R.I.P. Tex Logan

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His Wikipedia entry tells us that "Benjamin Franklin 'Tex' Logan, Jr. (1927) was an American electrical engineer and bluegrass music fiddler. He died April 24, 2015 in the arms of his daughter, Jody."

Here he is playing with Bill Monroe in 1969:

Here they are in 1982, playing a song that Tex wrote:

But before I ever heard Tex Logan play the fiddle, I knew him as a member of the Mathematics Research Department at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, where he worked from 1956 to 1993, and as the co-inventor of "'Colorless' artificial reverberation" and the author of an important theorem about "Information in the zero crossings of bandpass signals".

Here's an description of a party at his house in 1966. Unfortunately he stopped having those parties in 1970, which was before I started work at Bell Labs in 1975.

Update — Joseph Bottum, "Let's play it fast", The Washington Free Beacon, 5/9/2015:

Out in a little mid-Texas town—Coahoma, population 900 or so—a smart boy realizes he’s good at math and science, and down that road lies an absorbing and successful career. But out in that same mid-Texas town, a quick boy realizes he’s also pretty good at playing the fiddle. And the wise man, into whom those boys grow, finds a way to use both his talents in interesting ways: always having a second string to his bow as he passed through life.


  1. Bobbie said,

    April 30, 2015 @ 4:35 pm

    I remember meeting Ralph Rinzler at a house party in NJ in 1962. ( I don't think I had ever heard bluegrass before that night.) I wonder if any of the others mentioned in this article were at the same party that I was!

  2. Rubrick said,

    April 30, 2015 @ 5:49 pm

    Bluegrass music fiddlers are my favorite kind of bluegrass fiddlers.

  3. Tom Duff said,

    April 30, 2015 @ 6:00 pm

    Ben was one of Bell Labs' real treasures. And one of country music's. I will miss him.

    There's a mysterious affinity between physics/engineering and music. Another physicist country fiddler is Woody Paul ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woody_Paul ) of the Riders in the Sky, who has a PhD in plasma physics. And there's experimental saxophonist John Butcher ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Butcher_%28musician%29 ), a theoretical physicist.

  4. Coby Lubliner said,

    April 30, 2015 @ 7:30 pm

    The mathematician Moe Hirsch was (is?) also a fine country fiddler.

  5. Thor Lawrence said,

    May 1, 2015 @ 6:26 am

    On the other side of the pond there is Brian May, PhD in astro-physics, of Queen.

  6. Terry Hunt said,

    May 1, 2015 @ 8:22 am

    Not to mention Professor Brian Cox, particle physicist, formerly of D:Ream.

  7. January First-of-May said,

    May 1, 2015 @ 3:36 pm

    That sounds like a prime candidate for the Erdős-Bacon-Sabbath number.
    (Most of the guys mentioned in the comments above already have one, incidentally.)

    And on the bandwagon, I have to mention Sergey Nikitin (a somewhat minor biophysicist who is much better known for his bard music).

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