INCE-USA Celebrates Jean Mattei's 100th Birthday!

Jean Mattei in Avignon, France during INTER-NOISE 88
Jean Mattei at INTER-NOISE 88 in Avignon, France

INCE-USA is pleased to acknowledge the 100th birthday of our friend and Distinguished International Member, Jean Mattei.

Jean was born on 21 September of 1920 in Felletin (a small town in the center of France, close to Aubusson, famous for its tapestries) in a family originated from the Mediterranean Corsica Island (the native land of Napoleon Bonaparte). His father, a civil servant and his mother, a teacher, soon moved to Paris which they had to leave after the German invasion in 1939.

In 1941, Jean came back to Paris to study at Sorbonne University and specialized in fluid mechanics in the laboratory of Joseph Pérès at Ecole Normale Supérieure, under the authority of Professor Yves Rocard, a well-known physicist considered as the father of the French atomic bomb.

While there, he joined the French Résistance and became a Captain of the FFI (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur) in charge of the Versailles-Rambouillet Sector. Late August 1944 his group opened the way to the French Capital for the Allied Forces (and more specifically to the French Second Armored Division, under the command of Général Leclerc) leading to the Liberation of Paris.

Mattei enrolled in the 10th French Division of General Billotte, spent Christmas 1944 in Belgium and, during the following winter, took part in the Alsace Campaign. From 1945 to 1946, he participated to the French Commission of Control in Berlin where he had the opportunity to recruit German scientists. There, he met a journalist and member of the British Commission, Muriel, who became his dear wife.

At the request of Yves Rocard, he was assigned to the Ministry of War in the telecommunications domain which led him to join the TELECOM School of Engineering, where he graduated in 1949.

In 1952 he joined ONERA (the French Aeronautical Center) in the Acoustics Division led by Pierre Liénard, where he studied ballistic waves.

In 1957 he was hired by Electricité de France (EDF), and soon became Head of the Acoustics Division and later Head of the Acoustics and Vibration Department. (The Acoustics Division had been under Paul François and later Jacques Delcambre; the Vibration Division was under André Jaudet). There he developed strong competences in the domains of machinery acoustics and environmental noise as well as new tools for vibroacoustic studies as well as sound intensity.

Mattei was named Scientific Advisor to EDF in 1982.

During his tenure at EDF and then later, Jean was involved in major French and international activities linked with Noise Control Engineering:

  • He chaired the Acoustics Commission of AFNOR, the French Standardization Body for 20 years (during which they developed over 100 standards in the domain) and he was also involved in ISO TC 43 “Acoustics” activities where he established strong personal links with several members, including Bill Lang and Gerhardt Hübner.
  • At the end of the 1960's, he became President of the Association of French Speaking Acousticians (GALF), which later became the French Acoustical Society (SFA). There he developed the Industrial and Environmental Acoustics Group (GAIE), which would become a Member of International-INCE.
  • In 1969 he became a member of the International Commission of Acoustics (ICA) the 7th commission of IUPAP). He served as the Chairman from 1972 to 1975, and, in 1983 organized the 11th ICA Congress in Paris as General Secretary.
  • In 1975 he became the Executive President of the FASE Colloquium on Machinery and Environmental Noise. This was the first European Congress of Acoustics organized in Paris by the Federation of European Acoustical Societies.
  • In the meantime, he was named Corresponding Member of INCE-USA.
  • From 1975 to 1988 Jean was Director-at-Large of International-INCE. In 1988 he chaired the INTER-NOISE Congress, held in Avignon, where he was proud to welcome over 800 delegates from 45 countries to the famous Palais des Papes.
  • He continued to serve the Noise Control Engineering Community in participating in the I-INCE Board, also encouraging the foundation of INCE/Europe and the organization of international meetings.
Mattei and Lang at INTER-NOISE 88
Jean Mattei and Bill Lang, shown at INTER-NOISE 88 in Avignon, France

Jean had and still has a passion: sailing. He used to own not less than 5 boats (sequentially!) that he sailed through the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. In the last decade, he boarded several sailing cruises all over the globe, including Red Sea to Indian Ocean, Valparaiso to Singapore, and Greenland to Alaska.

Jean has always been a strong, willing person, setting high standards for himself as well as for others, with a deep sense of friendship and loyalty.

He has brought to the French and International Noise Control Community a vivid impulse to increase its development and worldwide recognition.

Jean Mattei was awarded the Médaille de la Résistance and named Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.

Happy Birthday, Jean Mattei!

(INCE-USA is grateful to Jean Tourret, President of INCE-Europe, for sharing this biography with us. May 2020)

Sustaining Members

  • CDM Systems
  • Kolano and Saha Engineers, Inc.
  • Herrick
  • Illingworth
  • Blachford
  • EAR
  • ACO
  • HMMH
  • CT
  • NCE
  • Scantek
  • ECORE
  • Regupol
  • PSU