When Lee Zamir ’95, MEng ’97 was an MIT undergraduate, he took a class with Dr. Amar Bose ’51 that transformed his education. “This unique exposure to the core principles of engineering was at the heart of my understanding, intuition, and enjoyment of engineering,” he says today.
Recently, Zamir — now an engineer who works at the Bose Corporation — returned to campus to try, he says, to give today’s students a hint of what that experience was like for him through a one-day Independent Activities Period (IAP) workshop on transducers and basic speaker design for 30 MIT graduate and undergraduate students.
Zamir and another MIT alumnus, Bose engineer Darius Mobed SM '07, set up the workshop in an electrical engineering lab in Building 38 with support from MIT Professor Steven Leeb. During the morning and early afternoon, the students learned about acoustics theory and basic speaker design and watched demonstrations of advanced technologies from Bose. Then, the group gathered up soldering irons, glue guns, screwdrivers, and wire strippers to assemble their own two-way speakers housed in PVC tubing.
“I had a lot of fun. Of course, it was cool to get some pretty sweet speakers out of it, but I finally understand speaker technology a little better,” says workshop participant and senior Elaina Chai. “I liked that there was time afterward to ask questions about the power amplifier's operation, the speaker technology we were using, and even the best place to mount the speakers for optimal bass and treble sounds.”
Having made speakers that project great sound, the students also learned how to cancel out sounds. Using an array of the student-made speakers to play recordings of a jet engine, Zamir passed around Bose noise-cancelling earphones and described the technology behind them. As an added surprise, Bose President Bob Maresca ’78 visited with the students at the end of the day and chatted with students about his time as an MIT undergraduate and his path to leadership at Bose.
“The students were so motivated and involved,” Zamir says. “It was a joy to work with them.”
Zamir says his goal was to inspire students to dive into their engineering studies at MIT and to prompt them to think about how they’ll apply their skills after graduation. “It is often thought that you have to move to the West Coast or overseas to find where the product development is happening,” he says. “I wanted to make it known that there is a leading product development company doing interesting work just down the Pike.”