William Warner Lang, 1926 – 2016

William Warner Lang, 1926 – 2016

INCE-USA was saddened to learn of the passing of one of its founders and leading lights, Bill Lang, on October 23, 2016.

Bill joined the Navy and served from 1944 to 1947. He continued to serve in the Naval Reserve and was promoted to Captain in 1968.

He studied physics and received BS and PhD degrees from Iowa State University and a MS from MIT. In the summer of 1954, while visiting acoustician Uno Ingard in Sweden, Bill met the love of his life, Asta Ingard. They were married two months later and spent nearly fifty happy years together.

After finishing his PhD in acoustics in 1958, Bill was recruited by IBM to build an acoustics laboratory in Poughkeepsie and develop a noise control program for the company.

In the early 1970's, Bill worked with Senate staff in Washington D.C. on details of what would become the Noise Control Act of 1972. This initiative led to the formation of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering (INCE) in 1971, of which he was a founding member. He was also a founder of the International Institute of Noise Control Engineering (I-INCE) in 1974 and the INCE Foundation in 1993.

Bill was recognized for his contributions to noise control throughout his career with fellowships in the Audio Engineering Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Acoustical Society of America, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He was a Fellow, Distinguished Noise Control Engineer, and a past President of INCE-USA, as well as an honorary member of the Institute of Acoustics (UK) and the National Council of Acoustical Consultants.

He encouraged others to become engaged and was a mentor to many noise control engineers. Bill dedicated his career to influencing U.S. and global noise policies through annual I-INCE-sponsored international congresses, now in their 44th year. His work continues today through the National Academy of Engineering’s “Technology for a Quieter America” initiative.

The achievement of which he was proudest was his election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1978. He was honored to represent IBM not just in the field of acoustics but all of engineering. He realized that IBM could benefit from a similar institution to recognize its best engineers and nurture collaboration. He pushed his idea to create the IBM Academy of Technology, which today boasts more than 800 members from 40 countries.

Bill was an active member of his community. In his 'free' time, he counseled students as a member of the MIT Educational Council, started a Toastmasters Club which he attended every week, was an Adjunct Professor of Physics at Vassar College, served as a member and President of the Poughkeepsie/Arlington Rotary Club, and was a devoted member of Christ Episcopal Church where he sang in the choir.

Bill loved life and challenged himself mentally and physically every day. He skied until he was 87, went to the gym and walked every morning. Always cheerful and positive, he loved his family, friends, and animals both big and small.

Bill was the only son of William Warner and Lila Gertrude (Wheeler) Lang. He is survived by his son Robert, daughter in-law Bogumila, and grandsons Lucjan Olaf and Colin.

A memorial service was held Saturday, November 19, 2016, at Christ Episcopal Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Christ Episcopal Church, 20 Carroll Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601.

(Adapted from the obituary published in the Poughkeepsie Journal on Oct. 30, 2016.)

 

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