjunction with the MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program. Beginning in 1978 Ira led six Arctic field programs. The first imaged the entire Arctic basin discovering a seamount range. He and his students developed a taxonomy of ice noise events that has been fundamental for understanding Arctic noise. As a consultant he was instrumental in helping solve a pump vibration problem at the Deer Island Sewer Treatment facility. The solution he helped develop allowed the project to eliminate Boston Harbor pollution. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Betty and Ira, working with Action for Soviet Jewry helped place Soviet refugees in jobs and sponsored a newly arrived family. This philanthropy extended to include medical research, the arts, Jewish and community causes, MIT and Clark University in Worcester, MA. Ira was a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Visiting Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, UK. He was the recipient of many awards and honors including the Acoustical Society's Biennial Award for scientists under 35 and the Per Bruel Gold Medal the Society's highest honor. Ira's joy was in challenging conventional thinking and being challenged by colleagues and students. He took pleasure in family and friends. He will be deeply missed. In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations in the memory of Ira Dyer to: PRISMS, Inc. -- Parents and Researchers Interested in Smith-Magenis Syndrome -- a genetic disorder that Ira's grandson has. www.PRISMS.org; , the that was helpful to the Dyer family. www.caredimensions.org; Charles and Frieda Dyer Memorial Fund (3413500) A scholarship at MIT established in honor of Ira's parents. https://giving.mit.edu/ira-dyer

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Published in The Boston Globe on Oct. 23, 2016
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