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Memorial Tributes, Volume 11
FRANKLIN S. COOPER
Elected in 1976
“For originality in speech instrumentation and its application tohuman communication, including aids for the handicapped.”
BY KENNETH N. STEVENS
FRANKLIN S. COOPER, pioneer and educator in the field of speech science, died on February 20, 1999, at the age of 90 in Palo Alto, California. He was one of the founders, and for most of his career president or research director, of Haskins Laboratories.
Born on April 29, 1908, in Robinson, Illinois, Frank grew up with his mother and grandparents on his grandfather’s farm in central Illinois. He attended a rural elementary school and supplemented his education by reading the books in his grandfather’s library, including an old physics textbook. In high school, he pursued his early interest in physics and also became interested in electrical engineering. Frank won the competitive examination in his county, which earned him a scholarship to the University of Illinois worth $210 for four years. For financial reasons, however, he postponed his entry to the university and spent a year teaching in a one-room elementary school with just a few students. He found dealing with discipline problems and lukewarm interest from his students very frustrating.
Frank entered the University of Illinois in 1927 and completed a B.S. degree in engineering physics in 1931. He remained at the university until 1934 with a teaching fellowship and doing some graduate research in the Physics Department. From 1934 to 1936, he worked at Massachusetts Institute of Technology