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date: 20 August 2019

Sabine, Wallace C(lement Ware)locked

  • James F. Bell
  • , revised by Murray Campbell


(b Richwood, OH, June 13, 1868; d Cambridge, MA, Jan 10, 1919). American acoustician. He studied at Ohio State University and Harvard, where he taught physics from 1890; between 1895 and 1919 he laid the foundations of architectural acoustics on the basic principles of engineering design. C.W. Eliot, president of Harvard, prevailed on Sabine to try to correct the serious problem of reverberation in the lecture hall of the Fogg Art Museum, his first acoustical project. At Eliot’s urging he also served as consultant for the Boston Music Hall: his outstanding success there illustrated the effects that could be achieved when acoustical engineering design preceded construction. Sabine’s discovery of the relation among reverberation time, absorbent capacity and the volume of an auditorium was a fundamental and new contribution; he earned a lasting reputation for the scope and perception of his work. It is indeed appropriate that the unit of sound-absorbing power is named the ‘sabine’. His ...

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