Winston E. Kock

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Winston Kock
Model of Electronics Research Centers.jpg
Model of Electronics Research Centers first phase of construction is examined by (from left) Dr. Albert J. Kelley, Deputy Director; Edward Durell Stone, and Dr. Winston E. Kock, Director.
Born 1909
Died 1982 (aged 72–73)
Nationality American
Other names Wayne Kirk
Alma mater University of Berlin
Known for First director of NASA Electronics Research Center
Scientific career
Academic advisors

Winston Kock (1909–1982) was the first Director of NASA Electronics Research Center (NASA ERC) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from September 1, 1964, to October 1, 1966. The Center was created for multidisciplinary scientific research, its proximity to certain colleges, its proximity to a local U.S. Air Force research facility, and was perceived as part of the nation's cold war effort.[1][2]

He was an American electrical engineer, researcher, and musician. Kock was also a novelist under the pseudonym Wayne Kirk. Kock also wrote books about topics in engineering and acoustics. These included radar, sonar, holography, and lasers.[3][note 1] Kock's seminal research in artificial dielectrics, carried out at AT&T Bell Laboratories in the 1940s, is a historical connection to metamaterials.


At age four Kock started learning piano, and by high school he could play full recitals. In college he began composing music. He then took electrical engineering courses at the University of Cincinnati and continued studying piano and organ at the Cincinnati College of Music. In the 1930s, as partial fulfillment of his bachelor's degree, he built an electronic organ. He used the more economical neon glow tubes for his electronic organ[4] rather than radio vacuum tubes as sources for tones. In 1932 he received his BSc degree in electrical engineering.[4]

For his master's degree thesis Kock grappled with the problem of pitch stabilization for 70 neon tubes in an electronic organ. In 1933 he received his Master of Science degree.[4]

In 1934, he received his Ph.D. in experimental and theoretical physics from the University of Berlin. His examiners were Professors Max von Laue and Arthur Wehnelt. As part of the thesis, Kock, together with another candidate, developed an improved design for an electronic organ based on the formant principle.[4]


Kock was a researcher for Bell Laboratories. Part of his work there involved artificial dielectrics. He proposed metallic and wire lenses for antennas. Some of these are the metallic delay lens, parallel-wire lens, and the wire mesh lens. In addition, he conducted analytical studies regarding the response of customized metallic particles to a quasistatic, electromagnetic radiation field. Kock noted behaviors and structure in these artificial materials.[5][6][7][8]

Before becoming Director of NASA Electronics Research Center he was vice-president research of the Bendix Corp., Detroit. After leaving the Director's position, he returned to Bendix as vice-president and chief scientist. He continued at NASA as a member of the Administration Committee.[1]


He continued work in electronic music engineering from the age of electronic tubes all the way to the invention of the transistor. He also researched holography, gamma rays, semiconductors, picture phone and artificial dielectrics. His work in artificial dielectrics preceded metamaterials by approximately 50 years.[9][10][11][12]


Kock received over 200 patents in the electrical engineering and acoustic engineering fields.

  • In 1935 Kock applied for a patent describing formant circuits in an electronic organ.[4]
  • Electrical Organ W. E. KOCK et al., Patent number: 2233948; Filing date: Mar 17, 1938; Issue date: Mar 4, 1941[13]
  • Oscillation Generator: Patent number: 2400309; Filing date: Oct 31, 1941; Issue date: May 14, 1946 [14]
  • Electrical musical instrument: Patent number: 2328282; Filing date: Apr 23, 1941; Issue date: Aug 31, 1943 [15]
  • Metallic structure for delaying unpolarized waves: Patent number: 2577619; Filing date: May 16, 1947; Issue date: Dec 4, 1951.[16]
  • Two-way television over telephone Lines. Patent number: 2895005; Filing date: Sep 30, 1954; Issue date: Jul 14, 1959.[12]


Kock wrote several books including Sound Waves and Light Waves (1965), Lasers and Holography (1981), Seeing Sound (1972), Radar, Sonar and Holography (1974), and The Creative Engineer: the art of inventing (1978).

He also authored Applications of Holography (Proceedings of United States-Japan Seminar on Information Processing by Holography, held in Washington, D.C., October 13–18, 1969).[17][18]

Published research[edit]

At the Fortieth Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (November 9, 10, and 11, 1950) [19] Kock, along with a colleague, contributed research results pertaining to "a photographic method using mechanical scanning for displaying the space patterns of sound and microwaves..." : Kock, W. E. (1951). "A Photographic Method for Displaying Sound Wave Space Patterns" (PDF). The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 23 (1): 149. Bibcode:1951ASAJ...23..149K. doi:10.1121/1.1917306.

Below is a list of some of Kock's published research:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The first line of this paragraph is copied almost word for word from the German Wikipedia article of the same name (translated into English).


  1. ^ a b Johnson Space Center News. "1966 News Releases" (Free PDF download). NASA. September 8, 1966. pp. 4, 177. This article contains public domain information from a NASA document available online.
  2. ^ NASA History Program Office. Butrica, Andrew (author); Dick, Steven J. (NASA Chief Historian) (September 8, 1966). "Electronics Research Center" (Available on the web). NASA. Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  3. ^ List of science books authored by KocK at the Library of Congress
  4. ^ a b c d e Hans-Joachim Braun. "Music Engineers. The Remarkable Career of Winston Kock, Electronic Organ Designer and NASA Chief of Electronics" (PDF). 2004 IEEE Conference on the History of Electronics. IEEE. Free PDF download.
  5. ^ Eleftheriades, George, V. (March 19, 2009). "EM Transmission-line Metamaterials". Materials Today (Full text of this article is freely available by clicking on the DOI number.)|format= requires |url= (help). 12 (3): 30–41. doi:10.1016/S1369-7021(09)70073-2. Free PDF download also available: EM transmission-line metamaterials Retrieved 2010-10-15.
  6. ^ Jones, S. S. D.; Brown, J. (1949-02-26). "Metallic Delay Lenses" ("AN experimental study of the metallic delay lens described by Kock has been made in this Establishment..."). Nature. 163 (Letters to the Editor): 324–325. Bibcode:1949Natur.163..324J. doi:10.1038/163324a0. Retrieved 2010-03-24. An experimental study of the metallic delay lens described by Kock1 has been made in this Establishment, using a lens constructed of parallel strips as in Fig. 1, the E vector being normal to the line of the strips. The dimensions were such that Kock's formula for refractive index where s is width of strips and N is number of strips per unit area viewed end on, gave the value 1A x 41 for n. The predicted cut-off wave-length was 1A x 8 cm.
  7. ^ "Negative Refractive Index Metamaterials" (Note: history of metamaterials). The University of Surrey. 2003-10-20. Retrieved 2010-03-14.
  8. ^ In one journal, entitled Proceedings of the IRE (see ref below), Kock describes a new type of antenna applying the optical properties of Radio waves. It is in fact a metallic lens, which focuses electromagnetic waves "...from short waves up to wavelengths of perhaps five meters or more."
  9. ^ Gabor, D.; Kock, W. E.; Stroke, G. W. (1971). "Holography". Science. 173 (3991): 11–23. Bibcode:1971Sci...173...11G. doi:10.1126/science.173.3991.11. PMID 17747305.
  10. ^ Kock, W. E. (1971). "Nobel Prize for Physics: Gabor and Holography". Science. 174 (4010): 674–5. Bibcode:1971Sci...174..674K. doi:10.1126/science.174.4010.674. PMID 17777328.
  11. ^ Kock, W. E. (1960). "The Mössbauer Radiation". Science. 131 (3413): 1588–90. Bibcode:1960Sci...131.1588K. doi:10.1126/science.131.3413.1588. PMID 17745302.
  12. ^ a b U.S. Patent 2,895,005 Two-way Television over Telephone Lines
  13. ^ U.S. Patent 2,233,948 Electrical Organ
  14. ^ U.S. Patent 2,400,309 Oscillation Generator.
  15. ^ U.S. Patent 2,328,282 Electrical musical instrument.
  16. ^ U.S. Patent 2,577,619 Metallic structure for delaying unpolarized waves.
  17. ^ books by Winston E. Kock. Goodreads. accessdate 2011-03-16
  18. ^ Author: Winston E. Kock. Google Books. Accessdate: 2011-03-16
  19. ^ "Fortieth Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America". The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 23 (1): 142–150. 1951. Bibcode:1951ASAJ...23..142.. doi:10.1121/1.1906719.