Obituary In Memory of Leif Bjørnø

Leif Bjørnø

Leif Bjørnø, 78, a leading researcher in ultrasonics and underwater acoustics, passed away on 25 October 2015 due to a cerebral aneurysm.  He had a stroke a few days earlier and was in the hospital when he died.  This was very sudden and there were no indications that he had any problems that would result in the stroke which would lead to his death. Leif was born on March 30, 1937 in Svendborg, Denmark and is survived by his wife Irina K. Bjørnø.
     Leif’s career, which spanned over five decades, includes diverse research ranging from linear and non-linear acoustics including the measurement and modeling of the response of Lithotripters, acousto-optic measurement of transducer pressure profiles, anomalous sea-surface reverberation, sea surface noise generated by rainfall, and waterside security. After receiving his Ph.D. at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Lyngby, DK, in 1967, Leif became an assistant professor. He was a visiting professor at the Imperial College, London, UK, from 1969 to 1970, received a diploma from the Imperial College in 1971, and was the Stephens Lecturer in 1985 at the Institute of Acoustics, UK. As a professor at DTU he was the head of the Industrial Acoustics Department from 1978 until he retired in 2000. The students that Leif mentored have gone on to found companies, such as Reson A/S, and are in academic positions at universities, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Leif has been a visiting professor in university departments in Chile, China, Greece, South Africa, UK, and USA.
     Until his death Leif was active as an organizer, chairman, and member of the scientific committee for numerous conferences and served on several NATO committees. He was the chairman or member of the scientific committee for the 2010, 2012, and 2013 Waterside Security Conferences. Leif was the joint conference chairman with Professor John S. Papadakis for the 2005 through 2012 international conferences on underwater acoustic measurements held in Crete, Greece. He was also the organizer and joint conference chairman with Professor Papadakis of the 2012, 2013, and 2015 international conference and exhibition on underwater acoustics. Leif served as a member of the Scientific Council of National Representatives (SCNR) for the SCALANT Undersea Research Center, La Spezia, IT, and was a national delegate to the European community program on Marine Science and Technology (MAST).
     Leif was recognized within Denmark and globally for his accomplishments. In 1991 he was named a Knight of the Order of Dannebrog by Her Majesty, Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark. He received the French Acoustical Society Gold Medal in 1995. Also, in 1995 he was the first recipient of the International Congress on Ultrasonics Gold Whistle award. In 1997 in London he was awarded the Lord Rayleigh medal by the UK Institute of Acoustics. He was awarded the Danish Hartmann Prize, in Copenhagen in 1999 for his outstanding contributions to the Danish community and his profession. In addition he was awarded the Medal of Merit and Johannes Hevelius Medal by the Gdansk University of Technology, as well as, the Ignacy Malecki Medal by the Polish Acoustical Society. Leif was professor honoris causa at the University of Harbin, China, and he was a Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa at the University of Crete, Greece.
     In addition to his academic career Leif also served on the board of directors of several companies and occasionally served as the chairman of the board. He was the founder and chairman of the board of Ultra Tech holding company. For several decades he also served on the board of directors for Reson A/S.
     Leif was a member of several national acoustics and engineering organizations. He was a member of SIGMA XI. He was a member of the Polish, Danish, and Spanish acoustical societies. He was a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, UK Institute of acoustics, South African Acoustical Institute, as well as a Life Fellow of the US IEEE.

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