Fred Tappert

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Frederick Drach Tappert
Fred Tappert.jpg
Born (1940-04-21)April 21, 1940
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died January 9, 2002(2002-01-09) (aged 61)
Coral Gables, Florida
Nationality American
Fields Physics
Institutions Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Alma mater Penn State
Doctoral advisor Edward A. Frieman

Frederick Drach Tappert (April 21, 1940 – January 9, 2002) was an American physicist whose primary contributions were in underwater acoustics. He is noted for the development of the parabolic equation model and split-step Fourier algorithm for electromagnetic and ocean acoustic propagation.

Tappert began his scientific career in the field of plasma physics, receiving his Ph. D. from Princeton University in 1967. His dissertation, entitled "Kinetic theory of equilibrium plasmas",[1][2] was supervised by Edward A. Frieman, then Associate Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

He was a member of the technical staff of Bell Telephone Labs from 1967 to 1974. Among his notable accomplishments there was a collaboration with Akira Hasegawa on optical solitons which underpinned later advances in fiber-optic communication technology. [3] [4] [5]

Following his years at Bell Labs, Tappert was a Senior Research Scientist at the Courant Institute of New York University from 1974 to 1978. He moved to Coral Gables, Florida, in 1978 to join the faculty of the University of Miami, where he had a joint appointment in the Department of Physics on the main campus and in the Department of Applied Marine Physics at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS). [6] [7]

In 2001, he was awarded the Department of the Navy's Superior Public Service Award, the citation of which noted, "Professor Tappert's introduction of the parabolic equation propagation model in 1974 started a revolution in the underwater acoustics modeling community. ... It is, in large part, a tribute to Professor Tappert's superb efforts that today the PE model is the de facto standard full wave propagation model in underwater acoustics and that, in a practical sense, he is thought of as the 'father of the PE model'." [8]

Tappert was posthumously awarded the Pioneer in Underwater Acoustics Medal by the Acoustical Society of America, "for application of the parabolic equation to underwater acoustic propagation." [9] [10] The 145th Annual Meeting of the Acoustical Society, in 2003, featured a memorial session dedicated to Frederick Tappert on the subject of "Propagation Phenomena and the Parabolic Equation." [11]


  1. ^ "Frederick D. Tappert, Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). August 2000. 
  2. ^ Fred Tappert at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^ "Chapter 3, From Paradigms to Practicalities: Successes of Nonlinear Science – Solitons in Telecommunications". Nonlinear Science. 1997. 
  4. ^ "Making Waves: Solitons and Their Optical Applications" (PDF). SIAM News 31 (2). March 1998. 
  5. ^ Fred Tappert (January 29, 1998). "Reminiscences on Optical Soliton Research with Akira Hasegawa" (PDF). 
  6. ^ "Tappert's University of Miami home page". Archived from the original on May 14, 2001. 
  7. ^ "Rosenstiel School Suffers Another Great Loss" (PDF), RSMAS Soundings, February 2002 
  8. ^ "Dr. Fred Tappert Receives National Honors" (PDF), RSMAS Soundings, October 2001 
  9. ^ "Pioneer in Underwater Acoustics Medal" (PDF), RSMAS Soundings, June 2002 
  10. ^ "Acoustical Society of America Awards". 
  11. ^ "Program of the 145th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America" (PDF). April 28, 2003. 

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