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Vern Oliver Knudsen, 1959-1960

Vern Oliver Knudsen portrait

In 1964, the splendid new Physics building known as Knudsen Hall was completed in Westwood. It is named for Dr. Vern Oliver Knudsen, renowned UCLA acoustical physicist.

Dr. Knudsen first became Dean of Graduate Studies at UCLA in 1934, serving until 1958. In 1956 he was made a Vice Chancellor, and in 1959 was named Chancellor, even though only a year away from retirement.

Vern Knudsen earned a B.S. degree at Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. He served for two years as a research engineer at what is now the Bell Telephone Laboratories. He came to the Southern Branch in 1922, becoming a Professor of Physics in 1934 and department chairman from 1932 to 1938. He played a key role in the establishment of graduate studies at UCLA, authorized by The Regents in 1933.

A specialist in acoustics, Dr. Knudsen in the early days of radio and talking pictures designed the acoustics of most of the original Hollywood sound stages. Taking a leave of absence in World War II, he did research on submarine warfare for the U.S. Navy, helping set up what is now the Navy Electronics Laboratory in San Diego. In later years he participated in the acoustical designing of the Los Angeles Music Center, and was acoustical consultant for Arizona State's Gammage Auditorium and many other famous multipurpose auditoriums.