Acoustics Scientist Mack Breazeale Dies at 79

OXFORD, Miss. – Mack Breazeale, 79, senior scientist at the National
Center for Physical Acoustics at the University of Mississippi, died
Monday (Sept. 14) at his home in Oxford.

Breazeale’s impact on physics education and acoustics research spanned five decades.


Mack Breazeale

In 2008, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
awarded Breazeale its lifetime Achievement Award. He was honored by the
Acoustical Society of America with its Silver Medal in Physical
Acoustics in 1988, and served as associate editor of Non-Linear
Acoustics for the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America from
1997 to 2001. He was a fellow of the ASA, IEEE and the Institute of
Acoustics in Great Britain, and a member of the American Physical
Society and Phi Kappa Phi honor society.

“Mack Breazeale was a physicist’s physics professor who in his career
managed to make major contributions not only to the field of non-linear
optics but also to non-linear ultrasound,” said NCPA Director Jack
Seiner. “Considering the NCPA’s use of ultrasound, Mack will be sorely

His professional career started in 1958 as a Fulbright Fellow in
Stuttgart, Germany. Upon his return to the U.S., he became an assistant
professor at Michigan State University, where he earned his doctorate
in 1957.

In 1962, Breazeale joined the faculty at the University of
Tennessee, where he taught for 25 years. While at UT, he served as a
consultant for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Naval Research
Laboratory, Leeds & Northrup Corp., McDonnell-Douglas Corp. and the
Applications Research Corp.

He joined the UM faculty in 1988 as a distinguished research
professor of physics at NCPA. While at the university, he also served
as a consultant for Alcorn Corp.

“Mack was a giant in the field, a pioneer of non-linear
acoustics and highly regarded around the globe,” said UM colleague Joel
Mobley. “Above all, he was a kindly Tennessee gentleman who was dear to
all who knew him.”

A Virginia native, Breazeale received his bachelor’s degree from
Berea College in Kentucky in 1953 and his master’s degree from the
University of Missouri at Rolla in 1954. His specialties were nonlinear
acoustics and acoustooptic interactions.

Breazeale is survived by his wife, Louise Hanna Scott Breazeale;
one daughter, Jennifer Lee Breazeale Ball and her husband, David, of
Knoxville, Tenn.; two sons, David Mark Breazeale and his wife, Karen,
of Corinth, and William Carl Breazeale of Sacramento, Calif.; two
stepsons, Charles M. Scott Jr. and his wife, Rebecca, of Clinton, and
Stephen H. Scott and his wife, Linda, of Flora; one brother, Clarence
W. Breazeale of Morristown, Tenn.; five grandchildren and one

Breazeale was preceded in death by his first wife, Joanne O’ Dell, and by his stepdaughter, Amy Louise Scott.

Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Monday at Oxford-University
United Methodist Church. A graveside service, time TBA, is scheduled
for Wednesday (Sept. 23) at Shipley Cemetery in Bristol, Tenn.
Visitation is set from noon to 2 p.m. Monday at Oxford-University
United Methodist Church, where he was a member.

The family requests that expressions of sympathy or memorial
contributions in Breazeale’s memory be made to: Berea College, CPO
2216, Berea, KY 40404 or to Oxford-University United Methodist Church,
424 South 10th Street, Oxford, MS 38655.

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