Gabriel Weinreich, Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan, is an experimental physicist and a leading expert on the physics of the violin. Born in Vilna, Poland (now the capitol of Lithuania), Weinreich’s family escaped to New York City in the early years of World War II. Weinreich studied physics at Columbia, receiving his Ph.D. in 1953 for a thesis on atomic physics directed by the legendary I. I. Rabi. He subsequently worked on fundamental properties of semiconductors, first at Bell Labs, then, starting in 1960, at the University of Michigan. In 1977 he turned his attention to the acoustics of musical instruments, mainly the piano and bowed strings.
Weinreich books and scientific papers include much fundamental work on violin sound radiation, and a Scientific American cover story the vibration of piano strings. He is a recipient of the Association of Physics Teachers Klopsteg Award and Lecture, a Silver Medal from the Acoustical Society of America, and the Hutchins Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Acoustics. In 1986 he was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church. In 2005 his memoir “Confessions of a Jewish Priest,” was published by Pilgrim Press.
Curtin met Weinreich in 1984, while visiting Ann Arbor with an eye to living there. Weinreich soon became an informal mentor in violin physics and over the years, a close friend. They have collaborated on many research projects, including the Reciprocal Bow, the Digital violin, and the Impulse Response Rig.