Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Fall 2017 - 36
the Tokyo International Forum, Hollywood Bowl, and Radio
City Music Hall. Always proud of Rensselaer, he believed it was a
natural home for the comprehensive study of his field. Jaffe went
further, leveraging his involvement in distinguished projects to
Among them was Jason Summers '00. After earning a master's
in physics at Rensselaer, Summers pursued a Ph.D. under Jaffe.
He devoted his dissertation to Jaffe's acclaimed work on the $65
million Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas. Jaffe not only
shared his technical plans, he lined up funding so Summers and
other students could travel to Texas to study the hall.
"Once, in the middle of an Emanuel Ax concert, he went on
stage at intermission and told jokes, and then told the audience we
were going to make a loud whooping sound (from the acoustical
tools)," recalls Summers, today chief scientist at ARiA specializing
in acoustics of the air and ocean. "He had to get an entire
audience completely quiet so we could run out with microphones
and take measurements. No one could cough or laugh while we
did our work. That's the kind of person he was."
Under Jaffe, Rensselaer introduced an architectural acoustics
certificate in 1998. The following year, the graduate program
was established. Jaffe remained integral to the program until his
death in 2013. Xiang, who worked in binaural noise evaluation
and acoustic detection and completed his Ph.D. in architectural
acoustics in Germany, was named program director in 2005.
By then, the science that focused on building a better concert
hall had greatly expanded. There was a growing understanding of
how to measure, simulate, and manipulate interior sound-and
there was simply more of it.
"In architectural acoustics, we are dealing with two sides: the
"IN THE NEXT FIVE OR 10 YEARS I THINK WE'LL SEE PROCESSES
THAT ARE MIND-BLOWING."
36 RensselaeR/ Fall 2017
ALEXANDER CASE '03