IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society History


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Fred S. Hickernell, Motorola SSTG, 8201 E. McDowell, Scottsdale, Arizona, 85257

Abstract: Some 45 years ago, in 1953, the need for a distinct forum for ultrasonic engineering technology prompted a group of concerned engineers and scientists to petition the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) for the formation of the Professional Group on Ultrasonic Engineering (PGUE). Within the first year the newly formed group grew in membership to several hundred, sponsored technical sessions at the National Electronic Conference, Acoustical Society Symposium, and IRE National Convention, and had published the first issue of the Transactions. The Group chose as its focus, ultrasonic measurements, communications, and processing, with emphasis on applications, devices, techniques, and associated circuitry. In 1963 the membership voted to change the name to the Professional and Technical Group on Sonics and Ultrasonics. In 1985 we became the IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control (UFFC) Society to reflect the expanded interests of the membership. The UFFC Society sponsors the annual International Ultrasonics Symposium, the biennial International Symposium on Applications of Ferroelectrics and the annual International Frequency Control Symposium. In the past 45 years our Society has grown and flourished as a top technical IEEE society through its symposia, publications, member sponsorship and awards, and its cooperative activities with other technical societies. We presently have 2200 members in 68 countries. The society has remained strong through the foresight and wisdom of its outstanding volunteer leadership and the strong support of its members.

Early History of the UFFC Society - The PGUE

The need for a professional organization to service a growing population of workers in the field of ultrasonics was promoted by a group of engineers and scientists whose dedication can be compared to that of a 19th century missionary movement. Amor L. Lane, the first Chairman of the Professional Group on Ultrasonics (PGUE), is credited with getting the group started within the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE). As early as October, 1952, Amor was in discussions with leaders of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) regarding the formation of this proposed new IRE group. There were strong reservations expressed by two leaders of the ASA that having a new group would splinter those in the field of ultrasonics. Amor tried to argue persuasively that most of the new members would not be members of the ASA. This was later borne out when after the first year 80% of the PGUE members were not members of any other professional society. This certainly attested to the need for representation of ultrasonics in the professional community. By becoming an IRE group, there was a potential audience of 30,000 IRE members to promote ultrasonic capabilities through IRE publications. The two concerned ASA leaders later became members of the PGUE.

It was in March, 1953, during the IRE convention that those interested in ultrasonics affirmed the need to go ahead with group formation. A petition was sent to the IRE and on May 6, 1953, the first administrative committee (AdCom) meeting of the newly formed PGUE was held in Washington D. C. It was the 20th such technical group to be formed under the auspices of the IRE. Amor Lane of the Naval Ordinance Laboratory was selected as the first chairman and the following served on the first administrative committee (AdCom); Walter G. Cady - California Institute of Technology, Morton D. Fagen - Bell Telephone Laboratories, William J. Fry - University of Illinois, Joseph Hunter - John Carroll University, Frank Massa - Massa Laboratories, Oskar Mattiat - Clevite-Brush Development Co., W. J. Mayo-Wells - John Hopkins University, and Paul L. Smith - Naval Research Laboratory. Also listed as AdCom members were Morris Kenny, Secretary and Julius Bernstein, Treasurer. Each AdCom member served as the chairman of a committee tasked with promoting various aspects of the PGUE.

Walter G. Cady, who celebrated his 80th birthday on December 10, 1954, was the senior member of the AdCom. Professor Cady’s contributions had included the first crystal controlled oscillator, the first narrowband crystal filter, and was one of the originators of the interaction theory of ferroelectricity in addition to being the principle historian of the science of piezoelectric crystals. He lived to be over 100 years old. Amor Lane, the junior member of the group at 27 years of age, has noted that Cady had a remarkable mind and insight and would often say, "If you can do this, then this will happen," and it did. In recognition of his accomplishments, the Frequency Control Society of the UFFC-S has a W. G. Cady Award, presented annually since 1982.

Other notable scientists and engineers who were members of the Administrative Committee of the PGUE in its formative years were Julia Herrick - Mayo Clinic, Karl S. Van Dyke, Walter Andersen - Andersen Laboratories, Inc., David Arenberg - Arenberg Laboratories, Warren P. Mason, John E. May, Jr., Allen Meitzler, and Thrygve Meeker - Bell Laboratories, Vincent Salmon - Stanford Research Institute, Don Berlincourt - Clevite, Cyril Harris - Columbia University,.

To bring attention to the new group and the field of ultrasonics, the first AdCom persuaded various national conferences to include sessions on ultrasonics for which the members of the PGUE would organize and solicit papers. The first of these followed within five months after the May 6, 1954, organizing meeting with 5 papers presented at the National Electronics Conference in Chicago, September 28-30. The papers dealt with ultrasonics and medicine, ultrasonics and industry, and ultrasonic delay lines. Oskar Mattiat of Clevite-Brush organized the session and William Fry was the Chairman. It was reported that the 250 available seats were filled and there was standing room only. This was followed shortly thereafter by two sessions on industrial ultrasonics and a round table discussion at the annual meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in October in Cleveland. The round table discussion, chaired by Frank Massa, was followed by a lively audience-panel discussion.

At the 1954 IRE National Convention in New York, there were 10 papers given in two sessions on March 25, with a reported attendance of 250 at each session. The first session was chaired by Morton Fagen and the second by Julia Herrick. The second session featured papers on ultrasound in medicine with a paper on the application of ultrasound to the brain by Peter Lindstrom, husband of the famous Swedish movie star, Ingrid Bergmann. There were many ladies in attendance, which was an interesting observation, since there were not many female engineers in the mid-1950s. Amor Lane had invited Dr. Lindstrom but had not received a bio-sketch for a proper introduction. So just prior to the talk Amor asked him how he wanted to be introduced and he replied, "Just tell them I’m pretty good with skis." The coast to coast conference coverage was completed when in August, 1954, there was a session on ultrasonics at the IRE Western Electronics Show and Convention (WESCON) in Los Angeles organized by Francis X. Byrnes of the United States Naval Electronic Laboratory.

The first AdCom felt that it was very important to have a journal where members could publish their papers. Twelve of the 19 groups which had preceded the PGUE had published Transactions issues within three years of formation. The first issue of the Transactions of the Professional Group on Ultrasonics Engineering was published in June, 1954, one year after formation. The first Editor-in-Chief of the Transactions was Oskar Mattiat of Clevite-Brush, ably assisted by a Paper Review Board of three from the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of Illinois. The review board was led by Dr. William J. Fry, with Frank J. Fry, a brother, and Floyd Dunn, a graduate student under Fry, assisting. All three of the Paper Review Board members had either physics (W. F.) or electrical engineering (F. D. & F. F.) backgrounds and had a good working knowledge of acoustics. Those early times were difficult because it was hard to get people to help. Bill Fry was very enthusiastic about the journal and was the principle spirit that whipped the early Transactions into shape. Bill was an extraordinary engineer and took responsibility for getting manuscripts out in reasonable time with reasonable criticism. The review board ceased in 1962, and Associate Editors were appointed in 1963. It is interesting to note that the UFFC-S has had only three Editor’s in Chief, with the present one, William J. O’Brien Jr. of the University of Illinois, a former student of Floyd Dunn.

One of the questions the AdCom wrestled with regarded the scope of its interest. The corrections to the minutes of the PGUE administrative committee meeting of June 25, 1955, states in part, "Considerable discussion was devoted to the question of whether the scope of interest includes the field of piezoelectric devices and their applications, for example, frequency control devices. ......... It was the consensus of opinion that to meet the needs of the people in this field of ultrasonics engineering, the PGUE should seek and continue to accept papers dealing with piezoelectric devices and their applications for publication in the Group Transactions". History shows this to be a wise decision.

Morton Fagen of Bell Laboratories, the PGUE chairman in 1956, caught the spirit of the times in a message to the membership. In recounting the first three years Fagen said, "..... from our small beginnings our membership has grown considerably and our treasury, .... now has a good working sum. These things are important ..... but there has been a larger progress -- that of a unity of professional purpose and a dignity of standing and organization. As a professional group we publish a professional journal and organize technical sessions around the theme of ultrasonics at meetings of national importance. We "belong" in a way that the science of ultrasonics and its engineering applications did not belong three years ago. We have not done this by ourselves; the IRE provided the framework ..... but the structure was built by you, its members, by everyone who has ever given a paper at an ultrasonics session, or written for the Transactions, by members of our Standing Committees, and by all the past and present members of the Administrative Committee."

Dr. John May Jr. of Bell Telephone Laboratories was elected Chairman of the Administrative Committee of the PGUE in March, 1958. He realized that there had to be more than just one or two technical sessions at major conferences in order to support and maintain the interest of the membership. There was fierce competition among groups for sessions at major national conferences. It was clear that a national meeting was needed, but it was a big step to organize, and no one stepped forward to take the responsibility. Finally, John convinced Dr. Vincent Salmon of Stanford Research Institute to organize the First National Ultrasonics Symposium to be held Monday August 17, 1959, on the day prior to WESCON. By the paper deadline time of April 1st only one paper had been received. By extending the deadline one month and with some scrambling by the committee, there were 15 papers presented and an attendance of 50. It was the start toward what was to become the annual IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium.

The second Ultrasonics Symposium was held November 28-30, 1962, at the School of Applied Science and Engineering, Columbia University, in New York City. The Chairman was John May Jr., with Allen Meitzler as Vice-Chairman, and Robert Thurston as the Technical Program Chairman. Despite an early winter blizzard, there were 292 attendees with 17 invited and 21 contributed papers. From 1962 on, the Ultrasonics Symposium continued as an annual event. The 1963 Symposium, the first attended by the author of this paper, and the last to be held under the PGUE, was in Washington D. C., December 4-6, with Allen Meitzler as Chairman, Robert Thurston as Vice-Chairman, and Thrygve Meeker as the Technical Program Chairman. There were 215 in attendance at six technical sessions with 12 invited papers and 24 contributed papers.

The G-SU, 1964 - 1984

It was through the dedicated and persistent efforts of the Administrative Committee members during those first ten years that the PGUE survived and flourished. Near the close of 1963, the membership was asked to vote on a proposal to change the name from the Professional Group on Ultrasonic Engineering to the Professional Group on Sonics and Ultrasonics with a broadened definition of the scope of interest for the group. The vote was 378 in favor and 12 opposed. The name "Sonics" was incorporated to encompass a wide range of frequencies of elastic wave phenomena from the upper frequency regions perceived by the human ear to those regions which were sometimes designated as supersonic and pretersonic. There would still be the focus on the "Ultrasonic" aspects of sound as applied to measurement, control, processing, and device development. The name "Ultrasonics" assured continued focus on all aspects of ultrasound including phonon technology.

In 1964, a new constitution was drafted and submitted to the membership for ratification. Its overall effects were to give the Administrative Committee more discretion in Group operations and to enable ex-officio members to vote. Regarding the second point, recent years’ experience was that the ex-officio members, appointed by the Chairman, were more active in the Group and were more faithful in meeting attendance. Absenteeism on the part of the elected members had been a serious problem in the past. The new constitution assured that there would be a vigorous circle of voters at every meeting. The constitution still guaranteed that the elected members outnumbered the appointed members in voting privileges. Today the number is equal.

In August, 1966, the G-SU roster showed 1181 members of which 974 were from the United States and 207 outside the states. For countries outside the U. S., Japan led the way with 65, followed by 36 from Canada, 24 from the United Kingdom, 18 from France, 12 from Italy, and 11 from Sweden. In the U. S. the cities leading in membership were New York (66), Boston (59), Washington D. C. (57), San Francisco (42), Philadelphia (40), and Chicago (39). Three years later in August, 1969, international members had increased to 277 members with 988 from the United States for a total of 1265. Japan still led the way with 77 members, Canada remained even with 36, France had 24, the United Kingdom dropped to 17, with Italy (16) and Sweden (13) making modest gains. The U. S. cities remained strong.

Some of the publication initiatives of the G-SU era were the following. In 1967, the Transactions went to a quarterly publication schedule to attract more papers and reduce the publication time. Oskar Mattiat retired as the Editor-in-Chief of the Transactions in 1971, after 18 years of service, and Stephen Wanuga took over as Editor-in-Chief with John De Klerk as the Assistant Editor. In 1985, Steve Wanuga announced publication of the Transactions on a bimonthly schedule. In 1970, the tutorial and invited papers for the Ultrasonics Symposium were published with Lawrence Kessler as the Proceedings Editor. The obvious rationale was that the papers constituted a valuable source of reference material that might otherwise be lost. John De Klerk realized that a lot of valuable contributed papers were not finding their way into the Transactions or other journals. He was asked by the AdCom to be the Editor for the publication of the 1972 Ultrasonic Symposium Proceedings. The response from the authors was good, and it was indicated that producing a good manuscript improved their talks and permitted publication of their work within a shorter time period than through journal submission. The Proceedings have never been looked upon as an alternative to a refereed archived journal. Authors have always been encouraged to submit their papers to the Transactions.

The years 1970-71 were difficult for the G-SU in that the financial problems related to IEEE support of publications and societies, especially those with a small number of members, reduced the reserves to near zero. This called into question whether the G-SU should continue as an IEEE Group. The alternatives which were considered at that time were, the possibility to merge with another IEEE Group, stopping publication of the Transactions, raising funds through advertising, solicitation of industry for support, cutting expenses, or even completely disbanding the Ultrasonics Group. The AdCom rose to the occasion and instituted reforms which set the group back on track for growth and financial security. It is reported that John De Klerk, Norm Foster, Larry Kessler, Bruce McAvoy, Bill O’Brien Jr., and Steve Wanuga were among those who led the way to restore the financial and professional stature of the group. One of the most positive outcomes was the reorganization and revitalization of the working committees and the formulation of five year goals.

The 9 working committees in the G-SU in 1972 were, Awards, Chapters, Finance, Meetings, Membership, Publications, Sonics and Ultrasonics, University Relations, and the Technical Committee on Transducers and Resonators (TC-TR). The TC-TR, formed in 1966, had three subcommittees in the areas of piezoelectric crystals, piezoelectric ceramics, and piezomagnetics. This very active committee of leaders in their respective fields concerned itself with the revision and expansion of existing standards, special sessions at ultrasonic symposia, and review articles in journals. By 1971, subcommittees on delay lines, medical ultrasonics, and ferroelectric crystals had been added. The history of the activities of the TC-TR and its impact during the 1960s and 1970s would represent a large article in itself. Much of the information about the work of the Technical Committee on Transducers and Resonators is contained in society newsletters over the nineteen sixties and seventies time period.

Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society

The transition to the Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society (UFFC-S) took place under the leadership of Dr. Herman van de Vaart who was the G-SU president in 1984. Ferroelectrics had been an integral part of the society since the late 1960’s under the TC-TR. The TC-TR committee had co-sponsored a Symposium on Application of Ferroelectrics held at Catholic University on October of 1968. In 1971, the Subcommittee on Ferroelectrics had become an integral part of the TC-TR and a second Symposium on the Applications of Ferroelectrics was organized and held in June, 1971, in Yorktown Heights, jointly sponsored with IBM and the Army Research office in Durham, NC. There have been 10 International Symposia on the Applications of Ferroelectrics (ISAF) listed, which does not include the one in 1968. With the establishment of the UFFC-S, and the revised by-laws accepted in October, 1985, a Ferroelectrics Standing Committee was added and the Chair became a voting member of AdCom.

Similarly, a Frequency Control Standing Committee was added and its Chair also became a voting member of AdCom. The Frequency Control part of the UFFC-S brought with it a long history of technical contributions which were highlighted by the annual Frequency Control Symposium (FCS) started in 1947. The first symposium, sponsored by the U. S. Army at Fort Monmouth, NJ, was held in a conference room in the Squier Laboratory. The purpose of the meeting, which was attended by personnel from the three armed services, contractors, and members of a sub-panel on frequency control, was to review progress with the contractors and assist the military in future program planning. During subsequent meetings it was expanded to include others and subsequently moved outside the Ft. Monmouth facility. In 1982, the G-SU assumed financial responsibility and technical co-sponsorship with the U. S. Army. The 50th International FCS was held in Hawaii in 1996. It was an IEEE symposium with participation of the personnel of the Army Research Laboratory in Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey.

With the addition of ferroelectrics and frequency control components to ultrasonics and their respective symposia, the participation in UFFC-S activities increased. In 1996, the three symposia drew a total attendance of approximately 1500. With recent changes in the constitution and by-laws the UFFC-S has restructured to better serve its members and the technical community.

As the change from G-SU to UFFC-S took place, the second financial crisis in society history occurred when again debts exceeded the financial reserves. The task of restoring financial integrity was undertaken by Herman van de Vaart who became Chair of the Finance Committee. With AdCom approving the recommended actions regarding publication charges and membership dues, and the symposia posting surpluses, the reserves rose to the $500,000 region in 1992 and have remained there since. A substantial portion of the reserves are now invested in income producing accounts. This healthy financial situation has allowed the society to expand service to the membership. One such program, the Ambassador Program, was initiated by Don Malocha the membership chair in 1990, which offered paid memberships to IEEE and UFFC-S to those in economically depressed areas in IEEE regions 8-10. The society has been strengthened by these members with their participation in UFFC-S sponsored activities.

Honors and Awards

The UFFC-Society has been honored, as its members have received many awards and honors. Society members have been honored by Presidents, knighted by Royalty, medaled by an Emperor, received international awards, and have been elected to prestigious Academies of Engineering and Science. UFFC Society Members have won the following major IEEE Society Awards; Morris Liebmann Award (2), Edison Medal (2), Cledo Brunetti Award, Morris E. Leeds Award, Medal of Honor, Centennial Medal (37), and the W. R. G. Baker Prize. The Society has 119 IEEE Fellows, 5.5% of its membership. This is a much greater percentage than that for the tIEEE membership as a whole, which is approximately 1.5%.

The UFFC Society has honored its membership with 19 Achievement Awards, 18 Distinguished Lecturer Awards, 1 Distinguished Service Award, and its publication community with 28 Best Transactions Paper Awards. Frequency Control has honored its community with the W. G. Cady Award (15), I. I. Rabi Award (17), and C. B. Sawyer Award (36). Ferroelectrics has honored its community with the Ferroelectric Recognition Award (6).

The present Awards chair is Roger Tancrell, who is ably assisted by M. A. Breazeale in the Distinguished Lecturer area, and G. V. Blessing for IEEE Major Awards. R. M. White is the present Fellows Chair. A listing of awardees gathered by Roger Tancrell is posted on the UFFC website.


The society has three major areas of publication, Transactions, symposia proceedings, and Newsletter. The first newsletter was published in 1953, the first Transactions in 1954, and the first mostly complete collection of ultrasonics symposia papers in 1972. The proceedings of the symposia on frequency control predate the ultrasonics proceedings.

The premier publication of the society is the IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control. Over 19,000 pages have been printed since 1954, containing some 3,200 papers through 1997. The first issue contained 5 technical papers, 1 abstract, an article on history, plans, and policies of the PGUE, and an article on membership. All had U. S. authorship. The Transactions was published aperiodically initially, but became quarterly in 1967 and bimonthly in 1985. The trend in page numbers is seen in Fig. 1 where the number of pages by year is given. The page numbers have increased over the years to where approximately 1400 pages will be published in 1997.

The trend toward international authorship since 1954 can be seen in samples taken at 10 year intervals: 1966: 16 U. S. North America, 1 - Europe, 2 - Asia-Pacific; 1976: 41 North America, 7 - Europe, 3 - Asia-Pacific; 1986: 54 North America, 18 - Europe, 13 - Asia-Pacific; 1996: 64 - North America, 50 - Europe, 23 - Asia-Pacific. Authorship outside North America now exceeds that from within.

The Transactions rely heavily on the work of a large number of volunteer Associate Editors and Reviewers. In 1986, 17 Associate Editors and 345 Reviewers were acknowledged by name. The total number of volunteer hours devoted to the Transactions now exceed 4,500. The average volunteer hours for a single manuscript is 21.5. The UFFC Transactions ranks 6th among 20 Acoustics Journals and 18th among 144 Journals in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering category based upon reference indices. The Transactions have had only three editors, Oskar Mattiat, Steven Wanuga, and William D. O’Brien Jr., who is the current Editor-in Chief.

The Proceedings of the three major symposia, Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control are regular publications received by attendees after the symposia. Since 1972 the IEEE Ultrasonics Symposium Proceedings have had four editors, John De Klerk, Bruce McAvoy, Moises Levy, and presently, Susan Schneider.

The Newsletter, which was originally published aperiodically with the chairman as the editor, became a more regular publication with John May, Jr. taking over the duties as editor in 1964. In 1970, Emmanuel Papadakis took over the reins as editor and remained in that position until 1977 when Fred Hickernell was appointed editor. The newsletters have traditionally reported the minutes of AdCom meetings, reports of the most recent UFFC-S symposia, committee reports, new society Fellows, a report from the president, chapter’s reports, financial report, upcoming symposia information, awards, distinguished lecturer, new AdCom members, and other items of interest. The purpose of the Newsletter is to inform and build a spirit of community. To this end, photographs have been used extensively over the past several years to give life to the written page. Members are always welcome to submit information and photos of interest to our society membership, to the newsletter editor.


As indicated there was a rapid growth of membership in the early years of the society. Fig. 2 gives the average membership by year which has remained fairly constant at over 2000 members for the past 20 years. In the beginning, the members outside the United States represented a small fraction of the total membership. By 1966, when there were 1181 members in the society, 21 percent were from outside the United States with Japan having the largest membership (65). In 1997, with a total membership of 2200, 40 percent of the membership are outside the United States. Europe has 390 members, the Asia-Pacific area 382, and the remainder of North and South America 102. Japan still leads the way with 200 members, followed by Korea, 82, and Germany and France with 62 each. In the United States, California far outdistances the other states with 225 members, followed by Massachusetts at 100. There is at least one member in each of the 50 states with Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida, Illinois, Texas, and New York having between 50 and 55 members. From Australia to Zimbabwe there are UFFC-S members in 68 countries of the world. The society is presently the third smallest among the 37 in the IEEE, but technically very active.

At the end of 1953, the PGUE had a deficit of $24.44 and the AdCom decided to have an annual assessment of two dollars for each member. It was some ten years later in 1964, that the annual membership fee was raised to three dollars. In 1978, it was raised from five dollars to seven dollars. In 1986, it was raised to 10 dollars and in 1988 to 15 dollars. To arrive at the return on investment for a member today, the various working segments of the society were polled to determine the total number of volunteer hours which accrue during the period of one year. The conservative estimate was 17,000 hours. Translating those hours into dollars per member, assuming the U. S. minimum wage of $5.15, and adding in the individual cost benefits for publications, newsletter, paper review, savings on symposia registration, and administrative costs, approximately $450 in benefits accrue to each member. That’s quite a bargain.

UFFC-S Chapters fall under the Standing Committee on Membership whose present chair is Eric Furgason of Purdue. The first UFFC-S Chapter was organized in 1970, by Mel Holland as the Boston Chapter. It continues today as one of the strongest chapters in the United States. During the period 1974 to 1981, there were chapters formed in Pittsburgh (1974), Portland (1975), the Baltimore-Washington-Northern Virginia area (1977), Santa Clara Valley (1980), Long Island (1981), and Los Angeles (1981). The Baltimore-Washington-Northern Virginia Chapter was formed by Robert Moore - Westinghouse. Chen Tsai formed both the Pittsburgh and Los Angeles Chapters. All of these foregoing chapters are not active at present. The first International Chapter in Tokyo was formed by Dr. Nobuo Mikoshiba in 1983. It continues as a very active chapter in the organization of symposia sessions, seminars, and publications in Japan. The Orlando Chapter was organized by Don Malocha in 1986, with an active program of speakers and dinner meetings. The other presently active chapter in the U. S. is the Phoenix Chapter formed in 1993, by Fred Hickernell. Very active Russian and German Chapters were formed in 1995 and 1996, respectively. They have been active in the sponsorship and co-sponsorship of conferences in their respective countries

Ultrasonic Symposia

The annual Ultrasonic Symposia have been a touchstone for interest and progress in the field of ultrasonics. Attendance has continued to grow over the years reaching a total of over 800 at the 1997 symposium in Toronto. Fig. 3 shows the steady increase in the number of attendees throughout the history of the conference. The major growth area in attendees and paper presentations over the past twenty years has come from outside the United States. In 1977, the percentage of attendees from outside the United States was 20 percent out of a total of 452. Of the total of 210 papers published in the Proceedings they represented 29 percent. The countries outside the U. S. with the most attendees and paper presentations were Japan, France, England, and Canada. At the 1997 Toronto symposium, over half of the attendees and 60 percent of the 300 papers were from outside the U. S. and Canada. There were 32% from Europe and 25% from the Asia-Pacific area. Medical ultrasonics now leads the way with the majority of papers presented. The areas of surface acoustic waves, physical acoustics, non-destructive evaluation, and industrial applications are still strongly represented. Acoustic wave sensors are a growing area. The technical history of these ultrasonic disciplines have been well documented in the proceedings of ultrasonic symposia. The total number of published pages through 1996 exceeds 28,000. Figure 4 gives the number of pages per year.

The largest attendance numbers in very recent years for ultrasonic symposia have been at sites outside the continental United States - Honolulu, Hawaii (1990), Cannes, France (1994), and Toronto, Canada (1997). The venue for future society symposia reflects the recognition of the international nature of our membership. The Ultrasonic Symposium will be held in Sendai, Japan, in 1998, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 2000, and Munich, Germany, in 2002. The International Symposium on the Applications of Ferroelectrics is to be held in Montreux, Switzerland, in 1998 and the Frequency Control Symposium is scheduled for Besancon, France, in 1999. The Russian Chapter is planning a five-day international symposium in 1998 which will be on the waterways outside St. Petersburg, Russia. The symposium, which covers the areas of surface waves, acoustoelectronics, frequency control, and acoustooptics, is in memory of a UFFC-S IEEE Senior Member, Professor Igor Yakovkin, who died in June of 1996.


The IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society has had a very exciting and rich technical and human heritage. The founders were zealous in their efforts to establish a place for ultrasonic technology among the engineering disciplines. Its technology has had a positive impact on the welfare of the world. Its international membership has been highly honored. The society organizes premier technical symposia and publishes valuable proceedings. The Transactions rank high as a reference source among engineering and scientific journals.

The UFFC society now brings together people from all over the world with valuable society and related technical information, through a website at The site has ultrasonics, ferroelectrics, frequency control, and sensor pages. Various aspects of the history of the UFFC-S and its related technologies appear in symposia proceedings and the Transactions. Articles which appear in the November, 1984 issue of the Transactions, commemorating the IEEE Centennial, capture much of the early society history.


The author was blessed with wonderful discussions and correspondence with the following early members of the society: Amor Lane, John May Jr., Floyd Dunn, Thrygve Meeker, Allen Meitzler, and Emmanuel Papadakis. Bruce McAvoy, Larry Kessler, Bill O’Brien Jr., Herman van de Vaart, Roger Tancrell, Eric Furgason, Gary Montress, Gerry Blessing, Katherine Ferrara, and Stuart Foster provided additional data and information. Darla Wagner of IEEE supplied issues of the newsletter between 1954 and 1964, and Jayne Cerone of IEEE supplied information on the societies of the IEEE. My first paper on acoustoelectronics was presented at the 1963 Ultrasonic Symposium, and I have attended every symposium since. I have benefited greatly from that technical interchange over the years. As newsletter editor I have been privileged to work with outstanding AdCom members and society volunteers. I thank you all.

Additional Research

Personal Recollections of the Early Days of the UFFC-S by A. H. Meitzler

Link to IEEE Ultrasonic, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society