Biography of Jean Mattei for His 100th Birthday

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.

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.

Then he enrolled in the 10th French Division of General Billotte, integrated in the Patton Army, spent Christmas 1944 in Belgium and, during the following winter, took part in the Alsace Campaign. From 1945 to 1946 in the context of the occupation of Germany by the Allies, he participated to the French Commission of Control in Berlin where he had the opportunity to recruit German scientists. There, he met Muriel a journalist, member of the British Commission who became his dear wife. At the demand of Yves Rocard, he was affected 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 EDF (Electricité de France), soon became Head of the Acoustics Division and later Head of the Acoustics and Vibration Department (the Acoustic Division being under the responsibility of Paul François and later of Jacques Delcambre and the Vibration Division 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 sound intensity. He was named Scientific Advisor of EDF in 1982.

When being at EDF and even later, Jean was involved in major French and international activities linked with Noise Control Engineering: During 20 years he chaired the Acoustics Commission of AFNOR, the French Standardization Body (with a production of 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 (Bill Lang, Gerhardt Hubner, etc.)

At the end of the sixties he became President of GALF (Association of French Speaking Acousticians which later became SFA, the French Acoustical Society). There he developed GAIE, the Industrial and Environmental Acoustics Group which would become Member of International-INCE. In 1975 he was the Executive President of the FASE Colloquium on Machinery and Environmental Noise, the first European Congress of Acoustics organized in Paris by the Federation of European Acoustical Societies. In 1969 he became a member of the ICA (International Commission of Acoustics, the seventh 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 the meantime, he was named Corresponding Member of INCE-USA.

From 1975 to 1988 Jean was Director-at-Large of International INCE and in 1988 he chaired the Internoise Congress, held in Avignon where he was proud to welcome in the famous Palais des Papes over 800 delegates from 45 countries. 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.

Jean had and still has a passion: sailing. He used to own (successively!), not less than 5 boats that he sailed through the Mediterranean See and Atlantic Ocean. In the last decade he boarded several sailing cruises all over the globe such as: Red Sea to Indian Ocean, Valparaiso to Singapore, 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 French Medal of Resistance and named Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.

(Jean Tourret May 2020),

Thank You