Victor M.A. Peutz 1926 2008,
Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau,
AES Fellow 1982,
AES Silver medal 1990,
Honorary member of the Dutch Acoustical society.
Victor Peutz , born may 5th 1926, studied applied physics at the Delft University of technology ( Netherlands) and nuclear Physics in Paris, during which his interest raised for musicians acoustic playing conditions and for the understanding of how speech becomes intelligible.
Back in the Netherlands he joined the acoustics group in Delft with professor C.W Kosten and in 1954 he moved to the University of Nijmegen where he worked as an audiologist.
At the same time he started his practice as an independent consultant in architectural, industrial and electro-acoustics, a true pioneer in this field in those days.
In collaboration with the Nijmegen university and working as a consultant he showed his strong ability to bring science and engineering together. In a long running program of research between 1958 and 1985 he managed to develop a highly practical method of room- and electro acoustic design for speech intelligibility.
Victor Peutz was -more than anyone- aware of the highly complicated nature of the physical and perceptual mechanisms that create intelligibility in reverberant and/or noisy spaces. However he spend many years of his life to reduce the immense amount of information he gathered to a simple looking, but accurate calculation method for the “every day’s” designing and engineering work.
The ALcons ( Articulation loss of consonants) method was presented march 16 18, 1971 at the 1st central Europese AES convention in Cologne, and published in AES volume 19 , number 11. At the same convention a paper of W. Klein, collaborator of Peutz, was published on the application of the ALcons method for sound system design.
The method has been, and still is, widely in use by sound system designers all over the world.
His ongoing research on the subject lead to more papers and publications, in which intelligibility was more and more considered as a phenomenon of the probability of information transmission. This was mathematically described in a measure called Information Index , built from a number of ( mostly) Gaussian type recognition functions related to reverberation time, signal to noise ratio, direct to reverberant ratio and bandwidth. ( Speech intelligibility and speech recognition, paper presented at the 85th AES convention Los Angeles 3 6 November 1988).
Victor Peutz was not only active in the field of intelligibility, his acoustical scope was very wide. He researched, published and consulted also in the fields of concert hall acoustics, sound fields in large spaces, aircraft noise and building acoustics. He was rewarded the AES fellowship in 1982, followed by the silver medal in 1990 in recognition of his outstanding developments in the field of audio engineering.
His scientific work was only a part of his professional life. In the period between 1954 until he retired in 1991, he developed his company to what is now a consultancy specialised in the broad field of building physics and acoustics, giving a living to 200 people in 5 countries and with its own acoustic and building physics laboratories.
His charismatic and gentleman-like leadership was felt and appreciated by all collaborators. It inspired everyone strongly to produce the best quality of work in projects under all circumstances. He also felt a strong personal responsibility and loyalty for all his employees.
In an early stage he decided to share the major responsibilities and the ownership of the firm with others, which has proven to be a guarantee for the continuity of the company after his retirement.
He spent most of his life on his passion, acoustics and his company. The sparse time for a personal life he spent with his wife Nelly Westerterp and his children, travelling, enjoying classical music and being a great “connaisseur” of wine.
We will miss an inspiring colleague and good friend.