Oral Histories

Interview of Vern O. Knudsen (1974)

UCLA chancellor, professor of physics, and dean of the UCLA Graduate Division.
Teacher, Researcher, and Administrator
Interviews not in a series, part one
UCLA and University of California History
Science, Medicine, and Technology
UCLA Faculty
UCLA Administration
Biographical Note:
UCLA chancellor, professor of physics, and dean of the UCLA Graduate Division.
Mink, James V.
Knudsen, Vern O.
Persons Present:
Knudsen and Mink; Tapes IX and X: Knudsen, Mink, and Leo P. Delsasso.
Place Conducted:
Knudsen's office in Knudsen Hall, UCLA.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by James V. Mink, University Archivist and Director, Oral History Program, UCLA; B.A., M.A., history, UCLA; B.L.S., librarianship, UC Berkeley; Certificate in Archival Administration and Preservation, American University, Washington, D.C.Mink prepared for the interview by referencing Knudsen's office files. Mink also utilized documents from the University Archives.
Processing of Interview:
Editing was begun by the interviewer and completed by Winston Wutkee, assistant editor, UCLA Oral History Program. The verbatim transcript was checked against the original tape recordings and edited for punctuation, paragraphing, correct spelling, and verification of proper and place names.Due to a lapse in record keeping, it cannot be said with certainty that the final manuscript reflects the order in which the interview sessions were held. However, within each session the material is presented as recorded. The subject material of pages 1-1058 of the transcript is arranged chronologically but may not represent the actual sequence of sessions.Knudsen reviewed and approved the edited transcript. He made many corrections and also supplied spellings of names that had not been verified previously.The index was prepared by Joel Gardner, editor, UCLA Oral History Program.The introduction was prepared by Dr. Louis B. Slichter. The other front matter was prepared by the staff.The manuscript was reviewed by Bernard Galm, senior editor, UCLA Oral History Program, before being typed in its final form.
38 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Family's emigration from Scandinavia to Utah; father's arrival in Salt Lake City, 1863; family sent to settle in Provo by Mormon Church; childhood spent on farm; church influence on family life; Brigham Young Academy and College; Mormon mission to Chicago; recruited to Bell Telephone Laboratories by Harvey Fletcher; first patents; years at University of Chicago; A. A. Michelson and Robert A. Millikan; collaboration with George E. Shambaugh; research in acoustics; appointment to University of California, Southern Branch, 1922; UCLA physics department; Ernest Carroll Moore; John Mead Adams; Laurence E. Dodd; Leo P. Delsasso; Samuel J. Barnett; Moore's preoccupation with communists; Earle Swingle; Mormon Church and racial matters; Acoustical Society of America established; regents Chester H. Rowell and Reed Smoot; acoustical laboratory established on Westwood campus; chairman of physics department, 1932-33; research in architectural acoustics; evolution of acoustics; Philharmonic Hall; Lincoln Center; Wilshire Boulevard Temple; Pauley Pavilion; consultant to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on motion picture sound; designing sound stages; design of radio broadcasting studios; Schoenberg Hall; Royce Hall; working with Richard J. Neutra; Los Angeles Music Center; Grady Gammage Auditorium; London, Berlin, and Munich, 1938; pogrom in Munich; work during World War II; sonar research; first dean of Graduate Division, 1934-58; Westwood campus; Armin O. Leuschner; Charles Lipman; Charles H. Rieber; Frank I. Klingberg; Earle Hedrick; Shepherd Ivory Franz; relations with Robert Gordon Sproul; academic departments and professional schools; Gustave O. Arlt; origin of graduate work at UCLA; César Barja; Theodore Beckwith; John C. Parish; Bennet Allen; Llewellyn M. K. Boelter; meeting of Association of American Universities; library resources and John Goodwin; role of Lawrence Clark Powell; pros and cons of federal research funds; music research laboratory; international standards of sound measurement; appointment as chancellor, 1959; relations with Clarence A. Dykstra, Sproul, and Edward A. Dickson; consulting work in architectural acoustics; interest in noise pollution; Mayor Fletcher Bowron and committee on noise; faculty committees; Waldemar Westergaard; Arnold Schoenberg appointment; site for medical school chosen; Isaac H. Jones; Henry Lisner; Elmer Belt; role of Stafford L. Warren; Hollywood Bowl Association; California Symphony Society; School of Architecture; political interference on campus; Bertrand Russell; Harold J. Laski; student unrest; lack of minority representation in management; Ralph Bunche speech; Ronald W. Reagan and university; danger from right; Franklin D. Murphy; Charles E. Young; adjusting scientific needs and expenditures.