University of Texas
Claude Wendall Horton Sr.
September 23, 1915 - March 2, 2002

 

 

Claude Wendall Horton Sr.

Claude Wendall Horton Sr.


IN MEMORIAM
CLAUDE WENDELL HORTON, SR.

Claude Wendell Horton, Sr., age 86, of Austin, died, following a long illness, on March 2, 2002. Claude Horton was one of the principal contributors to the development of the Departments of Physics and Geology, and the Applied Research Laboratories of The University of Texas at Austin.

He was born in Cherryvale, Kansas, on September 23, 1915, to Marie Terwilliger Horton and Roy Wesley Horton. While he was still a young boy, his family moved to Houston, Texas, where he completed his public school education and entered Rice Institute (now Rice University). He received a BA degree (honors) with a major in physics in 1935 and an MA degree in 1936, both from Rice. The following year he worked as an assistant seismologist for Shell Oil Company, a popular area of work for physicists at that time. This work marked the beginning of Claude's interest in seismology and geology. During the 1937–1938 school year, he was a graduate student at Princeton University, but he evidently decided that there were better things to do than graduate work. On November 23, 1938, he married Louise Charlotte Walthall of Houston. He returned to Shell Oil, this time as party chief, where he led a group in exploration geology. He held this position until January 1943, when he resigned to undertake efforts in support of the war.

In May 1943, following a brief stint as an instructor in the Naval Training School at the University of Houston, he joined the staff of the Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory as a research associate in theoretical physics. He remained at the Laboratory until it closed at the end of the war in the summer of 1945. During this period, he carried out analytical studies on several aspects of underwater acoustics and was heavily involved in the design of scanning sonars.

Dr. C. P. Boner, then associate director of the Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory, recognized Claude's capabilities and, when Boner returned to The University of Texas to start the Defense Research Laboratories (now the Applied Research Laboratories), he asked Claude to join him. The U.S. Navy assigned the newly-established laboratory the task of developing a radar homing system for the new series of surface-to-air guided missiles. Claude immediately demonstrated his strengths in theoretical analysis by making significant contributions to the theory of electromagnetic horn antennas and dielectric waveguides and antennas. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the subject of the theory of radiation from horns and was awarded a PhD in physics by The University of Texas in 1948.

Claude's contributions were an essential part of the early success of the Defense Research Laboratory. When the Laboratory moved into the field of underwater acoustics, Claude immediately shifted fields and made many contributions to areas of underwater acoustics. In the broad category of echo structure, he and his students, through extensive experimentation, began narrowing the gap with analytical formulations. The significance of the work was in establishing sensor and technology limitations in order to separate out and understand physical processes. The results from simple targets guided the understanding of acoustic scattering from complex targets. This understanding of echo formation, coupled with the recognition of when and how statistical treatment is needed, culminated in the successful implementation for the navy of a device to automatically classify echoes. Claude’s interest in sensors, particularly the directionality properties of sensors, resulted in several new transducers, especially transducers-reflector combinations, and, most importantly, in a detailed understanding of nearfield properties of directional transducers. This knowledge was exploited in a method of predicting farfield performance of large transducers from nearfield measurements.

Closely related to echo structure studies is another broad category of reflection and scattering. The problems of special interest here are surface, bottom, and volume effects in contrast to discrete target effects (echo formation), although there is considerable overlap in the problems. These studies resulted in the ability to determine when a stochastic treatment is required and in useful statistical treatments of data.

Each of these areas demonstrates a significant contribution, but it is important to keep them in perspective. It was Claude's ability to provide the important interrelation of problems from several fields that was perhaps his greatest contribution. Electromagnetic wave theory and geophysics have both been mentioned. Perhaps not as obvious is the tie between acoustics and signal processing. In the same category is the development of methods of treating data. Routine processing of large quantities of data to extract statistical significance could not have been done a few years back. In two invited papers he gave to the ASA (November 1970 and October 1973), Claude interpreted the significance of this transition to the use of higher order statistics. Claude did not just observe this transition, he led it. Consistent with the breadth of his analytical capabilities was the ability to relate to experiment design and interpretation. Claude saved many experiments (and experimenters) by understanding equations. In 1980, for his work on underwater acoustics, Claude was awarded the very prestigious “The Pioneers of Underwater Acoustics Medal” from the Acoustical Society of America, of which he was a Fellow.

In March 1946, Claude joined the faculty of the UT Austin physics department. He advanced rapidly up the academic ladder to become an associate professor in 1950 and a full professor in 1953. He served as chairman of the department from 1957 through 1962. It was during this period that the department started the effort in relativity with the addition of Alfred Schild and other important figures to the faculty. Claude played an especially vital role in education for the acoustics community. In a period in which physics departments in general were phasing out of acoustics work, he continued to teach courses in the subject and, by serving as supervising professor, provided an avenue by which graduate students could specialize in acoustics. During this period, he supervised the work of 27 students for the PhD degree and 30 for the master's degree. Among his students were leaders of the growth of science and technology in Austin, including Chester McKinney and Loyd Hampton, former directors of the Applied Research Laboratory, Richard Lane, founder of Tracor, and James Truchard, a cofounder of National Instruments. In 1965, the Department of Geological Sciences decided to strengthen its program in geophysics. Budget constraints and other commitments precluded new hires in geophysics at the time, and Claude graciously taught a graduate and undergraduate course in geophysics during 1972–1975 and also served on graduate student committees. His physics background provided a different perspective on various pedagogical departmental issues and breadth on PhD committees.

In 1976 he elected to take early retirement, bringing to a close a highly productive 31-year career in the UT physics department. His research work has been documented in some 69 published papers (18 in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America), numerous technical reports and oral presentations, and 4 patents. In response to a request from the U.S. Navy, he wrote a textbook, Signal Processing of Acoustic Waves, which was published in 1969. Details of his published works are contained in the collection of published papers which was issued by Applied Research Laboratories, The University of Texas at Austin, in 1978. Although electromagnetic and acoustic wave propagation were his primary interests, the bounds on his range of intellect is reflected in two publications: On the Mechanics of Spitting in the African Spitting Cobra and Scientists on Postage Stamps.

He was survived by his wife, Louise, a writer and artist; his son, Wendell Horton, a professor of physics at the University, and wife, Elisabeth; and his daughter, Margaret Elaine Morefield. He is also survived by his grandson, John W. Horton, and his wife, Johauna, of Santa Barbara, California, and their children, Jaclyn, Jayna, and Joseph, and his grandson, Mike A. Horton, and his wife, Melissa, of Santa Clara, California. Claude Horton was a gentleman and scholar in the truest sense of the words. He served his country with his science, his university with his wisdom and insight, and his family with devotion and care. He will be missed by his friends, colleagues, and family.

<signed>

Larry R. Faulkner, President
The University of Texas at Austin

<signed>

John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty

This memorial resolution was prepared by Professors Austin M. Gleeson (chair), Thomas A. Griffy, Earle F. McBride, and A. Wilson Nolle, and Chester McKinney, director emeritus of the Applied Research Laboratories.


The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Vol. 117, No. 5, p. 2678, May 2005

Claude Wendell Horton, Sr., a Fellow of the Society, a leading figure in underwater acoustics research, and a recipient of the Society's Pioneers in Underwater Acoustics Medal, died in Austin, Texas, on March 2, 2002, following a long illness.

Horton was born in Cherryvale, Kansas, on September 23, 1915, grew up in Houston, and attended the Rice Institute (now Rice University). He received a BA (Honors) with a major in physics in 1935 and an MA in 1936, both from Rice. The following year he worked as an Assistant Seismologist for the Shell Oil Company, and this initiated an enduring interest in seismology and geophysics. Subsequent graduate studies were at Princeton in the academic year 1937–1938. On November 23, 1938, he married Louise Charlotte Walthall of Houston. He returned to Shell Oil in 1938, and was there chief of a group in exploration geology, and he held this position until January 1943, when he resigned to undertake efforts in support of World War II.

In May of 1943, he joined the staff of the Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory (HUSL) and there carried out analytical studies on several aspects of underwater acoustics. He was then very heavily involved in the design of scanning sonars.

At the end of World War II, C. P. Boner, the Associate Director of the Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory, initiated the establishment of the Defense Research Laboratory (DRL), now the Applied Research Laboratories, at the University of Texas, and Claude Horton was especially asked to be one of its founding staff members. As part of the DRL work in the development of a radar homing system for the new series of surface-to-air guided missiles, Horton in his early years at DRL made significant theoretical contributions to the theory of electromagnetic horn antennas and dielectric waveguides and antennas. He completed his graduate work at Texas and received a PhD in physics in 1948, the thesis being on the subject of the theory of horns.

When the Defense Research Laboratory moved into the field of underwater acoustics, Dr. Horton shifted his activities to this field and over the subsequent years made many significant contributions, especially in the general area of echo structures. Analytical and experimental work by Horton and his students progressed to a strong physical understanding of acoustic scattering from complex targets. This understanding of echo formation, coupled with the recognition of when and how statistical treatment is needed, culminated in the successful implementation of a device to automatically classify echoes. This also led to the development of innovative designs for transducers, especially of transducers–reflector combinations. Another accomplishment was a detailed understanding of the nearfield properties of directional transducers, so that one could predict the farfield performance of large transducers from near-field measurements.

Related work was carried out on the echo structure caused by the ocean surface, bottom, and volume. Horton was a major leader in the use of statistical ideas for the treatment of such effects. The extent of the progress made over a period of 20 years is described in a paper, "A review of reverberation, scattering, and echo structure" [J. Acoust Soc. Am., 51, 1049–1061 (1972)].

In 1980, Horton received the Pioneers of Underwater Acoustics Medal from the Acoustical Society of America; he was the 7th person to receive this award, which was instituted in 1959. The citation read as follows: "For his contributions in underwater acoustics in the field of propagation, reflection, and scattering, signal processing, particularly methods in acoustic data treatment and interpretation, and especially for his contribution as a teacher and friend of scientists."

As suggested by the last part of the citation, his activities as an educator at the University of Texas were especially significant. He joined the faculty of the physics department in 1946 and progressed to full professor in 1953, served as department chair from 1957 through 1962, and was instrumental in leading that department to the prominent place it holds today in the world of physics. He taught courses in acoustics and was a leading educator in the field at a specially critical time when there was a great need for highly trained professionals in acoustics. He supervised the work of twenty-seven students for the PhD degree and of thirty students for the master's degree, and these students comprise an impressive list, which includes Chester McKinney and Loyd Hampton, both former Directors of the Applied Research Laboratory, Richard Lane, the founder of Tracor, and James Truchard, a co-founder of National Instruments. Horton also helped with the geophysics program at Texas, teaching a course during 1972–1975 and serving on doctoral committees in that field.

Horton retired in 1976, after 31 years as a professor. His research accomplishments are documented in some 69 published papers (of which 18 are in J. Acoust. Soc. Am.), in numerous technical reports, and in 4 patents. In 1978, the Applied Research Laboratory published a volume, "The published papers of Claude W. Horton, Sr.: with listings of laboratory reports, dissertations, and theses," which can be found in various libraries. A significant publication was a book, Signal processing of underwater acoustic waves, which was sponsored by the Naval Ship Systems Command; it was published in 1969 and is distributed by the U.S. Government Printing Office.

Dr. Horton is survived by his wife Louise, by their son Wendell Horton and daughter Margaret Elaine Morefield.

Prepared by, CLARK S. PENROD, CHESTER M. MCKINNEY, LOYD HAMPTON

 


 

CITATION TO CLAUDE WENDELL HORTON, SR. for the Pioneers of Underwater Acoustics Medal

For his contributions in underwater acoustics in the field of propagation, reflection, and scattering, signal processing, particularly methods in acoustic data treatment and interpretation, and especially for his contribution as a teacher and friend of scientists. The Pioneers of Underwater Acoustics Medal is being awarded to Pro-
fessor Claude Wendell Horton, Sr. in recognition of his many significant contributions to the field of theoretical acoustics, especially in the area of underwater sound.

Claude Wendell Horton, Sr. was born in Cherryvale, Kansas, on 23 September 1915. While he was still a young boy his family moved to Houston, Texas, where he completed his public school education and entered Rice Institute (now Rice University). He received the BA degree (Honors) with a major in physics in 1935 and the MA degree in 1936, both from Rice. For the next year, he worked as an Assistant Seismologist for Shell Oil Company, a popular area of work for physicists at that time. This work marks the beginning of Claude's interest in seismology, which continues to this day. During the 1937–1938 school year, he was a graduate student at Princeton University but the following year he returned to Shell Oil, this time as Party Chief, a position he held until January 1943, when he resigned to undertake war related research.

That same year, he joined the staff of the Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory (HUSL) as a research associate in theoretical physics. He remained at HUSL until its closing in the summer of 1945. During this period, he carried out analytical studies on several aspects of under-water acoustics and was heavily involved in the design of scanning sonars.

After the end of World War Il, Claude joined the staff of the newly established Defense Research Laboratory (now Applied Research Laboratories) at The University of Texas. This laboratory was tasked by the Navy to work on the development of a radar homing system for a new series of surface-to-air guided missiles. Once again, Claude demonstrated his flexibility by immediately making contributions to the theory of electromagnetic horn antennae and dielectric waveguides and antennae. In fact, he wrote his doctoral dissertation on the subject of the theory of radiation from horns and was awarded the PhD degree in physics by the University of Texas in 1948.

In March 1946, Claude joined the faculty of the UT physics department and advanced up the academic ladder to become full professor in 1953. He served as chairman of the department from 1956 through 1964.

Claude has made contributions to many areas of underwater acoustics. In the broad category of echo structure, he and his students, through extensive experimentation, began narrowing the gap with analytical formulations. The significance of the work was in establishing sensor and technology limitations in order to separate out and understand physical processes. The results from simple targets guided the understanding of acoustic scattering from complex targets. This understanding of echo formation, coupled with the recognition of when and how statistical treatment is needed, culminated in the successful implementation for the Navy of a device to automatically classify echoes.

His interest in sensors, particularly the directionality properties of sensors, resulted in several new transducers, especially transducer-reflector combinations and, most importantly, in a detailed understanding of nearfield properties of directional transducers. This knowledge was exploited in a method of predicting farfield performance of large transducers from nearfield measurements.

Closely related to echo structure studies is another broad category of reflection and scattering. The problems of special interest here are surface, bottom, and volume effects in contrast to discrete target effects (echo formation), although there is considerable overlap in the problems. These studies resulted in the ability to determine when a stochastic treatment is required, and in useful statistical treatments of data.

Each of these areas demonstrates a significant contribution, but it is important to keep them in perspective. It is Claude‘s ability to provide the important interrelation of problems from several fields that is perhaps his greatest contribution. Electromagnetic wave theory and geophysics have both been mentioned. Perhaps not as obvious is the tie between acoustics and signal processing. In the same category is the development of methods of treating data. Routine processing of large quantities of data to extract statistical significance could not have been done a few years back. In two invited papers he gave to the ASA (November 1970 and October 1973), Claude interprets the significance of this transition to the use of higher order statistics. Claude did not just observe this transition, he led it. Consistent with the breadth of his analytical capabilities is the ability to relate to experiment design and interpretation. Claude saved many experiments (and experimenters) by understanding equations.

In 1976, he elected to take early retirement, bringing to a close a highly productive 31 year career in the UT physics department. During this tenure, he played a vital role in education for the acoustics community. In a period in which physics departments in general were phasing out of acoustics work, he continued to teach courses in the subject and, by serving as supervising professor, provided an avenue by which graduate students could specialize in acoustics. During this period he supervised the work of 25 students for the PhD degree and 30 for the master's degree. His research work has been documented in some 69 published papers (18 in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America) numerous technical reports and oral presentations, and four patents. In response to a request from the U.S. Navy, he wrote a textbook, Signal Processing of Acoustic Waves, which was published in 1969. Details of his published works are contained in the collection of published papers which was issued by Applied Research Laboratories, The University of Texas at Austin, in 1978.

After a few months of true retirement in 1976 we prevailed upon Dr. Horton to return to his research work in underwater acoustics. He continues to make contributions at the same high level. It is especially gratifying to us for him to receive the richly deserved Pioneers medal in the midst of his career.
Chester McKinney and Loyd Hampton.

 


March 6, 2002 Chester McKinney Memories of Claude Wendell Horton, Sr.

I am highly honored to have the opportunity on this occasion to say a few words about Claude Horton. I knew Claude for more than 50 years, having first met him in October 1946. I believe that I was his first graduate student. He was my mentor, supervising professor, colleague, and most importantly, my friend.

Claude was blessed with, or developed several characteristics that were rare and unusual. One of these was the very broad scope of his interests and also his capabilities. As an example, consider briefly his professional career. After receiving the bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rice University, he worked as a field geophysicist for Shell Oil, quickly rising to the position of Party Chief. From this work came several publications in archival literature that are indicative of his contributions. During WWII, he worked at the Harvard Underwater Sound Laboratory, where he made significant contributions to the development of a new type of scanning sonar for the detection of submarines. Evidently, he didn’t miss a step in shifting from seismic waves to underwater acoustic waves. This work terminated at Harvard with the ending of WWII. Dr. C. P. Boner, then Associate Director of HUSL, recognized the capabilities of Claude and, when Boner returned to The University of Texas to start the Defense Research Laboratory, he brought Claude with him. Claude, who joined the DRL staff in October 1945, with Badge No. 14, immediately shifted his work from acoustic waves to electromagnetic waves, where he quickly was producing papers and reports on microwave antennas and guided missile homing systems. Again, he didn’t miss a step in shifting fields. His contributions were critically important to the early success of the work at DRL.

In early 1946, Claude joined the faculty of the UT Physics Department, but continued his association with DRL on a part time basis and, as the work there expanded, he contributed importantly to the work on the detection of electromagnetic pulses from nuclear explosions, etc. When DRL moved into the field of underwater acoustics, Claude immediately started contributing to the development of new sensors for naval mines and, a bit later, to work on high resolution mine-hunting sonar, transducers, and transducer calibration. Through all of this work, Claude became internationally recognized as an expert in the classical fields of electromagnetic and acoustic waves. l believe there is a thread of continuity in all of his research. He dealt with a variety of problems, and he thought that they were important to his country and deserved serious treatment. He was a patriot in the truest sense, and not only did he make contributions, but he had a strong influence on his students and, by example, showed them that one could do very worthwhile science on very applied research.

Claude was a tower of strength at DRL/ARL for more than 30 years. He unfailingly provided good council and often, good solutions. Any topic was fair game —he never brushed us off. I would like to give one example. (There are many examples.) The Navy had a problem. Sonar transducers required accurate calibration. Transducers were getting larger and were outgrowing the existing underwater calibration tanks. The Office of Naval Research asked me if DRL/ARL could solve the problem. I said that l thought we could because I knew we had Claude Horton. I posed the problem to Claude. Two days later he returned with a four page paper that solved the problem in a beautiful, simple, and practical manner. That short paper led to DRL/ARL receiving a very tiny contract and, through the continuing work of George Innis, Dudley Baker, Jim Truchard, and others, grew into a very large program that lasted for many years— all a result of two days work by Claude.

On another occasion, Claude was asked by the Navy to write a book on signal processing. He agreed and took a year’s leave of absence to do so. The book, published in 1969, is still popular.

Another valuable attribute of Claude, was his awesome knowledge of the relevant literature. On many occasions, a one-sentence comment from him made a major difference in the success of projects at DRL/ARL. For example, when Garland Barnard, in conducting some acoustic scattering experiments, observed some unexpected echoes, Claude immediately said that they looked like creeping waves predicted by Franz for electromagnetic waves. Claude was correct, and this was the beginning of some very interesting theoretical and experimental work at DRL/ARL and at a number of other laboratories that has resulted in hundreds of published papers. I think that Claude was more thorough and faster than Internet searches.
And we had him years earlier.

Claude was a rare asset to DRL/ARL in many aspects, not the least of which was his willingness to supervise the graduate research of many of our staff members. We are very proud that of the 27 PhD and 30 master’s students he had, more than half were DRL/ARL employees. He was familiar with their work and was always helpful. The entire staff was thrilled when he received the Pioneers in Underwater Acoustics Medal from the Acoustical Society of America in 1980.

Claude Horton was a true gentleman in the finest sense. He was kind, gentle, modest, tactful, friendly, and helpful. He made many contributions. He left his mark. All of us who knew him, will sorely miss him.

I can hear him saying, "Chester, sit own. You have talked too long." But we really can't say too much about this remarkable individual.