Biographical / Historical
Walter Guyton Cady (1874 1973) was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He graduated from Brown University (Bachelors 1895 and Masters 1897) and from the University of Berlin (Ph. D. Physics, 1900). Cady worked at a magnetic observatory of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1900-1902. In 1902, Cady joined the faculty of Wesleyan University as a professor of physics where he remained until 1946. During WW I, Cady used piezoelectricity—electricity or electric polarity due to pressure especially in a crystalline substance as quartz—and underwater sound to make devices that would locate enemy submarines. From this work evolved the crystal resonator and oscillator. Piezoelectricity is utilized in microphones, phonograph pickups, and telephone communications systems.
During World War II, Cady worked on military applications of piezoelectricity. Among the applications were supersonic trainers for radar operators, which employed piezoelectric transducers in liquid tanks to generate realistic echoes on radar indicators. In 1946, Cady published a book titled Piezoelectricity An Introduction To The Theory And Applications Of Electromechanical Phenomena In Crystals, 1946. After his retirement in 1951 to Pasadena, California, Cady returned to Providence, Rhode Island in 1963 and was active in consulting work for industry and the Federal government. Cady was an active member of Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE), becoming a fellow of the institute in 1927 and receiving the Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award in 1928. He also received the Dudell Medal from the Physics Society of Great Britain in 1936. Cady also served as an editor for the PROCEDDINGS OF IRE and as president of IRE, was Editor of the Physical Review from 1924-1926, a member of the national Research Committee, 1935-1938, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Cady's principal interests included the study of electrical discharges in gases, detection of wireless waves, piezoelectricity, ultrasonics, piezoelectric resonators and oscillators, and crystal devices.
Cady married Kathrin Olive Miller (1883-1909) and they had one son, Willoughby Miller Cady (1907-1953), also a physicist.